Western Cape Part 2. January - March 2013 - Cape Peninsula and the West Coast.

Once the school summer holidays were over we spent some time around Cape Town and 5 days on the West Coast near Paternoster.

Driving south on the N7 we got this great view of Table Mountain.

1. Simon's Town is the home of the South African Navy and has been an important naval base since the early 1800s.

A view of the harbour from the steps of The Residency, one of the oldest buildings in Simon's Town, which now houses a museum.

The Residency, now a museum (free entry).

There are several rooms with a variety of exhibits.

One of the jail cells where prisoners would be kept whileawaiting trial.

There's also a naval museum in Simon's Town (free entry) with lots of information and exhibits.

Naval guns outside the museum.

One of the rooms inside the museum.


2. Fish Hoek is small town on False Bay. The sea is calmer and not as cold as on the Western side of the Cape Peninsula.

The sheltered bay is popular with swimmers, canoeists and surfers.

When we first saw this surfer from a distance we couldn't make out what it was.. As we got closer we realised that it was a radio controlled surfer!

Kevin had a chat with the guy who made and was controlling the surfer.

Driving through Simon's Town we heard a grinding noise from the bakkie and on stopping discovered that one of the springs had broken. We were lucky that a guy, Steve, stopped to help. He arranged for a low loader to take the bakkie to a garage in Fish Hoek and very kindly towed our caravan to a nearby resort where we spent the night and then the next day he took us and the caravan to the campsite in Fish Hoek.

We spent 5 days there as the garage had to arrange for some parts to be delivered from Jo'burg but fortunately the campsite in Fish Hoek is next to the beach and within walking distance of the town.

 

Steve and Sandy came to say goodbye after we got the bakkie back from the garage.

3. Melkbosstrand is on the Atlantic coast to the north of Cape Town.

An evening stroll along the beach with Table Mountain just visible in the mist.

Sunset over the Atlantic Ocean.


4. Tietiesbaai is a lovely small bay near Paternoster on the Atlantic West Coast. We arrived on a Thursday to a nearly empty campsite and a beautiful day with, unusually, no wind. By Friday evening the campsite was full, there must have been at least 50 groups there!



Over the weekend the wind increased and so did the waves. It still remained fairly calm in the sheltered bay but the waves were constantly crashing on the rocky headlands.

We picked a fairly sheltered location away from the main bay and were glad we'd done so when the crowds started to arrive on Friday. There's no electricity at Tietiesbaai so we were able to give our solar panel a good try-out. It kept our fridges going even when it was cloudy.

Between Paternoster and Tietiesbaai is the Cape Columbine Lighthouse which is open to the public for a small fee. You can climb up the narrow ladders to a viewing deck just below the light which gives good views over the surrounding area.

During the calmer weather the rock pools were crystal clear.

There were often black oystercatchers on the rocks near the campsite.

I spent a couple of afternoons trying to get photos of terns diving for fish but I never quite managed to get one as it just entered the sea.

 

1. Cederberg.

2. Cape Winelands.

3. Cape Peninsula and West Coast.

4. Wilderness & Knysna, Garden Route.

 

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As I was driving around the Reserve I saw this Cape Eagle-Owl sitting in a bush near the track. I sat an watched it for half an hour, gradually driving a little closer for a better view.