A Travellerspoint blog

October 2018

Perth to Cape Town

...via Singapore and then on to Paarl, Malmesbury, Franschoek and Hermanus

sunny 28 °C
View Sam Smart in World War II & Back to Oz on SteveJD's travel map.

After a sad farewell to Perth we had an unmemorable flight with Singapore Airlines to Singapore and then on to Cape Town where my brother, Dave, was patiently waiting (we had been slightly delayed). Dave drove us out to his lovely house in Paarl where later on we were joined by his wife, Pat, and her sister, Mary. Paarl, by the way, is named for the huge dome behind Dave's house which glistens after rainfall and evidently the Afrikaners who settled the area felt that it then resembled a pearl.

After a bit of bird watching in Dave's garden, we headed out to near Malmesbury, north of Cape Town, where we left Mary with my eldest nephew, Pete and his wife Pam. They have a gorgeous property from which they run their business, helped by their daughter who also keeps her horses on the property. Malmesbury was named after the Earl of Malmesbury the father-in-law of Sir Lowry Cole, a Governor of the Cape Colony.

Cape Robin Chat enjoying the bird bath

Cape Robin Chat enjoying the bird bath

Cape Sparrow - unfortunately, the birds chose to perch on a thick cable!

Cape Sparrow - unfortunately, the birds chose to perch on a thick cable!

Panoramic view over Pete and Pam's place

Panoramic view over Pete and Pam's place

After leaving them we stopped for lunch at a lovely, quirky, restaurant De Malle Meul (meaning The Crazy Mill but is also a play on words from the owners' previous business De Malle Madonna and the word mallemeule, meaning a merry-go-round) in the village of Philadelphia (thanks to the Cape Country Calls for the information). The restaurant was indeed part of an old flour mill which operated from the 1920s to 1976 and is well worth a visit. Philadelphia itself is about 150 years old and is built on a portion of land which was donated by a landowner to the local brethren to build a church. It is believed that this may be how it gained its name which means 'love of brothers'. It is only 30km north of Cape Town so if you have wheels, it is in easy reach and would make a rewarding day out.

At this time, the Cape had been without any significant rain for a very long time and the landscape was fairly well parched, so no green hills but rather yellowy brown mountains. Back at Dave's we also had to observe water restrictions which had been in place for some time and even months afterwards have only been slightly relaxed.

De Malle Meul restaurant

De Malle Meul restaurant

Steve, Dave and Pat enjoying lunch

Steve, Dave and Pat enjoying lunch

A Speckled Pigeon

A Speckled Pigeon

Panoramic view over Paarl and the mountains from the verandah at Dave and Pat's place

Panoramic view over Paarl and the mountains from the verandah at Dave and Pat's place

Over the next couple of days the family gathered, Martin & Margaret (my sister and her husband) and David & Tara (their eldest son and his wife) from England and Dave & Pat's youngest son, Richard, from Johannesburg. We all gathered in a Paarl restaurant to celebrate the 16th birthday of Richard's son, Adam - my great nephew- makes me feel really old! Dave & Pat's other son Phil, just managed to make the date between overseas work assignments although, unfortunately, his sons couldn't make it in time.

On a fine Saturday, everybody made their way out to Freedom Hill Winery to celebrate Dave's 80th birthday (how can I have an 80 year old brother?!). The winery had a beautiful outlook over the mountains and was situated near what used to be the Victor Verster Prison from where Nelson Mandela began his long Walk to Freedom in 1990, hence the name of the winery, one of the newer wineries in the area.

The Party venue

The Party venue

Before the masses descend

Before the masses descend

View from the winery

View from the winery

Some of the goodies on offer

Some of the goodies on offer

From the left, Pat, Dave and Margaret

From the left, Pat, Dave and Margaret

We all trooped out to Pete & Pam's place for another family get together the following day, followed by a couple of days sight-seeing.
The family at Pete and Pam's

The family at Pete and Pam's

Dave, Margaret and Steve

Dave, Margaret and Steve

Double-collared Sunbird in Pete and Pam's garden

Double-collared Sunbird in Pete and Pam's garden

Dave first took us all over the pass above Franschoek to Hermanus. On the way we passed the Theeswaterkloof Dam ('tea waters gully' being the literal translation from Afrikaans - clearly the water, when flowing, is brown in colour). The dam was almost completely dry, emphasising the severe water problem experienced in the Cape.

Dust blowing off the Theewaterskloof Dam

Dust blowing off the Theewaterskloof Dam

On the way to Hermanus, we stopped for lunch at a delightful little spot in the mountains, Houw Hoek. A very small place but with good food and an interesting and colourful shop. Its name has alternative origins; Hoek means 'corner' but Hou(w) means 'hold' (Afrikaans) or 'cattle' (Khoi) and so means either Hold Corner or Cattle Corner. The reason for 'Hold' is that it was a good place to hold or stop on the way over the mountains.
In the days of the Dutch East India Company, there was a toll gate here so the meaning of 'hold' gains some weight.

