Saturday, 9 November 2013

Cape of Good Hope & animals galore!

It was an action packed day and made a good dent in my animal list :D

I spent the day on a day trip down and around the Pennisula including Cape Point and Cape of Good Hope. Both of which are one of or is the most Southern point of Africa. One big misconception is that is where the 2 oceans - Atlantic and Indian meet. Not the case that happens further east. But the water does get quite a bit warmer due to two different currents meeting. The Atlantic ocean has a temperature of 18C and can drop to 7-9C. Needless to say no one actually goes to the beach to swim.

Cape of Good Hope is known for its ship wreaks which the original lighthouse didn't really help with. Turns out that where it was placed it was covered by fog a fair bit of the time. Oops! lol They have a new one up in a better spot now. The Cape is also the legendary home to "The Flying Dutchman".

Me at Cape of Good Hope
Baboon and young one at Cape Point

The baboons are a fairly common sight around the Cape. These 2 actually came up from way down the cliff and I had actually been in the process of switching lenses on the camera to get a better picture when they started to make their way all the way up to the light house. Then up on to the stone wall, around the lighthouse and down the pathway. At one point, I was probably only an arms length away from them. And nice thing is most people seemed to have gotten the "baboon warning" and actually gave them space and didn't try and touch them. See warning sign below.

Baboon Warning sign

Cape of Good Hope viewed from Cape Point
Leaving Cape Point, we added to the animal list with a rare and gladly seen from the vehicle a COBRA! I do have photographic proof, just a pretty bad one with me leaning over driver to get it as it slithers off the road. Zain (driver) said it was a young one but it was still 4 feet or so!

Also not quite as exciting but a family of ostriches plus 5 babies crossed the road in front of us. Also a few hundred cormorants and turns.

We did a quick stop to go and visit the very cute African Penguins who arrived in the 1980s ( only 2 pairs) and promptly took over the Boulder Beach. They have since grown the colony to over 3000 birds. And they are the only colony that lives on main land. They are about 2 feet high and well super cute. They seem pretty use to people since most of them were hanging out either under the boardwalk or very close to it. The first few minutes I was there I was searching for them until I happened to look down and there was about 5 of them. There were a few young ones who were looking a bit sad with half their fluffy feathers and half lovely smooth ones in. Not a pretty look!

African Penguins - Boulder Beach Colony

African Penguins

I do love my owls and these guys were one of my highlights for the day. We had an hour to wander around the Kirstenbosh National Botanic Garden. We found 2 young owls hanging out in one of the flower beds. Watched them for a few minutes then continued on where we happened to find a sign talking about Spotted Eagle Owls. They have had a pair return every year for the last few years to nest in pretty much the same spot. They seem to like having people around to help keep predators away. They really didn't seem to mind us getting fairly close to the young ones in broad daylight. It was only when we turned around that we saw the adult sitting in tree observing us and the young ones.

The garden them selves was gorgeous and probably less kept up or more wild then other botanic gardens I have been to. And there are a fair few different hikes that start from the gardens and go up into the Table Mountains.

Super cute baby Spotted Eagle Owl - 1 of 2 babies

Adult Spotted Eagle Owl

Botanic Gardens

Hout Bay was the first stop of the day and a lovely little fishing harbour with lots of seals. And the start of a scenic drive. The government closed the road and spent 4 years fixing it up and putting up fencing to prevent rock slides and overall update the road. Very pretty views of the harbour. 

Hout Bay

Hout Bay
A few random animals fact: Great white shark attacks didn't start happening until 2006. They now have a shark watcher system in place that involves different colour flags. 

The Constantia area is one of the best wine making areas and produced the first wine back in the 1600s! Lovely area but was slightly off putting driving past houses with a decent height fence with 10 strands of electric wires on top. :S Not sure if crime rate is actually that high or not. Have seen this around Cape Town as well. Though saying that we did drive past a 5 star hotel and golf course that is across the street from a max security prison where Nelson Mandela stayed for 2-3 years.

This tour was brought to you by African Eagle day trips. Highly recommend them! 

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