Last week Kerry-Anne gave me a GPS as a birthday gift. Today we went on our first geocaching expedition and ended up here, on a part of the Vissershok road (leading from Durbanville to the N7) that I'd never driven on before.
In the short amount of time that we had we managed to find two caches and travelled several roads that I've never seen before. After all the fun I suddenly came to the realisation that I now have two women telling me where to go... ;)
Kerry-Anne and I really love Camps Bay and figured that a night out at Summerville (a trendy restaurant in Camps Bay) would be the perfect prelude to New Year's Eve tomorrow.
Summerville hosted a GeekDinner event a few months back and we liked it so much that we just had to share it with a few good friends. Isn't the view from inside spectacular? The restaurant overlooks the white sands of Camps Bay beach, and even though we weren't able to get seating on the deck outside, the good food and trendy vibe made for a really good evening out.
Click here to see Summerville from the air in WikiMapia.
Milnerton Lighthouse (located on Woodbridge Island) was commissioned in 1960 to help ships find their way into Table Bay. Apparently the small stretch of coastline between Green Point and Milnerton has seen more than 150 ships wrecked over the last few centuries - more than any other section of coastline in South Africa.
Cape Town's city lights make it difficult for navigators to distinguish the harbour lights, and so this lighthouse, together with those at Green Point and Robben Island, make it a whole lot easier to get into the harbour safely at night. (I can barely parallel park, so I'm rather in awe of those who steer ships, no matter how many lighthouses they have to help them.)
To celebrate Paul's birthday yesterday, we started our day with breakfast at Pastis Brasserie in Constantia. In addition to our pain au chocolat and coffee, I had a croque madame (toasted baguette with cheese, ham and egg) and Paul had pain perdu (French toast with banana, bacon and syrup).
Pastis is lovely and laid-back, surrounded by plenty of trees and filled with all things French. They also have free wi-fi, so I think I'll be heading there to do some work on a few of the hot afternoons we're expecting in January and February. :)
Although we didn't have a camera with us last night (very unusual behaviour!), and consequently don't have a photo to show you, I have to mention the outstanding dinner we had at Yum in Vredehoek. I had a beef rump risotto and Paul had a Jagermeister rump - and we both agreed that this was the best restaurant dinner we've had in a very long time. If you're in Cape Town now or some time in the future, put Yum on your list of places to visit. And we weren't paid, bribed or offered free food to say this. (Although that would be nice, of course. ;-) )
"Feel the leaf, become one with the leaf, become the leaf, you are the leaf." thought Charlie.
Charlie the chameleon came out to smell the flowers today. Most South Africans with a reasonably green garden have at least two or three chameleons lurking. They're quite common to countries with warm climates, although I'm sure that some of you are quite unfamiliar with the chameleon.
Chameleons, with their long elastic-like-fly-catching tongues, are pretty difficult to find - they tend to adapt to the colour of the plant on which they happen to be resting and on top of that move really really slowly.
My mother-in-law is quite nervous of the little things. They're actually quite gentle and totally harmless - so whenever I find one I take it to show her, making as though I had no idea she doesn't like them. :D
While Kerry-Anne prepared the duck for a Christmas Eve meal with the family, I took a drive to a local shopping mall where mayhem and chaos reigned. Okay, to be honest, it wasn't too bad, I never actually saw any pushing and shoving. Last minute shoppers were still arriving at this mall at 4pm today, Christmas Eve. I wonder how many of you were at the shop today... you're brave people is all I can say.
Anyway, here's wishing you folk who celebrate Christmas a very blessed and happy day tomorrow. For those who don't celebrate Christmas, I hope that you have as much of a happy and fun-filled day, now that the Christmas mayhem is over. ;)
The weather wasn't too great today. Yesterday was very hot but today was overcast and extremely windy. It was a good day to sleep in a little late - the week and last night's Johnny Clegg concert caught up with us so we slept until just before 11am. Terrible, I know. :)
So, today I'm posting a series of photos, taken a couple of days ago, of one poor penguin at Boulders in Simon's Town. The second wave caught him a little by surprise and he vanished, tumbling beneath the wave.
Ice-cream cones and the sea-side seem to go hand in hand. I'm not sure where these kid's parents were - they appeared to be on their own. A few moments after I spotted them a stranger walked up and handed over ice-cream cones bought from a local ice-cream vendor. The kids were obviously excited and devoured the treats within two or three minutes!
When going to the beach for the day most families take sandwiches along. It's pretty expensive for mom and dad to treat the family to lunch at a beach-side restaurant - especially when the kids NEED to be at the sea every day. :)
Kerry-Anne and I don't have kids so we most often have lunch at the closest restaurant that takes our fancy. Now, I guess for the sake of family peace I have to admit that we have two feline children, William and Elizabeth. But, William's in the dog-box at the moment... he pushed the Christmas tree over in the middle of the night. grrrr....
"Sidney insisted on a diet of leaves and twigs before the Christmas feast."