Deep in discussion at lunchtime

Deep in discussion at lunchtime

Hats for sale

Hats for sale

The lower shop area

The lower shop area

Hermanus is a delightful small but smart town on the south coast. We had visited before when the whales were cruising close to shore but it was the wrong time of year for them so we contented ourselves with birds, dassies and shopping and eating! We returned along the beautiful coast road before striking back inland to Stellenbosch and Paarl.

Hermanus owes its origins to Hermanus Pieters who grazed his sheep near a spring there and also fished while waiting. In due course the settlement became known as Hermanuspietersfontein. Not too surprisingly the postal service felt this was a bit too long and in 1902, it was shortened to Hermanus.

Cape and White-breasted Cormorants

Cape and White-breasted Cormorants

View along the coastline in front of the town

View along the coastline in front of the town

Old Coastguard Hut

Old Coastguard Hut

Dassie sunbathing

Dassie sunbathing

Fishing boats in a row

Fishing boats in a row

The following day, we were taken out to Franschoek (French Corner) , the blokes all going to an unbelievable motor museum owned by the billionaire Johann Rupert. The collection covers around 100 years of motoring history and is a 'must see' for any motoring enthusiast visiting the area. The ladies meanwhile had been on a shopping spree in the lovely but expensive shopping centre in the village. We joined them for lunch at Reuben's, a fabulous restaurant there and then visited La Motte winery (owned by another member of the Rupert family). La Motte takes its name from the Provencal village of La Motte d'Aigues, presumably the home of some early settlers who were French Huguenots.

Unusually, we did not visit for the wines or food but rather to see the art gallery and in particular the exhibition of art by Jacobus Hendrik Pierneef. He painted mainly landscapes, very identifiably South African but with a very individual style which I certainly enjoyed. Part of the gallery is devoted to a seasonal exhibition which comprised some wonderful flower paintings and a sculpture which was being worked on during the season. The area around Franschoek, Paarl and Stellenbosch has enough of interest to keep any traveller busy and interested, as well as being very well fed and watered too!

Statue at the entrance to the winery

Statue at the entrance to the winery

Walking up to the first museum buildings

Walking up to the first museum buildings

1904 Oldsmobile and 1904 Mars 'carette'

1904 Oldsmobile and 1904 Mars 'carette'

Horn on 1911 Lorraine Dietrich

Horn on 1911 Lorraine Dietrich

Nelson Mandela's 2004 BMW 760

Nelson Mandela's 2004 BMW 760

1982 Delorean - "Back to the Future"

1982 Delorean - "Back to the Future"

1961 Aston Martin DB4 GT

1961 Aston Martin DB4 GT

[]La Motte Winery building

La Motte Winery building

Sculpture work-in-progress

Sculpture work-in-progress

Posted by SteveJD 09:19 Archived in South Africa Tagged animals birds wine south_africa hermanus paarl malmesbury franschoek Comments (0)

Perth and Fremantle

..and then it's au revoir Australia and hello South Africa!

sunny 27 °C
View Sam Smart in World War II & Back to Oz on SteveJD's travel map.

In our travels we have come across frequent references to the traditional (Aboriginal) owners of the land and WA is no exception. The Perth area was and still is the home of the Nyoongar people who appear to have led a nomadic existence in the general area, extending well beyond the modern day bounds of Perth and its satellite cities.

European settlement started in the 1820s and before we continue with the blog, there is time for a few relevant place names - Perth, rather boringly, was named by Captain James Stirling in 1829 after Perth in Scotland, "in honour of the birthplace and parliamentary seat in the British House of Commons of Sir George Murray, Secretary of State for War and the Colonies.", to quote Wikipedia. Fremantle evidently had a slightly lower status (sorry Darrell, if you're reading this!) as it was named after Captain Charles Fremantle who established a camp on the site in 1829 . Subiaco was settled in 1851 by Italian Benedictine monks who named the area after Subiaco in Italy, where Benedict of Nursia, the founder of the order, had commenced his work. The Swan River was named for the black swans which were seen there and are now the State emblem (not the Mighty Eagles - yet!)

Kalamunda is unusual in that the name was requested by settlers in the area (a whole 32 back in 1901) who chose a name cobbled together from two Aboriginal words, 'Cala' meaning fire, home, district, settlement and 'mun-da' meaning 'forest or bush'. The words and their meanings were gleaned from a book on Aboriginal language by Bishop Salvado (the founder of the mission at New Norcia which we visited last year).

