Chuck & Sandy Reul: Cape Town, South Africa
December 17, 2004
Chuck & Sandy Reul were able to take advantage of the reduced rates offered by a British touring company on their November, 2003 trip to Cape Town, South Africa. Their flight from London made one stop at the Portuguese island of Madeira before landing in Cape Town. A visit to this remarkable city and its surrounding area, Chuck told us, was well worth the air miles it takes to get there.
Cape Town is a large, modern city, a racial melting pot consisting of Africans, Asians and Europeans. During their visit, Chuck & Sandy stayed in a modern hotel with a view of the sea, and found the country to be safe and with no apparent animosity between the different races.
The city has a thriving downtown and waterfront community, containing many shops and a world-class mall with a variety of goods from Africa, as well as imports from all over the world. The Reuls said that the prices of both goods and services were very reasonable and that restaurant prices are about half what one would pay in Eugene.
Cape Town’s climate is dry, not tropical, very warm in the summer but cold enough in winter that snow is possible. Swimmers in the waters that lap the local beaches are a rare sight, as Atlantic currents keep the water at temperatures comparable to Oregon coastal waters.
Rising behind the city is Table Mountain, a sandstone plateau, over 1,000 feet above sea level. The mountain is popular for hiking, but there is also a cable car with a revolving floor enabling everyone to access the same view, that takes visitors to the summit. One of the Reuls’ slides showed the famous “table cloth”, a cloud formation that stretches across the length of Table Mountain on many afternoons.
A walking and wine-tasting tour was taken in a beautiful valley not far from the city. The tour began each morning with a three-hour hike followed by lunch at a vineyard. Wine prices were inexpensive and in some places the wine tasting was free.
As part of a Cape Town Settlement tour, their group visited a local bar, where beer was sampled from a communal bucket (no individual glasses allowed) which was passed among the participants. The beer is made locally by the women in the Settlement. Chuck told us, however, that women are not allowed to drink this beer; nor are they allowed to enter the bar — other than to bring in more beer when needed!
Last but not least are the animals they encountered. Chuck had a slide of a rock dossie, a rodent about the size of a rabbit, and surprisingly, a relative to the elephant. These small animals have hooves and foot pads, and are excellent tree climbers. Thousands of Cape fur seals reside in the area near Cape Point National Park, where they attract their natural predator . . . the great white shark. Other animals found in the park are ostrich and baboon.
At Boulder’s Cove the Reuls took slides of a large colony of Jackass penguins. At one time, these animals were nearly eliminated because humans found them to be good tasting; however, they are now making a recovery. On one hike along the coast, they saw a puff adder, a venomous but common snake found throughout South Africa.
The Reuls had a wonderful South African experience, as did their audience listening to their experiences and seeing the slides. They hope to return one day, but rather than signing on for an organized tour, however, they would like to rent a car and go exploring.
Chuck offered to provide information to anyone interested in finding out more about the tour company involved. He invites you to contact him . . . and someday you may find yourself taking your own walking tour of Cape Town, South Africa.