Lower Sabie Rest Camp
Kruger National Park
Kruger National Park
Today's plan was the most exciting for Linda. One of the highlights would be going to the penguin colony in Simon's Town southeast of Cape Town.
We were driving along the Indian Ocean shoreline, when someone shouted out "Whale!"
Sure enough, just offshore was a mother Southern Right Whale with a calf.
She was moving very slowly, just sort of lolling in the gentle waves. The calf stayed close on her outside, so it was really tough to see it.
We watched for several minutes as that was an unexpected treat this morning.
We continued on our drive when Linda spotted something in the water. Her first thought was sharks feeding. Jackie said porpoises. It took us awhile to get stopped and pulled over, but six of us piled out of the van and briskly walked back to the action.
Through our binoculars, we could see that it was Cape Fur Seals (actually, sea lions rather than true seals) surfacing with fish and then whipping them in the air in order to rip away some flesh. The gulls were picking up pieces of fish as they scattered. With the zoom lens, I was able to get this shot of a sea lion sending a fish flying.
Another great wildlife experience!
Before we got too much farther, Tony insisted that we stop at Dixie's Restaurant & Bar ....
where we sat on the porch overlooking the ocean and enjoyed some Dom Pedros (ice cream & Kahlua drinks).
Soon, we were on our way again.
Next stop: Boulders Beach, Simon's Town - Home of a small African Penguin colony. A pair of "Jackass" Penguins (named that because of their donkey-like braying) settled on this beach in 1983. Through breeding and immigration the colony has grown rapidly. Not too long ago, their name was officially changed to African Penguins, and they are the only species of penguin to reside on the African continent (there are larger colonies but none quite so easy to get to as the Boulders Beach colony). In 2010, they were designated as an "endangered" species.
Boulders Beach is a small section of Table Mountain National Park that is separate and in the midst of a residential area in Simon's Town.
It used to be that you could walk right on the beach and even swim with the penguins if you were willing to brave the cold water. But now there is an elevated boardwalk and you can't "be" with the penguins, which was disappointing to Linda.
However, you can still get pretty close to the penguins. Here is Linda and Carolyn with a couple of the little birds in the background.
Linda is reading a book about these penguins, how they came to be here, and the conservation efforts to protect them. She has become quite knowledgeable about them, and she was sharing tidbits with the rest of us.
There were penguins scattered around. Some were seeking shade in the bushes and under the boardwalks while others were taking in the warmth of the sun on the rocks.
We have lots of penguin photos. Mostly, they were sleeping and sun-worshiping.
Eventually, they started to move around a bit. This pair wandered down to the water where they got drinks and swam for a few minutes. They don't move very fast, but they are much more fun to watch when they are doing something other than standing or sleeping.
It was a gorgeous setting for these "city" penguins.
As we walked back up the boardwalk, we saw the numerous nesting dens created for these special birds.
Well, the others left the beach long before, Linda, Carolyn, and myself. As they departed, they informed me "It's your job to get your wife."
She could have stayed there all day watching the subtle interactions and amusing antics. Alas, we had to move on.
On the way out, I got a shot of this beautifully colored chameleon.
Once we had finished at Boulders Beach, we headed back northwest, crossed over the mountains and got on the Chapman's Peak Drive along the coast of the Atlantic Ocean.
We were able to pull off at a couple of turnouts to get photos of the magnificent coastal scenery.
Farther up the road we pulled off at another lookout for a view of Hout Bay.
Chapman's Peak Drive is considered one of the most scenic drives in the world, and we certainly couldn't argue with that. Wow!
Eventually we descended down into the town of Hout Bay. We made one more stop to see the bronze leopard statue that represents the wildlife that once roamed this peninsula.
Continuing around the bay to the harbor, Jackie & Tony selected Mariner's Wharf for a late lunch.
It was a bit too windy and cool to sit outside on the deck, so we settled into a spot in the back of the dark restaurant with windows looking out over the harbor.
Here's a view of the town from the restaurant. The setting is beautiful.
While we waited for our meals, we watched sea lions patrol for scraps from the fishing boats which made for a colorful photo.
While several of us had Kingclip filets with their famous frothy butter sauce, Linda had the Ocean Fiesta - a fresh fish filet basted with honey and wholegrain mustard over a bed of sauteed potatoes. My mouth waters just looking at the photo.
It was another fabulous meal. And we topped it off with a delicious, warm brandy tart with ice cream. It was sort of a cross between bread pudding and a cake-like dessert. Wow ... again.
After lunch, a few of us wandered outside to see if we could get some close-ups of the sea lions. I got one acceptable shot.
Next, we all piled back in the van for the trip along the affluent side of the coast and back through Cape Town to our B & B north of the city.
What a day! Hope you enjoyed the journey.