Apology before I start!

Before I publish this post (still in draft stage really) my apologies if photos too large etc. as I don’t have laptop with me (at the coast) to edit as well as I usually try to do – although I’m well aware I’m on a steep learning curve with technology even with access to the lap top! So when I get back to Canberra in a few days I’ll caption photos/check photo sizes, proof read etc. Off for a beach walk now before it gets too late in the afternoon. A beautiful day here on the South Coast of NSW, Australia even now it’s 2nd week of winter!

We hear from our family today that it’s a lot colder in Canberra and that there is even heavy snow nearby at Corin Forest. It rarely snows in Canberra City now – it did back in the 1980s. Later today I’ll try to find an old photo to pop in here with our 2 little boys playing in the snow of our first home in Canberra…those little boys are now 30 somethings!

Back to memories of Africa…

This is one of many posts on the spectacular Botanic Gardens and Table Mountain – not sure which gorgeous place we loved seeing most…probably the Gardens because it was possible to walk in/around/up/down + end our visit with a delicious lunch in a beautiful setting at MOYO (photos in previous post). In winter the weather was mild as we walked through the gardens but quite cold at the top of Table Mountain. We visited both on the same day. I would imagine the cooler temperatures would be invigorating if you were hiking to the top of the mountain but unfortunately my fitness levels (due to spine issues) prevented me from doing that – Tony thought about hiking solo but finally decided to take the lazy option and join me for the cable car ride to the top (photos in previous post).

2018 is a great time to visit Cape Town too…

2018 is the ‘Nelson Mandela Centenary…Be the Legacy’, so there will be many official events – some sporting, some educational, others devoted to the arts – aimed at honouring the legendary leader. Many events will be happening at Kirstenbosch – The National Botanic Gardens.

If you’ve seen our other photos from blog posts about this area (including Table Mountain visit) you’ll see that it’s one of our favourite gardens in the world – and we’ve seen so many. Lots of places still to write up…maybe Canada or more on Lima soon…hard to decide! Probably Lima as we might be returning next year.

We’ll also try to return to Cape Town in a few years as we want to see more of Africa including Sth Africa – we’ll definitely be checking their website as some of the African musical events held at the gorgeous MOYO restaurant in the Botanic Gardens (photos in a past post) would be an idyllic setting for such an event.

Photo above – view from the MOYO restaurant. It was raining quite a lot when we visited Cape Town; however, they had a water crisis shortly after we left. We do hear they have received good rain in early winter so the crisis has been temporarily avoided. We heard from locals that there is a great deal of frustration directed toward mismanagement by Government and some large businesses eg. Mining companies…continuing to use irresponsible practices. Similar environmental problems are happening with our Murray Darling River system, with many programs reported on our ABC TV.

So it was good to hear that rain has arrived and my guess is that the gardens will be as green as you see in our photos if you visit this year – a great time to go with all the Centenary events planned. We hear that they have water tanks etc. of course.

Safety on the track up to Table Mountain from Gardens…be aware but not alarmed if you see a snake.

We haven’t seen a snake in decades (including in the bush nature reserve around our Canberra home) and didn’t see any in South Africa although it was winter so that was expected of course.

Lonely Planet for Kids says “hikers in the veld (scrub) around Cape Town need to tread with care!

If walking the track from Botanic Gardens wear sturdy shoes or walking boots. Not only for ease of walking on the track but also to protect yourself from snake bite although having walked bush tracks in Canberra up/behind our family home (often with our dog) we never even saw a snake even though Australia is well known for our “dangerous” snakes. If you stomp loudly as you head toward a slightly overgrown track, most snakes are more frightened of us than we need to be of them…they pick up the vibrations of someone approaching and usually slither away – but we’ve never even seen that. That’s just what we’ve heard and it’s worked for us for 30+ years of living right near nature reserves…our coast house also slopes upwards to bush at the back and we’ve never seen a snake. I do wear solid shoes when going up in summer.

I’ve also passed on advice from locals in my last post too ie. walking in isolated areas.

The Aerial Perspective“…I was looking for a birds eye view of Cape Town to show to our adult children/grandchildren (+ students where I volunteer) and discovered Anthony Allen’s site. One I’ll check out more in the future as it always helps to have such an overview especially when visiting geographically unique places. Reminds me to do similar in many other posts eg. Brazil…Rio and Igauzu Falls.

I also refer to the Lonely Planet big books “for kids” (and teens)before we go to any new destinations…the way they summarise information and point out interesting attractions in a fun way is very appealing/informative for adults as well!

Here’s their description of Table Mountain:

It’s impossible to picture Cape Town without its world famous backdrop – Table Mountain. The flat-top mega hill overlooks the whole city. Sometimes it’s swathed in a mysterious tablecloth of clouds. Folktales say that is is caused by a smoking contest between the Devil and a local pirate called Van Hunks. It’s a Capetonian rite of passage to climb the vertical kilometre all the way up to Devil’s Peak.”

The photo above appears to have been taken many years ago before the opening of the massive sport stadium (more information in a previous post).

