Shore Excursions from Cape Town in South Africa - March 2016
Ian Warren – 16/03/16
My wife and I visited Cape Town for a week at the end of February 2016, and had a fantastic time, and this was actually my first time back there since 1972. When I left school I joined the Merchant Navy aged just 16, and made 8 round trips from Southampton to South Africa with Union Castle Line that year on the Pendennis Castle. The following 5 videos show some of the places you can visit when in Cape Town, and we visited them all during our week there. The trip to the Aquila Game Reserve is a long day, so would only be suitable if you are in Cape Town for more than a day, perhaps on a pre or post cruise stay.
Aquila Game Reserve
This was a great day out, but lasted about 12 hours in total from our pick-up in Cape Town. Upon arrival we had a welcome drinks, and then a really enjoyable buffet breakfast, before heading off for a 3 hour game drive. After that it was back to the restaurant for a nice buffet lunch, followed by some relaxing time by the poolside, before heading back to Cape Town.
Look at my photos of Aquila Game Reserve on Facebook
Cape Point, Cape of Good Hope & Boulders Beach
This tour took us from Cape Town, through Bantry Bay, Camps Bay and Hout Bay, with photo stops at Maiden’s Cove and Chapman’s Point, and then stops at Cap Point and Cape of Good Hope. We then went to Simon’s Town for lunch, before going to Boulder’s Beach, where we saw the penguin colony living on the beach. From there we visited the Kirstenbosch National Botanical Gardens, before heading back to Cape Town.
Look at my photos of Cape Point, Cape of Good Hope & Boulders Beach on Facebook
This video includes our cable car ride to the top of Table Mountain, a visit to Big Bay to get some amazing views of Table Mountain, the Victoria & Albert Waterfront complex, a harbour boat trip to see the seals, the District 6 museum, which documents the forced removal of over 60,000 people after it was declared a white only area in 1966.
Look at my photos of Cape Town on Facebook
Mariner’s Wharf in Hout Bay
You could say that Mariner’s Wharf is South Africa’s answer to Fisherman’s Wharf in San Francisco, but it is much more. There is a maritime themed restaurant specialising in seafood, which serves over 2,000 covers a day in the busy period, a takeaway fish and chip shop that often has queues around the block, serving one meal every 9 seconds when busy. There is also a fish market, liquor store, souvenir shop, and an amazing maritime memorabilia shop stocking over 20,000 items. The main restaurant is themed with hundreds of genuine maritime items, such as furniture, portholes etc, and there are several themed dining cabins.
As well as the Cunard Cabin, the Shipwreck Cabin and The Navy Room, the one of main interest to me was the Union Castle Cabin. Not only did it contain numerous items of memorabilia, but it also had the original builder’s model of the Pendennis Castle (the ship I worked on when I was 16) on display. The owner of Mariner’s Wharf, Mr Stanley Dorman, met his wife on the Pendennis Castle, which is why he bought the model. Mr Dorman had made a point of being available on the day we visited, and personally showed us around the whole complex, and told us the history of how he had developed it. We then enjoyed a fantastic meal overlooking the beautiful Hout Bay, before searching for some souvenirs in the maritime memorabilia shop. I bought some old cruise brochures to add to the others I have in my collection, which you can see if you click on the following link Travel Brochures from the 1960’s and 1970’s.
Look at my photos of Mariner’s Wharf, Hout Bay on Facebook
Union Castle Exhibition, Iziko Maritime Museum, Cape Town
Union Castle was a lifeline to South Africa in the past, and is remembered fondly by many people there. The original Union Castle House is still there, within the Victoria & Alfred Waterfront. While most the building is taken up by banks, there is also the Iziko Maritime Museum, which contains a really interesting Union Castle Line exhibition.
Look at my photos of the Union Castle Line Exhibition on Facebook.