Sunday, November 20, 2011

7th Posting - Cape Town, Stellenbosch, and the Magnificent Cape!

The tour concludes with three glorious days in Cape Town. Friday morning we headed for Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens, on the backside of Table Mountain. It is such a fantastic setting and the native trees and flowers are spectacular. From there we headed into the Stellenbosch wine region and enjoyed a cellar tour and huge, delicious lunch at the Middelvlei Winery on the edge of town. The town itself boasts a marvelous collection of 19th century buildings, many in the 'Cape Dutch' architectural style. 

A double-collared sunbird rests on a protea at Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens.

Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens

Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens with Table Mountain as a backdrop

King protea - South Africa's national flower

Libby, Kent & Babs at Kirstenbosch

Libby and Babs in a ginormous tree!

A tree aloe!

Camphor Avenue in Kirstenbosch

Middelvlei Winery - John uses the wine thief.

Clothesline in the town of Stellenbosch


Stellenbosch, Burgerhuis, now a museum and offices

Stellenbosch - Church in the main square

Back in Cape Town, the Bo Kap (Malay) district provides bright color!

Cape Town's Soccer Stadium, built for the 2010 World Cup

The Convention Center next to our hotel is hosting the unveiling of the new 911 (for 2012) model of Porsche. It is a month-long event with 120 of the new cars and currently they are flying in dealers from around the world to 'test' them in the Cape area. Sixty of them enjoyed Chapman's Peak Drive with us today!!

The new 911 Porsche

Hout Bay on Chapman's Peak Drive

The group (minus Ruth) at Hout Bay

Chapman's Peak Drive

Nordhoek Beach

But it's a really good picture....!!

Penguins? In Africa??

Yup, and not just a few of them. 
The African Penguin is known as the 'Jackass Penguin' because it sounds like a braying donkey.

The Cape of Good Hope, from Cape Point

an amazing diversity of flora in the 'Cape Floral Kingdom'

The group at Cape Point, high above the Cape of Good Hope

Chris leaps high at Cape Point (much to his mother's chagrin)
The Cape Peninsula is in the background.

Ostrich at the Cape

Thousands of cormorants and gulls enjoy a wild sea at the Cape!

Barbara at the Cape of Good Hope

Baboon Mother carries her baby

Evening light over Cape Town, viewed from the side of Table Mountain

Chris, Libby, Babs, and Barbara at Table Mountain.
The Lion's Head is in the background.

Ruth smiles in front of Table Mountain

Sunset from Signal Hill, and so ends our wonderful tour as the group flies home to the USA.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

6th Posting - Oudtshoorn and Route 62

From Knysna we continued another hour on the Garden Route, enjoying stunning ocean vistas, passes and gorges, and of course, wonderful flowers and trees. From George we turned inland and crossed the Montagu Pass into the semi-arid Little Karoo region. What a change. Oudtshoorn is the ostrich capital of the world and also home to Cango Caves. After a night at the delightful La Plume Guesthouse, we spent a day on Route 62, the 'longest wine route' in the world. What an amazing day of diverse scenery!
Indian Ocean at Wilderness Bay

Checking out the goods at Wilderness Bay overlook

Chris challenges the mighty surf at Victoria Bay

Cango Caves

Cango Caves

Village church and Jacaranda trees at Cango

John stands on an ostrich egg without breaking it!

Libby demonstrates the size of an ostrich egg

The ostrich are fascinated by Babs!


Ruth takes a wild ride on the ostrich. The first one slipped and fell, dumping Ruth onto the ground, but she got up and rode around the circuit again.

After Ruth's fall, we didn't think Babs would take her turn, but she got on and screamed around the arena!

Dinner at Nostalgia, with old records for placemats.

Nostalgia also provided hats and gloves

and the food was delicious!

Amarula Malva Pudding
* 1 egg
* 250 ml sugar
* 1 tbs smooth apricot jam
* 2 tbs softened butter
* 250 ml flour
* 1 tsp baking soda
* pinch of salt
* 250 ml milk
*1 tsp vinegar

* 125 ml melted butter
* 200 ml cream
*125 ml caster sugar
* 80 ml Amarula

Beat egg and sugar until creamy, then add jam and butter, stirring to combine thoroughly. Sift together the dry ingredients and pour them into the egg-sugar mixture. Stir to combine. Pour in the milk slowly. When the mixture is combined, add the vinegar. Pour into a baking dish and cover with foil. Bake at 130 degrees Celsius for about 45 minutes. Remove foil and bake for a further 10 minutes, or until golden brown.
To make the sauce, combine the butter, cream and caster sugar in a saucepan over low heat and stir until the sugar is dissolved and the sauce thickens – this will take a few minutes. Take the sauce off the heat and add the Amarula. Pour the sauce slowly over the pudding as soon as it comes out of the oven. Once the pudding is saturated with sauce, pour the remainder into a jar for guests to add. Serve with custard on the side.

Rest stop at the Country Pumpkin on Route 62

Vast vistas of vineyards and mountains

Amazing agricultural lands

Climbing the du Toitskloof Pass

And we are rewarded at the top with a stunning view down over Paarl, the Stellenbosch wine region, and Table Mountain off in the distance.

Hitchhiking chickens! Why don't they fly off the pickup??