A Travellerspoint blog

South Africa

South Africa

The Wine Farm Area

semi-overcast 65 °F

For the last day of our adventure in South Africa, we headed north toward the mountains to the wine farm region - totally different from the southern cape region. You can be in the heart of the wine farms in about 90 minutes visiting some wonderful quaint little towns. The wine farms were started by the Huguenots who were given the land to do as they please by the South African government. Since they had been forced out of France, wine was the logical choice. Our first stop was the Huguenot Memorial in the beautiful town of Franschoek.
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From here we traveled to the Boschendal Wine Farm for a wonderful buffet lunch and wine tasting. This winery started in 1685 and produces a wide variety of wines. South African wine is very inexpensive and of very good quality. Of the wines we tasted the one that I liked the most was the 1685 Chardonnay, which sells for$7.50 USD per bottle. It was crisp, and flavorful.
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Our final stop of the trip was to the university town of Stellenbosch. The Stellenbosch University is well established and houses more than 20,000 students. It also has some of the best preserved dutch colonial houses around, which we toured.
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We then headed back to Cape Town - just a little more than an hour. From here it was dinner - a good night's sleep, and a trip to the airport at 11:30am in the morning for our trip back home.

It was a wonderful adventure - highly recommended to anyone, even though the flight over is quite long. Stay tuned for the complete photo album that will be forthcoming.

Next trip: Paris and the Seine to the beaches of Normandy at the end of October.

Posted by rpickett 23:57 Archived in South Africa Tagged the farm wine region Comments (0)

South Africa

Penguins, Cape of Good Hope and Cape Point

semi-overcast 60 °F

Today was our day to adventure see the African Penguins, the Cape of Storms - renamed the Cape of Good Hope - the half way point around the African continent and Cape Point - a much more spectacular point a few km's from the Cape of Good Hope. The Cape is the southern most point in South Western Africa, but not the southern most point on the continent. The continent actually penetrates south a few more 100 km's about 100 km's away.

Our first stop was to board a boat to see the seals at 'Seal Island'. There were big swells and a stiff breeze, but that didn't seem to bother the seals!
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We then drove to Simon's Town for a visit to the African Penguin Colony and lunch. This is also home to the South African Navy in the south of the country.
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It was then off to the Cape of Good Hope - surrounded by heavy seas and heavy winds. It must have been an extreme challenge for ships of sail.
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Of interest is that this is the only place in the world where ostrich's live by the sea and seem to thrive.
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It was then time to head to the far more spectacular Cape Point, where you take a funicular to the top of the point. The views are spectacular as you seem to sit on top of the world!
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Posted by rpickett 09:04 Archived in South Africa Tagged and of good point cape hope Comments (0)

South Africa

Cape Town Day One

sunny 65 °F

We started our first day's adventures in Cape Town at the reasonable hour of 9:00am. Our first stop was Table Mountain, one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the world. It's a truly spectacular mountain that splits the city. Our day was perfect, and we took the cable car (Swiss made) to the top, where it was windy and chilly but with spectacular views.
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We then headed back in to town for lunch at the Victoria and Albert Waterfront area
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After lunch we boarded a boat to head to Robben Island, the maximum security prison that held Nelson Mandela and many other political prisoners for decades. Interestingly enough, the murderers and hardened criminals were held in a medium security prison. As you can imagine it was a moving experience, where you can visit Mandela's cell. Our guide was himself a former political prisoner for more than 5 years. The prison also has several warders (wardens) who serve as guides. This was one of several prisons where Mandela was housed, but the one where he spent most of his sentence. Most of the prisoners were forced to work in the limestone mine six days per week, where they had a daily quota, which if missed meant they got reduced rations for the day. The limestone was used for cement for prison buildings that they erected that would become their cells.
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We then went to dinner and finally got back to the hotel at about 9:00pm. A long day, but memorable.

Posted by rpickett 08:34 Archived in South Africa Tagged town cape Comments (0)

South Africa

Johannesburg the Cape Town

sunny 70 °F

After a 5:00am wakeup call, we boarded our bus and headed to the airport for our two hour flight to Cape Town, We landed on time and our tour operator was ready and waiting. Our hotel - The Southern Sun The Cullinan - is about 30 minutes from the airport, and they too were ready and waiting. Luckily we have a free afternoon, which allows us a nap and to catch up with email etc before a full day tomorrow.

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Posted by rpickett 07:50 Archived in South Africa Comments (0)

South Africa

Back to Johannesburg

sunny 86 °F

After our morning game drive, we packed up and headed to the airport for our noon flight back to Johannesburg for the night. On the way to the hotel, we toured through the historically significant Soweto district, the birthplace of the apartheid uprising. It was from this outskirt of Joburg, that Nelson Mandella, Archbishop Tutu and others started the movement and were arrested as being terrorists. We visited Mandella's house, which is now a museum.
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We arrived at the Fairlawns Boutique Hotel, a five star plus residence, for a brief stay as we leave at 6:00am for the airport. For dinner we went to an African themed cuisine restaurant - Moyo - in the Melrose Arch district of Johannesburg. It was a wonderful meal.

Posted by rpickett 07:37 Archived in South Africa Tagged johannesburg Comments (0)

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