Kerry-Anne and I took my mom and dad out for lunch in Simon's Town today. We stopped over at Boulders Beach to watch the African (aka Blackfooted, aka Jackass) Penguins for a while.
The conservation area, part of Table Mountain National Parks, charges a small fee to visit the 3000-strong penguin colony. If you have a half hour to spare then I'd say that the visit is absolutely worth your time.
Click here to see the conservation area on Wikimapia.
Primi Piatti is a restaurant renowned for hip and on-the-ball waitrons dressed in bright orange overalls. There are a few Primis scattered in and around Cape Town, our favourite being the one at Canal Walk shopping centre.
Kerry-Anne and I sometimes stop off at Primi for lunch, especially if we're in the mood for salad. They have a pretty good variety of absolutely awesome salads. But, be careful if you intend having salad as a starter. I think you may want to skip the main course - their portions are pretty large.
So, if you're tired of burgers and steak then perhaps consider stopping by Primi for a salad - it's pretty good value for money.
Disclaimer: The only salad that I wouldn't recommend is the Caesar salad. I ordered one a little while ago and was both surprised and disappointed. Apart from the portion being unusually small, it just lacked that usual Primi flair. :( - I was envious of the lovely salad Kerry-Anne was devouring.
The dams at the Magic Forest are beautifully serene and great to just sit next to and relax, especially if you have a picnic basket with a few snacks handy. You could even whip out your fishing rod to catch some fish for sushi - although, I'm pretty sure you'd not want to eat the muddy fish from this dam.
If you happen to take a walk along the path, under the dense trees, be on the lookout for mountain bikes speeding along the narrow footpath. They sometimes come upon one with little warning; either leading to a collision or the cyclist landing up off the path, through the thick bush, and into the water. Okay, I haven't actually seen this happen, but it would be amusing wouldn't it?
I heard Father Christmas on the roof last night, and dashed outside (that's a little reindeer pun) to see if I could catch sight of him. I was a little surprised to see Paul already up on the roof, camera in hand. Excitedly I asked, "Did you get a picture of him?" He looked at me with a quizzical expression, and gestured vaguely toward the sky. That was when I realised, with a touch of disappointment, that the sound of big feet I'd heard on the roof had in fact been Paul rushing up there to get a shot of this cloud formation before it disappeared with the setting sun.
It's pretty, I guess. But Father Christmas would have been so much more exciting. ;-)
If you're in Cape Town and if you have any affinity towards birds, then one of the places you really should visit is World of Birds in Hout Bay. A sanctuary for injured birds and breeding ground for endangered species, World of Birds is the largest bird park in South Africa and indeed one of the largest in the world.
This photo of Olivia the ostrich was taken by Jacques Marneweck just before she blew him a kiss. Ostriches really are funny animals. Thanks, Jacques!
After taking yesterday's wide-angle shot I switched lenses to bring you this closeup of Table Mountain's cable station.
If you're checking this blog in preparation for your visit to our lovely city, then you're about to come across a small bargain. Until the end of January the cableway is offering half-price on return tickets to everyone ascending the mountain after 18h00. At the moment the sun sets at 19h53, so you'll be treated to a spectacle of note as the it sinks below the horizon.
On this special, the cost of a return ticket is R65 for adults and R34 for children (below the age of 18) - so visitors and locals alike, best you make a plan to get your tickets soon!
Please note that this special is not applicable from 24 December to 2 January. :(
See the cableway station from the air on WikiMapia.
I pulled off Round House Road to take this photo. Round House Road winds its way around Camps Bay's side of Lion's Head, descending to Clifton.
This particular road has an exquisite view of Camps Bay, Table Mountain and The Twelve Apostles. Don't you think it's a bit of a strange view of Table Mountain? This photo make it look a little like Table Peak... or Table Hill. :)
The promenade at Mouille Point (between Granger Bay and Three Anchor Bay) is a great place to go for a walk or an early-morning jog. Not only is the view beautiful, but the feel of the area is peaceful and thought provoking.
One of my most memorable times here is the evening that a friend and I walked along the promenade during a heavy storm. Huge waves smashed against the retaining wall with such force that water was thrown high into the air above us, crashing over the railings. It was both scary and loads of fun at the same time.
We were privileged to have dinner this evening with marketing expert and authorJoseph Jaffe, plus a small group of dynamic South Africans who're all involved in some way in marketing, social media and tech stuff. Joseph, who's a South African living in the USA, is a really cool, laid-back guy, and clearly still has a lot of affection for his homeland.
We ate at Primi Piatti in the V&A Waterfront - what a fantastic view there is from their new balcony section! Stormhoek sent along a few bottles of wine, as is their custom (and oh how we love them for it), and all in all we had a fabulous evening in lovely surroundings, with great company.
