Friday, 29 September 2017

Cape Town

We landed in Cape Town at lunch time and two hours later found ourselves travelling to the top of Table Mountain in a cable car, and we hadn't even upacked.
Table Mountain is mercurial - even if the skies are blue the summit can still have a white layer of cloud lying across the top like a fluffy duvet - it was totally clear, so we made the most of the opportunity, and up we went.
 Table Mountain is 1067 metres high, and I was surprised at just how exotic the area was as we stepped from the cable car.
I was excited to see these exquisite tiny Orange Breasted Sunbirds feeding on nectar from the Aloe flowers. They were totally unconcerned that I was within touching distance - for me it was magical just watching them and seeing how their iridescent feathers glistened in the sunlight.

















We took a stroll around this colourful Malay area of Cape Town before unpacking at the hotel and going for an evening meal down on the lively waterfront. Malay slaves were brought to the Cape Colony from Java in the late 1600s and carried with them an intimate knowledge of spices that was to have a profound influence on Cape cooking.
❖❖❖❖❖❖
We were, however, shocked at the shantytowns that we had seen on our way into the city near the airport, and the way in which so many black people still live today. Gradually some of the shantytowns are giving way to new townships built with what are known as 'Mandela' houses. 'Mandela' houses are made from brick, a big improvement from the chaotic corrugated iron shacks and wooden huts, but still very basic. They have only one small living room and two bedrooms in which eight people or more may reside. I did not take any photos of the shantytowns as I thought it too intrusive, but I will never forget what I saw.

We gazed out to sea through these giant sculptured glasses and could just make out Robben Island lying on the horizon - the spot where Nelson Mandela served 18 of his 27 years in prison.





The ocean that pounds the coast around Cape Town is our own familiar Atlantic, but very soon it will be meeting and mingling with the Indian Ocean, and that is where part of our journey eventually takes us. 

34 comments:

  1. Hello Rosemary, The territory there seems very rugged. You must have gotten your exercise exploring that mountain.
    --Jim

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hello Jim - there were pathways through the rocks, but it was good to be able to stretch our legs after the long flight.

      Delete
  2. More beautiful photography. That little bird's iridescent feathers are magic. I loved seeing the colorful buildings as well as the landscapes. I look forward to the next installment. ;-)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Glad you enjoyed seeing the photos Catherine

      Delete
  3. Beautiful country, Mandela had such plans and hopes for it, but so far it hasn't worked out.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It seems corruption raises its ugly head in so many countries these days.

      Delete
  4. Replies
    1. Brilliant sunbird Debra - I loved seeing it.

      Delete
  5. The orange breasted sunbird is stunning, how good to be able to get up close. Love the vibrant colours of the buildings. I look forward to reading more of your travels:) B x

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. There were several Sunbirds flitting around and as usual the female is not a patch on the colourful male.

      Delete
  6. I'm way behind, Rosemary - can't keep up with everybody's posts! SA is vaguely familiar via family but your photographs are, as usual, stunning. that sunbird is simply exquisite. The poverty and inequality is a huge topic - of course.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The Sunbird was so exciting to see, but there were lots more images to come that were different and very memorable too.

      Delete
  7. What a dramatic place to visit Rosemary. The sunbird is just gorgeous, and the view both of and from Table Mountain must be breathtaking. The Malay buildings look so attractive, and I did not realise they were part of the South African story. We have quite a number of ex-pat white South African families in our area, who seem to have come to the sad conclusion they were better off in another country.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Dear Patricia - it is the same here too - there are families living here and several are from Zimbabwe too. We were told to be very careful with our belongings, but we never felt anything other than safe. The black people we came into contact with on a regular basis were absolutely delightful, lovely smiles, friendly and extremely helpful.

      Delete
  8. Love the exotic colours and Table Mountain. Used to read about the exploits of black South African climber Edmund February years ago who lived below it and put up many fine rock climbs on it, often in secret,as he was discouraged from joining the traditionally white mountaineering clubs in Cape Town. I believe he's a science professor at the local university now. Can't keep a (very determined) good man down :o)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I expect that you would have hike up Bob - it is a 2 hour but quite strenuous climb to the top. Re: black South African Edmund February - it is a very different culture there today.

