A Travellerspoint blog

South Africa

Cape Town to Suffolk

...back to the UK after a great time in the Paarl area and at Inverdoorn Game Reserve

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

As I mentioned in the last blog, my nephew and his wife had never been to Africa so my brother managed to find a game reserve about two hours' drive from Paarl. Generally the Cape area is not renowned for its wildlife but Inverdoorn Game Reserve (near Ceres) offers the chance to see all of the Big Five (we saw all but leopard). It covers about 10,000 hectares of the Ceres Karoo and has about 1,200 animals. As well as the Big Five, it was especially good to see some Cheetah which are part of a rescue and rehabilitation project - beautiful animals. The main predators are, at this stage, kept separate from the antelope etc., but the reserve does offer an excellent introduction to African wildlife for anyone visiting the Cape and the accommodation looked excellent.

7d214560-e1db-11e8-8e49-a5918278e2e6.jpgZebra and foal and a Symphony of Stripes

Zebra and foal and a Symphony of Stripes

Collage of Wildebeeste, Giraffe, Gemsbok, Eland, Black Springbok, Springbok and Cape Buffalo

Collage of Wildebeeste, Giraffe, Gemsbok, Eland, Black Springbok, Springbok and Cape Buffalo

Cape Cheetah

Cape Cheetah

Barbary Lion

Barbary Lion

White Rhino

White Rhino

Two Elephants weaving their way between a clump of dead trees

Two Elephants weaving their way between a clump of dead trees

As well as the animals, we saw a number of different birds, particularly around the restaurant area and as we left.

Ostrich

Ostrich

Garden and eating areas

Garden and eating areas

Cactus in the garden

Cactus in the garden

Cape Weaver

Cape Weaver

As yet unidentified bird

As yet unidentified bird

Bokmakierie

Bokmakierie

We enjoyed our visit here

We enjoyed our visit here

On the way to and from the reserve, we passed through the pretty little town of Ceres and the nearby Michell's Pass which was named after its planner, Charles Collier Michell, then Surveyor-General of the Cape of Good Hope. The road construction was undertaken by Andrew Geddes Bain in 1848. On the westward route there are a few points where you can pull over and enjoy some great views. As we neared Paarl there were more stunning mountain scenes to be savoured.

Entering Ceres with some autumn colour

Entering Ceres with some autumn colour

View from Michell's Pass

View from Michell's Pass

Railway line running through the pass

Railway line running through the pass

Some of the mountain ranges on the way back

Some of the mountain ranges on the way back

While all the family were together, it was too good a chance not to have a day in Cape Town before four of the party returned to England. The waterfront in Cape Town is glorious and the Aquarium is a good place to spend some time before or after enjoying lunch at one of the many excellent restaurants. In the evening, Dave treated us to a potjiekos meal (food cooked in a "little pot") - delicious!

Northern Rockhopper Penguins

Northern Rockhopper Penguins

African Black Oystercatcher

African Black Oystercatcher

20180426_P1150669.jpgCape Fur Seal outside the Aquarium restaurant and view along the waterfront

Cape Fur Seal outside the Aquarium restaurant and view along the waterfront

Street entertainment

Street entertainment

Camera=shy chap but couldn't resist the colourful headwear

Camera=shy chap but couldn't resist the colourful headwear

Potjiekos almost ready

Potjiekos almost ready

A few days later, for some strange reason, we hauled ourselves out of bed in the wee small hours to watch the full moon rise over the mountains opposite Dave's house. I have to say it was worth the bleary eyes, even if the photos weren't crash hot. The dawn light was beautiful.

Full moon rising over the mountains

Full moon rising over the mountains

The town awakes

The town awakes

A glowing dawn

A glowing dawn

After our early morning and after the others had gone back to England, Dave took us to the Taal Monument high on a hillside on the edge of town - when you drive into Paarl from the west, it is clearly visible. Afrikaans developed as a language distinct from Dutch which is its mother tongue or taal. In 1875, in Paarl, the Society for Real Afrikaaners (Genootskap van Regte Afrikaaners) was founded to strengthen Afrikaaners' identity and pride in their language. Fifty years later, Afrikaans was recognised as an official language of South Africa and fifty years after that, this monument was erected.

