Friday, November 21, 2014

Africa, Part 1

Rick and I just returned from South Africa where we attended my dear friend Adrienne's wedding.  While I will try not to bore you with our vacation photos, my mother is insisting that I upload photos ASAP.  So, hear it goes...

I've been to Southern Africa before (Zambia, Zimbabwe, and Botswana).  However, this was my first time to South Africa and the two African trips couldn't have been more different.  The parts of South Africa where we visited were extremely Westernized and every stop was luxurious and incredibly beautiful.

First stop: Camps Bay, an exclusive beach-front community in Cape Town.  Camps Bay is filled with gorgeous waterfront homes, hotels, and restaurants.  The iconic flat-topped Table Mountain overlooks the community and the mysterious unfurling of the cloud "table cloth" happens regularly.
We took a ferry over to Robben Island, the island that housed the maximum-security prison where Nelson Mandela and other high-profile political prisoners stayed.  
 The lime quarry, where Mandela and other prisoners worked.
 Mandela's cell:
The visit was unique because former political prisoners give the tour of the prison.  It was fascinating to hear our guide talk about being housed in a room with 60 other men who shared a tiny bathroom. I just can't believe the guide still lives on the island now that he is a free man.  I also wish I hadn't of been jetlagged because I kinda dozed at one point even though the tour was really fascinating.
A gorgeous view of the Robben Island coast with Table Mountain in the background:
Another major highlight of the week was the drive down to Cape Point/Cape of Good Hope, the southwestern-most tip of Africa.
I remember Matt Lauer visiting the Cape in his 2007 Where in the World is Matt Lauer tour, and really wanted to cross this off of my bucket list.  I figured the hour drive from Cape Town would really just be barren land in the middle of a national park.

I was wrong.  I had no idea the entire drive would be so stunning, similar to a driving version of Italy's Cinque Terre where you hop from scenic town to scenic town amidst gorgeous cliff views of the rocky coastline.
One of the stops was in the town of Simon's Town where a huge colony of penguins has settled on Boulders Beach.
These little guys are so awkward on the land (as you can see below), but it was a sight to see how agile and quick they were in the water.
video
A little bargaining at one stop.  Family members, I worked hard for your Christmas presents.  (And Rick worked hard for Palmer's new sling shot.  Awesome.)
Further down the cape, we finally reached Cape Point, the point where the Indian Ocean meets the Atlantic Ocean.  It's incredible to imagine that boats have to hit this point and make sure they go up the correct east or west side of Africa.  It would be a shame to get off course and have to turn around...
And for now, I will leave you with one last video of the sounds of Africa.
video
To be continued...

-Bethany

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