Saturday, April 17, 2010

Beach-hopping along False Bay

On Tuesday, we spent the entire day out in False Bay on the eastern side of the Cape Peninsula. The train ride from Cape Town to Simon's Town took about an hour in which you pass through the southern suburbs of Woodstock, Observatory, Newlands, and finally tracing the edge of False Bay along the coast. From Simon's Town, we walked to Boulders Beach whilst absorbing the nautical atmosphere of this historic harbour village, also home of the South African Navy.

Simon's Town:

Boulders Beach is best known for the colony of African penguins, formerly known as the Jackass Penguins for the funny donkey-like braying sound they make. Penguins live almost exclusively in the southern hemisphere so we were delighted to see these waddling creatures in their natural habitat, after all it's not very often we travel south of the Equator. We spent several hours snapping photos of these adorable flightless birds, as well as the gorgeous scenery of gigantic boulders (hence the name) of Cape granite protruding from the shallow waters.

Boulders Beach:

Lily & Keenan @ Boulder's Beach:

Boulders Beach:

We took the train a few stops up to the charming fishing village of Kalk Bay passing through the little beach town of Fish Hoek which we didn't particularly care for as it was busy, however, we liked Kalk Bay for its artsy bohemian vibe. Lunch was at Olympia Café, a well-known and well-loved institution for well-priced dishes, pastries, and omlettes. We snagged a window table and watched the world go by as we chomped on fresh fruitti del mar linguine with ice-cold Windhoek lager. It was a lovely afternoon, if a bit overcast.

Lunch @ Olympia Cafe:

From Kalk Bay, we walked along Main Road (time to burn off the calories!), first stopping at St. James Beach and then on the 1.5km coastal pathway to Muizenberg Beach – a beautiful walk where you feel and smell the fresh ocean air. Oh, did I mention that we also spotted a whale in a nose-dive position in False Bay? It was an incredible sighting!

Walking along the coast:

St. James Beach and Muizenberg Beach couldn't be any more different. The former, St. James, is a small upscale seaside village set against the mountain with a tidal pool and colourful beach huts. Much like Boulders Beach, it is very small and popular with families with young children as the water on this side of the peninsula is calmer and warmer than the Atlantic side.

St. James Beach:

Muizenberg Beach, just 1.5km away, is a surfer's heaven with its mile-long and wide sandy beach. It's not the most picturesque beach, but it provided us with a nice backdrop for some fun action shots of surfers, and an opportunity to play around with various ISO and shutter speeds on the new Nikon.

Colourful beach huts @ Muizenberg:

Surfers on the beach:

White sandy beaches:

We would have loved to stay in Muizenberg for a sundowner (we even packed a bottle of wine for the occasion) but alas we had to take the train back to Cape Town. False Bay, particularly Boulders Beach and Kalk Bay, is a great little day trip out of Cape Town and I highly recommend it, if only to see the adorable penguins!

More to follow...

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