Day 8 – July 21
(CHRIS) CAPETOWN AWAITS! Luckily it waited ‘til we struggled to get up and get going out by about 9:30am. Our three main targets for the day were 1) The Cape Nature Reserve (containing Cape Point, etc) 2) The Castle, 3) Table Mtn.
After getting petrol and rands, we entered the nature reserve seeing signs that said, “500R fine for feeding the baboons.”
NOTE: We are behind on our AfroLog entries – I write now on July 25 from the Kokerboom Forest while Paul and Sam are at Mass in Keetmanshoop. Before continuing, I would like to write a poem to the Kokerbooms while the spirit moves me and I am amongst them. I call it:
You have always stood alone
Casting your shadow on stone
Awkward arms reaching to heaven
Your branches seven times seven
Silouhetted against the moon, a sliver
You always make me quiver
From a distance, you show gold
With brightness a millennium old
And from your trunk silver shines
Inspiring me to write these lines
To the desert, a beauty giver
In your presence, I indeed quiver
To San warriors of days past
Your arms as a weapon held fast
When food they had none
You became their gun
As thirst relates to a river
Hunger relates to you, Quiver
As I sit here near Keetmanshoop
My thoughts have come full loop
I see a whole forest of you
And I hope you see me too
In life, I try to be a liver
So I came here to you to quiver.
BACK TO OUR STORY:
We drove south to the Nature Preserve and headed for Cape Point first. There was ample parking, restaurant, gift shop, etc, but we headed right up the cobblestoned path to the lighthouse. As we got higher and higher, we were able to visually see the distinction between Cape Point and The Cape of Good Hope. The view was spectacular as it was a clear and sunny day. We gazed at the tides sweeping over the plentiful rubbery seaweed. We hiked from the highpoint lighthouse down closer to the tip where a more useful lighthouse resided. The one on the high point usually got fogged it. The lower one – further on the fingertip – was the most powerful light in Africa.
We went back down and bought some simple sandwiches. Sam got cheese, apples, and Coke from the car to compliment the small meal. We sat on a ledge near the parking lot, overlooking the Cape. As I finished the 1st half of my sandwich, a baboon leapt over the wall next to me and grabbed the other half and Sam’s bag ‘o cheese and ran off. He basically was so sneaky that he had the food in hand before we ever saw him. Paul used his zoom lens to get a pic of the thief enjoying his spoils a hundred feet away. Several other tourists got the same treatment as 2 or 3 other baboons arrived. They could be scared off by acting tough, but they usually already had their goods by then. I saw one girl have a bag of chips swiped out of her hand. The baboon took the chips to the parking lot, sat down, and opened them with 2 hands, just like a human and ate them just like we do (except he had no TV to watch as he did so.)
We drove to the COGH next, just a ways up the coast and still in the park. We saw ostriches on the way. The climb on foot was not too hard and we were afforded more great cliff/ocean views from the southernmost point on the continent. (Cape Point sticks out sideways a bit.)
Next, we drove up the coast towards the actual city. It was a stunning road. Awesome cliffs against the sea. We saw a few surfers at one sandy beach – testing their skills in the icy Atlantic. Sam was starting to have desires for African trinkets as we passed roadside stands selling carved hippos, etc.
We got to the Castle of Good Hope downtown shortly before closing so they let us in free. The Castle was huge – pentagon shape with many battlements, canon, and a moat (which was undergoing renovation as was much of the castle.) It housed a museum and government offices. It was pretty neat but Sam was unimpressed because it was Dutch instead of Portuguese.
We drove thru the very pretty downtown to Table Mountain. We caught the cable car UP for 25R but insisted we would walk down even thought the cashier advised against this. The cablecar was state of the art. It was circular and the other ring of the floor rotated so you could get a look from all angles without moving. It took only 5 STEEP minutes and we were there.
It was extremely windy at the top, but the clouds and fog had held off, so we had a great view of Capetown and the port. There were a few overlooks on the mtn that looked like the pointy front of Titanic. So we did our best Leo impressions and hiked across the top of the rocky table to the other side. (From the city, it looks like a huge table-clothed table, very flat on top. – Actually, the top has big rocks and boulders that must be navigated.)
From the other side, we saw some more mountains and fast-blowing clouds and fog filtering thru the passes. Very Mistiky. It was 5pm, so we had an hour til sunset and no cable-car tickets. Three hikers who had just climbed UP pointed us the way down. While the ascent took over 4 hours, everyone said the hike down was at least 1.5 hours. We didn’t want to try and navigate these rocky crags in the dark, so we were quick and nimble. We saw interesting flora, shiny waterfalls, and Rocks, rocks, rocks on the way down. The sun had just finished it’s nightly closing act as we reached bottom at 6:05.
We drove to the pier, following Paul’s newly acquired FOOD MAP to go to a decent restaurant. We ended up at Quay Four on the waterfront. We sampled wine, cheeses, and beer of local origin while we waited for our lamb and beef entries. Delicious. At the pier mall, we got some ice cream cones and postcards and then began the journey to our Muizenberg campsite, all the way singing, “Indian woman, stay away from me. Indian woman, I’ll keep my chastity.”