Penguins at Boulders
Cape Point -- southernmost point in Africa
View from halfway up to the lighthouse
We found the bus stop, waited around and a bus appeared. Old, noisy, and a very jerky transmission, but we got to the waterfront, roamed a bit and boarded the Maharini for a sail around Table Bay. Perfect sailing weather – clear, blue skies and wind. High swells, but we saw Cape fur seals, penguins, and common dolphins.
View of Table Mountain from the sailboat.
A travel day. A long travel day, beginning with Allenby insisting that everyone take their correctly rotated seats. Cape Town airport is as affected by World Cup 2010 construction as Johannesburg was. Allenby did get us all checked in, and boarding passes distributed. Since he had allowed time for glitches, we had nearly an hour to wait for our flight. I wandered down to the bookstore and was surprised to see Karen Rose’s Die for Me prominently displayed. I wonder if my agent is having any success with marketing When Danger Calls in Japan. No internet access to this point, so I’m in total vacation mode. Collecting luggage in Durban wasn’t any different from anywhere else, and we were all glad our bags arrived—the plane had been overbooked according to our seat partner, a tour guide for another company.
The new bus was ready, but it was smaller than the Cape Town bus. Plus, we’d picked up two other group members who’d been stranded by snow in Minnesota, and then spent nearly 2 days at the Dakar airport due to equipment problems. So, fewer seats and not enough space for all the luggage. Some of it had to come inside, filling the toilet compartment, as much overhead space as possible, plus any empty seats. Given the different seat configuration, more adjusting had to be done to comply with our guide’s rules.
We headed out for a city tour of Durban, but between it being Sunday and rerouted roads due to construction, it turned out to be little more than a view of a downtrodden city center, and given the length of the drive, an hour that probably could have been eliminated from the itinerary. We headed along the coast to the small town (more like a real estate development) of Ballito for a rest stop and brief shopping break, since lunch on the plane wasn’t more than a snack. From there it was more than two hours to our hotel in Hwuhwule. We finally realized that the destination Allenby kept calling Schluschluwe was the way to pronounce Hwuhwule. When we entered the province, signs began appearing in three languages: English, Africaans, and the more local Zulu. Trying to understand the “natives” even though they’re speaking English, is a challenge because they pronounce things so differently, and the inflection isn’t the same as what we’re used to.
At the hotel, we were greeted by singing chambermaids in mob-capped uniforms, and a welcome fruit drink and pineapple. They grow the pineapple in the area, and it’s as good as any of the Hawaiian fruit we had in the islands. The maids also served as porters and carried our luggage to our rooms. (Women’s work here). Dinner was lavish and very African. Game stews, chicken, lots of salads, vegetables, and a delicious butternut squash soup, and we tried a Pinotage wine which I’d never heard of until my brother alerted me to it before our trip. Buffet style, as is just about everything we’ve had here.
We had a 5:00 wake-up call scheduled for tomorrow’s drive through Hwuhwule Game Reserve (second National Park in the world after Yellowstone), so after a delightful demonstration of Zulu dance by local students, we called it a night.