Monthly Archives: June 2010

Netherlands, football and South Africans

It's amazing to see how much South African support Netherlands has had in this World Cup. I wasn't at the previous match that the team played in Cape Town, but friends said that the city was a sea of orange with everyone dressed in the Dutch colour.

I guess the reason is obvious, and that is that many white South Africans are of Dutch descent and after our own team exited the World Cup they default to support the team of their forefathers, Netherlands.

Don't you just love the couple in this photo? :)

Sunset at the docks

Sunset at the docks
Just after entering the Waterfront, as you pass the Wheel of Excellence, you arrive at a large roundabout. Directly over the roundabout is this dock yard.

The V&A Waterfront is built directly alongside Table Bay harbour - Cape Town's fully functional commercial harbour. I guess this is part of the attraction and what makes the Waterfront so darn attractive. In one basin you'll see sleek yachts, in the next small run-down fishing vessels and in the next large cargo ships.

One often finds old ships in desperate need of attention in this particular dock yard. You'll often see large scaffolding surrounding the vessels with workmen clambering all over with large sanders, grinders and welding machines. It's actually quite interesting to watch them work as you make your way along the footpath to the Clock Tower and the rest of the V&A Waterfront.

We must take a boat ride!

Waterfront boats
It's a shame that us Capetonians leave the pleasures of boat rides into Table Bay to those visiting our city. We should really take time from our day-to-day lives to enjoy these pleasures that tourists more often get to enjoy.

I think we'll soon have to take a clear winter-morning trip out into the bay and then, perhaps in February next year, enjoy a warm sunset trip over to Clifton 4th beach. Take another look at the photo - doesn't that just sound perfect?

The Wheel of Excellence

The Wheel of Excellence
By now almost everyone in Cape Town, and many abroad, must have seen the Wheel of Excellence that has been erected at the entrance to the V&A Waterfront. If you were in Paris over Christmas last year you may also recognise this wheel as being the same as the one that you saw there.

The Wheel of Excellence is owned by a Dutch company, Wheels of Excellence. This particular model stands about 50m high and has sealed air-conditioned cabins with one VIP cabin that has a glass floor, telephone and LCD television. Yes, a telephone and television! While the glass floor may be cool, I'm not sure that I'd find a television or telephone very useful...

If you haven't yet taken a ride in the wheel, don't worry, you have until the end of the year to do so before the she moves on to her next home. :)

A red robot at the Waterfront

Coke's red robot

I watched for a while as a few workmen constructed this Coca-Cola robot at the V&A Waterfront. They've used red scaffolding and Coca-Cola crates to build the figure. I'm not sure what they plan to do with it, but it's clearly part of their marketing campaign around the World Cup football.

The company has put such a huge marketing drive behind the football that I'm sure you've seen it, but on the off chance that you haven't, here's a short animated television ad that I think somehow must tie in with the robot.

A beautiful sea-side walk

Sea Point Promenade
The Sea Point Promenade is a popular gathering place for locals to take walks, keep fit by jogging, or have quiet picnics on the green lawn. If, while in Cape Town, you're keen on taking a long walk along the beach without actually walking on the sand, then park your car at Mouille Point (pronounced Moo-lee Point) and take a 3km walk past the light house, Three Anchor Bay, and along to the Sea Point public swimming pool. It's quite a walk, but on a beautiful day there's little that beats it! (Just remember that unless you catch a bus or taxi, there's a 3km walk waiting on the opposite direction. :) )

I've drawn the route for you over here on a Google Map.

Oh, and just for interest sake, the young lady walking in on the left is Kerry-Anne. :)

A dragonfly sculpture

Dragonfly Scuplture
I mentioned in my previous post that the sculpture of the young girl represents a young South African democracy. According to the artist, this dragonfly sculpture (located only a little way away from the other one) represents in concept our country's dream of freedom, equality and hope.

