Tag Archives: promenade

Cable Cars and Signal Hill Sightseeing in Cape Town (2017-05-11) Photo Gallery | Travel Attractions 24 AUG 2018

The Table Mountain Aerial Cableway has for many years now offered a free adult ticket up the mountain on a South African citizen’s birthday – a deal which I’ve seldom made good on, but not necessarily for the lack of trying. It has far more to do with the fact that my birthday falls in the Cape Town winter season, meaning that weather conditions are almost never in my favour.

After a rare success in 2016, I once again tried my luck in 2017, however the strangely quiet cable car station should have been enough of a hint that the operation was shut for the morning, thanks to adverse conditions at the top of the mountain.

Not too daunted though, I instead altered my trip to that of even more of a local tourist, opting to go on a scenic drive (filled with photo stops) past the nearby kramat up on the ridge, even further up to Signal Hill, over Kloof Nek and down into Camps Bay, round the coast to Seapoint, lunch in the V&A Waterfront, and then ending it all off with a tour of the Springbok Experience Rugby Museum. Certainly a more than adequate replacement plan then.

Talking about the kramat, Cape Town is actually surrounded by a ‘holy circle’ of kramats – shrines of great Muslim spiritual leaders. There are about 20 recognised sites scattered throughout the peninsula, with two of these sites actually situated on Signal Hill – that of Tuan Kaape-ti-low at the Army Camp, and that of Sheikh Mohamed Hassen Ghaibie Shah on the ridge (the one that I pulled over at).

Continuing further up the road you will eventually reach Signal Hill, a great (car-accessible) location for viewing Table Mountain, Cape Town, its surrounds and the last vestiges of Peninsula Shale Renosterveld – particularly useful if you don’t feel like the strenuous walk that accompanies going up the likes of nearby Lion’s Head.

Driving down from Signal Hill towards Camps Bay, you’ll spot a couple of cannons overlooking Camps Bay along Kloof Nek road, originally placed there by the Dutch East India Company (VOC) to defend the castle from attack via the wagon track which led from Camps Bay to the Castle via Kloof Nek. Yes, I did pull over and take a few photos. I can only imagine that Chantelle was very happy not to be tagging along with me for the day!

As for Camps Bay itself, as always it is breathtakingly beautiful (when not overrun with sun-seeking beach goers), and the public art installations along the beach makes for a nice distraction while stretching one’s legs.

The remainder of the drive takes you around the rest of the rich, beautiful (seemingly always under construction) Atlantic Seaboard towards Green Point, and because I like stopping to take pictures, I inevitably stopped along the Seapoint promenade to get my first ever glimpse of the once relatively controversial Michael Elion’s “Perceiving Freedom” public sculpture/Ray-Ban advert.

I didn’t really mind it all that much to be honest.

As for the rest of my day NOT walking about on top of Table Mountain? It was pretty pleasant.

Related Link: Table Mountain Aerial Cableway | Signal Hill | Camps Bay

USA 2016 – 22 Ships, Fish and Chips along the Embarcadero of San Diego (2016-07-18) Photo Gallery | Travel Attractions 25 JUL 2018

It is kind of sad that Anthony’s Fish Grotto, which had faithfully been serving customers along San Diego’s Embarcadero for 70 years, eventually lost the bid to renew its licence, meaning that when February 2017 rolled around, that familiar waterfront sight was now no more. That said, I’m pleased to report that I did actually get a chance to grab some fish and chips from this iconic San Diego eatery while it was still in its original location!

The Embarcadero (Spanish for “landing place”) is the area along the San Diego harbour on the east side of San Diego Bay. Administered by the Port of San Diego, the Embarcadero is home to the San Diego cruise ship terminal, the USS Midway museum ship (which we just visited!), the San Diego Maritime Museum (which includes the iconic Star of India – a full-rigged iron windjammer ship – and several other historic vessels floating in its collection), the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego (MCASD), the Downtown Waterfront Park, and various restaurants and shops dotted along Seaport Village.

