Cape Town & Environs, Day 3

Another morning, another full day lined up of birdwatching, whale watching, and enjoying the scenery surrounding Cape Town.  We stopped off at a gas station where we saw red bishops in the reeds lining one side of the property.  Our next stop was Rooiels, where we hoped to catch a glimpse of the Cape Rockjumper.  Unfortunately, we didn’t find the elusive bird, but I enjoyed the scenery immensely–on one side there were mountains, on the other, the ocean, and on both sides, interesting local vegetation.

The next stop was Betty’s Bay to see a very large and impressive colony of African Penguins.  It was our first time seeing wild penguins and it was great being able to see them so close.

After chilling with the penguins, we went to Harold Porter National Botanic Garden for some more bird-watching.  We didn’t see too many birds but the flowers and the backdrop of the mountains were striking.

Then it was onto Hermanus for some whale-watching.  Mariana informed us that we would not see whales displaying as they typically displayed during the breeding season around August.  We made our way to the primary viewing spot and saw one whale briefly surface close to where we were.  After this whale, we saw a whale off in the distance doing exactly what Mariana warned us not to expect–the whale breached multiple times and then resurfaced to do some tail flips.  When the whale wasn’t displaying, I focused on a seal that was bobbing up and down by the surface of the ocean.

Before we headed back to Cape Town, Mariana took a detour on a side road flanked by wheat fields so we could search for blue cranes, the national bird of South Africa.  We happily found a number of them and were simultaneously treated to picturesque golden fields.

After relaxing at our hotel for a bit, we headed out for dinner–I had made reservations at Myoga, a fancy hotel restaurant.  We each took advantage of their seven course tasting menu, which despite my initial excitement, was a bit of a disappointment.  Some were well executed, others lackluster.  But the hotel was a nice one and brought back memories of a similar restaurant experience in Anton de Valle, Panama.

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