I'm so glad that this dragonfly, with all that it represents, is so large. My cats regularly hunt dragonflies, so I'd hate one day for them to come home with our freedom, equality and hope trapped between their cruel little jaws! :D

Walking the Road – the start of Public Art

Statue at Sea Point promenade
Marieke Prinsloo-Rowe, a Fine Arts Masters student, is the lady responsible for the series of sculptures recently erected on the Sea Point Promenade. This sculpture is one of 18 that will be on display until June 2011, and which form part of a project to help establish a better Public Art Policy for the City of Cape Town.

This sculpture of a young girl represents "a young South African democracy", full of hope and promise. Read more about the project and the other sculptures in the Walking the Road display on Marieke's website.

Too many things to do in Cape Town

Things to do in Cape Town
I suffer from terrible indecision when looking at long food menus. I sometimes wish that restaurants would just cut down their long menus to the most popular dishes (although I guess that could become rather boring, no so?).

In the same way, there are so many fun things to do in Cape Town that in the midst of all the options it must be really difficult for visitors to our city to narrow down to the few that their time here allows. Naturally most visitors go up Table Mountain, visit the penguins at Boulders Beach, go to see Cape Point, take a ride out to Robben Island, and visit the Winelands of Stellenbosch - but I wonder how many people visiting for two weeks or less go completely off the beaten track. I wonder how many visit Jonkershoek nature reserve, pop in at Betty's Bay, or visit Tweede Tol on the Bains Kloof Pass.

Assuming that you don't live here, what would you do if you came to Cape Town?

Knots of guns

Waterfront Guns

Isn't she cute? I sat on my haunches to take a photo of the gun as this little girl jumped up to take a closer look.

You may recall a photo of a similar knotted gun (also at the Waterfront) that I posted in 2007. Several similar guns, decorated in various countries' colours, have been made for the World Cup football event. The one in this photo is obviously decorated in the South African flag's colours, and you can see the knot tied in the barrel just behind the little girl's head. :)

Nowhere to hide!

Fans and Cameras
No matter where you find yourself in the V&A Waterfront it's absolutely impossible to escape cameras. Whether it's a professional SLR kit, a point 'n shoot camera, or a phone camera - it seems like everyone is trying to capture the moment.

Can you imagine South Africa trying to implement photography restrictions like they've done in London? Wowie, impossible I say! :)

Cape Town Stadium after England vs Algeria

Cape Town Stadium after England vs. Algeria
Tickets in hand, we arrived at the England vs Algeria game about 10 minutes after it had started. The sound, as we approached the stadium, was unlike anything we'd ever heard before. England supporters were there in force, cheering and singing for their team. As we got closer to the stadium we could see white flags with red crosses hanging from the pavilions - it reminded me of a scene from a gladiator contest in medieval England. As we entered, amidst the roar of the crowd, I almost expected to see shining knights riding white horses!

Unfortunately for England, all the shouting, blowing of vuvuzelas, and singing wasn't enough. The "mighty" England team suffered a 0-0 draw against Algeria, a team ranked far lower than them. The mood after the match was a pretty sombre one and even though we decided to support Algeria in this match we felt genuinely sorry for the thousands of supporters who had high hopes of a spectacular win.

Match results aside, as we walked to meet friends at a local restaurant we stopped to take this photo from the edge of the lake. It really was the most beautiful of evenings - the air was warm and there was no wind to speak of. Isn't this just the most grandest stadium?

Dodge and a baby jukebox

A baby jukebox
While waiting to watch the depressing South Africa / Uruguay match on Wednesday we had a quick bite to eat at an American diner-like restaurant called Dodge City Diner in the V&A Waterfront.

All the restaurants were so full and we ended up at Dodge only because we saw two seats, miraculously open! We'd never eaten there, and we weren't holding out much hope of enjoying it, but we were actually greatly surprised and really loved it! Kerry-Anne had a burger with chips, onion rings and a cheesy sauce while I had (*drum roll*) a waffle with syrup and ice-cream and a bowl of French fries on the side! :)

Don't you just love this little table-jukebox? It takes R2 and R5 coins which will play 1 and 3 songs respectively. Unfortunately we had absolutely no change so I can't say how well it worked. We'll however definitely be back to try it out!

