Tag Archive: Capetown

The early fog had lifted and the sun’s rays streamed through like the curtains falling between acts of a play. We pulled ourselves out of the duvet folds to prep for whale cruising. From the Hyatt Regency Oubaii Hotel in George, we rode the coach giddy with excitement for our first-ever Ocean Safari Premium Cruise.






The sun played hide and seek behind wooly grey clouds. The seas not as calm as we would have wanted for our close encounters with the whales. We proceeded to some craft shopping at Knysna Quays to while away the time, still hoping we can do our whaling adventure. As it turned out, we weren’t in luck. Sad. Very sad. Of course, it’s best safe than sorry but still…..  a major, major letdown. Now there’s good excuse for a next visit. Hmmmm.







And so, it was the Bird Sanctuary instead for this otherwise exciting day. I’m no bird enthusiast. I would have uncomplainingly gone back to the hotel instead and reminisced over our trip to Boulders Beach back in Capetown where we met the penguins up close.







Or perhaps gone back to this rocky place with fantastic ocean views. Truly, South Africa is blessed with so many natural wonders that leave one with this gnawing feeling that this trip just can’t be your last. I only pray that next visit, the weather condition would be perfect for that much-coveted whale adventure.  






So yes, there is always that next visit.  With that prayer came this plea that we won’t be deprived of more adventures when we do the safari drives. Did we get lucky? You bet Lady Luck shone on us. We may have missed the whales, but the safari drives made up for it!  Woo hoo!



The most famous tag line is “this is the southwestern most tip of Africa”. But I remember more the trivia that this is also where the Atlantic Ocean meets the Indian Ocean. From Cape Point, one can do a 1 1/2 hour nature trek towards the Cape of Good Hope Nature Reserve.




Cape of Good Hope


Fish-Eye Image of the Cape where Atlantic Ocean meets Indian Ocean!



I felt like an impressionable teenager when we reached the place. Errr, no. More like “as we drove along Chapman’s Peak“. The bus window was like a slide show of oceans, mountains, and gardens. If you’re lucky, you’d even spot a humpback whale etched on the glassy surface of the Atlantic Ocean as it blows and gushes water up. Aaaaaahhh. And that’s when I heave one deep sigh.




Made in Heaven!


God was busy with his creations here in Capetown!



Brace yourself for more sighs as you view a chaotic mass of wild African plants dotting the landscape. Nature has truly blessed this corner of the world with the rare combination of sea and mountain sceneries and allowed God’s glorious creatures to roam around this Eden. Makes one think. Did Noah’s Ark land here with all those paired animals? (A friend says NO. It landed in Mt. Ararat)




I can live here!


Ostriches completely oblivious to camwhore tourists!



When we reached the Cape of Good Hope, there were some ostriches grazing on the patchy land oblivious to the human intruders. They sure looked like they’re used to tourists all eager for a snapshot behind the signage proclaiming this area as the “southwestern most part of Africa” complete with the relevant latitudes to support that claim. They must have found the human creatures, myself included, really funny. 😄☺😉



Check out those latitudes!


Heave a big sigh for this beauty!



When I scaled the steps towards the Lighthouse in Cape Point, I saw similar latitudinal signs marking Cape Point in relation to Jerusalem, Sydney, New York, etc. The view from here is incredibly breathtaking. (Another sigh…..)



I am just a plain tourist here. No adventurous breaks like cage diving with those sharks, nor the extremely interesting hobby sport of bird watching. But I am so happy with this lucky break. Spotted this raven as I was climbing up to the Lighthouse. It flew just when I got my cam ready for a shot. Voila! Happiness.




There’s the RAVEN sitting contentedly as I scaled the steps.


Did I scare you away?

The weather forecast says rainy Sunday. Just what we need to dash any hopes of a cable car ride to the Table Mountain. But not enough to cancel the boat ride to Seal Island in Hout Bay. Inevitably, my mind goes autopilot to remember those stinky, hysterical seals in San Francisco’s Fisherman’s Wharf. This time around, we sail from the pier in Simon’s Town, brave the swells of the not too calm waters of Hout Bay, up to this island where seals are pleasantly quiet, either swimming not too far from that tiny patch of land stones clustered to form an island, or simply basking in what’s left of the sun on this cloudy day.




The Seals of Hout Bay



It took some effort to remain calm. At one point, I was up front when I felt “lifted” as the boat passed a swell, momentarily up in air, before bouncing back to let hull meet water. Thank God that was just ONE moment. As the boat rocked, I anxiously and gingerly walked back to join my group. I never ever imagined myself as a sailor but I managed to hold my breakfast during the entire ride.




