A Day of Animals: Penguins, Baboons, Ostrich & Cape Point (Cape Town 5)

Today was penguin day. Possibly the day of the whole trip I was most looking forward to 😉 (apart from Safari)! There may be penguin overload in today’s post… But then I am obsessed with penguins! 😀

Anyway, we got up earlier and headed back to Simon’s Town and perhaps it was because we were earlier, or maybe it was because the weather wasn’t so good, but we parked straight away and I soon had my first glimpse of an African Penguin.

I love penguins so much and it has always been a dream of mine to see penguins in the wild. I’ve spent a long time reading about them and studying them that I know how endangered they’ve become. Particularly African Penguins which I spent a couple of months researching during my masters. It was amazing to see them in the wild, as well as being so unfazed by human presence so close to them. I mean you’re not allowed to go touching them or anything, but you can get close to them if you know where to go.

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On Boulder’s Beach (where the penguins are) there are 2 main entry points, the one where most people know to go, where there is a boardwalk to stop you getting close to the penguins. But there is also the main beach area (in the photos above) where the penguins do actually come on to the beach and you can pretty much swim with the penguins.

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Had I been prepared (and had my swimming/snorkelling stuff) I may well have swum out a bit but I wasn’t so I made do with the view I had of the penguins. Besides I wouldn’t want to cause any unnecessary stress to such an endangered species just for my pleasure. Anyway, after our stop off at the quieter beach we walked across to the main viewing area.

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There are far more penguins to see in the main viewing area, but it is more crowded and you don’t really get very close to the penguins.

After we’d finished at the penguins we went to Cape Point, which was probably another 20-30 minute drive on from Simon’s Town.

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Within Cape Point there is Cape Point itself (which genuinely feels like you’re standing at the end of the world), and Cape of Good Hope. The general misconception is that Cape Point is the most southern part of the African continent, but it isn’t. Cape of Good Hope however is the most southwestern point of the African Continent.

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After going up Cape Point I was trusted to drive around to Cape of Good Hope. We’d insured me on our hire car, just in case I needed to drive at all. But at least I can now say I’ve driven in another country 😉

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In Cape Point (Nature reserve I think it is) there are wild ostriches and wild baboons. We’d driven around a bit to no luck, and then we decided to drive off the main route towards one of the quieter bays of the Cape Peninsula. And before long we spotted a troop of around 20 baboons walking along the road. It was pretty fun to watch, especially all the younger ones playing and fighting. Then 2 decided to jump on to the car which was funny, but also slightly terrifying at the same time (mum was very glad she’d paid for the extra insurance on the car at the point)!

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Continuing our drive we managed to find a male and female ostrich together which was amazing to see. Today was truly a day of finding wild animals.

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I forgot to show the Dassies we found at Boulder’s beach too!

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Anyway, Buffles Bay where we found the ostriches and baboons was a pretty beautiful place. I can imagine that at the weekends it could get incredibly busy down there (even with the baboons around).

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That was a bit more of a condensed version of our 4th day in Cape Town! I hope you enjoyed today’s post and I’ll be back tomorrow with our last day in Cape Town!

Find my other South Africa posts here:

Part 1 – Arriving in Cape Town

Part 2 – V&A Waterfront, Robben Island, Two Oceans Aquarium & Cape Wheel

Part 3 – Table Mountain, Signal Hill, Bo-Kaap & Camps Bay

Part 4 – Simon’s Town & Seal Island

Part 5 – Penguins, Baboons, Ostrich & Cape Point 

Part 6 – Kirstenbosch & Chapman’s Peak

Safari 1 – Safari Experience, Wild Dogs & Sunsets

Safari 2 – Giraffe, Elephants, Hippos & More

Safari 3 – Lions, Cheetahs & More

Safari 4 – Birds, Baby Zebra and Lions 

 

 

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Seals Everywhere! Simon’s Town & Seal Island (Cape Town 4)

On our 3rd day in Cape Town we had planned to go and see the penguins. Cape Town has some healthy populations of African penguins which I was desperate to see, but we didn’t realise that on this particular Sunday (which we now know was the last day of the summer holidays) the whole of Cape Town would descend on the beach… Safe to say we turned around and tried again another day.