The monument comprises several towers and domes representing the languages which have contributed to the development of Afrikaans. Two of these (E & F on the official plan) are the parts of the monument clearly visible when entering Paarl. As you approach the monument, there are three columns (A) decreasing in height and these represent European languages, principally Dutch, German, Portuguese and English). Beside these columns are steps in the middle of which is another shortish column (C) which represents Indonesian languages and dialects (mainly Malay). The tallest column (E) is now ahead with a curving wall (D) to the left and, behind a low wall to the right, three domes (B). Beside column E is the lower but still tall column F. The domes represent Khoi and other African languages (isiXhosa, isiZulu and seSotho). The wall at D, curves upwards and forms a bridge which represents the fusion of languages and, where it joins E and steepens to form the tallest column, the increasing growth of Afrikaans. Inside E is hollow and at the top is an opening depicting the continued growth of the Afrikaans language. Finally, column F places Afrikaans in context with Africa, being in the birthplace of the language (South Africa) but with the north side open to indicate ongoing dialogue with the rest of Africa. (Most of the above information was obtained from a leaflet provided at the entrance).

Diagram of the monument

Diagram of the monument

Columns A, C, E and F with upward curving wall D

Columns A, C, E and F with upward curving wall D

Domes B and columns A with mountainous backdrop

Domes B and columns A with mountainous backdrop

Panoramic view from the monument with Table Mountain on the horizon

Panoramic view from the monument with Table Mountain on the horizon

Inside column E

Inside column E

Columns E and F with column C on the steps and wall D to the left

Columns E and F with column C on the steps and wall D to the left

Around the monument are well treed gardens with several information boards. The latter are all written in Afrikaans so we could only make out some of the words as we have only a passing acquaintance with Afrikaans. Dave does speak Afrikaans but it would have been rather time-consuming to have him translate, particularly as we were off in different directions in search of good views, flowers and birds! We were fortunate to find a lady who was very knowledgeable and provided all sorts of interesting information. The monument and the mountainside woodland are well worth a visit and afford excellent views as far as the back of Table Mountain.

Fiscal Flycatcher

Fiscal Flycatcher

Columns E and F from the back

Columns E and F from the back

Just a short way away is the Paarl Mountain Reserve (up the mountainside behind Dave & Pat's house). On the way up we saw a few protea then Dave dropped us to let us walk down about 400 steps through a kloof between two massive granite domes. The path beyond the bottom of the steps was supposed to be about 100 metres but Dave hadn't realised that one of the roads had been blocked off, so we had a longer than planned walk - most enjoyable though. On the drive back, Dave stopped for us to take photographs of protea (unfortunately many were past their best) and some of the views.

20180430_P1150736.jpgRed and white proteas found on the mountain (Protea Repens?)

Red and white proteas found on the mountain (Protea Repens?)

20180430_P1150723.jpgJudith and Steve in search of the next flower - or bird

Judith and Steve in search of the next flower - or bird

The start of the steps

The start of the steps

Judith on her way down

Judith on her way down

Path at the bottom running between granite outcrops

Path at the bottom running between granite outcrops

Nantes Dam, a reservoir among the outcrops

Nantes Dam, a reservoir among the outcrops

View over Paarl from our walk and drive

View over Paarl from our walk and drive

View from our drive, showiing columns E and F of the Taal Monument below

View from our drive, showiing columns E and F of the Taal Monument below

The following day, we again were up for sunrise and have to provide evidence as it is an unusual event for us!

20180501_P1150748.jpgIt really is worth being up early some days!

It really is worth being up early some days!

Once we had recovered from our early morning shock, Dave took us down to the Berg River where we had a lovely walk through the arboretum on the river bank, with some of Dave's friends for company for part of the walk. Apart from the exercise, some lovely trees and time with friends, the walk was also quite good for bird watching although some of the birds refused t be photographed!

The Berg River

The Berg River

A tree-lined part of the path

A tree-lined part of the path

Grey Heron with Cape Cormorants

Grey Heron with Cape Cormorants

Flower on tree in the Arboretum

Flower on tree in the Arboretum

African Hoopoe

African Hoopoe

Juvenile Cape or Yellow Bishop

Juvenile Cape or Yellow Bishop

Judith and Dave with Dave's friends and some lovely autumn colours

Judith and Dave with Dave's friends and some lovely autumn colours

Blacksmith Lapwing (used to be Plover)

Blacksmith Lapwing (used to be Plover)

Back at Dave's place we had a last flurry of birds, including one very inquisitive one.

Cape Robin Chat

Cape Robin Chat

Cape Turtle Dove

Cape Turtle Dove

Red-faced Mousebird

Red-faced Mousebird

Karoo Prinia

Karoo Prinia

e2fc8880-e862-11e8-a859-2b5234e3cb0b.jpgLaughing Dove finding things of interest on Steve's tablet

Laughing Dove finding things of interest on Steve's tablet

A day or two later, we were back in England our long holiday was over. However, I shall record in another blog some of the places we have visited in England and then next year, it is back to Australia - poor Jet Set is feeling quite travel weary so is having a well-earned rest.

Posted by SteveJD 15:16 Archived in South Africa Tagged birds wildlife - south_africa paarl inverdoorn_game_reserve big_five Comments (0)

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)

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