We got up early so that we could get to Betty's Bay relatively early. Our backpackers' didn't serve breakfast, so we took off hoping we would find a place to get something to eat. But alas, no. Fortunately I had a package of peanuts with me, so we munched on that and drank some water... not ideal, but better than nothing...
The actual penguin reserve is at a place called Stony Point Nature Reserve. It's a bit more “off the beaten track” than Boulder's Beach, the better-known locale for penguins in South Africa. I think Betty's Bay is nicer than Boulder's Beach (except that you don't get the nice sandy beach photos), as the area seems bigger and there are more bushes and “caves” and holes in the ground for the penguins to hide if the humans (and other creatures) get to be too much for them.
So we saw penguins. Lots and lots of penguins. Adult penguins. Fuzzy baby penguins. ”Teenage” penguins. And among the penguins, lots of cormorants. The cormorants were busy gathering nesting material, but a few took the time to walk among the penguins, invoking curiosity in the babies (“huh, what's this?”) and aggression in the adults, who were pecking at the rather indifferent cormorants.
And if the photos here and the links posted weren't enough, there are even more penguin photos on my flickr site... just click around and enjoy ;-)
We spent about an hour at the penguin colony. Afterwards, we headed towards Cape Town, making lots of scenery stops to take photos...
Our next major stop was Somerset West, to go to a shopping center there. Boyfriend of feitpingvin was hoping to find some clothes there. We got some lunch first though... at Dros, a chain restaurant. We ate at their Stellenbosch locale last year and enjoyed the food. This year – ugh. Bad mistake. First of all, it took forever for our food to get to us. Secondly, I threw up around a half hour after eating it :-/ Boyfriend of feitpingvin didn't get sick, so it must have been something Ms. Stomach didn't care for... grrmf...
He didn't find what he was looking for in the mall either. So we just headed towards Cape Town. First, the car was in desperate need of a good wash. We used the same car wash place as we did last year when we were going to return the car; their price had gone up to what... 60 rand for a complete wash (including vacuuming the interior) or something. We then went to our backpackers' (Inn Long Street) to dump our luggage, but this was a bit of a hassle. The girl at the desk, although rather sweet, wanted us to just sit down and relax. She didn't seem to get that 1) we were parked out on Long Street and parking costs money (a few rand hah!) and we really didn't want to stay parked out there anyway, 2) we had to get the car returned to the rental agency and we wanted to get that done right away so that we could relax properly afterwards. Sheesh :-) But we finally made it clear that this had to be done right away and everything was cool...
Heh. And when we returned the car, boyfriend of feitpingvin noted that he had driven over 2700 km :-) The guy who we handed the car over to also failed to see where we had that little accident pre-Harrismith, so boyfriend of feitpingvin pointed it out to him. It's best to be honest about it. Sure, we were insured and had to pay some administration costs, but that's better than getting caught later on. Oh, and he was also quite pleased that we got the car washed properly...
So we finally got back to Long Street, and hung out for a good part of the afternoon at Bob's Bar & Bistro. It's a really cool place; they have brews from Boston Breweries in Cape Town (a microbrewery). Yum yum, whale tail ale!
We decided to go walk around a little and then go back to the backpackers' to rest before dinner; we were planning on meeting some people I met through the Lonely Planet Thorn Tree African Board (South Africa). We eventually met at Khaya-Nyama - a restaurant specializing in meat dishes. I think the vegetarian platter that one of the women ordered was the “deadliest” of all though. It was huge! Not to say that anyone else got small portions. The food was plentiful and very tasty. At least my eland steak was tasty. And boyfriend of feitpingvin's grilled meat was presented in an “interesting” manner :-) Though we wanted the warthog ribs... but they were out. Boo hoo ;-)
Our wine: Fleur du Cap Pinotage 2005 (Stellenbosch)
color: (too dark to see properly)
nose: mint, tobacco, spices
palate: full-bodied and powerful, slightly acidic, flavor of very ripe dark berries, with a hint of cocoa
They had some cool live music going on as we were eating and chatting. The overall atmosphere was great. I highly recommend this place. And it was a very nice evening... the people who were able to show up – carolineb + husband, CTLocal, and tc_sebba were all very lovely and I wouldn't hesitate meeting them again :-)