So instead of the penguins we ended up going to a place called Simon’s Town, around 45 minutes drive from the centre of Cape Town. Simon’s Town is a big naval town, where we enjoyed a walk around the town and the shops.

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I could imagine that Simon’s Town would be a great place for me to go if the timing was right, as loads of shark and whale watching trips go out from there. Sadly we were a couple of months late for both of these! I hope that one day I’ll go back when it’s whale and/or shark season!

One of the things I was looking forward to during our time in Cape Town was taking a look at the African craft markets. In a lot of places through Cape Town you find little market stalls where locals from Townships sell things they’ve made. Some of my favourites were the beaded animals they sell. But it was interesting to hear how they’re made and how long it takes to make them. You’d never realise that some of it is made from old Coca Cola cans and scrap car metal. OK, you’re supposed to negotiate with them a bit on price, but me and mum were happy with our purchases and gave the man a small tip too, which really made his day.

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We enjoyed a walk around the waterfront area while waiting for our boat trip out to Seal Island in the middle of False Bay.

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Cape Town is famous for its Cape Fur Seal population, particularly being famous for their relationship with the Great White Sharks which reside in False Bay with them. I’d heard of Seal Island in the middle of False Bay, which during breeding season is home to around 75,000 seals. I’ve seen seals before and I’ve seen a lot of seals before…. but this was off the scale! We booked on to the boat trip and headed out in to False Bay.

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I can imagine that during the right time of year you’d see loads of whales and possibly a few Great White sharks. But even with my eagle eyes open we didn’t have any luck seeing any dolphins 😦

Anyway, it was quite a rough ride as the wind had picked up but it was definitely worth it to see such a healthy population of seals. But they smelt so bad!

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It had quite recently been seal pupping season so there were quite a few seal pups around 🙂

Today was a bit of a shorter post, but I’ll be back this weekend for the last 2 posts from Cape Town 🙂 I hope you’re all enjoying these posts from my holiday?

Find my other South Africa posts here:

Part 1 – Arriving in Cape Town

Part 2 – V&A Waterfront, Robben Island, Two Oceans Aquarium & Cape Wheel

Part 3 – Table Mountain, Signal Hill, Bo-Kaap & Camps Bay

Part 4 – Simon’s Town & Seal Island

Part 5 – Penguins, Baboons, Ostrich & Cape Point 

Part 6 – Kirstenbosch & Chapman’s Peak

Safari 1 – Safari Experience, Wild Dogs & Sunsets

Safari 2 – Giraffe, Elephants, Hippos & More

Safari 3 – Lions, Cheetahs & More

Safari 4 – Birds, Baby Zebra and Lions 

Cape Town’s View Points: Table Mountain & Signal Hill (Cape Town 3)

On our second full day in Cape Town we’d planned to go up Table Mountain. I was desperate to head up the top, but with cloud cover sometimes you can waste a trip up. But we decided to go for it so we had time to try again should the view deteriorate.

We got up and had breakfast and headed off for the cable car.

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Breakfast every day was so good!

Most of the time there is a massive queue to get on the cable car to go up Table Mountain. As we were going up on such a beautiful day we were expecting there to be a long queue and a long wait, BUT much to our surprise there was absolutely no queue and we got straight up.

The views from the top of Table Mountain were impressive, with no clouds lingering close to spoil the view, and we were early enough that the haze from the heat hadn’t yet obscured the view.

