It's all but obligatory to rant and rave about Cape Town. It's one of those cities that everyone who visits loves. It's beautiful, laid-back, warm (so I've been told, I'm freezing) and definitely happening. The clichés come pretty fast around here, the biggest being "it's not Africa, it's Cape Town." I hate to buy into it, but it's the truth. Cape Town is a world apart from Africa, even more so than the rest of SA is. It's full of beautiful architecture and parks, classy bars and restaurants and tourists galore.
( The Company's Gardens, basically the Central Park of Cape Town. The white building is the National Art Galleries.)
In short, Cape Town is great, with a surprising amount of things to do in close proximity of such a big city.
(More Company's Gardens, museum of natural history in the background)
The other day I took the opportunity for a visit to the cape of Good Hope and it's resident penguins. Visiting the penguins is pretty much exactly what you would expect, but for some reason infinitely better and lamer than that. More than a couple times I've heard a girl squeal when they hear about the penguins: "They're so cute in their little suit and tie!" "Have you ever seen March of the Penguins, they're so cuuute!" and of course, "Did you know that they mate for life? They're like little people; so cuuute!" A stationary penguin, I'm sorry to say, is not a great draw. A penguin sitting on the beach is basically just a black and white duck, all dressed up with nowhere to go. After a few minutes I was about ready to mark off the penguins as "just another bird" like the ostriches and go away disillusioned and sad when a group of penguins got up and walked to the beach. That changed everything.
(Three Little Birds)
A walking penguin is awesome, I don't know why it just is. Trundling around like a baby in a suitcoat, wonking their flippers around and everything. I didn't squeal or anything, but I can't say there wasn't a little voice in my head saying "aww." In short, penguins rock. If you get the chance to see them and they aren't doing anything, throw a stone or a fish or something at them so they get up and walk around.
Also on the peninsula is the Cape of Good Hope, incorrectly billed as the Southernmost tip of the African continent and the spot where the icy waters of the Atlantic coming straight up from Antarctica mixes with the bathwater warm Indian Ocean which followed me down from Kenya. Actually the southernmost tip is several hours east, but "the most southwesterly point in Africa" just sounds desperate. I hiked around on the point for a few hours and checked out the lighthouse, all in all a great time. We decided to have a little picnic and strayed off onto a side road to find a nice spot, little knowing we were about to be accosted by a pack of ferocious wild ostriches roaming around looking for a fight. Although I ain't afraid of no damn buzzard and would fight one of those buggers in a second, my companions weren't so brave and we took off. All for the best since I have heard told that ostriches will attack anything that glitters and my shine blocks out the sun.
I also climbed Table Mountain of course, it was a great hike with beautiful views of the city and ocean. A few museums and a nice park, pretty much it was like being home. I'm glad I did this trip in this order and not the other way around, I think I'm pretty much readjusted to the developed world now.
(The Bay as seen from Table Mountain. Note the World Cup stadium on the top left)