Football – bridging the racial divide

South African supporters
It's ironic that the oppression brought to our country by colonialism also gave South Africa a game that transgressed racial boundaries and became so ingrained into our black South African culture that to me (a fair-skinned South African) it seems as though football originated in Africa. Even though it never originates here, it really seems like an African sport!

More than 20 years ago, during the apartheid years, football was also segregated according to racial lines. Separate governing bodies existed and separate stadiums housed football events. Hell, football matches were even used by the ANC to hold "secret" political gatherings! Today our country's flag, shown in the photo, symbolises exactly what has happened to football over the past few years. The paths of different races and cultures have joined to unite in common support for our team, Bafana Bafana.

We thought it amazing when black South Africans joined in support of our mostly-white Springbok rugby team. I now find it even more amazing how white South Africa has joined with black in support of the mostly-black Bafana Bafana team.

Bafana Bafana, even though you lost the match on Wednesday evening, you've made your country proud. All the best for the next game! ===========<O "Paaaaaaaarrrrrp"

When to blow your vuvuzela

Blowing a vuvuzela

Many foreign visitors to South Africa have bought their own vuvuzelas to take along to matches, fan parks, and actually any place where football is being watched. An interesting thing that we noticed is that sometimes newbie vuvuzela-blowers don't know when it's appropriate to blow the instrument. Sometimes you'll find that the people not accustomed to the vuvuzela blow it when the opposing team scores a goal, or one of their star players is yellow-carded. It seemed as though these folk correlate the "paaaaaaarp" sound with a "booooooooo" when in fact the vuvuzela is intended to be blown when your team scores a goal, or plays particularly well. It's meant as a sound of encouragement.

Seasoned vuvuzela players play in rhythm with each other, producing different notes with rhythmic calls and call-backs. Kerry-Anne noticed that many people new to the instrument overwhelmingly blow single lonesome blasts that do in fact often sound like the noise that a depressed elephant would make. If you're one of these people, don't take this as negative criticism - I too class myself as a newbie and a learner vuvuzela-blower (although I do try to avoid playing the depressed elephant song). :)

Blue Demon spotted at the Waterfront

Blue Demon mask

One sees all kinds of strange things at the V&A Waterfront lately. In this case a bloke walking around in a blue mask caught my attention.

Based on the insignia on his shirt and the fact that the mask resembles that of Blue Demon (El Manotas), a famous Mexican wrestler, it would seem as though he's a Mexico supporter. I must say that I was a little surprised that the police and Waterfront security allowed him to walk around with the mask concealing his face. However, I guess that if he stepped out of line it would be easy enough to spot him in a crowd. :D

I know that from this it may seem like I watch wrestling, but allow me to defend myself by reminding you that Google Image Search is your friend. Sometimes. ;)

Soccer stars of the future

Future football kids

Cape Town's V&A Waterfront has over the last few days been buzzing with people from all over the world. It's like the colours in our Rainbow Nation have overnight multiplied several times over... it's awesome! People are smiling, singing, and dancing all over the place. Flags are flying and vuvuzelas are blowing - and on that note (ha ha) it's not only Africans walking with vuvuzela in hand. :)

Don't you just love the attitude that's written all over the these kids' faces? They look so proud to be dressed up in all their gear. :D

Foosball and elevators

Foosball and Elevators

Even my corporate employer has caught the World Cup football spirit. Elevator doors in this photo and on each floor in our building now feature silhouetted football players with a stadium full of fans in the background. The glass interior has been covered with photos of crowds in a stadium, and foosball tables have been offered as prizes to be won by a couple of lucky employees.

People all over our office are wearing their yellow Bafana Bafana tops, and casual corridor conversations inevitably include talk about some aspect of a match, the chance of one team winning over another, how well a particular team played, what games people have tickets to watch, and how best to get to and from the stadium.

