Cape Town mapHappy New Year!

Did you have a lovely break?  We managed to completely switch off for a while, spending the Christmas period itself with a flurry of family and friends; playing games, eating too much, watching movies and generally just being rather than doing – it was so lovely.  And then – then! – we flew to South Africa for a magical few days of sunshine, wildlife, beaches and mountains; here’s a few pics if you’d like to see…

We spent our honeymoon in South Africa ten years ago and promptly fell in love with it; the people, the nature, the climate – everything.  Our highlight was an amazing safari within the Kruger park.  We couldn’t replicate that experience time as we only had a few days and Harry is still a bit young, so we took a day safari to the wonderful Aquila Reserve a couple of hours outside of Cape Town.  We saw so many animals, like these young male bull elephants having a playfight in the mud..

elephants playing..and giraffes, which strode by majestically, oblivious to our truck (unlike the springbok, described by our guide as ‘the fast food of the African landscape, because everything eats them and they can run at 65 kilometres per hour’.  Made me smile).

giraffesprinbokWe saw hippos and white rhino, including this one who eyed us appraisingly from afar. ‘We keep white rhino here because they give you three warning signs before they charge at you’ said our cheery ranger. ‘Black rhino can’t count to three, they just charge’.

white rhinoAfter that, we ventured into the winelands of Stellenbosch and Franschoek, and to an al fresco picnic at the Boschendal winery.  Several people had told us this was a must-do experience and it was a real highlight of the trip;  we unpacked the picnic crate in awe, as we spread out on giant beanbags in the shade of ancient trees dotting the huge Pavilion lawns;

Boschendal1Boschendal picnic ..and then travelled along to the Spier wine farm for some tutored tasting in local wine – with CHOCOLATE! – a pairing that perhaps shouldn’t have worked but really, really did…

wine tasting spierPossibly my favourite part, though, was a visit to the famous Boulders Beach penguin colony.  You can visit the penguins between dawn and dusk, and either venture onto the beach to wander amongst them and swim with them, or amble along boardwalks which plot a path through the rocks and cliffs giving amazing views of the sea and shoreline, populated by thousands of penguins.  Just amazing…  boulders beach congestionsea swim

penguin sign and then on New Year-s Eve, it had to be the beach (at Clifton, a beautiful white-sand beach a few minutes drive from Cape Town), to watch the sun set on another year..NYE

 

Travel notes and other highlights…

  • It’s high summer in Cape Town and the weather was amazing, but has also contributed to the biggest drought ever experienced in the region.  Baths are rationed, swimming pools drained and water-saving measures in place everywhere.  Water is truly the lifeblood of the country and preserving it has become a top priority.
  • Other great experiences that there wasn’t the space here to mention; the Kirstenbosch Gardens, the magnificent beaches at Camp Bay and the colourful beach huts and tidal pool at St James near Kalk Bay.  During our honeymoon trip we also had the unforgettable experience of a trip to Robben Island to see where Nelson Mandela spent the decades of his imprisonment, escorted by a former fellow-prisoner who talked vividly about his experiences – book well ahead for this.  We also travelled to Hermanus Bay to see the whales who visit every year, staying for months in the harbour.  This year we were too late to see them, but it’s a must-do if you’re in the area between August and November.

And now we’re back, to a grey and rainy January, but also to the blank white canvas of a new year of craft projects and posts, and a delicious set of new supplies delivered by Father Christmas for me to explore.  Starting, this weekend, with GIANT KNITTING!!  I will keep you posted… Screen Shot 2018-01-05 at 17.25.40

Have a wonderful weekend; it’s good to be back.

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Credits: all photos my own, apart from Cape Town illustrated map via mapsillustrated.com , and giant knitting image via etsy

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