Monday, July 30, 2012

Cape of Good Hope to the Winelands

African Penguins along Africa's south coast
    We journeyed to the Cape of Good Hope.  In my readings over the years, I know early explorers, prisoners on their way to Australia, immigrants and others looked to this spot as the break in trips between Europe and the east.  The Dutch East India Company established the area as a restocking station.
    The legend is that the Indian Ocean and the Atlantic meet at the Cape.  That is not quite correct.  The two oceans meet a bit to the east of the Cape.  But the Cape is dramatic both in history and in its scenic beauty.
    Africa penguins are found along the coast.  We saw a colony at Boulder Beach.  Today they are called African Penguins, but formerly they were known as "jackass penguins."   Their "call" is the reason.  There could have been donkeys hiding in the vegetation instead of penguins!

Looking at the Cape

View from the lighthouse

Lighthouse at the Cape.  Great views such as the two above.

      It was on the way to the Cape that  we saw our first zebras.  These are Mountain Zebras, a species that was nearing extinction.  The population is slowly increasing but we were lucky to see these.  Note the stripes are clear black and white and do not cover the belly.   In another post you will see the Plains Zebras which have a tan "shadowing" and stripes which extend to the belly.

     South Africa has a large wine culture.  The country here reminded me of the California wine country near where I grew up.   The difference is in architecture;  Spanish influence of the missions and haciendas in Sonoma,  and  Dutch and Huguenot influences of South Africa. 

The sign indicates these are South African Reisling grapes.

    Boschendal was a large farm granted to a French Huguenot family.  The heirs built this beautiful home in 1812.   We arrived in late afternoon for perfect lighting. 

Outbuildings at Bochendal

another view of the home

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