Photos below: View toward Table Mountain – taken from the Kirstenbosch Botanic Gardens. Once the mist rose it was a glorious winter day (2017) and the amazing tree canopy walkway.

The 130 metre (427 feet) long tree canopy walkway through what Lonely Planet describes as “the city’s colossal Kirstenbosch Botanic Gardens” is a must for any visitor – not only functional but aesthetically beautiful. It’s nickname with locals is “the boomslang” which is a poisonous snake of the region.

Photo below:

Wildlife at the Botanic Gardens…nothing big and scary (see previous Africa posts) and no snakes were encountered on our stroll through the Gardens (we did stick to the paths) although in summer I would take care with boots etc. if hiking up to Table Mountain from the gardens. However, if anything like Australia, snakes are rarely seen and they’re usually more frightened of hikers and slither away before humans get close. Most snake bites occur in Australia when people try to kill them.

The site – nature-reserve.com.za says:

“They are not often encountered on a guided safari, but you may stumble across them when you are camping by yourself.”

Snakes

The above site also gives interesting information about snakes of the region including cobras 🐍 (there’s a ‘spitting’ one that children might find interesting?) and puff adders. Please don’t let snakes put you off visiting or even going hiking!…I strongly believe in the saying “a life lived in fear is a life half lived” and I’m glad that Tony agrees with me on that + encourages me to be brave and adventurist even though I’ve been through some very scary times in life. Hospital ICU units being the worst (glad they’ve improved over decades!). Just use common sense of course.

Wildlife comes to mind wherever you are in Africa…

The above photo at the Botanic Gardens with the sign “Elephant’s Food” had me wondering how far do you need to drive from Cape Town to see elephants in the wild?…the answer (according to what looked like a reliable source on the Net?) is “a long way” with the closest “safari” experience near Port Elizabeth – where we started our long drive on the famous Garden Route which ended in Cape Town (see previous posts if interested + I’ll write more about Mosaic Lodge in the future).

According to that Net article, “elephants have been hunted out of existence on the Western Cape” but “continue to roam across much of Africa…but these magnificent animals remain under severe threat from poaching, habitat loss and human-wildlife conflict.” (Www.panda.org)

Another option if you want to see elephants near Cape Town is to go to the zoo in Stellenbosch (a vineyard town/farming region…see my previous post if interested). However, on checking reviews of this zoo on the Net (I always do now as some zoos should not be supported in my view as conditions can be quite poor/sometimes cruel); there are varying opinions on how well this zoo is run. I always think critically when reading promotional materials for zoos and animal reserves…worth considering how much conservation/protection work the owners are involved in etc.

After Cape Town, we headed north (a daytime flight) to a Safari Lodge (Inyati) in Kruger National Park – if the budget allows just fabulous to see the Big 5 + some (see previous posts if interested). I haven’t yet posted photos from our close up elephant encounters (one of biggest highlights of this trip) but I will do so soon.

One last farewell garden photo before I finalise my series of posts on the Botanic Gardens/Table Mountain…

Post next weekend…more cultural and food inspirations in Cape Town and surrounds including:

Sea Point Promenade and “Perceiving Freedom” by artist Michael Elion

When we first arrived in Cape Town we walked from where we were staying at Blackheath Lodge (loved it there…photos in next post) to the Sea Point Promenade. For us this area wasn’t as impressive as the other places we later visited in Cape Town (more about that later) and when I did some reading on Net about this piece of artwork (photo from Lonely Planet Kids) I was interested to read about the controversy this ignited in Cape Town…whether it’s true Art/dedication to Nelson Mandela or big business advertising ie. Ray Ban glasses. Some very interesting opinions on this on Net eg. A Guardian piece.

OUR GARDEN INSPIRED RECIPE FOR THIS POST:

ORANGES/LEMONS AND CREPE SUZETTES…

Lemons (photo above) from our South Coast kitchen. Yesterday afternoon I picked the last of the lemons from our tree – quite exciting as we had the lemon tree in a pot on our Canberra verandah for over a decade and even though sheltered from Canberra frost, it never did all that well – just a few lemons each Autumn. This Autumn I’ve already picked many bucket loads and given a few to friends and family as well!

I had also bought oranges (on special from supermarket) so with Tony cooking the main last night I decided to start preparation for Crepe Suzettes for dessert. It was a warm/sunny morning so we had coffee at Mollymook Beach but in the afternoon gale force winds blew up but it remained sunny so it was a nice cosy feeling inside with sun streaming through as can be seen in the photo.

My Crepe Suzettes were also terrific!…just a simple recipe from the Net which I’ll also teach my grandchildren once they’re old enough. At this early stage we’ll stick with pancakes (or pikelets) which is an easier skill to teach younger children.

Of course Crepe Suzettes originated from France and if you’re going out into the vineyard districts near Cape Town, you might like to read up on the reasons for the early French immigrants arriving there (many hundreds of years ago)…a fascinating story too! A little on that in previous posts too. Until next weekend Au Revoir!!