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Table Mountain gives you views over the city of Cape Town, as well as out to places like Hout Bay and Camps Bay and the rest of the mountains. Because of how big the top is it doesn’t get too busy and there are plenty of view points around 🙂

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While at the top of Table Mountain (and having a drink) I took the opportunity to write a couple of postcards. We didn’t think they’d arrive until we’d got back home, but much to our surprise they appeared home 4 days after we posted them!

At the top of Table Mountain (and in a few other places in Cape Town) there are Dassies. Dassies are rodent like animals that look like hamsters/guinea pigs…. But believe it or not they are related to the elephant!!! Anyway, I was desperate to see some dassies as they kind of look cute… but they can also look incredibly grumpy!

After our trip up Table Mountain we drove up Signal Hill, another one of the good view points over Cape Town. At noon they have a noon-day gun which we’d missed, but we still had an enjoyable walk around enjoying the view and picking out places.

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From Signal Hill we drove down to Bo-Kaap. Bo-Kaap has a fascinating history which I won’t bore you with, but you can read about it here.

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Bo-Kaap seemed like such an interesting place so I kind of wish I’d had the confidence to get out of the car and walk around, as well as find the Bo-Kaap museum.

To finish off our second full day in Cape Town we drove out to Camps Bay. Mum and I enjoy “collecting” Hard Rock Cafes where we go, and when we found that Cape Town now had one (it only opened a couple of months ago) we decided to give it a go. The only thing is, it isn’t located in the best area to get it, but we had such a good meal. We’d expected the prices to be very similar to the UK/USA prices but we were surprised that again, our burgers were only around £5 each! I think my mocktail (the Mango one with Red Bull, Orange juice and Mango juice was seriously amazing!) cost almost as much as my burger!

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To finish off the day we had a little walk on the beach. It was a beautiful beach, but very busy!

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I hope you enjoyed part 3 of my South Africa adventure 🙂 You can see Part 1 here and Part 2 here. I’ll be back in the week for part 4 🙂

Find my other South Africa posts here:

Part 1 – Arriving in Cape Town

Part 2 – V&A Waterfront, Robben Island, Two Oceans Aquarium & Cape Wheel

Part 3 – Table Mountain, Signal Hill, Bo-Kaap & Camps Bay

Part 4 – Simon’s Town & Seal Island

Part 5 – Penguins, Baboons, Ostrich & Cape Point 

Part 6 – Kirstenbosch & Chapman’s Peak

Safari 1 – Safari Experience, Wild Dogs & Sunsets

Safari 2 – Giraffe, Elephants, Hippos & More

Safari 3 – Lions, Cheetahs & More

Safari 4 – Birds, Baby Zebra and Lions 

V&A Waterfront, Robben Island & Two Oceans Aquarium (Cape Town 2)

I’m back with the second instalment of my time in South Africa, have you seen my first post? I have a feeling that these posts are going to be more like posts by day in Cape Town because I don’t want them to be too long!

The wonderful thing about South Africa as a holiday destination is the lack of jet lag! Cape Town is only 2 hours in front of the UK in time zones so jet lag wasn’t an issue. Our first day in Cape Town had already been planned before we got there so we had a bit more of a relaxing morning.

We got up and had breakfast where we were could help ourselves to cold breakfast of cereals, fruit, yoghurts etc. before having a cooked breakfast.

After breakfast we drove to the Victoria and Alfred Waterfront and after parking the car had a short wander around the waterfront area.

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Somewhere that I was keen to go was to Robben Island, where Nelson Mandela was kept prisoner for 18 years. Before going out to South Africa I’d watched “A Long Walk to Freedom” so I had a better idea of the history, and I was quite interested in visiting Robben Island to learn some more. Robben Island is an island (obviously) around 4 miles off the coast of Cape Town, and the only way to get there is by one of the daily organised boat tours. This is best booked a few weeks in advance to guarantee your trip.

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During the course of the tour you get the opportunity to tour the prison with an ex political prisoner, as well as have a tour of the island from a bus. I mean the prison tour is fascinating but in general you could do with having more time to have a better tour of the prison and see more of the island. It was a pretty interesting trip, it could have just been a bit longer!

