Capetown, South Africa – much to do, much to do!

When we began our adventure to South Africa, we flew into Capetown. Our first stop was Simonstown for what was planned to be some diving.  However, mother nature had other plans for us.  The weather turned cold and windy so instead of cage diving with great whites and sealion diving in the kelp, we went sightseeing. Turns out there is a lot to see & do there!!

 

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Near Simonstown, is Boulders Beach, home to the African Penguin.  I didn’t ever expect to see penguins outside of Antarctica but they have them here!

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We also visited the Cape of Hope & the Cape Point Lighthouse.  The views are spectacular.  Just thinking about the next land across that water being Antarctica.  Wow!!

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When we arrived back in Capetown, the weather was beautiful so we decided to take the tram up Table Mountain.  Again, the views are stunning.  There is much more on top than I was expecting.  The area is huge!  There is also a snack bar so you can have lunch.  We couldn’t have had a more perfect day!!

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There were these little critters up there too.  The topography was much more rugged than I would have imagined and there were some impressive canyons.  You can hike up there instead of taking the tram if you prefer.  It would be quite a hike but the view would be inspiring!

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One other drive we took was up Chapman’s Peak.  Here is where I finally learned to use the pano feature on my phone!!  Thank you Cari!

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Needless to say, it was a beautiful view.  If you visit Capetown, it would be worth your time to stay a couple of days.  There were things we simply didn’t have time to do. We did make it to the V&A Waterfront to look at the shops and have dinner but we didn’t even scrape the surface of what there is to do there.  Our dinner was excellent, by the way, at Belthazar’s.  Try the Game Kabob!  You get to sample Kudu, Gemsbok, Springbok and Ostrich.  Other to do’s include visiting one or more of the fantastic wineries in South Africa and a visit to Robben Island to see where Nelson Mandela was imprisoned.  The Capetown area of South Africa definitely has a lot to offer and let’s not forget, you can go diving in a cage with great white’s if the weather cooperates with you!!

South Africa – to dive or not to dive

I was fortunate enough recently to be able to visit South Africa on an educational tour for the purpose of being able to sell it as a destination.  I was to do 7 dives but in reality only did 2.  Part of that was the time of the year, part was the Great Whites left early (so no cage dive with them) and part was due to a very cold & windy weather front that followed us up the coast.  The weather cost us our other dive in Simonstown with sealions and kelp.  Most of that can’t be controlled but it did make me really question whether I would recommend South Africa as a dive destination.

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For anyone that’s looking for something that is unique to South Africa, then yes!!  They have a sardine run in their winter that is well known for incredible big animal action and they have the Great White Shark cage dives, also better in winter.  We were there in very late winter, nearly spring.  For someone who gets seasick, like me, there can be some rough conditions here that time of year.  That said, I did have a couple of very enjoyable dives (once I was under water).  Above is a Dusky Shark.  That was a variety I had never seen and the shark dive at Aliwal Shoal was a very good shark dive.  There were at least a dozen sharks at any one time.  Besides the Dusky’s you can get Tigers and reef shark.  Probably more varieties at times.  It was very worthwhile to do that dive!!  That is also where the sardine run is.

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Besides the shark diving, we went farther north to Rocktail Bay for some reef diving.  You are nearly to the Mozambique border and the beaches are deserted, unspoiled and beautiful.  All the dives are from zodiacs and all launches at both places we dove were beach launches through the surf. That was an interesting experience itself.  Those guys really know how to read the surf.  The reef was nice but there was surge to make picture taking a challenge.  That was again due to the cold weather front dogging us.

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With perseverance, I was able to get some really nice photos.  On a calmer day, this would be a very nice dive.  There was a lot of structure for the many critters to hide and the dive guides were fantastic at spotting things.  All in all, it depends on what you are looking for.  If you have always wanted to go diving with Great Whites or see the sardine run, this is the place!!  What adds to the excitement of those dives is when you’re done diving, you can go on safari and see elephants, lions, rhinos, cheetahs, giraffes, zebras, etc, etc, etc!!  Could it get any better than that???  I guarantee you will have a memorable trip if you decide to visit South Africa!!