Thursday, January 12, 2006

Too beautiful to be true

Lupins - close-up
Originally uploaded by CharlesFred.
But true it is. It was so beautiful five years ago when I was here and again today. The Cape Peninsula.

Perfect weather. A low mist lying over the calm sea early in the morning, the sun's rays shining off the towering Table Mountain.

An early start, round the coast to classy Camp's Bay and even classier Llandudno, over the pass to the beautifully situated Hout Bay and along the spectacular Chapman's Peak Drive to the long white beaches of Noordhoek, then across to Simonstown, the charming home of the South African Navy in False Bay, where we made our first stop.... for a camera (which is made in China, has a flash, comes with two Agfa films of 27 photos (made in Germany)for just over ten pounds - how CAN they do it???) and a coffee and cake.

Just down from Simonstown is the famous Boulders Bay where we swam in the ever so clear and not-too-cold waters of the Indian Ocean, together with a load of eccentric wobbly (on land) African (previously Jackass) penguins. Fantastic, not only for the penguins, but the boulders are so beautiful, the sea so blue and the views across the bay so clear.

From here we drove down to Cape Point and the Cape of Good Hope, which we shared with mostly French and Americans, two nationalities we have seen very little of in the past six months and some Asians (the people we have sen the most of by far are English and Dutch, some Germans, Italians and Spanish and a sprinkling of Scandinavians and some East Europeans and Antipodeans - but not many even of them). In fact very few non-Europeans. The skies were still clear without the mist that normally gathers when the Indian Ocean collides with the Atlantic. Flocks of cormoprants at the bottom, while we spotted our first Elands (a magnificent bull, with a furry face), some Bontebok, a long-eared mouse and a very cute striped mouse - but the best was still yet to come...

Dark clouds were gathering as we passed Scarborough and Misty Cliffs, so we took a detour round Constantia before crossing back into the clouds through the wooded slopes of Hout Bay, past millionaires's row and back to Llandudno, where we popped down to Sandy Bay for the best time of the day.

A smallish white sandy beach, under the mountains on three sides, large rounded boulders reaching out into the sea... great for clambering over and from jumping across from one to the other, dilled with rockpools, covered with limpits and mussels, the green fijnbos backing up to the mountains, some orange lichen clinging to the rock, as the sun came in and out of the mist and cloud. It was late faternoon and a mist was forming over the sea again, and just then with the sun's rays shining bthrough we saw a group of dolphions playing around, jumping in and out of the water. A magnificent sight. A perfect way to round off our trip during which we have been treated to some excellent wildlife sights!


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