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Captivating CAPE TOWN

Cape Town, South Africa

For those of you keen to join our Emperors & Mountains of Dronning Maud Land trip or our Emperors & South Pole trip, it’s worth scheduling some time in Cape Town pre and/or post trip to take in some of the scenery, wildlife and other highlights of this exceptionally beautiful part of the world.

Cape Town
Cape Town

Table Mountain

A trip up Table Mountain in the cable car or by foot is an absolute must for visitors. The views are incredible and for wildlife photographers visiting in October or November there is an opportunity to capture some close-ups of sunbirds feeding in some of the flowers atop the mountain. Keep a close eye on the weather when choosing when to go. Try to avoid high winds and low cloud which obscure the views. Keep in mind it can be pretty crowded but the views are well worth a visit and if you hike even a few hundred metres from the peak of the cable car the crowds will start to thin.

African Penguins – Boulders Beach, Simon’s Town

Boulders Beach is home to nesting African Penguins and some rather tame Dassies (small herbivorous mammals also called hyraxes). Boulder’s Beach is a popular spot to see the threatened African Penguin. For photographers this can be a little underwhelming as it can at times be difficult to capture the penguins in the right light from a crowded boardwalk. it is worth exploring nearby bays and beaches within walking distance of the entrance to Boulders Beach. There are some lovely uncrowded scenic beaches for a swim and you may just see a penguin away from the crowds.

African Penguin, Boulders Beach
African Penguin, Boulders Beach

Cape of Good Hope

After an early morning visit to Boulders Beach it’s well worthwhile continuing south towards Cape Point. There are rugged beaches to comb, scenic spots to lunch and a variety of wildlife and a wonderful array of flowering plants found in the Fynbos Biome known for both diversity and endemism. You may spot Bontebok and Ostrich at Olifantsbos Beach.

Bontebok, Olifantsbos Beach
Bontebok, Olifantsbos Beach

Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens

The world renowned Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens are well worth a visit. The Fynbos section at the top of the gardens is a great spot to watch and photograph endemic Cape Sugarbirds and a few different species of Sunbirds, including the Orange-breasted Sunbird. For photographers the best time to go is early morning to get the best light. You may also spy Spotted Eagle-Owls, African Paradise-Flycatchers and Cape Cobras if you’re lucky. The gardens are a 20 minute Uber ride from downtown Cape Town.

Cape Sugarbird, Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens
Cape Sugarbird, Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens

Closer to Down Town you can wander around the colourful houses of Bo-Kapp, explore the Victoria Waterfront (where daily ferries leave for Robben Island – keep an eye out for the Cape Fur Seals near the pier) and grab a coffee at one of the world’s best cafes, the steampunk themed Truth Cafe. Truth has excellent coffee amid a fantastic setting and excellent breakfast choices. For dinner, it’s hard to beat drinks and a meal as the sun sets over Camps Bay.

Bo-Kaap
Bo-Kaap

A little further afield you can visit the world-renowned wineries of the Stellenbosch region or head to Hermanus to catch a glimpse of Southern Right Whales. These amazing creatures can often be spotted from the shore line and there are some whale watching boats that can ferry you out for a closer look.

A day trip to the north of Cape Town will take you to the Wets Coast National Park where you can spot pink Flamingos and visit !Khwa ttu a heritage centre dedicated to the San and !khwa ttu people. It’s also a fabulous spot to photograph the African Golden Weaver in the garden adjacent to the very nice restaurant and gallery.

African Golden Weaver, !Khwa ttu heritage centre
African Golden Weaver, !Khwa ttu heritage centre

All images Copyright David Sinclair

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