GWV 2014 — Cape Town, South Africa

You’re only here for a short visit. Don’t hurry. Don’t worry. And be sure to smell the flowers along the way. ~~ Walter C. Hagen

Portuguese navigators pioneered the sea route to India, but it was the Dutch who set up a fortified settlement at the Cape in 1652. The indigenous Khoina initially welcomed them but later fled the colony. In 1688 the French Huguenots, fleeing from religious persecution, arrived at the Cape. They planted vineyards. By 1778, settler expansion had reached the pastures of the Xhosa tribesmen and frontier wars insued. The Xhosa had farmed the Eastern Cape for centuries. In 1795 British forces occupied the Cape. To the east, Shaka Zulu was jus beginning to build a powerful empire. Shaka Zulu, a gifted military strategist, became the chief in 1815. Shaka introduced the assegaii (short spear) and united lesser clans into a Zulu empire.

Relations between the British colonial administration and the Dutch became hostile. Dissatisfied Boer pioneers headed east and north in an exodus that became known as the Great Trek. Battles with the Zulu ensued. On December 16, 1838, the river ran red with blood as a 468 burgher commando defeated 12,500 Zulu warriors. In an effort to subjugate the fiercely independent Zulu, British officials provoked several incidents. In 1879 a 1200 strong British and colonial force was annihilated by 20,000 Zulu warriors at Isandhlwana Hill.

Africa’s Big Five
1. Lions. 2. Black rhinoceros. In serious danger of extinction. 3. Cape Buffalo. Can be extremely dangerous. 4. Leopards. and 5. Elephants.

Excursion to Cape of Good Hope
Ken arranged a full day tour to Cape Point for 11 of us. The cost was 695 rand for tour (about $65US) and was a superb value! We headed south from the port along the Atlantic side of the coastal route to Hout Bay Harbour. Here we stopped to take a 45 minute ride to a colony of 5,000 seals (for an additional charge of 55 rand). The ride was extremely bumpy and rolling! We continued south to the Boulders, a sheltered cove which is home to a thriving colony of African penguins (additional charge of 55 rand). The walk through the park is delightful with lots of sightings of penguins, busily building nests and stealing from one another!! The Chapman’s Peak Drive was nothing short of spectacular! We stopped at Cape Point for lunch and then Cape of Good Hope where we vied with the Chinese tourists for photographic spots!! We returned to Cape Town via the False Bay side, through charming beach side communities.

After the day’s excursion, Lisa, Joan, and I took the ship’s shuttle to the Victoria and Albert Mall for an nighttime shopping experience. I returned to the ship empty handed after a couple of hours and fell into bed exhausted. The next morning our intrepid threesome was out early to catch a taxi to the Green Market, hundreds of stalls of African souvenirs in downtown Capetown. We then ventured over to an upscale store, Tribal Trends, which was a shopper’s wonderland! I purchased a woven bowl and a pillow with a map of Africa.

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