If you know where I work and have an interest in the company, not to worry, you don't have to be alarmed. Real work is continuing at a breakneck speed - and in fact some of my colleagues are in the office as I write, at 10pm, developing software, fixing bugs and testing applications. Respect, guys, respect!

The first day of the Football World Cup

Celebrating the first match

I left work at about lunchtime, collected Kerry-Anne from home and headed into Cape Town to join thousands of football fans at the V&A Waterfront to watch the 2010 Football World Cup opening ceremony.

The Waterfront was alive with people excitedly preparing to watch the ceremony and first match. We watched the ceremony at the amphitheatre, very proudly reflecting on what our little country at the tip of the large African continent has achieved in so little time. I don't think any of us really comprehend the amount of effort, planning and expertise that went into organising every detail of this event. From the stadiums and the roadworks to the planning of dance routines, coaching of kids, and preparing to receive thousands of foreign visitors... it's all been executed pretty darn awesomely!

From our restaurant table at Wang Thai, Kerry-Anne and I proudly watched our team, Bafana Bafana (ranked 83rd in the world), play a great game against Mexico (ranked 17th), drawing 1-1 after 93 minutes. We left the packed restaurant after the match, had some coffee at a nearby coffee shop, and then slowly walked over to the Cape Town Stadium for the match between France and Uruguay.

This was the first time that we'd visited the stadium, and I have to say to the team who put it together: wow, you did good! I didn't realise that a stadium could be so beautiful!

Cape Town’s large vuvuzela

Cape Town's large vuvuzela
Due to it's "noisiness" the vuvuzela (voo-voo-zai[r]-la) was one of the the more contentious topics around the FIFA Football World Cup that was kicked off at about about 14h00. The vuvuzela is essentially a long plastic trumpet that you blow into while allowing your squished up lips to vibrate as the air passes between them. That folks is the buzzing sound that you keep hearing on your televisions while watching the matches!

This huge vuvuzela, obviously sponsored by Hyundai, was placed on the end of this unfinished bridge in Cape Town. Apparently the vuvuzela has a truck hooter horn attached to the end that will be activated each time a goal is scored in Cape Town Stadium. :)

Many locals previously complained bitterly about the noise created by the vuvuzelas, but now that the World Cup has arrived it seems like the complaints have died down and vuvuzela sales have gone up... drastically! Most of my colleagues at work arrived proudly wearing Bafana Bafana tshirts and/or South African flags, with many carrying their newly-bought vuvuzelas. The atmosphere in our offices was huge (almost like this vuvuzela ;) )!

In my next post I'll let you know how the opening ceremony and the game between Bafana Bafana and Mexico went; as well as our experience at the first match (France vs. Uruguay) in the Cape Town Stadium.

Visiting Cape Point – more fun than I remember

Cape Point
We hadn't been to Cape Point in years (can you believe!?) so we were really excited to have an excuse to visit. Even though the day was cold with rain, the breakfast in the warm Two Oceans Restaurant, this astonishingly beautiful view from the restaurant, and the breathtaking views from the top funicular station made it worth waking up early to drive the 100km from our northern suburbs home to Cape Point (map).

While ascending in the Flying Dutchman we had views of what must be one of the most beautiful beaches; Dias Beach. Apparently the hike (yes hike) down to the beach is long and steep, but oh wow - can you imaging spending a few hours down there!?

The visit to the point made me realise that I really need to spend more time taking short walks and hikes in the area. Perhaps a fun idea would be to hire a place in Scarborough, Simons Town, or one of the other places close by so that we can spend time exploring the area properly.

Entrance fees are currently R75 per adult, but if you have a South African ID book then I suggest that you rather purchase a Wild Card - it'll work out far cheaper and gives you access to more parks.

Cape Point and The Flying Dutchman

Tracks of The Flying Dutchman funicular
We went on an expedition to find the elusive Flying Dutchman funicular at Cape Point and spent hour after hour painstakingly tracking it's spoor while trying to remember to apply what we'd learned in Kruger National Park about tracking beasts in the wild...