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After a bumpy boat ride back to the V&A Waterfront we had a look around. I got very excited for my first glimpse of the Cape Fur Seals which have made their home in the harbour here.

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We wondered along to Nobel square where there are statues of 4 Nobel Peace Prize winners (including Nelson Mandela), before enjoying a bit of African music.

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I love a good aquarium and I jumped at the chance to visit the Two Oceans Aquarium here, especially when I heard they have an Ocean Sunfish in their collection. Plus it was great to see and learn about some of the Pacific and more local animals that I wasn’t particularly aware about.

After a trip around a local craft market, we headed back to the Cape Wheel where we had fantastic views of the V&A Waterfront as well as Table Mountain, Signal Hill and Lion’s Head.

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Finally, to end the day we decided to have dinner at the Waterfront. There are so many restaurants to pick from and you can basically pick whatever cuisine you fancy. It was a really good dinner, but also incredibly surreal sitting there eating my spaghetti bolognaise in 25 degree heat next to a Christmas tree, while knowing it was about 2 degrees back at home.

I’m going to leave it there again for today because I don’t want to bore everyone with a really long post! I’ll hopefully see you tomorrow for part 3 🙂

Find my other South Africa posts here:

Part 1 – Arriving in Cape Town

Part 2 – V&A Waterfront, Robben Island, Two Oceans Aquarium & Cape Wheel

Part 3 – Table Mountain, Signal Hill, Bo-Kaap & Camps Bay

Part 4 – Simon’s Town & Seal Island

Part 5 – Penguins, Baboons, Ostrich & Cape Point 

Part 6 – Kirstenbosch & Chapman’s Peak

Safari 1 – Safari Experience, Wild Dogs & Sunsets

Safari 2 – Giraffe, Elephants, Hippos & More

Safari 3 – Lions, Cheetahs & More

Safari 4 – Birds, Baby Zebra and Lions 

Arriving in Cape Town (Cape Town 1)

So as I said and you may have gathered if you follow me in instagram, I’ve been away on holiday. I was incredibly lucky to go away to South Africa for 10 days with my mum. It was the break that I really needed, and although I’ll start paying mum back when I have a job, I’m incredibly thankful for our trip away.

Mum and Dad first went to South Africa back in 2014 and since then my mum has been desperate to take me. Firstly to take me on Safari, but also to see all the other amazing wildlife and scenery that South Africa has to offer.

I won’t lie but I was quite nervous about going, but actually I had a fantastic time and hardly felt nervous at all while out there. I’ve decided to split up my time in South Africa in to several posts because I have so many photos I want to show you!

So our holiday was 6 nights in Cape Town, but it was cheaper to fly to Johannesburg and then do a connecting flight from Johannesburg to Cape Town (along with the connecting flights we did for Safari). I’ve done a few long-haul flights before to New York, Chicago and Bermuda, but this was the longest flight I’d ever done but thankfully as it was overnight I managed to grab a little sleep in between enjoying all of the Disney films that British Airways in-flight entertainment had to offer!

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So our 11 hour flight took us in to Johannesburg, where we had a 3 hour stopover before our 2 hour flight to Cape Town. I was thankful to stretch my legs and have my first glimpse of South Africa. On our flight in to Cape Town we were treated to great views of Table Mountain.

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One of the best ways to get around Cape Town is by hiring your own car, which is what we did, and because mum has been there twice before she knew exactly where she was going, so navigating around wasn’t an issue.

We were earlier than we thought we would be getting out of Cape Town airport so we arrived at our accommodation a bit earlier than we had originally said we would, but Judy and Shirley at Hedge House were more than happy to let us in to our room. The one thing you notice though driving from Cape Town airport to where we were staying is the difference in wealth. Driving in you see many Townships at the side of the motorway, but when we arrived where we were staying it was all houses with their 24h security and electric fences. I felt more than safe 90% of the time we were in Cape Town, but Townships are not places to venture without an organised tour, and obviously take the precautions that the guidebooks recommend.

