For my last day, Michelle and I decided to check out the scenery. Thanks to Raymond and his family, we were able to get a driver for the afternoon to take us down to Cape Point. Sidenote: I had no idea just how much Raymond and his team had done for us; his entire business and extended family have been critical in making the SOTA run smoothly, not to mention the loads of side trips taken by USG, the TA providers, and the grantees.
We headed off down the coast toward Cape Point, which had been advertised to us as the southern most tip of Africa. Turns out, it’s the southwestern most tip. We drove along the water on our way down the coast, passing by beaches and homes that represented a lifestyle I cannot begin to fathom. For those views, I would settle in a thatched hut. (See last photo).
We stopped over in Simonstown, the naval port of South Africa. I saw a few sailors out and about and thought of navy bases back in the states. Not quite the same. We had a delicious lunch by the water, with more of the succulent calamari. It literally melts in my mouth and has a pleasant flavor, in comparison to the rubbery kind from home.
From Simonstown, we ventured to the penguin sanctuary, where the jackass penguins (named for their donkey-like sounds) were lounging on the beach. It was unquestionably the closest i have ever been to a penguin in it’s natural habitat.
Speaking of natural habitats- on our drive to cape point, we passed by a sign that read “Beware. Do not feed the babboons. They are dangerous animals.” I figured this to be akin to a “deer crossing” sign and figured I probably wouldn’t actually see babboons. Turns out, they weren’t kidding. We rounded the corner to discover an entire family/pack of babboons holding up traffic in search of food. One had climbed on top of a car belonging to some unsuspecting tourists who had climbed out to take pictures and was basically holding the car hostage. We pulled over and got out for photos, too. It was wild- they were literally running around at my feet. Our driver grew nervous and asked us to carefully return to the van (by carefully, he meant sans babboons.)
At the risk of sounding longwinded (hah) I’ll cut right to cape point. Holy moly, batman. Words don’t describe. I faced my fear of heights (again) and took the longer route from the lighthouse to the very tip of Cape Point (the sign on this route warns: dangerous route 1.5 hours. I would amend it to say 15 minutes and not good for small children or people in wheelchairs.) totally worth it.
I’m now at the airport waiting for my flight and enjoying one last glass of wine. Right about now, my roommates are finishing the pan mass and are boarding a ferry back to Boston. I cannot wait to see them at the airport tomorrow afternoon and hear all about the ride.