Capetown - Our gateway to Africa.

Trip Start Feb 26, 2006
Trip End Nov 28, 2006

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Flag of South Africa  ,
Tuesday, March 7, 2006

We spent the first week of our trip in the beautiful city of Capetown, South Africa. Capetown is such a cosmopolitan city that it was easy for us to forget we are in Africa. There is so much to see and do, and we were lucky to have seen most of the interesting sights including: the infamous Table Mountain that is a looming and ever-present backdrop to the city, the beautiful beaches, and the Two Oceans Aquarium where the highlight is a massive tank with several large sharks, stingrays, and other fish. We also took in some culture and history with visits to the local neighborhoods, including the Muslim Bo-Kaap area with the brightly painted houses, and a tour of the notorious Robben Island prison where Nelson Mandela and other political prisoners were jailed. The Robben Island tour was particularly interesting because all of the guides are ex-prisoners and give real life accounts of what the prison was really like.

Heading out of Capetown, we visited the winery regions (Stellenbosch, Franschhoek, and Paarl), the penguin colony where hundreds of African Penguins (formerly known as Jackass Penguins for the braying noise they make) just roam about on the beach, as well as the Cape of Good Hope Nature Reserve which is the most south western point of Africa.

Our highlights:
- Clifton Beach on the Atlantic Ocean: the scenery is stunning here...beautiful white sand and blue water (it's very cold though!), big yachts just off the shore, mountains in the background with houses dotting the slopes. It seemed as if we were in the Mediterranean, not Africa!
- Mont Rochelle winery in Franschhoek: this was the prettiest winery we have ever been to! It overlooks the vineyards and the valley where the town is, and you can see the mountains on the other side. The day was clear and sunny, and we had a picnic and wine tastings on their front lawn. It was a great way to spend a beautiful day.

We had a great time in Capetown, a truly fantastic city that everyone should visit, but we are ready to see the REAL Africa!

-- Amy
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