Anyway, Hedge House was a lovely place to stay. It is a guest house rather than a hotel, where we had a large room, with its own little kitchenette (the fridge was amazing, where we could come back to cold bottles of water) and en-suite bathroom. Plus it was lovely to have a fresh bowl of fruit every day to snack on!

This is the outside of Hedge House, it was such a lovely peaceful place to stay!

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Soon after arriving I got incredibly excited by finding a Praying Mantis. The first one I’ve ever seen!

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Anyway, we were both pretty tired having been travelling for around 24 hours with only a little sleep on the plane. Judy who owns Hedge House had booked us in to a local restaurant for dinner which was just down the road. It was quite possibly the best burger I’ve ever had! There are a few things though you notice immediately about eating out in South Africa (particularly in the less tourist hotspots), firstly, the service is excellent! The waiters literally come all the time to wipe the table, offer drinks, take plates away, they’re actually brilliant and definitely earn their 10% tip. And secondly, the food is so cheap. My burger, chips and onion rings cost 92 rand (around £5), and it was honestly the best burger I’ve had!

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After dinner we headed back to Hedge House and fell straight asleep! So that’s all for part 1 🙂 I hope you enjoyed this post and I look forward to sharing more of my adventures with you in my next post 🙂

Find my other South Africa posts here:

Part 1 – Arriving in Cape Town

Part 2 – V&A Waterfront, Robben Island, Two Oceans Aquarium & Cape Wheel

Part 3 – Table Mountain, Signal Hill, Bo-Kaap & Camps Bay

Part 4 – Simon’s Town & Seal Island

Part 5 – Penguins, Baboons, Ostrich & Cape Point 

Part 6 – Kirstenbosch & Chapman’s Peak

Safari 1 – Safari Experience, Wild Dogs & Sunsets

Safari 2 – Giraffe, Elephants, Hippos & More

Safari 3 – Lions, Cheetahs & More

Safari 4 – Birds, Baby Zebra and Lions 

 

I’m still here!

Hello! I’m still here! 🙂 I’m still away on holiday (kind of), well I’m flying home tonight but I thought I’d quickly share a few photos of what I’ve been up to! But expect loads of posts and photos soon 🙂

I hope everyone is ok and I can’t wait to share my adventures with you all 🙂

Some Kind of Wonderful

I’ve finally got round to writing this review! 😀 I read this back in November/December, but with Blogmas I didn’t get round to writing/posting it before. “Some Kind of Wonderful” is Giovanna Fletcher’s latest novel and this time, released in hardback. My friend bought me a signed copy of “Some Kind of Wonderful” for my birthday and I was so excited to read it.

When the love of your life says you’re not The One, who are you?

Lizzy and Ian have been a couple since the first week of university. Now, after celebrating a decade together, everyone thinks they’re about to get engaged. Instead, a romantic escape to Dubai leaves Lizzy with no ring, no fiancé and no future.

Lizzy is heartbroken – but through the tears, she sees an opportunity. This is her moment to discover what she’s been missing while playing Ian’s ideal ‘better half’. But how much has Ian changed her, and who should she be without him?

Determined to discover who she is at heart, Lizzy sets out to rediscover the girl she was before – and, in the meantime, have a little fun . . .”

This book was a great read, and I enjoyed every single page. Most romance/chick-lit books tend to be boy marries girl and they all live happily ever after. But not in this book. This is kind of an alternative where Lizzy finds a new happily ever after away from her old happily ever after.

I think this would be a great book for people going through breakups and would help them see the light, while not being too depressing. The story is enjoyable with some great characters.

I’m keeping this post short today, because I don’t wait to ruin the story for anyone else who is going to read this 🙂 But I really do recommend this book 🙂

Have you read this book? What did you think?