Our flight arrived early on a foggy morning at Cape Town International Airport, for the start of our African Adventure. As I normally plan and book all our travels, this will be a new experience, as we booked a personalised package through Pembury Tours. Therefore, in addition to posting about our travels I will also provide feedback on our experience with utilising a travel agency. The package includes a number of tours and their respective pick-up times, but did not state whether they were personal tours, or part of a large group on a tour bus.The tour package includes pick-up at the airport, which was a new experience for us, so on departing the customs hall we looked for somebody holding a sign with our name. Sure enough, there it was, a good start. Turns out Ryan isn’t only our driver to the hotel, he is our tour guide for our entire stay in Cape Town and will be conducting all our tours and transportation. He handed over our tour package from Pembury Tours and wow, they certainly provide lots of information. In addition to the flight details and coupons they provided an excellent booklet outlining all accommodation, information on all destinations including tours, detailed maps, points of interest, and pictures of wildlife and birds that we may see during our travels.
Ryan dropped us off at the Victoria & Alfred Waterfront Hotel, where we had a short wait in the restaurant while our room was prepared. Within the hour we were checked in and sitting in a very comfortable room. We have a huge corner King Room overlooking the marina and Table Mountain.
As can be seen in the above photograph the view from the room is spectacular. The waterfront and hotel is frequently called Victoria & Albert, but is in fact, called Victoria & Alfred, being named after Queen Victoria and her son Alfred, not her husband Prince Albert.
After a short nap, since we didn’t sleep that well on the flight, we headed out to explore the immediate area, which while waterfront and with a functioning shipyard, it is most definitely a tourist destination.
At the edge of the square are four bronzed, larger than life statues that stand pensively in a row and commemorate South Africa’s Nobel Peace prize winners. These men played a pivotal part in creating a functioning democracy in South Africa after years of apartheid.
- Albert Luthuli, former President of African National Congress
- Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu
- FW de Klerk, final President of the old South Africa
- Nelson Mandela
Just standing in the square observing the statues was a very moving experience. From the Square we walked past the shipyard and drydock that had two vessels in refit. I briefly considered handing in my resume, since at one time I ran the BC Ferry shipyard, fortunately that moment of insanity quickly passed and we continued walking.
Walking along the banks of the marina we saw a couple studiously watching the water then noted a large splash. Checking out the area we saw a number of sea lions playing around the marina floats.
At the end of the marina a lock connected the marina and harbour to the canal, which runs inshore and parallel to the harbour.
The HoHo bus tour operate tour boats on the canal, which can be used with a 2-day ticket on the HoHo bus. We are planning to purchase a 2-day ticket when we return to Cape Town and will try the canal cruise.
We then headed back to the hotel, checking out the African Trading Post Store, which had a great selection of animal sculptures on display outside.
Having worked up an appetite we stopped off in the restaurant to celebrate Judi’s birthday with a pleasant meal. Judi had a filet steak, which was prepared to perfection and I had lamb chops. No birthday cake tonight, as that is planned for a couple of nights after we board the Sea Princess.