So basically lots to see, pretty much everywhere that you look.

Then of course there is the gorgeous, clean skyline of San Diego itself, and thanks to the time of year that we found ourselves there, the bustle associated with everyone busy frantically setting up for nearby Comic-Con.

Not a bad place pull up a chair and people watch in other words.

Oh, and pleasingly the fish and chips were rather nice.

Related Link: Anthony’s Fish Grotto | Embarcadero | San Diego | #USA2016

Autumn Light and the Time for Peace Clock along Strand Beach (2018-04-22) Photo Gallery | Travel Attractions 28 JUN 2018

You would undoubtedly have spotted the small standalone clock tower if you have ever driven down Beach Road or walked along the beach promenade in Strand. Erected in 1994 and designed by Danie Pienaar, this structure standing on the sand is inscribed with the name “Time for Peace”, and based on the the plaque, it was a gift to the Strand community from the Strand Rotary Anns, marked as being in memory of one Mavis Mitton.

So the question then is – who was Mavis Mitton?

Well thanks to some Internet digging, it turns out that Mavis Mitton (née Alexander) was one of Cape Town’s first beauty queens, having won the very first (unofficial) Miss South Africa beauty contest organised by The Argus newspaper. (Her friends entered her into the competition without her knowing about it, and this was one of those early newspaper beauty contests where the paper printed photos of all the contestants and the readers sent their vote in.)

According to all the reports, the Cape celebrated Mavis’ victory, a young twenty year old teacher from Montagu, in proper style.

A little while after that, she moved to the Strand and started teaching at the Somerset West Primary School, where she taught for 26 years. Following the death of her husband (shortly after they were married sadly), she became greatly involved in charity work and joined the Strand Methodist community.

After her passing in 1990, Mavis donated all her money to the Strand Rotary association.

In 1993, as the death throes of Apartheid was getting more and more violent with each passing day, one Ann Jacueline Lester argued the need for symbol calling for peace between all – and thus, with the help of the local Rotary Anns, the Strand’s “Time for Peace” clock tower came into being.

And that is that. So an interesting morsel of recent history for the next time you find yourself in the area then.

Related Link: Strand

Banoffee Waffles at the Belgian Waffle House in Strand (2017-12-15) Photo Gallery | Restaurants 14 FEB 2018

Just a friendly reminder, but if you are at the beach in Strand and are looking perhaps to either escape the wind or treat your kids to something nice, then it is worth knowing that the excellent Belgian waffles from The Belgian Waffle House are still going strong.

The waffles are light and fluffy, come in either a sweet or savoury form, and make for a fun little outing to a place that seems to always have people visiting in it. (Fun fact, the picture above is their attempt at a banoffee waffle. Simple yet deliciously sweet.)

Oh, and don’t forget to take a stroll along the beautiful new concrete promenade walkway – the planning and construction guys have done a great job with this one!

Bonus: Yes, my girls pretty much stopped listening to us reading the menu out to them once they heard the word ‘Smarties’.

Related Link: The Belgian Waffle House | Strand

USA 2016 – 15 A Stroll Down the Venice Beach Boardwalk in Los Angeles (2016-07-16) Photo Gallery | Travel Attractions 31 JAN 2018

Having just completed our super interesting outing aboard the Queen Mary ocean liner/museum ship (out in Long Beach), Johann and Carl next decided that an impromptu drive out to Venice Beach (before we return to Anaheim) would definitely be a good idea.

It was.

Founded in 1905 and established as a seaside resort town, Venice stood as an independent city until 1926, when it and its man-made canals (hence the city’s name) was absorbed into the greater city of Los Angeles.

These days this residential and recreational neighbourhood is known for its bohemian style and sensibilities, long being home to a countless number of artists, poets, and musicians from all walks of life.

Labelled as “a cultural hub known for its eccentricities”, Venice’s biggest tourist attraction (if not Southern California’s number one visitor attraction) is without a doubt Venice Beach, which attracts literally millions of visitors each year.

