Weekend in Review: Saturday (15-17 February) My Life 18 FEB 2008

Saturday, 16 February

BirdSaturday happened to be the only morning that I could sleep in a little later than normal, desperately needed because I was basically running on empty anyway. So forgoing the original plan of squash or a run, Chantelle and I slept in a little before finally arising and getting ready for the busy day that awaited us.

My calendar had the Bulls versus Stormers game penciled in for a while now, but seeing that we needed to be on that side of the boerewors curtain anyway, I decided that we go all out and spend the whole day behind enemy lines. So after a couple of quick chores, Chantelle and I piled into the car and headed out to Houtbay, the magnificent World of Birds wild bird sanctuary to be more specific.

For anyone who has never visited this marvel, the World of Birds is basically a wild bird (and mammals to an extent) sanctuary that houses, looks after and cares for an absolutely stellar variety of birds from right across the planet, ranging from birds like the exotic Chinese Golden Pheasant right through to the common Cape Dove that we find all over South Africa. They accept and look after injured birds that the public alerts them to and basically just run one of the finest bird conservation sanctuaries in the whole of South Africa.

The sanctuary itself is a sprawling plot of aviaries situated in the heart of Hout Bay and is one of the most awe-inspiring experiences that you could ever hope to walk through. Lush, green vegetation surrounds you and the entire sanctuary has a very natural and organic feel to it. There are over a hundred aviaries dotted around the sanctuary, all split into various categories like water birds, exotic imports and raptors, and the sanctuary as a whole houses well over 3000 birds in over 400 different species! Spread amongst the various bird houses there are also a number of small mammal enclosures where you will find various forms of monkeys, raccoons, mongooses, wallabies, tortoises and even a bat-eared fox!

One of the highlights for many visitors is the monkey jungle, a decent-sized walk-in enclosure that houses a lot of tiny and very inquisitive squirrel monkeys that play and interact with you as you stroll around their home. Chantelle and I were lucky enough to spot one squirrel monkey mommy that had a tiny little baby sleeping on her back which eventually awoke and then slid down for a quick suckle. Talk about cuteness personified!

We probably spent well over two hours ambling along the myriad of walkways and enclosures and it was a thoroughly enjoyable treat to see all these creatures in a semi-natural habitat that we probably would never see in real life anyway. Honestly, for any nature lover out there, it would be a sin to miss out on what the World of Birds offers! This was Chantelle’s first visit ever and I am thrilled to have been able to introduce her to this wonderful and exotic little spot here in Cape Town :)

Anyway, fresh from our little encounter with nature, the next stop for the day was the big season opening clash for the Stormers, namely their clash with the Bulls at Newlands. We hooked up with Mom, Pops and Ryan at the stadium (after eating our fill of pre-match chips and boerewors rolls of course) for what promised to be a highly entertaining fixture that on paper suggested we stood a good chance of winning for a change!

Newlands was packed to the brim and despite the fact that we didn’t manage to get the best of seats, we did have a pretty good view of the playing field and the action below. Like I said, on paper we look good as always and under new coach Rassie Erasmus everyone expected a great opening game in which we could finally show the mettle we are supposedly made of – which of course the Stormers completely failed to do and managed to open the season up with yet another loss – again. :(

It isn’t as if the Stormers played horribly badly though – it was just that they were horribly average and failed to play well as a team. Thank goodness the new rules were getting the better of the Bulls and that they weren’t playing that well either, or else it might have been a far greater hiding that the relatively small loss we suffered in the end. Disappointed and disillusioned, though entertained by the sight of a Stormers fan blikseming an annoying Bulls fan as we left the stadium, we hopped into the car and promptly got stuck in traffic. Wonderful.

To close off the day of being on the wrong side of the Boerewors Curtain, we headed off to Retha in Kennilworth where we were forced to serenade outside her windows in order to get someone to open up for us. Luckily Retha and her roommate were eventually forced to open up for us before any neighbours started complaining about my wonderful singing abilities (just ask Chantelle)! :)

Our first stop for the evening proved to be one of my sister’s favourite hangouts, namely Banana Jam, a Caribbean-styled bar and eatery that is pretty laidback in atmosphere but makes some kickass cocktails and pretty decent food. We enjoyed some chow and drinks there but surprisingly enough, the vibe never picked up as the night grew longer, so we eventually bade them farewell and hit the next spot, this time a slightly more trendy wine bar called Oblivion.

Apparently Oblivion is a hotspot of many faces, versatile as both a laid back wine bar during the week and then an all out party venue over the weekends. We started out pretty slowly but after the initial drinks I managed to coax Retha and Chantelle out on the disco-lighted dance floor and pretty soon we were scaring the locals with my ‘talented’ (and patented) stupid dance moves! Unfortunately I just couldn’t convince Chantelle to show off her moves on the conveniently located pole-dance pole in the middle of the floor, but next time I’ll get her, I promise! ;)

After enough booty shaking had been done for the night, it was back off to Retha’s flat where we finished the visit off with a quick cup of coffee and then a long, long drive back to Bellville, always the worst part of visiting late out in the southern suburbs!

About Craig Lotter

South African software architect and developer at Touchwork. Husband to a cupcake baker and father to two little girls. I don't have time for myself any more.