In our last few weeks in Perth we caught up with friends as before but also played the tourist. We had never visited Fremantle Prison so that was first on our list. Judith had been there once back in 1998 when we helped stage the annual Australian Photographic Society Convention (APSCON) but had only seen a small part as she was acting as one of the hosts.

We managed to time our visit so that we could take two tours on offer. In the morning we toured the prison and heard many entertaining tales of several of the former inmates. This ran on into the afternoon tour so we ended up having a late lunch! All very worthwhile though as this tour took us back to the early days and explained how the prison came to be built in the 1850s (by convict labour, of course) and how they (the convicts) lived in the prison over the years. There were some very amusing stories and, in the some of the cells, some quite touching drawings or wall art created by prisoners. As a convict experience, this was very different from Port Arthur but no less fascinating, especially as the prison was still in use up until 1991.

The imposing Gatehouse to the prison

The imposing Gatehouse to the prison

Courtyard with cell block and chapel

Courtyard with cell block and chapel

Inside the cell block

Inside the cell block

The Chapel

The Chapel

aefb44b0-c966-11e8-85c1-d31aa3bcb6bf.jpgTwo examples of prisoners' art

Two examples of prisoners' art

Jet Set among the last convicts!

Jet Set among the last convicts!

In 2010 the prison became the first building in Western Australia to be included on the World Heritage List.

After the prison it was nice to walk around Freo and enjoy the lovely old buildings and to down beer at the Sail & Anchor before dropping in on South Perth as the sun went down

The Esplanade Hotel

The Esplanade Hotel

The Sail and Anchor

The Sail and Anchor


849f8930-c973-11e8-b996-472f0ed27b54.jpgA Cormorant entertained us as we walked along by the Swan at the Narrows Bridge

A Cormorant entertained us as we walked along by the Swan at the Narrows Bridge

Under the Narrows Bridge

Under the Narrows Bridge

Panoramic view of the city from beside the Narrows Bridge

Panoramic view of the city from beside the Narrows Bridge

Building works dwarf the lovely Bell Tower

Building works dwarf the lovely Bell Tower

8569b700-c973-11e8-b996-472f0ed27b54.jpgViews of the city as the sun went down

Views of the city as the sun went down

The old windmill beside the Narrows Bridge (ceased milling flour in 1859)

The old windmill beside the Narrows Bridge (ceased milling flour in 1859)

In the next few days we started our wining and dining farewells with Mac & Sue (Judith's former employers) and a dozen of my former work colleagues from my time at the Lotteries Commission (now Lotterywest),

Judith and Sue at the McCallum household

Judith and Sue at the McCallum household

20180407_P1150178.jpgTwo shots of us with my Lotteries friends

Two shots of us with my Lotteries friends

For a return to nature, we visited Herdsman Lake which is even better than it was when we lived here. Boardwalks have been added so that you can wander through the reeds and paperbarks. There was a good variety of birdlife and we were delighted to spot some tiny tree frogs. While we were taking photos, a woman walked by with her little boy. We pointed out the frogs to him and he was delighted - not sure if Mum was as we heard repeated calls to see the frogs again as we wandered on!

Herdsman probably gained its name from the early grazing of cattle in the area. I can find no certain reference but this seems reasonable, if a little unimaginative!

Australasian Swamphen

Australasian Swamphen

20180408_P1150198.jpgTwo views of a Slender Tree Frog

Two views of a Slender Tree Frog

Paperbarks in swamp

Paperbarks in swamp

Little Pied Cormorant

Little Pied Cormorant

Ripply reed reflections

Ripply reed reflections

Great Egret and Yellow-billed Spoonbill

Great Egret and Yellow-billed Spoonbill

8feef940-c975-11e8-801b-ef0d41fc3113.jpg Great Egret weaving its way under branches and backlit by low sun

Great Egret weaving its way under branches and backlit by low sun

Australasian Grebe

Australasian Grebe

A day or so later, we had a nice trip up to Kalamunda, in the Hills, to have lunch with Yvette Wallis (a former work colleague of Judith's), followed by dinner with George & Ann Lewkowski (of Piano Gully wine note, if you read the last blog), in Applecross (named by a Scottish developer after a small fishing village in north-west Scotland). George and I worked at the Lotteries Commission but he moved on while I stayed. A few days later, we enjoyed a BBQ dinner in Subiaco with Denis & Pat Timms (Pat being another former work colleague of Judith's).

Judith and Yvette about to tuck in

Judith and Yvette about to tuck in

Denis tempting Judith - no contest!

Denis tempting Judith - no contest!