Silliness aside, Cape Town Partnership invited us to the relaunch of the funicular at Cape Point. The original funicular ran for year after year until eventually it was decided that money needed to be spent on ensuring a comfortable and safe ride for our visitors - I mean, we'd hate to send any of you shooting out over the edge of the cliff face like a clown would from a circus cannon! :D

Anyway, silliness aside again, The Flying Dutchman was the name of a Dutch sailing vessel that attempted to round Cape Point during a fierce storm in 1641. Several versions of the truth exist, but a popular one is that Captain Van Der Decken's crew begged him to wait until the storm had calmed but he swore that God would not even stop him and that he would round Cape Point even if it took him until Doomsday to do so. Apparently he defied an angel that appeared on board and with that his fate was sealed and he was sentenced by God to sail the waters of Cape Point until Doomsday - or so the story goes at least. :)

The funicular at Cape Point was named after Captain Van Der Decken's ship because since that day every once in a while on a stormy night someone reports seeing The Flying Dutchman and maddened Captain sailing the waters.

Breakfast at the Foodbarn Deli

Foodbarn DeliUpon the recommendation of a friend, we had breakfast at the Foodbarn Deli at Noordhoek Farm Village on Saturday. From now on I shall take very seriously any recommendation made by said friend. What a fabulous spot!

Not only was the food excellent (it's only the second place Paul and I have found in the Cape that can actually make a proper poached egg), but the atmosphere was great as well. It seems to be THE spot to be on a Saturday morning in Noordhoek - we had to wait for a few minutes to get a table, and throughout the morning people just kept on streaming in. The decor is very pretty, and of course I was totally enchanted by the wall of books you can see in this photo.

Noordhoek Farm Village is quite a long drive from where we live (59km, as mentioned in our previous post), but I think it may just be worth getting up early once in a while and driving through for a Saturday morning breakfast. Perhaps we'll see you there. :)

A weekend break in Noordhoek

Horizon Holiday Cottages

It's not often that we go away for a weekend, so when we have the opportunity to escape for not one, but two consecutive weekends, we grab it with both hands. :) Some time ago, we were invited to spend a weekend at Horizon Holiday Cottages in Noordhoek, and we were finally able to take up the offer this past weekend.

Noordhoek is just 59km from our house, so it's close enough for a quick weekend getaway, and yet far enough to feel like a real holiday. The village is not too far from Cape Point, and just over the mountain from Fishhoek. It has a wonderful countryside feel about it, with lots of big farm dogs and plenty of horses about - I think Noordhoek could well be considered the horse-riding capital of the Western Cape.

We spent the weekend pottering about at Noordhoek Farm Village (lots of craft shops and a few really good restaurants) and Imhoff Farm (more craft shops, a cheese shop, a deli, and live music on the lawns), and enjoying the spectacular view from the balcony of our cabana.

The bottom of the wooden house you see in the photo was ours for the weekend. While you can't expect a luxury apartment for R550/unit per night, the self-catering cabana we stayed in was modern, neat, clean, comfortable and had everything that we needed. I'm seriously considering getting a few friends together and renting one of the larger family cottages (lower down on the property) for a long weekend. Who's in? :)

By the way, Horizon Holiday Cottages are running a World Cup special - 50% off for stays of longer than 4 days, until 18 July. So if you need a break from the crazy party that's going to be happening in the city over the next five weeks, this might be an option.

Ke nako – It’s time

Cars and flags

"Ke nako" is a Sotho phrase that forms part of the official 2010 Football World Cup slogan, "Ke Nako. Celebrate Africa's Humanity.".

Basically, the phrase means "it's time", and refers to the fact that it's time for Africa to be in the world's spotlight. It's time for Africa to host the Word Cup of a sport that's hugely important to millions of Africans. It's time for Africa to welcome the world to her shores. And it's time for the world to recognise that Africa can be the capable host of a world-class event.

Over the past few weeks, and increasingly over the past few days, we've seen people wearing our team's colours and cars driving with flags flying on their bonnets or roofs. We even have flags covering our cars' side mirrors! It seems like in the last week the vibe has escalated and our sleepy city has woken up and realised that it's time. Ke nako!