The actual beach itself is wide, flat, long and covered in soft sand, making it one of those good beaches that people really can enjoy. Other than all the normal beach sports prevalent on its sands, there is also plenty of surfing (and other water sports) to be had in the sea, and a seemingly good lifeguard system in place.

There’s even a long bicycle track that runs parallel to the beach, which, given the number of bicycles cruising up and down on it (not to mention all the bicycle rental spots along the promenade), seems to be a very popular distraction indeed!

But a beach is just a beach, and in reality the real draw of Venice Beach is of course its world famous Venice Beach Boardwalk (sometimes called the “Ocean Front Walk”), a promenade/beach road that stretches for about 2,5 kilometers along the beachfront.

The promenade is vibrant, packed with art murals, buskers, hustlers and little grungy shops of all shapes and form. From clothing stores, marijuana dispensaries, bars, eateries, and curio stops, the Venice Beach Boardwalk is an eccentric mix of people from all races, colours and creeds, trying to simply make a living by selling pretty much anything to anyone.

There is also all the outdoor sports courts to glace over, play areas that include spaces like skateboard parks, paddle ball arenas, and of course all the well known basketball courts from which many a legendary NBA player has been plucked!

That said, honestly, I’m not really the type of person who likes this kind of place (I’m not overly fond of seemingly rundown spots full of hustle and bustle), but it would be a straight out lie to say that I didn’t find the Venice Beach Boardwalk a super interesting and intriguing spot. So many strange (and often eccentric) people to take in, from the hustlers in front of the freakshow attraction, to the preaching gangsters on a podium, to the guy selling insults on the side of the street!

Enjoy the sun on this warm Summer’s day, the three of us slowly ambled down the strip, taking in the sights and sounds, stopping for some frozen yoghurt (and some or other slightly less identifiable snack at a different hole in the wall eatery), before finally turning around once we had hit the famous Muscle Beach section of the boardwalk – which in itself is a very entertaining stop as you get to watch all the musclebound men and women do their strength exercises out in front of all the people walking along the promenade (i.e. showing off), with the guys quite often stepping out of their routine in order to flex a muscle or two while posing for some photo hungry visitor.

Amusing indeed!

So while I didn’t necessarily LOVE the vibe of the Venice Beach Boardwalk, I did very much like the art and appreciate the experience – after all, who hasn’t seen this famous strip of land on American TV before? :)

Related Link: Venice | Wikipedia | #USA2016

Walking along the Beach to Cape Sands in Strand (2017-03-10) Photo Gallery | Travel Attractions 06 MAY 2017

On a windless Friday evening in the Helderberg Basin, there is no better way to see out a long week of work than with a stroll along the water’s edge of Strand beach, patiently waiting for the shimmering sun to finally dip below the horizon.

The sea wall construction work continues unabated all along Strand’s beachfront (it is all part of the City of Cape Town’s R180 million promenade upgrade), meaning that a fair bit of the beach is technically still out of action, the impact on evening strolls isn’t all that high given the length of Strand’s famous main beach.

Of course, the girls are never keen just to walk for the sake of walking, so to make it a mission I have to create an objective – and for this particular Friday night evening stroll I decided that we should take the long walk over to the always art friendly upmarket Cape Sands apartments (on the very edge of Strand’s beachfront as you come into Strand) in order to see what they currently have on display in front of the building.

For reference (just in case you are curious and because the girls wouldn’t let me get close enough to take a photo with my phone), currently on display is a large green (bronze) face from the internationally acclaimed South African painter/sculptor Lionel Smit, who well known for his larger-than-life portraiture works.

And the reward for such a long trek? Some sit down and play in the sand time of course!

Also, a map (for just in case you’re not entirely sure where I am):

Related Link: Cape Sands Apartments | Strand

Things to See in South Africa: The Dick King Statue in Durban Travel Attractions 11 AUG 2016

Situated on the north shore of Durban Bay, the Victoria Embankment, also know as Esplanade, is Durban’s main promenade, stretching all around the waterfront and offering great views of the harbour. More or less at the center of this promenade you will stumble across a beautiful bronze equestrian statue dating back to August 1915 – the statue of Dick King.

