We were off fairly early to take the short trip to Cape Town. The official tour portion of our travels would end in two days and we wanted to take full advantage of the pampered lifestyle we had grown accustomed to! We were not disappointed as we found our guesthouse The Blackheath Lodge was beautifully appointed and also ideally located for exploring in Sea Point.
We walked along the promenade and enjoyed the sound and smell of the sea and to marvel at Table Mountain which towers above the city and can be seen from all four corners.
The next day we took a tour of the city. This allowed us to get oriented and to prepare for the next two weeks when we would be on our own.
Our first stop took us to the downtown area. Unfortunately the attractions were all closed as the President was scheduled to give his "state of the union address" and security was very tight.
We did visit the old archive building which has very beautiful architecture and is used today to promote literacy programs.
Along the way we came across relics from the apartheid era and not far away, a piece of the berlin wall; both reminders of times of forced segregation.
This theme continued with a quick visit to the area known as district 6. This was once occupied by more than 50,000 coloured people who were forcably moved in 1966 to make way for a white community. The outcry was so great that development never occured and the land stands vacant to thus day and land titles continue to be in dispute and legal challenges continue even now.
As noon approached we made our way to Signal Hill where the views are magnificent. In addition the navy fires a noon day gun, using the oldest working cannons in the world. These have been fired every day, excepting Sundays and National holidays since 1806. The total number of continuous firings is noted on the site and we witnesses number 66,116.
Our next visit was to the Bo Kaap neighbourhood of the city. This neighbourhood was originally started by slaves. We learned that slaves were imported in the 16th and 17th centuries, from Indonesia and the Phillipines as well as India, Madagascar and Africa. The slaves were valued for their skilled labour and their descendants now occupy this area of the city. They are predominantly Muslims and are fiercley proud of their heritage. The brightly coloured buildings are a celebration of their freedom from slavery.