Cape Town, S-Africa

Our destination was Cape Town and surroundings.  We had not prepared or decided how to spend our time in Cape Town, the plan was just to enjoy and make plans day by day.

We took a few days to relax after our long travel via Dubai and that was very needed.  Our very good neighbors from Iceland, Ruth and Kolli, own a house in Pearl Valley Estate, 40 minutes inland from Cape Town.  This is a top class golf resort with breathtaking surroundings.  Ruth and Kolli offered us to stay in their guest quarters even if they were themselves travelling and would not be there to join us until our last week.

We did start to use the fantastic environment and facilities to play some golf rounds and also take walks and runs.  A great lifestyle to enjoy good things in a great environment.

Very close to the Peal Valley Estate is the prison where Nelson Mandela was released.  So much history and you can sense the importance of this “global treasure of a leader”.  The thing we actually missed to do this time was to visit the Robben Island, so we plan that for our next time in S-Africa.

We took good time to tour the towns and cities close to Pearl Valley.  Those are Paarl, Stellenbosch and Franschhoek.  All very nice and with their own unique characteristics.  Lots of great restaurants, shops and market places.  Gudrun and Dora were really on to make deals with the many sales guys in these markets and bought a variety of souvenirs.  So good to have good memories from all the places we have visited.

The first excursion we did was to drive south towards Cape Peninsula National Park.  On the way we came through small and colorful towns, one being Muizenberg and there we took some time to walk the beach and enjoy the atmosphere.  From there we headed to Simon´s Town, which is most famous for the colony of penguins that occupy the beach area.  It was special to watch them, as normally we associate penguins with the cold, not a warm beach in S-Africa.  From there our destinations were Cape Point and Cape of Good Hope in the National Park.  In the park we saw baboons (monkeys), ostriches and a variety of lizards and other small animals.  Lot of great “picture material” for Dora.

Another and longer journey we did was to head for the Garden Route.  This is over 500 km east from Cape Town.  We started by driving through the mountains up above Franschhoek and our destination was Plettenberg Bay.  First we drove through typical farming land and realized where from a lot of our fruits in Northern Europe come from.

One of the big dreams from Dora was to experience the wild animals at a safari lodge.  The one we visited gave us a good chance to see a lot of animals and our guide was a very lively and knowledgeable guy.  We came up and very close to rhino, zebras, giraffes, lions and elephants along with many different types of antelopes and smaller animals.  Dora really felt in heaven and probably took thousands of pictures.  It was all very exciting.

At a different location we did ride the elephants, which was a very special experience and truthfully quite challenging.  One thing that came as a surprise where the elephant hairs and their important purpose for the elephants.  Those hairs are really sensitive and yet they are rough when they rub on your leg.

Then we found a place where we could “sand board”, basically using surf boards to slide down the sand dunes.

When we returned back to Pearl Valley we finished our excursions with trip to Cape Town Waterfront and onto the top of Table Mountain.  Sunsets over Cape Town from Table Mountain are surely one of the many wonders of our world.

Our host, Ruth, started an initiative several years ago in one of the Townships close to Paarl.  She formed a charity called Enza, that has the great mission of empowering women.  They have now build an education center for women where they teach all kind of practical skills for the women to have a chance to brake out of the poverty trap.  We went to visit and bought a lot of the wonderful things they are making, like little angels, bracelets, necklases and bags.  Gudrun and Dora enjoyed going back spending some hours with the women and meet the little girls that came to Enza to do their homework after school.  We learned a lot from these women and how all the small things matter and how much is possible if only you have the will to do it.

One of the girls that have been throuh the Enza project and is now out in the world building a life for herself and her children is a 25 year old girl that Gudrun has been so fortunate to follow and support.  We visited the little family and had a whole day to better get to know them. Whitney is a true fighter that was brought up on the streets but has through hard work and determination managed to build a very decent life for herself and her two children, Divando (8) and Brittney (6).  We came to love them all even more and look forward to follow their progress through the coming years.