The two old friends together

The two old friends together

And a good meal with good chats

And a good meal with good chats

We made a return visit to King's Park to meet Tony & Stella Weldon, who have been so helpful in the planning of our trip. After leaving them, we enjoyed the raised Lotterywest Federation Walkway and the many banksias in bloom at the time

The Boab tree near the beginning of the LotteryWest Walkway

The Boab tree near the beginning of the LotteryWest Walkway

View over the old brewery basking in the sun

View over the old brewery basking in the sun

20180412_P1150226.jpgTwo views of part of the Walkway

Two views of part of the Walkway

c76a1d50-c97f-11e8-b9a1-01f703855af5.jpg20180412_P1150232.jpgc82b9890-c97f-11e8-9329-57034213fe39.jpgA small selection of the banksias in bloom

A small selection of the banksias in bloom

As well as the banksias, there were a few other flowering species as well as other interesting parts of King's Park. Once again we happened to be out as the sun went down giving the irresistible urge for yet more photography.

King's Park had originally been called The Perth Park but was renamed in 1901 on the accession of the new king, Edward VII. I prefer to use an apostrophe as this makes sense to me, although in general use it appears to be ignored. Call me pedantic!

bd394200-c990-11e8-983d-b70b229b9154.jpgbd383090-c990-11e8-a992-af983ec537d2.jpgbd73b2f0-c990-11e8-b3c2-7b3c254c0699.jpgThree flowering gums and one unidentified

Three flowering gums and one unidentified

The Pioneer Women's Fountain

The Pioneer Women's Fountain

The War Memorial

The War Memorial

Panoramic view from King's Park from the city across the Swan round to South Perth

Panoramic view from King's Park from the city across the Swan round to South Perth

bd466160-c990-11e8-8297-036c384fde28.jpgThe sun setting over the city and, just for fun, compare this to Perth as we saw it in 1980!

The sun setting over the city and, just for fun, compare this to Perth as we saw it in 1980!

The slow drive back for workers over the Narrows Bridge heading south

The slow drive back for workers over the Narrows Bridge heading south

In Bicton we caught up with another photography friend, Ruby Lane, and while in the area revisited Wireless Hill. No orchids at this time of year but plenty of interest.

Red Wattlebird

Red Wattlebird

Porcupine Banksia

Porcupine Banksia

Western Gerygone

Western Gerygone

Bee emerging from red-flowering gum

Bee emerging from red-flowering gum

A statuesque Grass Tree

A statuesque Grass Tree

The Nyoongar knew this hill as Yagan's Lookout but in 1912 one of Australia's first telecommunication stations was established here and it became know as Wireless Hill. This remained an operational site until it was decommissioned in 1967. The following year the land was vested in the City of Melville and the old Generator Room has been turned into a museum while the largest part of the site has been developed as a public park with a very good selection of native flora, orchids especially in season, with many excellent paths weaving through the site. Although it is much smaller, in my view it is better for native spring flora than King's Park.

We met up wit Pat Timms again for afternoon tea at Matilda Bay ( believed to have been named after Matilda, the wife of John Septimus Roe, the first Surveyor-General of Western Australia). In the evening we had a lovely dinner and farewell at Hillarys Marina with Len Stewart, Mark Greenland and his wife, Lou, and Margrit Wendt (all photography friends.

Hillarys (marina and suburb) gained its name from Bertram John Hillary, a survivor of World War I (although blinded in one eye at Gallipoli), who fished for a living with his brother during the Great Depression and built a boatshed on the beach in 1930.

Yachts racing on Matilda Bay

Yachts racing on Matilda Bay

Pat and Judith at Matilda Bay restaurant

Pat and Judith at Matilda Bay restaurant

At Mia Cuccina, Mark, Judith, Len, Margrit and Steve

At Mia Cuccina, Mark, Judith, Len, Margrit and Steve

In our last two days we were invited to a lovely McCullum birthday lunch hosted by Mac & Sue's daughter Fiona and enjoyed a last catch up with Keith & Kathy (Kathy being a former Lotteries friend who has done so much to ensure that I could catch up with as many of my old workmates as possible.)

Sue giving Mac his birthday present

Sue giving Mac his birthday present

Mac with Kirsty and Fiona

Mac with Kirsty and Fiona

The McCallum clan with two Deacon interlopers

The McCallum clan with two Deacon interlopers

This has been a wonderful trip and we are looking forward to returning next year to complete the lap. For now though this is au revoir Australia as we head off to South Africa and then back to sleepy Suffolk.

Gladys telling us we have only 15km more to the airport

Gladys telling us we have only 15km more to the airport

Posted by SteveJD 14:56 Archived in Australia Tagged birds australia friends perth wildflowers fremantle Comments (0)

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