Public Transport on World Cup match days

Flags in the Ticketing Office
We're going to be at the first World Cup football match played in Cape Town on Friday 11 June. It's going to be awesome! :)

Given that we live about 25km outside of Cape Town, in the Northern Suburbs, we have one of two options to get to the stadium. We could drive as far as we are able to (considering that there will be loads of road closures), or we could take the train into Cape Town and then either walk the 2.6km to the stadium or catch a bus.

To be sure that we don't miss out on the vibe of the day we're very keen on taking the train into Cape Town. According to the site we won't have to worry about buying rail or bus tickets as we're able to use our match tickets to get a free ride leading to and from the stadium. Yay!

See the government site's transport page for for maps and detailed information relating to transport on match days. And, if you intend taking a car into the city be sure to familiarise yourself with the road closures - it'll save you plenty of time and frustration.

Cape Town’s Football World Cup Ticket Office

Ticket Office
If you haven't picked up your tickets for the World Cup football matches in Cape Town, then best head on over to the FIFA ticket sales and collections office as soon as possible. We visited to collect our tickets for three of the matches. It was really a piece of cake - everyone was in a festive mood, the officials were friendly and we were in and out in a flash.

Check the ticketing page on FIFA's website if you're not sure where to find the office. If you prefer a map, I've marked it on this Google Maps map. :)

A tasty piece of bloudraad

A big brown horse

Apparently the grass on Muppet's side of the fence wasn't quite tasty enough and lacked in iron so he started sucking on this bloudraad fence to get that great iron taste in the back of his mouth.

Bloudraad, in case you don't know, literally translated from Afrikaans means blue wire and, as you may guess, got its name because of its blue hue. Afrikaaners have a saying "'n boer maak 'n plan" which basically means that boers (farmers) are extremely resourceful and - much like McGyver - are able to solve problems on their farm (normally with little more than a piece of bloudraad and a pair of pliers).

I'm not exactly sure how the phrase originated, but if you spend time on a South African farm and take careful note you'll see many weird and wonderful ways in which farmers solve interesting problems with the most basic of resources... 'n boer maak 'n plan! :)

I took this photo of Muppet (not his real name) somewhere out the back of Durbanville.

Time to clean up!

Car wash open

For the last few weeks construction work in the city has been going on like there's no tomorrow, and now with the start of the football world cup being only days away it's like the entire city has suddenly switched over from building-mode to cleaning-mode, making itself ready for our international guests to arrive.

We've seen huge road-cleaning machines sweeping gutters, workmen sweeping down pavements (side-walks), and structures getting a fresh coat of paint. Banners are going up, flags are flying, and excitement is brewing. Get ready South Africa, get ready Cape Town, our guests are about to arrive!

All the better to hear you with…


The day that was set aside for our trip into the Kruger National Park was unusually cold, windy, and overcast. The region usually has clear, sunny and warm days around this time of the year - but Kerry-Anne mistakenly packed a Cape Town winter's day into her suitcase. No wonder it was so heavy! :D

Apart from the fact that it was a little cooler than expected, we had a fun day being driven around the park. Our eagle-eyed guide, Bongani from Viva Safaris, pointed out birds, zebra, elephant, giraffe, lions, buffalo, wildebeest, crocodile, waterbuck, kudu, rhino, and a few other animals - most of which we would never have spotted amongst the bushes had we driven ourselves! Bongani spent the entire day driving, spotting, and telling us stories about almost every animal that we stopped to take a look at, making the outing not only an awe-inspiring experience, but an informative learning experience as well.

Besides for the kudu that I've used for today's photo I took plenty of photos over the course of the day. I selected a few of these to place into an album for you to view, so click here if you'd like to get a glimpse of what we saw in Kruger Park.

This post concludes our little holiday to the north of our country and the Kruger National Park. My next post will return to Cape Town Daily Photo's regular photos and stories about life in Cape Town, our country's Mother City. :)