Sunday 17 July
Today we did a huge tour of the entire Cape Town area!
We started from the UCT campus and went with all of the Study Abroad students (not just CIEE) and got to use really nice coach buses. We first went through downtown Cape Town to see South Africa’s national parliament, the area of Bo-Kaap (where the majority of Muslims live), and the V&A Waterfront, among many other things. We were let off the bus to take pictures in Clifton, which is right behind Lion’s Head Mountain.
After that we drove on a long, winding road off the coast of the Cape Peninsula towards Simon’s Town. It reminded me a lot of Big Sur in California because of the huge, amazing cliffs right up on the ocean. There were lots of beaches and surfing spots along the way that we really want to go back and visit! Simon’s Town is an area of Cape Town that used to be occupied by coloureds, but was designated as a Whites Only section under apartheid and all of those people were forcibly removed. It is also home to the famous Jackass (African) Penguin! It is called the Jackass Penguin because it makes noises really similar to those of donkeys. The colony was absolutely beautiful! The penguins were running around everywhere and we were able to get really close to them. They hop around all over the place and are surprisingly nimble.
Next stop we drove to the township of Ocean View, which is where the coloured people from Simon’s Town moved to. It is also the community that I will be spending a weekend in two weeks from now. We all went into a large community center and had local food and the Ocean View arts school performed dance routines for us. It was cool to experience some of the local culture, but I wish I had more of a chance to actually go out into the township instead. Thankfully I will get to go back soon!
Our final stop for the day was the Cape of Good Hope and Cape Point. We drove through the Cape of Good Hope Nature Reserve, which is home to lots of wildlife such as baboons, ostriches, gazelles and zebras. On our way we saw some wild ostriches running around! Once arriving at Cape Point, we climbed all the way up to the lighthouse and could look out into the ocean for miles. It is supposedly really common to see whales, dolphins and seals from there, but I couldn’t find any. From there we walked over to the Cape of Good Hope. It is said that these spots are the most Southwestern points in Africa (the southernmost point is Cape Agulhas, where the Indian and Atlantic Oceans meet). The views from these spots were absolutely breathtaking! My only wish is that we didn’t go with such a humongous group on the tour… it was really crowded most of the time. My friends and I tried to hang back as much as we could to avoid all of the congestion. On the way out of the Nature Reserve we saw baboons! They were running around houses trying to scavenge for food. Apparently tourists have given them so much food that they have become really aggressive and will ramsack any cars or bags they find. There were signs everywhere saying not to ‘taunt’ them!
Tonight we watched the Women’s World Cup final in the TV Room of our dorm. One of our fellow CIEE students studying here is from Japan, so all of the RA’s and other South Africans in the room were rooting for Japan! We decided in the end that here rooting for the USA is like rooting for the Yankees… nobody likes teams like that! It was a tough loss, but a fun night anyway.