Cape Town-Monday-2/29

Day 26, Cape Town- Last dentist appointment for me today. I know I have been singing Dr. de Nysschen’s praises, but really unbelievable work. My crowns were done with some sort of electronic Novocain injection system that is almost totally painless. Then my teeth were digitally scanned. I watched Dr. de Nysschen create my crowns in 3-D on his computer and the result was then send to a 3-D printer that made the crowns in about 25 minutes. The fit was flawless on the first crown and a minor adjustment was needed on the second one. Absolutely no swelling or pain after the Novocain wore off. We discussed why this isn’t done in the US. Dr. de Nysschen said that most dentists have to get 20-30 patients through a day, so they take a mold for the crown, put in a temporary and the lab does what he does in his office. That is 2 opportunities for error and not as snug a fit. Most US dentists don’t have the time to do what Dr. de Nysschen does. His appointments run from one  to two hours, so he isn’t getting 20-30 patients through his office a day. I’m sure by South African standards he charges a arm and a leg, but by our standards he is a steal. Plus he and his staff are great people.


One of my favorite buildings on the bus trip down to the V & A.

Pete’s dental appointment was after mine today, which gave me plenty of time for shopping at the V & A Mall. All their summer clothes are on sale as they are moving into fall the end of March. I bought another bag (made in South Africa of discarded yacht sails) to carry all my purchases home.

Lucky Pete isn’t attractive to mosquitos. No matter how warm it is, I have had to sleep under the covers to keep from being eaten alive. I have tried repellent, but it’s so smelly that I don’t like putting it on at bedtime.  I call them stealth mosquitos. You don’t see them or hear them, they just get you. Evidently they are especially bad this year.

After Pete’s Novocain wore off we headed out to dinner. We weren’t able to get into the highly rated Chef’s Warehouse, so we headed to a favorite Tapas place. I had the Parma ham and Spanish salad, while Pete shared my huge order portions and had Lamb.

Both these restaurants are on Bree Street. It’s a quieter, mellowed option to Long Street and is loaded with good restaurants.

We decided to meander down towards the harbor a few blocks then take some of the little side streets on our way home. Ran into several art and home decor shops. These are definitely not Bella Casa!



Tomorrow Laura is picking us up for a Tour of two of the townships around Cape Town. It is highly recommended that you take a guide into the townships, as they aren’t considered safe to wander around on you’re own.

Cape Town-Sunday-2/28

Day 25, Cape Town-Unfortunate food choice, so was home most of the day.  We did wander out to the the Company Garden and Greenmarket Square for a little while. The featured photo is of historical buildings on Adderley, one of the main shopping streets in Cape Town.

Will return to action tomorrow.


Up to have an excellent breakfast at our B&B.  Sweeping views of the bay while enjoying our repast. We hopped in the car, which Pete was feeling better about driving, drove down the hill to the city center parking, then had a relaxing stroll through town.


There were many interesting historical plaques mounted, with fascinating information on the British WWII naval war effort in South Africa. The shipyards were built in Simon Town, the Naval personnel were trained and ships damaged in naval combat were repaired there.  Many of the people involved in the war efforts were Indian and African.


Here is a photo of the marina, as you can see there is a Military ship in the background.


Thought we would stop by and see if Pete would fIt in the Shark diving cage. I offered him a trip to get up close with the Great White sharks, but for some reason he doesn’t want to go. Look, he fits!


Up the coast we went through Kalk Bay and Muizenberg on our way back to Cape Town. Kalk Bay is a popular spot for Capetonians during the weekend as evidenced by the incredible traffic. It has attracted an artistic community due to its charming village atmosphere and natural beauty. There are also many antique shops and good restaurants to draw the crowds. Muizenberg (Mew zin berg) is a bit run down, but was a posh destination during the 1920’s. Agatha Christie vacationed here and loved to surf when ever she got the chance. These are the original changing cabanas that were built on the beach.  The featured photo is of a Saturday Babtisim that was taking place on the same beach.  Some of the most beautiful water, turquoise fading to deep blue.

imagePete did a great job of driving all the way through Cape Town to the car rental place. However, we did change our car reservation for the cross country drive to an automatic shift. It’s just too hard with a Manuel and trying to drive backwards. The steering wheel on the right,  the shift on the left and the turn signals on the right. I can’t tell you how many times the windshield wipers came on when Pete was changing lanes. It became a joke and very handy when we got some rain on Friday.

