S Africa continued…

Sorry for the gap in posts but the last few days have been non-stop and the group has been on the go plus dodging a huge winter storm hitting Cape Town!

My last day on my own had me hiking up Hildeberg Mountain for a 6+ mile trek, thankfully, only half was uphill!  Beautiful recreation area covered with all different colored Proteus bushes, several bird species, magnificent views of the surrounding mountains and the ocean as we looked down over Cape Town!
There are many trails for those wanting to hike, mountain bike and trail run.
After the hike, we treated ourselves to a quaint winery just at the bottom of the mountain with a fantastic restaurant serving a variety of dishes and gourmet pizzas. Just what was needed after that hike!
A quick shower and change of clothes, we were back to exploring more of what Cape Town had to offer.  A drive north on the coast road was one gasp after another on each hair pin turn that afforded us a new view high above the cliffs that plummeted to the ocean.
On the way back, we spotted 2 whale blows but were a little further out so didn’t get to actually see the whale.  It was now time to go and listen to some great music at local pub located in a picturesque marina.   A couple drinks later, it was time to move on to our next stop.  Another pub/restaurant at a different Marina offering an awe inspiring view of the sunset.
The rest of my group were arriving in a few short hours so we made our own way to our home for the next 3 nights.  And what a home it was!!!
We checked into Mariner’s Guest House in Simonstown and the oohs and awws were immediate!  The guest house was perched on the side of a hill with all rooms and living area overlooking the bay from spacious decks and glass windows. The main living area was cozy with a wood burning beautiful stone fireplace and it was sure. Ended over the next 2 days.
Not wanting to waste any daylight in this magnificent setting we hiked to the bottom of the hill in search of food and find it, we did!  And, we also found out what this area was famous for….penguins!  As we looked out the window overlooking the sand and surf, there were the penguins.  Floating around in the surf, waddling out of the water one by one, climbing stairs, tumbling down stairs and back in the water again only to repeat a few minutes later.  It was quite comical and we gobbled down our lunch so we could get a closer look at these adorable creatures.
Down on the beach they were pretty much un-afraid of us which allowed close photo ops.  There is a sectioned off area for the nesting penguins so they can have some peace as well.
With the threat of a huge storm due to move into Cape Town the next day, our shark dive was cancelled in Simonstown but our most amazing Sonja, from Africa Tour fixed that for us immediately.  New plan….depart at 4.30 am and head to Gansbaai, a 2 hour + drive.  Nobody objected since that is what we were there for right?
Morning came quickly and we were all up and out anxiously getting ready for our next adventure.  We arrived just after sunrise and were quickly ushered on the boat as the tide was going out and we would not be able to get out of the marina.  The boat ride was a short and within minutes had our first Great White.  We had several sharks approached but as quickly as they appeared, they were equally as quick to disappear.  The skipper decided to move a short distance away which proved to be an excellent decision as we got our best show yet.  A very large shark gave the people in the cage at the time an up close and personal encounter!
We were on a half day tour so it was time to go and we needed to get back on the road and head back to Simonstown as we had to get to Cape Point before the weather moved in if we had any hopes of seeing this famous land mark.
I am so glad that the weather held off just long enough for us to get to the top for a breathtaking 360 degree view of the Atlantic and Indian Oceans.  Driving out of the park, we were met in the road by a group of Ostriches!  Kinda strange to see a group of Ostriches on the beach.  It seemed like they were transplants but that was their habitat.
Our dinner was at a very eclectic restaurant called Cape to Cuba and when you walked in  it was like a walk on the beach outside and inside was decorated with candelabras on the dining tables, chandeliers hanging from the every inch of the ceiling, Cuban memorabilia on the walls and a humidor with authentic cigars (white expensive too I might add).
That night the storm came in with a vengeance.  Very strong winds and torrents of rain.  It sounded like a hurricane and it was still going strong the next morning.  It was of course, an inside day before moving to our next home closer to the airport.  We spent the afternoon touring a winery and lunch before heading to Three Boutique Hotel for the night before heading to the airport for our next adventure in Umkomaas south of Durban.
So far, the trip has been amazing.  From the people to the food to the scenery it just keeps getting better.
Diving and Safari is next so keep checking back for the latest and newest adventures.
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