For our South African readers, the delectable Stormhoek wines are now available at Checkers stores, and to celebrate, Stormhoek is running an awesome competition. Part of me doesn't want to tell you about this, because I'd really, really like to win it myself (the main prize is a year's supply of Stormhoek wine!), but since you've been kind enough to visit our blog, I'll give you a little info: 3000 bottles of the Stormhoek stocked by Checkers have neck tags explaining how you can win (you'll need to find Stormhoek Big-Love on Facebook and add it as a friend), and apart from the main prize, there will also be weekly giveaways of t-shirts and wine until all the tagged bottles have been sold. Visit Stormhoek's blog for more info. But, um, don't rush now; there's really no hurry... no hurry at all... ;-)
I'd have to guess that most South African men love motorbikes, even if they don't own one themselves. When visiting Cape Town you're bound to come across many, from new to old, Harley to Honda.
"Think Bike" is a campaign run by motorbike enthusiasts in an effort to remind drivers of the presence and vulnerability of bikers on the road. Having lost a friend to the negligence of a truck driver, I'm always cautious when there's a bike around.
While I'm a superbike fan myself, as a motorist I love Harleys... they're easy to hear approaching and hardly ever whizz past in a superbike-like blur of colour and sound.
Today was the second day of StarCamp. After driving around for a while looking for a breakfast spot, we decided on Balmoral on Beach, just around the corner from the StarCamp venue.
The food was excellent (perfect poached eggs, beef sausage, plenty of bacon, and toast with homemade preserves) and the service really impressed us. As we sat down, before we'd even looked at the menus, we were each given a glass of ice-water with lemon slices - very welcome on a hot day like today! Our coffee and food arrived quickly, and so did our bill when we asked for it.
So, if you're ever in the Muizenberg area, do drive down to Beach Road and pop into Balmoral on Beach for a snack. Just say we sent you... :-)
Groot (translated as "Great") Constantia is one of the farms established by the governor of the Cape, Simon van der Stel, in 1684. Back then the purpose of the farm was to produce food and wine for the Cape colony - and by the look of things this national monument is still producing wine today.
We had dinner at Groot Constantia's Simon's restaurant with a few friends from *Camp this evening.
We spent the afternoon at my company's end of year lunch, held at La Provence Wine Farm on the Polkadraai road between Stellenbosch and Kuils Rivier. The weather was hot, the view spectacular and the food... oh, the food...
Keen-eyed-Kerry spotted this Dragon Fly sitting first on a discarded cigarette butt and later moving to this piece of grass. My colleagues found Grant and I amusing as we lay on the ground trying to get the perfect photo.
One of Kerry-Anne's clients invited us to their end of year function at Moyo, an African-themed restaurant on Spier wine farm outside of Stellenbosch.
Visiting Spier in the late afternoon followed by dinner at Moyo is highly recommended if you're visiting Cape Town. Moyo is an open-air restaurant and while guests can dine in huge marquees, it's way cooler to sit up in the trees. Yes, I really mean up in the trees. We sat at a long table about 7 metres up in the air on a solidly-built platform. It's quite difficult to explain properly in this short post, but believe me that it's a really great experience and something you really should do if you're visiting.
Half-way through our absolutely huge meal, this man and a few friends came around to serenade us beating on drums, and wearing colourful clothes and ostrich-feather hats. Don't you think he has an awesome smile?
Oh, if you decide to visit Moyo, just be sure to reserve a table in the trees, I imagine that the best spots get booked up pretty quickly.
I don't have much to say about this photo except that for some reason I really like it. It seems so lonely amongst the dead brown leaves, but soon it will be just like they are - it's kinda sad don't you think? Would anyone like to take a stab at telling us what type of flower this is?
It's relatively easy to spot the Durbanville area from the air when approaching Cape Town International Airport from a westerly direction. The vineyards and rolling hills can be seen for many miles and are undoubtedly the greatest attraction of the area.
It must be wonderfully relaxing to take a leisurely stroll through the vines - although, by the way half of this poor fellow's shirt is pulled out and considering his flushed cheeks, I'd bet that his "best friend" took him for rather a brisk walk.
The OBZfestival is held every year on the first weekend of December, celebrating the start of the summer and the festive month to come. The streets of Observatory buzz with party-fever over this weekend with all shapes, sizes, colours and cultures gathering together.
If you're planning on visiting the OBZfestival next year - I'd suggest the Saturday evening as being the best time to go - we were busy and only managed to get out to Observatory this afternoon when the fun was starting to tone down some. :(
For today's theme, we could have shown you one of the covered pedestrian bridges over the highway, or a pretty little wooden bridge over a forest stream, or the romantic old Woodbridge Island bridge... but instead we decided to post something that would bring a smile to the face of every Capetonian reading this: a collage featuring the unfinished highway bridges on the Foreshore.
We love these bridges - they've become a feature over the past 20 years, and despite what we may say to the contrary, if the truth be told, we'd all be rather sorry to see them completed. Where else would bands shoot cool music videos? Where else would graffiti artists go to express themselves? How else would you explain to people how to get to your guesthouse? And, honestly, what else could have been an appropriate setting for the final scene of this little movie?
No, there's nothing to be debated: the bridges must stay. ;-)
There are 128 blogs around the world participating in today's theme day. Click on the links below to visit them: