The first day we walked to the waterfront from the hotel and explored the area, taking a ride on the "Wheel of Excellence," a giant ferris wheel that is a bit touristy but gives great views of the area. We also saw some seals in the harbor, showing off to boaters and giving us our first view of South African wildlife. The exposure to wildlife really began the following day when we drove to Cape Point lighthouse and the Cape of Good Hope. On the way we stopped at Boulder's Beach, famous for the penguins that gather on the beach and dunes there. Seeing penguins in the warm weather was counter intuitive, since I have always associated them with cold areas, and although Cape Town is not cold, it has cold water due to the currents. The Benguela Current brings the cold water north from Antarctica, causing water on the coast west of Cape Agulhas to be freezing cold. The coast east of Cape Agulhas has warm water, due to the warm Cape Agulhas currents, making the eastern Cape the preferred swimming area.
After seeing the penguins we drove into the park by the Cape of Good Hope. While we were driving we saw a pack of baboons on the side of the road, then Chris saw something off in the distance and we stopped to look and figured out they were ostriches! We thought it was so cool and took out the big zoom lens to get a few pictures of them and then continued driving to the lighthouse. Cape Point is incorrectly thought to be the locations where the Indian Ocean and the Atlantic Oceans meet, however that designation is more correctly attributed to Cape Agulhas. Regardless, Cape Point is stunning and surprisingly not as crowded as I would have imagined it to be. Next, we drove to the Cape of Good Hope, the most southwestern point in Africa, framed by blinding white beaches with no one in sight. On the way we saw ostriches again, but this time they were so close we could almost touch them. It was so bizarre to see ostriches on the beach, a habitat I would have never expected to see them in.
When we returned to the waterfront that evening we were walking around the area after dinner and heard an awful rendition of "It's My Life" by Bon Jovi. As a matter of fact it was so terrible that we debated whether it was karaoke or a really bad cover band across the harbor. While we were listening to the song to try to figure it out, I recognized that the badly sung chorus was quoting my life at that very moment. I had just had a beautifully amazing day in Cape Town and realized that "it's my life" for the next five months. From the lyrics of the poorly sung song of the day "I ain't gonna live forever, I just wanna live while I'm alive."
View of the Harbor from the Wheel of Excellence
Penguins at Boulder Beach
Ostrich on the Beach
Cape of Good Hope