      Delete
  9. Dear Rosemary,

    what a beautiful place and loved seeing your photos. The view from Table Mountain is amazing and love the last photo of the ocean pounding on the shore. The Sunbird is gorgeous with its pretty, iridescent colours and how pretty and colourful the houses are.
    Enjoy your trip and I look forward to seeing more
    hugs
    Carolyn

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Dear Carolyn - lovely to hear from you - we are home again now, and saw so many things that both surprised and amazed us in equal measure.
      Hope you are well.

      Delete
  10. Welcome back, Rosemary! I had wondered how far you travelled to see your unusual (in my impression) long absence in blogging. South Africa! I’m interested in these exotic plants, birds, tribes, and massive landscape, which you showed us in the posts. You must have been busy clicking your camera. The vista from the top of the Table Mountain is superb.

    Yoko

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you for your welcome back Yoko - our world is a wonderful place, isn't? Just a few hours travelling in a plane brings you to somewhere completely different in terms of wildlife, plantlife, and birdlife. Loved so much of what we saw in South Africa - the images will stay with me forever.

      Delete
  11. Now I REALLY want to get to Capetown - so beautiful! Love the sunbird photo - such colorful little birds. Glad you had clear weather for the Table Mtn. ride.
    I recall the shantytowns outside Jo-burg from the air, and then actually driving through an almost similar area in Nairobi. Those places really make it so hard to believe people actually have to live like that, in such squalor and sadness. African villages can seem poor and sparse with little of the material things we have, but they are different, the people are happier and not struggling such as in the those towns on the edges of cities.

    We are blessed that's for sure, and each day I am thankful.
    Hugs - happy weekend, Mary x

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Dear Mary - I had imagined that living conditions would be so much better for the black people than they are following on from apartheid. I suppose changes take years to happen before any real impact is felt. We met lots of the Afrikaan black people, they were delightful, smiley, helpful, friendly people.

      Delete
  12. Your photos are stunning and so colourful. For me it would have been like a dream to go up Table Mountain on a clear day and see beautiful plants, that sunbird and look down on the coastline far below.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. On top of Table Mountain was completely different to what I had imagine - it was a surprise and delight.

      Delete
  13. Nothing like going to places to realize the way it REALLY is in spite of what you imagine . Love the colorful Malai houses and the little Sunbird, so sweet :-)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. This little sunbird set a pattern for our trip - the unexpected may be just around the corner.

      Delete
  14. It must have been wonderful to go almost immediately up Table Mountain when you arrived see that amazing view and also discover that beautiful bird. Your first experiences of South Africa must have been quite mixed. Had you ever been to Africa before? Sarah x

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I have only ever been to north African countries before, which are very different.
      We saw so many memorable and also unexpected things in South Africa.

      Delete
  15. What a wonderful holiday you've had! I love your colourful photos. A friend of mine once ventured on tandem paragliding taking off from the top of a mountain just outside Cape Town. She was totally fascinated by it and I can see why.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It must be an exciting experience paragliding off this moumtain, but I personally would not have the courage.

      Delete
  16. Dearest Rosemary,
    Glad you had this wonderful experience, right upon arrival time!
    Yes, South Africa is an exotic paradise but it is not a safe haven... SADLY!
    Luckily you were not encountering any of that during your brief stay as a tourist.
    We had a lot more in-depth contact with the people as we did some work there.
    Also we got invited to the very high-security Broadcasting Corporation in Johannesburg for an interview by Public Relations. The female journalist took us to a newly build brick housing subdivision for black people, which got abandoned within half a year. The doors had been demolished and burned for cooking and a lot more. Indescribable! The issue is a lot more complex than what the MSM made the world believe.

    Half of the Malay people originated from Bengal and are not from Java. Bengal is the present day Bangladesh, thus explaining the vast Muslim population in SA. Bengali slaves did travel via Batavia. https://www.geni.com/projects/South-African-Slaves/10114
    Interesting to read more about the Malay people or Rainbowpeople https://joshuaproject.net/people_groups/18995/SF
    Looking forward to your next story!
    Hugs,
    Mariette

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Dear Mariette - we were fortunate in that we never felt any threat or had any trouble whatsoever during our visit. In fact quite the reverse everyone was extremely friendly and helpful.
      Thanks for your detailed explanation regarding the Malay culture. I will check out your links later and see what they say.

      Delete

❖PLEASE NOTE❖ Comments made by those who hide their identity will be deleted

“You can't stay in your corner of the forest waiting for others to come to you - you have to go to them sometimes”
― A.A. Milne, Winnie-the-Pooh