So, we are back in Cape Town for one more week. We have made a short list of things we want to do before we leave next Saturday. The Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden is a must see, then the slave house and we want to go back to Green Market Square.

We saw this after dropping off the car, while we were walking towards home looking for a cab. What in the are they doing here? A long way from home and lots of good local competition.



Day 23, The Peninsula-Yayy! Out of Cape Town.  We picked up our car this morning and Pete navigated through the city to M6, down the west side of the Peninsula. We traveled down through Camps Bay, Hout Bay, Noordhoek, Simon Town and Boulders Beach to the Cape of Good Hope.

Had to stop in Hout Bay at The World of Birds sanctuary.  Really a large and well planned bird and wildlife sanctuary, where you can walk through large aviaries with over three thousand birds. I made sure to wear a hat!

The featured photo is of the nesting Penguins at Boulders Beach. All the fuzzy, brownish colored birds are the babies.  We just loved watching them waddling, and hopping around. The Penguins were down to two mating pairs in this area. They are now up to over 2200 birds with protection. Boulders beach is just south of Simons Town where we will be spending the night. We did see Baboons at the Cape, but I got so excited that I fumbled the camera, so no pictures. The big male got within 3 feet of the car, before Pete rolled the window up. Smart Pete!


The Cape was spectacular, with beautiful rock formations, vegetation and sacred rock totems built by visitors.

Pete and I did the tourist thing and posed in front of the Cape of  Good Hope marker.

We also drove up to the old Cape lighthouse built in 1860 on the highest point in the cape area. Unfortunately it was built on too high a point. It was frequently shrouded in low lying clouds, which interfered with its ability to act as a navigational aid. A new lighthouse was built in 1919 on lower ground.



We got back into Simon Town at about 4:0o pm and checked into the Mariners Guesthouse with a balcony overlooking the harbor.

It was a nice walk down the hill into town through the old cemetery.  The guesthouse shuttle driver directed us to a great restaurant, Saveur. We had fresh oysters on the half shell from the bay and seared tuna, which Pete agreed was the best either of us have ever eaten. We made reservations for lunch tomorrow.

One  more Penguin shot for the road.




Cape Town-Thursday-2/25

Day 22, Cape Town.

We have taken the day off from sightseeing. Just relaxed, read books and enjoyed a quiet day.

Tomorrow we pick up a car in the morning and start down the peninsula to the Cape of Good Hope. I was mistaken, the Cape isn’t the southern most point in Africa. But it is the point where mariners coming from the Atlantic stop moving south to a more eastern route. Cape Agulhas further to the east is the southernmost point of the African continent. Because the Atlantic and Indian oceans meet there, it is one of the best fishing areas in South Africa. Tomorrow and Saturday will be good practice for our coming cross country road trip to Kruger National Park. Pete will get a chance to drive on the left side of the highway without a lot of city traffic.

We are anxious to get out of the city and start seeing more of South Africa. Other than the townships we have seen most everything we wanted to in Cape Town. It’s a great city, but like most cities its noisy and crowded. We are ready for some wide open spaces.

More this coming weekend, penguin colonies and hopefully no baboons, as they can be very aggressive. Here is a hilarious photo of baboons in action.



Cape Town-Wednesday-2/24

Day 21, Cape Town-so a very quiet day, with dental appointments.  Thought this might be a good day to discuss race relations and state of South Africa.


This photo is of a sign just down the street from us.  It hasn’t done much good! Thank goodness we have double, sound proof windows. Wish I could clone our dentist. He is so good! Way more advanced technology than anything I’ve experienced in the USA.

There has been a lot of discussion regarding the state of South Africa since the abolishment  of apartheid. After 3 weeks in Cape Town, we are hardly experts.  But with reading and talking to local people, we do know it’s complicated, with over 200 million AfrIcan refugees coming into the country since the end of apartheid in 1994. Unemployment is running at 24% using USA unemployment standards. And 35%, if counting the people that have given up on searching for employment. Violent crime, robbery and pick pockets are the result of the inability to find work. There is a huge disparity between the haves and have nots.  Many of the people we have dealt with are from Zimbabwe, somehow they have managed to find work in Cape Town. We have seen many mixed race couples, but like the USA there is still much racism. The rainbow nation exists, but since the death of Mandela the government has become more corrupt and the economy less robust. In spite of the weaking of the Rand ($$), South Africa has the strongest economy in Africa.

