Cape Town (& Environs), Day 2

I love going bird-watching when we travel, and looked forward to doing some birding around Cape Town, with the assistance of a local guide I had found online.  Mariana picked us up bright and early on Monday and took us straight to Kirstenbosch National Botanical Gardens.  Located at the foot of Table Mountain, the garden boasts mountain views and local flora, including the Cape’s two most well-known flora, Protea and fynbos.

Mariana and I focused on bird-watching while Adam focused on the flowers with his new camera.  The garden is an expansive one and, according to Mariana, a popular picnic spot for Cape Townians and, with the beautiful surroundings and flowers, it was easy to see why.

Mariana mentioned one of owls had owlets so we went to see if they were still there when we encountered the mother.

Adult Spotted Eagle Owl

I was thrilled with this encounter–it’s rare to see an owl during the day, especially one so out in the open.  Apparently, she was keeping an eye out for her owlets, which were confined to the ground since they weren’t yet able to fly.  Mariana talked to one of the gardeners about the owlets and he kindly pointed out their location.  We walked over to see them, taking care not to alarm their parent, who was now perched on a tree nearby.

Baby Spotted Eagle Owl

After walking through the garden and getting acquainted with its flora and fauna, we drove through Chapmans Peak, a scenic coastal route, and took in the views.

We arrived in Noordhoek and went to Foodbarn for brunch.  We then made our way to Cape of Good Hope.  We passed by baboons near the roadway, fields of flowers and other flora, and, finally, the ocean.

We saw ostriches by the ocean and on the road.

We got out at a scenic spot and took in the views.

After walking around for a bit we did some more bird watching and Mariana searched for a mountain zebra that had joined a herd of antelope that she had seen previously which she found for us.

Sacred ibis

We had one last stop to make on our way back to Cape Town and that was Strandfontein Wastewater Treatment Works, to do some more bird watching.  The grounds of this wastewater treatment plant were surprisingly picturesque but the main attraction for me were the flamingos, which I had never seen in the wild.

Greater Flamingoes

We had dinner reservations at Bizerca Bistro and, after circling around, we figured out where the restaurant was likely located.  A guard was kind enough to walk us there and we looked at the chalk board with the day’s specials.  Everything we ordered was excellent–we shared a tuna tatare with wasabi and guacamole and oxtail ravioli appetizers, and my braised beef cheek entree was very good.  It was a great way to end a busy day of birdwatching and sightseeing.

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