Africa, South Africa

1.5 Days in Cape Town

Early in the morning, we ventured out to Muizenberg Beach to see the colorful beach huts. A long row of brightly colored wooden huts on the beach is one of the iconic postcard photo from Cape Town.

We had no clue where exactly the colorful huts are located, we just plug in “Muizenberg Beach” in our HERE WeGo App and when we got near, it was pretty obvious. It was early in the morning and there were plenty of street parkings right on the street next to the beach. After reading how dangerous Cape Town is, we really took extra caution since we had our DLSR cameras with us. We looked around our surrounding before heading down to the beach, it was very early and no one there 🙂

It was super windy so it was hard to get a decent photo with the huts so I had to face to the back of it to align with the wind direction. Early in the morning, the light condition to photograph the huts wasn’t ideal as the front of the huts facing the ocean was in shadow.

After Muizenberg Beach, we continued on our way to the famous Boulders Beach to see the penguins but then we saw another row of colorful beach huts that have good morning lightings on them! Where to stop to access it as it is separated by a railroad?

We found a parking spot right outside the St James train station with signage leading to the St James Beach. There’s also a big “warning” sign; more emphasis on taking precautions!

In Cape Town, we always put away our DSLR cameras in our bag and then pull out whenever ready to take a few snaps! The light condition in the early morning was so much better at St James Beach so I recommend a visit!

I love discovering colorful villages, towns, and places! Although this only has one row of colorful huts, it was worth a photo stop.

One, two, three, too bad no tripod for a group photo!

Next, we arrived at Boulders Beach, there was a parking lot with staffs directing you the direction to the entrance as you’ll need to walk down a street to get there. We paid the entrance fee and walked down the boardwalks to see the penguin colony! The pink eyelid African Penguin!

They are so cute and clumsy! I have seen penguins in the aquarium at home before but nothing like this at their natural habitat without behind the glasses.

 

Morning exercise?

Scratching?

It was such an entertainment to watch those clumsy penguins haha! Boulders Beach is pictureque with the turquoise ocean and white sandy beach as the backdrop with those adorable penguins.

 

This one was making a sound, wondering what was the purpose?

This fella was running down the sandy hill and looked like it was struggling with balance LOL!

 

 

Looked like a choir going on! Their pink eyelids really stand out!

A group of them decided to run down to the beach and one almost fell LOL!

Single file folks!

 

Those three were determined to go for a morning swim.

It took them forever to reach the beach and actually dip into the water…we waited patiently. There were other tourists there too and they eventually left so we had the whole platform with only 4 of us!

 

 

Having an argument?

Panorama of Boulders Beach filled with penguins:

 

 

Off to a morning swim!

This one just came back and drying haha!

Some of the penguins was quite big like this one with eyes opened:

Closed eyes, they for sure won’t need any eye shadow haha!

The park made housings for the penguins, I wondered if they remember their “house”.

For us, the house is numbered!

BFF?

Again, it was super windy so we had to adjust our direction facing the wind to take the photo with so many penguins resting at the background.

We walked through the whole boardwalk and then walked back, it was a fun time to be up and close watching the penguins 😀 Brian and Sokunna went to the cafe for coffee outside the park and right next to it is the Aloe Unique shop. I went in to check it out as I am a big fan of aloe products. I ended up buying the scrub, aloe and honey gel sleeping mask, and a creamy cleanser. Prices were pretty inexpensive. After a month of using the product, I love the scrub and gel sleeping mask; I wished I had bought more! They do ship internationally but the shipping fee cost as much as the products sigh! I have very sensitive skin so it is hard to find products that I don’t have an allergic reaction to and Aloe Unique is one of the few! Check it out when you are in Cape Town!

Continued on our next destination….

There was a Baboons warning sign on the road but I haven’t seen one yet!

Next was Cape of Good Hope!

 

Before our hike, we had a wonderful lunch at Two Oceans Restaurant; we never expect such high-quality and upscale restaurant inside the national park!

We were the first ones in when they opened so we picked the best table 😀

Sokunna splurged and order a seafood platter! She said the seafood was very fresh and yummy!

I ordered a thai-style noodle with shrimps, it was delicious! I was surprised by the cuisine in South Africa, they like spicy too!

Jason ordered fish with salad, it was fresh and yummy!

Brian said his salmon was the best meal of the trip!

Great food and great view, we totally recommend Two Oceans Restaurant!

Photo with the Atlantic Ocean and the Indian Ocean 🙂

Our lunch was 1200 Rands total for 4 of us! After the satisfying lunch, it was time to burn some calories off! We didn’t look at the map, we just walked the way pointing to “Cape of Good Hope”, we were actually planning to Cape Point LOL. Anyways, the trail was scenic and most of it was on boardwalk and well maintained.

Beautiful Dias Beach below:

It was super windy that even I tied my hair, it was flying all around!

