Land Excursions

The Cape of Storms gets it name from the onslaught of the southern winter storms around the Western Cape. Hence it is very unlikely that we would be able to spend everyday at sea. The resulting schedule must have some flexibility and our itinerary includes a series of excursions to some of the highlights of the region: a visit of the famous Two Oceans Aquarium in the V&A Waterfront in Cape Town and a dive (for certified scuba divers) in the Predator Tank, a visit to the colony of African Penguins at Boulder’s Beach close to Simon’s Town where we stay for a week, an excursion around the Cape of Good Hope and Cape Point National Park, a walk on top of the Table Mountain National Park, a visit to one of the local Wine farms of Stellenbosch, Franschhoek or Hermanus, etc.

DSC 0316

Moreover, we will live for two weeks surrounded by a unique ecosystem: the Cape Floral Kingdom or Cape Floral Region characterised mainly by its Fynbos (i.e. fine bush) vegetation, is the smallest of six such natural areas in the world, and is the only one contained within the borders of a single country. The Cape Floral Kingdom comprises less than 0.04% of the earth’s land surface, yet harbours 3% to 4% of the world’s species.

DSC 0170

All of tropical Africa contains some 30,000 plant species in almost 20 million square kilometres, which is only 3.5 times as many species in an area 235 times as large. Switzerland has only 2,586 species compared to the Cape’s 8,600. And it is not merely its botanical diversity and richness that is significant: almost 70% of its species are endemic, i.e. found nowhere else on earth. Unfortunately, almost three-quarters of all the species in South Africa’s IUCN Red Data book of threatened or endangered species are currently growing in this Floral Kingdom, and this means that hundreds of species are facing extinction.

MCS 5665

Cape Agulhas is the southernmost tip of the African continent and the meeting point of the Atlantic and the Indian Oceans. We will visit the monument that marks this important landmark, and we will pursue our visit with the lighthouse that has enabled ships to sail around this treacherous cape since 1848.

MCS 5982

In the nearby traditional harbour of Struisbaai, Giant Stingrays have become accustomed to the fisherman. We will try to attract these gentle giants and play with them in the idyllic harbour.

DSC 3236

Depending on the seasonal development, we can also visit the West Coast National Park surrounding the Langebaan Lagoon, a Ramsar site (a wetland of international importance). The pristine wetlands and landscapes offer exceptional birdlife, spring flowers and white beaches. Thousands of seabirds roost on sheltered islands and the brooding salt marshes host vast concentrations of migrant waders from the northern hemisphere. During the spring in the West Coast National Park, the Cape Flats Dune Strandveld is an endangered vegetation type embroidered with a tapestry of multi-hued flowers, and in the Postberg Reserve many antelopes can be viewed in a setting that is as unique as it is idyllic.

© / Michael Scholl Copyright 2012