Saturday, April 26, 2014

Cape Town


Okay, so it's not a #throwbackthursday, but over spring break I managed to convert some photos of old trips the easiest way possible - by taking pictures of the prints with a digital camera. Apologies for the quality and let's start in 1998, when I went to South Africa with my church youth group.

Kirstenbosch Botanical Garden 

 

 Originally, the plan was to go up Table Mountain the morning we landed in Cape Town. But the weather was drizzly, so instead, our group headed over to the botanical gardens. Given the weather and the fact it was winter, the colors were a bit muted, but we did run across some gorgeous birds of paradise. As far as actual birds go, we also spotted several guinea fowl. I made a point to see the baobab tree in the glassed-in conservatory, where I also used foreign currency for the very first time - and was surprised to only get back coins after making a small purchase with a bill. (South Africa's money is gorgeous.)

Table Mountain 



The following morning was clear, so we made our way up the mountain to the spot where the (new at the time) cable cars take you to the top. Once up there, the view ruined me for pretty much any other mountain experience ever. The views of the city, ocean, and surrounding peaks were stunning. 

 

We were also delighted to discover the top of the mountain is inhabited by fuzzy little creatures called dassies (or rock rabbits, or hyraxes). Despite their rodent-like appearance, their closest living relatives are elephants and manatees. The fog rolled in as we were getting ready to leave, a good reminder of how much we'd lucked out with the weather.

 

Cape Point

 

On a free afternoon, we headed out to Cape Point. It's often billed as the spot where the Atlantic and Indian Oceans meet, though in reality, the two currents shift between this spot and Cape Argulhas (the true southern-most point in Africa). However, Cape Point is incredibly scenic, with a great view of the Cape of Good Hope from its lighthouse.


As a bonus, we spotted our first monkeys on the drive down the peninsula - baboons just chilling in the middle of the road. We spotted several signs warning tourists not to feed them.

Top of the Ritz

 

We stayed at the Ritz. Even in 1998, the name was a bit incongruous with the quality of the hotel, but for a bunch of teenagers, it was fine. The views from the rooms were great and even better, the hotel featured a revolving restaurant on top. I tried ostrich the night we ate there - it was good!

I loved the one clump of trees that looked like a lion. Can you spot them?

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