Rough. Bumpy. Wavy.





While I thoroughly enjoyed the inflight movie “Dark Tide”, I wish I saw it AFTER this Hout Bay episode. By itself, the boat ride – swells and all – was fine. It’s just that the movie reminded me that these are shark-infested waters and I worried for a while if those great white sharks may prefer me in my “tourist’s outfit du jour” over their typical meal of seals. Yes, you may call me paranoid. But try watching that movie! (Movie is about shark encounters and I don’t mean whale sharks. It’s the real thing, baby. Give the great white sharks some respect, honey.)





Before heading for Sunday Mass, we stopped over at Green Point Stadium of football fame. You know, that white porcelain bowl sitting on reclaimed area.







In South Africa, Green Point touches a sensitive chord. Its history embraces many childhood memories for many South Africans. Home to an 18,000-seat stadium dating from the 1940s, it hosted many football matches and concerts of great artists the likes of the late Michael Jackson and Whitney Houston. It was also the modest venue for the Concert for the benefit of AIDS victims in 2003.






To pave way for a colossal stadium hosting the World Football Cup (FIFA) 2012, this historic building was (regretfully?) demolished in 2007. History erased.






Now 15 storeys high. Spanning 6 city blocks. Seating all of 68,000 eager spectators. Retractable glass roof to allow more natural light. 530 toilets, 16 lifts and a jail (Yes, Virginia, a jail!) 250 VIP lounges. 59 gates. 115 entry turnstiles. 530 lavatories . And four TV studios. The edifice rises like a porcelain bowl somewhere in this posh “white” neighborhood. Very impressive, indeed. And for sure, this stunning white apparition looking like a UFO cost the South African and city government a whole bunch.







Was it worth the US $330 million spent on it? Well, one thing’s for sure. Football is BIG here in South Africa.

It was an uneventful flight into South Africa. Via Emirates, we took our connecting flight to Capetown out of Dubai. The flight was fully booked from Manila to Dubai, and there was hardly an airport seat without a sleeping passenger waiting for a flight. Airport shopping presents an alternative but in my sleepless condition, it offers no pleasure. Dubai Airport makes one feel like you’ve never left Manila as many sales people hail from dear Philippines.


It would be another grueling 9 hour flight into Africa. Literally pushed myself out of my aisle seat and shouldered my bag walking out of the plane. Overcast skies did not dampen my excitement as we exited the airport in Capetown. Table Mountain greeted us upon arrival. I felt like Alice stepping into the looking glass. Though overwhelmed by its beauty, everything felt incredibly safe and familiar. Must be in my dreams. After all, this has been in my bucket list since I watched “Out of Africa” back in 1986.

As our bus weaved along the coast, the glassy surface of the Atlantic Ocean presented an amazing seascape in all its hues of blue. For the next 2 nights, we would enjoy this seascape from where we were booked for the next 2 nights. Twelve Apostles Hotel and Spa is one very charming hotel. Twelve Apostles Mountain Range behind you, and the Atlantic beckons from the hotel entrance. The sun has set and it’s twilight time here in Capetown as we checked in. Lovely from every angle.


This landmark hotel combines nature with luxury.  All the trappings of modern amenities and comfort without losing its colonial charm.  It would have been perfect to check out the state-of-the-art therapy or treatment rooms. The ultimate luxury! But I was so zonked out after that day-long flight it would be wasteful to sleep through a good massage.  

The mood here in Twelve Apostles Hotel and Spa is definitely very exclusive and relaxed.  The jaw-dropping panorama of oceans, blue skies and mountains makes it a nearly sacred place. And such polished elegance!  If you ask me, I felt like I was in some film set. Expect Brad Pitt or Richard Gere to step in through the glass-paneled door to the balcony!  No, make that pre-botox Robert Redford of “Out of Africa” fame. 

I could have said they could starve me here so long as I get this daily dose of earth, sky and ocean.  Bloated from all that airline food while our legs cramped from lack of mobility, I failed to do justice to the buffet spread of kudu pies and biltongs, vegetable bredie, grilled lamb, boerewors (that very South African sausage), koeksisters which resemble our local “pilipit”, salads and coal-roasted sweet potatoes. There were more, but I was just not into it tonight. A pity, but this sleep-deprived zombie was no foodie tonight. Rather, I hurried back to my hotel room dreaming of a bath and drying my hair just enough before diving into the folds and softness of the duvet. Aaaahhhh….. Dreamland. Ssssshhhhh. Night Night