Susanna and I spent the holidays in beautiful South Africa, enjoying the summer sun. Our friend John had invited us to stay with him in Cape Town – an offer we could not turn down! We spent the first two nights at Boulders Beach near Simon’s Town, home of a large colony of very charming and noisy African penguins. On our first morning, while penguin-watching at the crack of dawn, we met an American doctor who is working with local physicians in Botswana. He and his wife were kind enough to drive us all around the magnificent Cape Peninsula, and we hiked down to Cape Point and saw all sorts of animals, including a herd of bonteboks. Thank you, Mike and Lynne, for a wonderful day!
From there we moved to our friend’s amazing house in trendy Camps Bay. We did a lot of sightseeing in and around Cape Town (Bo-Kaap, De Waterkant, Table Mountain, the Klein Constantia winery, Stellenbosch, Kirstenbosch Botanical Garden, etc.), enjoyed great meals and conversations, and attended a star-studded New Year’s Eve party at casino magnate Sol Kerzner’s home (guests included John Cleese, Sarah Ferguson and the princesses, Mike Rutherford from Genesis, Roger Taylor from Queen, and Richard Branson; and Sol and Heather Kerzner were very gracious hosts). We were also fortunate enough to catch the traditional ‘Kaapse Klopse’ New Year’s parade.
We ended our trip at Addo Elephant National Park outside Port Elizabeth, where we saw lots and lots of exotic and dangerous animals, including lions, warthogs, kudus, red hartebeest, zebras, ostriches, a buffalo, and of course elephants. It was truly like The Lion King come alive! We spent quite a bit of time speaking with the local Xhosa guides. The language they speak contains three kinds of clicks… fascinating!
Speaking of language, Susanna was delighted to be able to read Afrikaans and had fun trying to understand the spoken language as well. I myself did not get much further than saying “Baie dankie” (sounds like “Buy a donkey”), which means “Thank you” in Afrikaans, and “Sizobonana” (sounds like “See You Banana”), which means “See you later” in Zulu. I also learned one of the Xhosa clicking sounds.
All in all, it was a fantastic trip and we are so thankful that we were able to go. Thank you, John, for all your generosity, and for giving us a reason to explore this remarkable country!
Below are a few photos (click to enlarge), and you can see a longer slideshow here.
(1) Cape of Good Hope, (2) The house in Camps Bay, (3) New Year’s Party at Sol Kerzner’s home, (4) New Year’s celebration in Bo-Kaap, (5) African penguins at Boulders Beach, (6) Addo Elephant National Park