Pete and I have talked about the disparity between the Africans, Colours and a whites in South Africa.  At first we were just overwhelmed with the friendliness of the people, great food and cosmopolitan atmosphere.  After a few weeks we are finding it impossible to ignore the many very poor people. The poor here make the poor in the US look well off. .Most of the menial jobs here are held by Africans and Colored.

The blacks, African or colored were made to relocate to townships in 1923. It is easy to be self righteous about such actions, but then we thought about the American Indians that were moved onto reservations, not that much different. At least the blacks in South Afica weren’t killed off like the American Indians.

We are planning a trip to 2 townships next week. Laura Ndukwana is going to be our tour guide. She has started a school for girls that we will visit, in Guguletu township.  Christina at Willamette Travel told us about Laura and all the great work she is doing.

For those that are wondering about our apartment.



Cape Town-Tuesday-2/23

Day 19, Cape Town- it was a quiet morning, relaxing around the apartment. We decided to head down to the V & A Waterfront early for our 3:00 pm ferry trip out to Robben Island. Success!! I got the last Fitbit at the V & A Clicks store.



The featured photo was taken of the last boat load of released prisoners from Robben Island Maximum Security Prison in 1991.  From 1961 the maximum security prison housed criminals and political prisoners, by the 1980’s it housed male political prisoners only. 70% of the political prisoners were educated men; doctors, lawyers and teachers that had stood up to apartheid.  The prisoners were made to work in a lime pit daily, many suffered from permanent eye damage and illness from prolonged exposure to the lime and sun. There is a small cave in the lime pit where prisoners could find some shade to eat and illicitly teach the uneducated prisoners to read and write. The cave was referred to as Robben University. Three former inmates have become President of South Africa: Nelson Mandela, Kgalema Motlanthe and the current President Jacob Zuma.

Our prison guide had been incarcerated in Robben Island Maximum Security Prison for 5 years at the age of 20. When asked how he felt about Mandela’s government of reconciliation, he said that he “just couldn’t get his head around the idea of a rainbow nation”. That reconciliation was a white concept and at the time he was bitter. He said, “over the years he has come to understand that the concept is like love. If you can’t show or give love then you won’t get love. If you can’t show your humanity through reconciliation, treating people as humans like you, then they will never move to your side.”

Since the island prison and most buildings are now museums, they have had some of the past prisoners post comments on prison life in their cells. Prisoners were put in groups A through D depending on their behavior. Each group had varying privileges, such as letters, visits, toiletries and outdoor time. Food quality and quantity was also allocated according to group.

Mandela was incarcerated here for 18 years. Below is a photo of his cell and exercise yard.

The island has a small village that is inhabited by ex-guards and past inmates, along with their families. According to out guide they get along. There was also a leprosy colony established on the island during the 1800’s. Such a sad place!

It’s a good thing that we spied a little penguin colony to make us smile again.


Back to Cape Town for dinner and a cab ride home. We just didn’t have the energy to deal with the bus this evening.







Cape Town-Monday-2/22

Day 18, Cape Town- This is going to be a short blog, because Pete kept me out way too late.

We went up to a block of restaurants on Bree Street, not far from the apartment. There are 9 or 10 little restaurants cheek to jowl in one block.  We had heard of this strip from PJ at Euro Haus and thought we’d give one of them a try for a late breakfast. Bacon was open and with a name like that, you know what the menu features. As a side they even have a bowl of bacon. I had the BLT and Pete had the English breakfast, of course with bacon.

In the afternoon we hopped on the bus for Camps Bay. It looked so inviting when seen from Table Mountain yesterday. Beautiful white sand, crescent beach, with upscale restaurants and bars across the ocean front road. A Strawberry margarita was the perfect drink to sip while taking in the local scene. This is an area of impressive homes. Most of the homes are behind walls, electrified at the top or with pointed metal strips. This isn’t uncommon in Cape Town too. Security is something everyone is very aware of here.  Including us! All the information on Camps Bay refers to it as a place the beautiful people frequent, meaning mostly white and wealthy. Finally, because we couldn’t spend the whole afternoon sitting around and drinking margaritas, no matter how good, we got on another bus to Hout Bay.


