We were up early this morning to watch the sunrise light up Table Mountain. It was clear at first light, but the “table cloth” started to form as the sun came up, and became more and more evident.
As we left town in our rental car, headed south on the M3, the cloud cover had increased. We were happy we experienced Table Mountain the day before, when it remained clear the entire day. The roads are good, easy to navigate and the signage is more than adequate.
As we headed south the road became more narrow and hugged the eastern shoreline of the peninsula. The drive time from Cape Town to Simon’s Town was only about one hour. We are staying at a B&B, the Whale View Manor, in Simon’s Town.
Simon’s Town is known for its colony of African penguins at Boulder Beach. The R45 entrance fee allows you to walk the boardwalk to the beach and watch the penguins on the beach and in the surf. A separate beach and entrance lets you swim with the penguins. They are very cute and a definite tourist attraction. As we left we saw three large buses pulling in.
We got our first taste of rain today. After the rain, my sister noted that the smell was similar to The Lost Coast, the northern coast of California. We dipped our toes into False Bay this evening, for the first time. I expected colder temps. It was warmer than Maine, and about the same as the water temperatures along the Oregon coast during an El Nino season. I do believe that the water is warmer here in the bay than the water along the Atlantic or Indian Ocean coast.
We had dinner tonight at the Boulder Beach Restaurant, inside the Boulder Beach Hotel. They are on the outskirts of Simon’s Town (the third oldest city in South Africa), near a penguin colony. We could hear the “jackass penguins” during dinner, and they do sound like donkey’s. The dinner was excellent, a wonderful risotto, with the resident cat, Linda Rose, occupying the adjacent table.
Observations on South Africa:
1. You can get a good glass of wine for R16 – R35 ($2 – $5), and a very decent meal for R50 – R100 (exchange aprox. 7 R to 1$).
2. Dress code; casual, southern California surfer attire acceptable.
3. Too many sock and sandal combinations (on men) observed. (Northern visitors to a southern climate).
4. The roads are good, no litter, well marked with signs.
5. The people are very friendly.
6. If there is a tourist draw, expect to pay a nominal fee. We paid R195 for a round trip cable ride up to the top of Table Mountain, and R45 to see the penguins.
7. Souvenirs are prolific. Beaded animals, which are cool, are everywhere. There is no end to the carved wooden animals, wooden masks, (not necessarily made in South Africa) bracelets, necklaces and woven baskets (my favorite).