No chance meeting…
In a round-about way, I connected in Cape Town with Willie and Angel from Alabama and Atlanta. During 2016, I met Anthony Madison in Southern California. We clicked on that first meeting all dressed up in navy suits and white shirts. Anthony made the ‘uniform’ look good. ‘It is possible…’, I thought. We rushed to introduce our wives. Maddy and my Lorette chatted away but it was time to return to class. On that first day, the four of us ran a short race which fast-tracked our relationship to something special. In my heart, I knew that I found a brother. It is through Anthony that I met Willie and Angel.
With my recently washed and polished Mercedes Sedan, I pulled up at the Walden House in Tamboerskloof, Cape Town. Willie emerged in white pants, bright smile and with steaming hot coffee in his left hand. Angel, her name really is Angel and she is, recognized me immediately and greeted with warmth and comfort. I wondered about the steaming hot coffee and the recent valet, but as any good tourist guide, I pretended to ignore the obvious. No spills! Happy
The conversation was easy as I did my very best to impress them with my elementary knowledge of Cape Town
I pointed to our majestic Table Mountain, Lion’s Head, and Devil’s Peak and of cause the center of Cape Town with its history dating back to 1652. Our apartheid history solicited very good questions and I sensed a keen interest and knowledge of the subject. At Muizenberg, we stepped out into the fresh morning where many nature lovers were already enjoying the calm waters and beauty of the mountain and the sea. I wrote a little more about Muizenberg here.
2: St James with its iconic colorful huts
I like to stop at St James and this time it was special. Angel is a filmmaker and she is a director on Stars that is currently running on Fox. As we emerged from a tunnel that runs under a railway track at St James, a gentleman was taking pictures of his bicycle made of wood. Immediately attracted, we struck up a good conversation and to boot, the cyclist turned out to be a filmmaker too. Willie grabbed some nice shots of the brightly colored beach huts. Elderly couples sat on the side of the tidal pool while others enjoyed the moderate water temperature of the tidal pool. As always, St James beach says, ‘stay longer, take a swim, enjoy the sun’, but we had to move on to our next must-do.
3: Boulders Beach
I must say, that even though I have been at Boulders Beach many times, this experience was the best. This time there were more Jackass penguins than tourists. A peaceful calm was displayed on the beach as penguins groomed each other and showed tender loving care in some way or other. In a real way, these penguins are a life lesson to the observer. They mate for life and show a lot of affection. I noticed a how one covered the other with its tiny wing. After a period of diving for food, partners are known to longingly stare at the ocean in hope for the return of their mate. Words similar to adorable, sweet, cute and oh wow could be heard from the doting multi-national tourists.
I stayed longer than usual to deeply etch a memory of an endangered species that deserve to be saved.
The R75 (US$6) adult entry fee at Boulders Beach, hardly justify the value.
Affected by penguin love on the rocks, Willie bought a stuffed jackass Penguin at the curios shop for his Angel…. cute… right?
More danger for the already endangered African Penguin.
4: The Cape of Good Hope
Entry into the Table Mountain National Park at Cape Point provides access to The Cape of Good Hope too. It is my custom to come to the Cape of Good Hope before going to Cape Point where the infamous lighthouse perches on the edge of Africa. A tour agency cleverly prepared a welcome cocktail for their multi-bus tour party. Right in the open, tables were laid in the ‘desert’ with black décor and colorful seats. Even though directed to the cocktail tables, their guests rushed to take that ‘been there, done that’ photo. At this site, no other scene gets as much attention as this board with the words, ‘THE CAPE OF GOOD HOPE: MOST SOUTH-WESTERN POINT OF THE AFRICAN CONTINENT’. Bartolomeu Dias originally named this point the Cape of Storms in the 15th century but King John II of Portugal changed the name to the present Cape of Good Hope… good decision.
Willie and Angel gave their best smiles in honor of tourism protocol and quickly rushed up the hill to the magnificent view from the top. I was content to stay behind with my zoom lens.
5: Cape Point & Lighthouse
I was relieved to find parking since Cape Point is one of the most visited sites in South Africa. According to the Cape Point website, more than One Million visitors entered the park in 2016.
To ride the Flying Dutchman Funicular to the lighthouse was obvious for Willie but the more energetic Angel had to be convinced. She wanted the exercise. For R55 (US$5) one way, it’s a deal! To ride up and down it is a mere R70 (US$5.80). The views from the top were breath-taking. This is when you wish you had extra camera batteries and memory. My guests were prepared and so were I. Describing the view is futile in my opinion. Photos can hardly justify what the brain sees, but pixels do capture memories. When traveling, I prefer to capture feelings. There is a unique feeling to be right on the edge of Africa. To look out towards both the Atlantic and Indian oceans from one spot. To look down from sheer cliffs as high as 200meters (655Ft) and to see foaming waves that caused early seafarers agony and even loss of life, leaves one in momentary nostalgia. Willie and Angel stood watching the scenes in silence, for they too, were captured by this must-see, must-feel moment.
Back down in the parking area…No baboons! I felt sad since they always give such a show, especially when hungry. Once I saw them grabbing a jar of smooth peanut butter from a vehicle and enjoying it on a rock with a bright blue, calm ocean in view.
However, on our way out, wild ostriches met us as well as a few baboons. The latter came rather close but they were well behaved. Willie had fun and even opened the passenger side window for that selfie. Willie, you better send a copy so my readers can see that pic!
6: Fish & Chips at Hout Bay
When in Cape Town, eat Snoek and Chips. Eat where the locals eat and make sure that the cooks are local too. I ordered Grilled Snoek and Chips for about ($6) with a relaxing view of a small beach, fishing boats and tourists enjoying the bright sunshine. At Hout Bay one can view seals at seal island. It is worth the few dollars and the 2 hours.
7: Wine Tasting at Groot Constantia
I should actually take my clients to do wine-tasting first thing in the morning… perhaps not… the whole day might be a great big party. Groot Constantia Wine Estate was founded in 1685 and was first owned by Simon van der Stel. It is the oldest wine producing farm in South Africa. The full tour included the museum, cellar and tasting 5 different red and white wine varieties for R95 (US$ 8). One could skip the tour and go for the wine tasting only at R80 (US$ 6.60). The farm is open from 9am to 5:30pm. No alcohol for me… I am a guide/driver, but friendly tourists felt sorry for me. A lady from Scotland said, ‘what a shame, but that’s the right thing to do, here smell this Pinotage!’ Willie and Angel got into a deep, noisy,
happy, flowing conversation with a lady from Johannesburg. I noticed an exchange of contacts and a beginning of a friendship. Wine disarms! On our way back to Walden house, the conversation was lively, funny and energetic.
Tourists or new friends?
I dropped Willie and Angel at their hotel. We hugged and promised to maintain contact. I felt a connection. I made new friends.