You can hike down to the beach via those stairs but we didn’t go down as we were not planning for beach 😀

On the end of the trail on the other side of the cliff is the famous Cape of Good Hope sign where you can drive down there LOL. Sokunna and Brian decided to hike down but then how are we going to get our car back??? Jason and I turned around the trail and headed back to get the car.

When we were heading back, the sun came out yay!

One more look of Dias Beach:

We got our car and drove the way down to Cape of Good Hope and saw an ostrich! I never saw an ostrich before and it was huge!

The parking lot was full so we couldn’t find a parking space, Jason stayed in the car while I walked out to search for Sokunna and Brian. Found them at the Cape of Good Hope sign and it was packed with people waiting to take a photo with it!

More ostriches!

Urg 400mm lens lol need to back up all the way on the road!

Right outside the park, there were vendors selling handicrafts. Look at this rhino, it was carved out of rock and then painted in wooden color OMG!!! It was unbelievably heavy! Too bad it was so heavy that we couldn’t get it home 🙁 Instead, I got the two giraffes wrapped statue, it is very cute.

Next, we plugged in our GPS to Hout Bay and had no clue the road we were about to heading to…..we passed a very poor area 🙁

Then, without knowing we were on Chapman’s Peak Drive, the most scenic drive in Cape Town!

It has some photos stops on the way like this one!

It was scenic but I felt it was short, much shorter than other scenic coastal drives we did.

We arrived Hout Bay but didn’t know what to do and it was getting late so we headed back to Signal Hill to view Table Mountain. When we were there the first week of August, the Table Mountain cable car was under maintenance so it was closed 🙁 The clouds were covering Table Mountain!!!

We drove back down Signal Hill…the peak on the right is Lions Head. My brother and cousin hiked to Wally’s Cave on Lions Head and took some awesome Instagram worthy photos. After we read horrible stories of armed robberies along the hiking trail, we decided it was too much risk with our DSLR cameras and lens so we passed!

My cousin and brother went to South Africa just before us and they highly recommend The Gold Restaurant to try out authentic African cuisines so I made a reservation a month before. We Uber again and arrived on time. The restaurant is in this huge apartment building with hum…like 4 stories. I told them my name under the reservation and the waitress walked us up all the way to the 4th floor to our table. As a start of the South African experience, we had our face painted haha!

The 14-course meal…….sounded a lot but actually just small dishes like tapas to try out and you are welcome to order more of any of the dishes:

The start of our 14-course meal, the food just kept coming and coming!

I like the Malay Chicken with peanut sauce, I guess that’s not African but instead Southeast-Asian haha.

In between dishes, there were performances so it was like dinner + show! I love their colorful costumes and the exciting drum sounds.

They also engaged guests by inviting them out to dance with them as well. I am a better photographer than dancer so please don’t pick me LOL!

The dessert wasn’t that great:

It was an interesting experience to try out all dishes. The dinner was 1765 Rands for 4 of us.

The next morning, we didn’t have an itinerary so we just play by the ear. We looked out from our apartment and saw it was totally clear sky so we decided to head up to Signal Hill again to see Table Mountain!

Cape Town city below….

There were more people on Signal Hill than yesterday and they were paragliding!

We watched them running down the hill and took off….

I will never have the courage to do that because I am afraid of height!

This bright red one really stood out!

Us with Table Mountain! See the difference between a clear sky (I heard it was rare so we were lucky?) and yesterday where the clouds stick and covered the top of the mountain.

On our way heading down, we stopped at a lookout for photos of Cape Town the city.

As like other developing cities there were a lot of construction of high raise buildings and apartments going on.

The colorful houses down there is the Bo-Kaap neighborhood.

Ahhh good-bye Cape Town!

We headed down to the marina for lunch before making our way to the airport for our 5:20 PM flight.

We checked out the handicraft “warehouse”, a lot of handmade souvenirs there but quite expensive!

 

We had lunch at Den Anker!

They have outdoor seatings with views of Table Mountain:

Food was just okay, not as great as our meal at Two Oceans. Right after lunch, we headed to the airport and relaxed at the Bidvest Premier Lounge. Seatings were limited in the lounge so it was a bit odd, food selection was decent although not as wide-spread as the lounge in Johannesburg.

In conclusion: I think the 50/50 self-drive and private lodge was the perfect combination! It was definitely adventurous to self-drive and try to find the animals ourselves. We felt more excited finding them ourselves than during the game drives. However, the game drives at the private lodge enable us to go off-road and be up close to the animals like 3 feet away from a lion! It was an unforgettable experience to follow the pride of lions at night, this will not be possible at Kruger as no off-road allowed nor stay after the sun has set! The safari experience was definitely one of our highlight experiences in our lifetime and now Jason wants to go to see the Great Migration in Tanzania. Ahhh our next safari trip, when will that be?

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