Thursday, May 12, 2016

May 7, 2016

It seems the internet is sketchy so I will have to add pics when I get home.

After a hardy breakfast this morning we all  headed up to the top of Table  Mountain.  Unfortunately we could not go to the top because of gale force winds. 

The main feature of Table Mountain is the level plateau approximately 2 miles from side to side, edged by impressive cliffs. The flat top of the mountain is often covered by orographic clouds, formed when a south-easterly wind is directed up the mountain's slopes into colder air, where the moisture condenses to form the so-called "table cloth" of clouds.  Legend attributes this phenomenon to the smoking contest between the Devil and a local pirate called Van Hunks.  When the table cloth is seen, it symbolizes the contest.

Our next stop was Cape Peninsula and a Seal Island Cruise to see all the seals.  This is also a great feeding ground for great white sharks and we learned about the different warnning flags that fly when they are spotted.  Unfortunately the cruise was canceled due to high winds. 

Seal Island is a small land mass located 3.5 miles off the northern beaches of False Bay.  The island is so named because of the great number of Cape fur seals that occupy it.  It is 5 acres in area and home to approsimately 64,000 cape fur seals.

We visited the Penguin Colony.  African penguins grow to 24-28 inches tall and weigh between 4.9-7.7 lbs.  They have a black stripe and black spots on the chest, the pattern of spots being unique for every penguin, like human fingerprints.  Their distinctive black and white coloring is a vital form of camouflage called countershading - white for underwater predators looking upwards and black for predators looking down onto the dark water.  These penguins have the nickname of "jackass penguin" which comes from the loud noises they make that sounds like a donkey. 

We stopped at the Cape of Good for a photo op and almost got blown away.    We rode up to the top of Cape Pointe in a funicular and we thought we were going to loose a few with the winds.  Boulder has nothing on this area and the winds they get.  We were told this is highly irregular for this time of year. 

Our last stop for the day was the Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens.  Kirstenbosch is a famous botanical garden nestled at the eastern foot of Table Mountain.  The garden is one of nine National Botanical Gardens covering five of South Africa's six different habitats.  It was founded in 1913 to preserve the country's unique flora.  Kirstenbosch places a strong emphasis on the cultivation of indigenous plants.

After dinner we had to pack so we could leave at o dark o clock to catch our flight to Hoedspuit.

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