Cape Town, South Africa

Trip Start Jun 10, 2012
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Trip End Aug 20, 2013


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Where I stayed
Deerpark Drive West, rented a small part of a house

Flag of South Africa  , Western Cape,
Sunday, June 24, 2012

Seriously pretty!
We rode the cable car to the top of Table Mountain and walked the perimeter of the mountain top. The views were gorgeous.

From our "flat" we can see the ocean on one side and Table Mountain on the other. Actually I think lots of people in Cape Town have those views because much of town is on a hillside, straight up from the ocean. I chose a manual mini for a car rental (thank goodness since so many of the roads are super narrow). It's been quite a few years since I last drove a stick shift. I didn't think about the fact that since you drive on the opposite side of the road in South Africa you'd have the stick on your left, turn signals on your right, etc. And the roads are crazy steep where we're staying- almost as close to Table Mountain as you can get. Fun times the first few hours driving that car- hehe. Now that I know the area & where I'm going it's much easier.

Transformation: Can drive stick with my left hand? (ok- not really a "transformation")

June 27th- Drove to Boulder Beach and Cape Hope to see the penguins & the tip of Africa. Also amazing views along the coast. I really love Cape Town. Gorgeous mountains and ocean in the same view. It's also progressive and modern with prices about half that of the US. I could picture myself living here.

June 28th- We took a 2 1/2 hour boat ride with 3 members of a penguin conservation/protection group to Robbin Island. The group rescued 4 abandoned penguin eggs and raised them until they were ready to be released into the wild. The penguins were soooo cute. They didn't want to go. After they were almost pushed into the water they just sat and starred at their people all confused. So adorable.
I'm really sad about leaving Cape Town in the morning. Tomorrow we head back to Johannesburg to pick up a new rental car and drive to Kruger Park. The girls think it's going to be like Disney Land compared to the Serengeti. They said it's going to be all "overly safe" and made for little kids. I think they're basing that on the fact that we only saw 2 other kids in the Serengeti, both a little older than Sophia. Also, you're not allowed out of your car in Kruger Park unless you're in one of the completely fenced off "rest camp" areas. That's where you sleep, too- safely inside fences- and no driving at night. All these rules. In the Serengeti when we questioned the hundred different animal noises and why our guide put our tent the closest to the Woods and the farthest from the other campers we were just told the dining area can be loud so he put us away from everything, including him. He also said "no worries, we aren't on the menu, the animals don't like to eat people". BUT never go to the bathroom alone after dark, shine your flashlight around and if there's anything big out there stay in your tent. Anyway, I had Jesse and Sophia cram into my little tent with me and we put our bags in the other one. Don't tell our guide or he'll laugh at us. Anyway, I still don't think Kruger Park is going to be Disney. We'll see.

If you go to Cape Town: Before booking a boat ride or cruise online, walk along the boat dock by the V & A Waterfront. There will probably be tons of boat operators offering you various cruises & trying to compete for your business. The exception would be the official Robbin Island tour; book that well in advance.
Definitely rent a car. Be aware that everywhere we drove in South Africa there are "car parkers" to help you park. Just incase you don't know how to pull forward out of a parking stall there will be 3 "car parkers" there to guide you every step of the way. The parkers will also act as security for your car while you're gone... for a tip of course. This system gives everybody a job, if you call the measly tips they'll get in a 12 hour work day a job. Tip these people. I never met one that was pushy or demanding of tips (like porters in Cancun). Every person was helpful and kind.

Lodging: This was the first time we used Airbnb.com. I had a great experience and am going to use it whenever I can. You book from real people and rent spare bedrooms, empty flats, whatever they have available. Our host in Cape Town was accommodating and gave us tons of great advice.
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