We got off the bus at the end of the line right on the bay. There we stumbled upon the Dune restaurant with views of the bay and surrounding hills. As we had worked up an appetite, we stopped in for dinner. Hout Bay is completely different than Camps Bay. This was an actual fishing village, that still is known for its crayfish. Also, it has a township that runs right down into the rather industrial town. There is still a small historical area and The World of Birds that we plan on visiting.

My dinner of Paella was delicious and the setting superb.

Then the bus home, which put us in after 11:30 pm. I’m off to bed.

Will let you know if we finally get to Robben Island tomorrow. We re-booked and will hope the wind cooperates this time.





Cape Town-Sunday-2/21

Day 17, Cape Town- Pete has been wanting to climb/hike Table Mountain. I’ve been procrastinating , because well..I haven’t been so enthused….I’d like my knee to last the rest of the trip. This mountain is very vertical and it’s estimated to take 2+ hours to get to the top from the trail just north of cable car parking lot. I made the choice of taking the the cable car, while crazy Pete opted to climb. We chose the weekend, when the crowds were thick, because Pete would be safe climbing the mountain. It’s important to hike with other people around, as robberies are a frequent event. Everyone we talked with emphasized the importance of hiking with or near other groups.


This is just the ticketing line! The people on the right are purchasing their tickets and the line on the left had pre-purchased. I quickly went online and pre-purchased a ticket. Felt like the lines at Disneyland!


This is the structure for the two cable cars. Don’t know if you can see the people, but every balcony has a line waiting.

There was a group that had become separated in the long line waiting for the cable cars. The members of the group behind me were motioned forward to join their colleagues. They were pushing and shoving, which knocked me into the young man in front of me, who in turn got a bit cranky. STILL better than climbing! The views from the top were magnificent. Totally worth the waits and crowds.


Cape Town on an incredibly clear day. Winds on top were significant and temperature much lower than in town.


Camps Bay beach, which is on our list of places to visit. This is where all the local nightlife takes place in the summer.


Lions Head Mountain, part of the massive Table Mountain National Park, a World Heritage site. You can just barely see Robben Island (where Mandela was held for 19 years) at the mouth of the harbor.


It took about an hour to get the cable car to the top. Did quite a bit of walking around while waiting for Pete to arrive.  He was about 2 hours on the dot and was totally wasted. Evidently the trail he took was 1 1/2 miles straight up over large stone steps and rocks.  He said the steps were 2 to 3 times as high as a normal step. But, never fear there is a restaurant on top of the mountain. Pete was able to replenish his body with food and drink. Don’t think he’ll be climbing anymore mountains on this trip. Although my mountain climbing honey is talking about hiking up Lions Head. We both cabled back down the mountain and bused home.




Cape Town-Saturday-2/20

Day 16, Cape Town- Up early today, so we can get to the Neighbor Goods Market before the crowds.  This Saturday market is located a couple miles north of Central Cape Town, in the parking structure for the Old Biscuit Mill.  This is an industrial area that is undergoing gentrification. We thought about walking, but were very glad we didn’t. The bus route was convoluted and the cab ride back wasn’t much better.

As you can see, we didn’t beat the crowds! What a crush of people. Obviously from the photos, this is a mostly white crowd. There was one fresh veg & fruit booth and all the rest was prepared food. We skipped breakfast so we would have room to try some of the different offerings. A very yummy bubbly, mushroom skewer and small gazpacho for me. Pete had a fabulous Pork belly sandwich and beer.



The guys on the left are making Paella.  The bubbly comes from the Cedarberg area where the soils are sandy limestone.  Very good! The Old Biscuit Mill has lots of shops and restaurants. It is open daily and we are planning on returning during the week when there aren’t such huge crowds. One of the best restaurants in Cape Town is located in the Mill.  The Tasting Room has rave reviews and no reservations out 2 months. Even their waiting list is full.  Oh well…we will just have to suffer through with all the other great restaurants.


A tip for traveling to South Africa or at least Cape Town. Don’t bother to pack a lot of clothes. There are some great clothing designers here and their beautiful garments are a fraction of the cost they would be in the US. I have bought a couple things, but wish I had room for more.

Had a very nice cab driver home. His name is Blessing. He’s from Zimbabwe, supporting his family back home, while studying for his IT degree.

After resting up we walked over to Euro Haus and had a light dinner, some excellent Cab from Ernie Els winery, then toddled home for the evening.