Tag Archives: South Africa

Welgelegen: A Place to Call Home

25 Oct

In Cape Town I was farther from home than I had ever been in my life. That made me appreciate my boutique hotel, Welgelegen, all the more. I commend my safari company, Africa Adventure Consultants, for listening to my preferences for a quiet and homey place to stay. They certainly found it here. It was located in the quiet and safe neighborhood of Gardens near Kloof Street. They had resident tourist agents who could arrange tours. My third day there they arranged for my own private tour of the Cape Flats townships and the wine country near Stellenbosch and Franschhoek. Every morning I could choose breakfast items from a buffet in addition to ordering from the kitchen. I also had a view of Lion’s Head from my window. Really I could not have asked for a better accommodation.

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Parting Shots

23 Oct

Just a few more photos of plants at Kirstenbosch Botanical Garden in the winter.

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The Boomslang

21 Oct

Earlier this year Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens opened its newest attraction, a tree canopy walkway which rises above the treetops and gives you an expansive view of the gardens and distant Cape Town. You can enter on one of two points on the hillside and the walkway curves gradually upward until you are above everything. It is named The Boomslang, after a large venomous snake. Here are photos.

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Mandela’s Gold

21 Oct

Nelson Mandela, (18 July 1918 – 5 December 2013) was a South African anti-apartheid revolutionary, politician and philanthropist who served as President of South Africa from 1994 to 1999. He was South Africa’s first black chief executive, and the first elected in a fully representative democratic election. His government focused on dismantling the legacy of apartheid through tackling institutionalized racism, poverty and inequality, and fostering racial reconciliation.  (from Wikipedia)

There are many ways to honor the memory and the accomplishments of the late Nelson Mandela. For one, a flower now bears his name,  Mandela’s gold strelitzia. It is more rare than its cousin, the orange and blue Bird of Paradise. Both varieties grow in Kirstenbosch.

Mandela’s Gold Strelitzia

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Bust of Nelson Mandela in Kirstenbosch Gardens.

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The more common orange and blue variety, known as Bird of Paradise.

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French Aloe…It Grows Everywhere

20 Oct

I had to know what that gorgeous orange flower was that grew like a flame on a stalk. French aloe. And it was blooming here in the dead of winter. French aloe adds spots of brilliant color to the landscape on a gray and cloudy day. Enjoy!

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A Winter Afternoon in the Garden

20 Oct

Upon my return to the hotel I learned that this afternoon would be the only good weather of my remaining time in Cape Town.  After Table Mountain my Number Two destination was the botanical garden. Visitor coordinator Colleen convinced me that this was my best plan for the afternoon. Next stop: Kirstenbosch.

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Kirstenbosch Botanical Garden is situated on the eastern side of a mountain in the city of Cape Town. The afternoon I spent there roaming the hillside pathways was an overcast, breezy day, but without rainfall. I enjoyed a late lunch at their restaurant before I began wandering. Here are some landscape shots that show the lay of the land. Even in winter there are many plants that are in blossom.

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I am from St. Louis, Missouri in the US. We have a fine botanical garden in my hometown as well. I was very proud to see the signpost at the entrance to the garden indicating the distance in kilometers to my home.

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Coastal Resorts and The Twelve Apostles

18 Oct

Since we couldn’t ride to the top of Table Mountain, we had time to drive through some of the resort communities along the west coast of the peninsula. This was beautiful and rugged area.  Below is Camps Bay with the mountain named The Twelve Apostles in the background.

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Bantry Bay below is one of the most expensive, exclusive places to live in the Cape Town region. And it was lunch time and the end of our city tour.

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The Big Bang

18 Oct

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From Table Mountain we drove to another of the mountain landmarks of Cape Town: Signal Hill. Signal Hill gets its name from the  cannon that is fired every day to mark the noon hour. We arrived shortly before the hour. The visibility was poor here also, quite foggy. Today was the 65,429th firing of the cannon. Impressive and loud, but not nearly as impressive as the sight I beheld when I went to the lip of the overlook.

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Cape Town is one of the most beautiful cities in the world. From here you can see the soccer stadium that was constructed for the World Cup several years ago. You can also see Robben Island in the distance, where Nelson Mandela was incarcerated for 18 years.

Hidden Highlight

18 Oct

Anyone who travels to Cape Town looks forward to seeing magnificent Table Mountain, which towers over the city. That was Number One on my list of sites to visit. I really wanted to take the cable car to the top. The day of my city tour, however, visibility was zero and the winds were strong. When we arrived at the lower cable car station, this is what we found.

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During my three-day stay in Cape Town Table Mountain eventually did clear, and I was able to view it in all its majesty. The winter winds remained strong though, and the cable car was closed. I guess I will just have to return another time.

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Here is the view from my hotel and from the highway returning from Wine Country.

High End African Souvenirs

18 Oct

No city tour of Cape Town is complete without a stop at a jewelry store selling diamonds and other gems. Ours was no exception. At this store they offered a demonstration of the process of cutting a diamond. In addition there were many expensive African souvenirs on sale. The whole store was very eye-catching. I am not a big fan of expensive jewelry, but I admit that I was bowled over by the beauty of Tanzanite, a beautiful and rare deep blue gemstone found only in one small vein in Tanzania. I was tempted to buy one, but resisted. Here are some photos of ways to spend a lot of money.

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Blue Tanzanite! African dolls! Carved ostrich eggs!