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The statue commemorates Dick King and his heroic journey that is entwined in the history of Port Natal (now Durban).

richard dick king statue victoria embankment esplanade durban 2

Port Natal was a British trading station in the region now known as KwaZulu-Natal. Richard ‘Dick’ King was an English trader and colonist based there, who became famous following his epic horseback journey that saw him cover a distance of 960 kilometres in 10 days (a journey that would  normally take 17), in order to request help for the besieged British garrison barricaded in at Itafa Malinde (now the Old Fort) of Port Natal from the British military outpost of Grahamstown.

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25 May 1842. Having successfully slipped out from a ship moored in the bay and escaping the Boer republic of Natalia’s Andries Pretorius (who was spearheading the siege), Dick King, accompanied by his 16-year-old servant Ndongeni, set out into the wilderness on horseback, fording  120 rivers and dodging attacks from both Zulu and Boer forces alike.

Without a saddle or bridle, the young Ndongeni could only make it halfway, but Dick King pushed on, covering the distance in a mere ten days, but arriving in a state of complete exhaustion. His message was heard, and a month later King returned aboard one of the British vessels carrying the relief parties, arriving in time to save the Port Natal garrison from imminent surrender or starvation.

richard dick king statue victoria embankment esplanade durban 4

Later, Ndongeni would receive a farm at the Mzimkulu river and the humble King a farm at Isipingo for their services. On the 14 August 1915 this beautiful statue commemorating Dick King and his horse Somerset’s epic journey, and thus important piece of Durban’s history, was unveiled.

Related Link: Wikipedia | South African Guide | Mole’s Genealogy Blog

German Measles and a Walk along the Strand Beachfront (2016-07-06) Photo Gallery 07 JUL 2016

Believe it or not, a little while ago I came down with German Measles of all things. Sadly for Jessica’s sake though, the Gordon’s Bay Lötters weren’t quite done with German Measles after all – second week into her holiday and bang, a big red rash spreads across her entire body, and with that, my little girl is down and out for the count.

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Luckily it didn’t affect her nearly as long as what it did me but Monday, the first day of her illness, was tricky with both Chantelle and I needing to physically be at work on the day.

Thankfully Dad (who appears to be loving his new pensioner status by the way) was able to make the early morning trip through to Gordon’s Bay and look after her for us – which she rather enjoyed mind you!

Obviously holiday care at school was out thanks to the infectious nature of German Measles, so from Tuesday onward she stayed at home with me watching movies while I worked. An arrangement that also didn’t seem to bother her much!

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Halfway through Tuesday she was already starting to feel much better, and so when Wednesday rolled by, I decided to treat my now very bored little girl to a lunch time break that saw us drive out and pick up some KFC pops for lunch, sit in our car at the beach with a view of the sea and devour them, and then finally enjoy a leisurely stroll along the Strand beachfront to stretch our legs for a bit!

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Strand always feels a bit weirdly run down to me, what with its mixture of expensive high rise apartments right next to old, tired looking shopfronts. Nevertheless, that beachfront of theirs is great for a stroll, and Jessica was loving getting a bit of sunlight and fresh air after being cooped up in the house for so long!

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I see the construction phase of the City of Cape Town’s R180 million project to refurbish the Strand sea wall and in doing so, update the promenade and attempt to breathe some new life into the tired Strand beachfront is already well underway.

I can only imagine the headaches this work will bring in the future (basically the same issue that has plagued Kalk Bay and Fishhoek for years now), but the long-term benefits should more than outweigh the short-term inconvenience I’m sure!

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Despite being out for far longer than what I had originally planned, it was great to get out and enjoy the fresh sea air on such a beautiful, windless Winter sunny day, so definitely a lunch break well spent.

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Plus, it was rather nice to have a healthy, albeit it quarantined, Jessica back again!

(In case you are wondering, we think that Emily already had her German Measles first, so she should be okay. Hopefully.)