Thirdeyemom

Exploring the Cape

Part of the reason why South Africa is such a magical place is because she is blessed with an immensely varied terrain which provides a vast array of flora and fauna.  When most people think of South Africa, they immediately dream of her Big Game Parks and are perhaps unaware that South Africa is also has one of the most varied botanic kingdoms in the world (over 9,000 different species on its fertile, mountainous slopes).

South Africa’s rugged coastline features gorgeous white sandy beaches, rolling hills covered in vineyards, craggy green mountains (such as Cape Town’s famous natural landmark, Table Mountain), lush, tropical botanical gardens and of course, the world famous savanna land where the lions, elephants, rhinos, leopards, zebras, wildebeests, giraffes, and more roam.

The southern tip of South Africa is an adventure-lovers paradise offering hiking, biking, golfing, paragliding, surfing and beach sports abound not to mention world class dining, shopping, entertainment and culture.   Cape Town is often considered one of the most beautiful cities in the world and when I first saw this spectacular city, her aura, beauty, excitement and adventure captivated my heart and soul.

Some of the outdoor highlights of our second day in Cape Town included a hike at Table Mountain, a visit to the spectacular Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens, and an afternoon spent in Clifton Beach.

Riding the Gondola up to Table Mountain (often covered in a gorgeous “tablecloth” of clouds):

It’s a long way down:

Views of Cape Town fron the top of Table Mountain:

Next stop:  A Visit to lovely Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens, arguably one of the most beautiful gardens in the world, containing 8,000 of South Africa’s 22,000 plant species!

South Africa’s Grand Protea, my favorite flower of all….normally the size of an adult hand!

Another favorite of mine, The Bird of Paradise….

Lush, tropical greenery!

Located only about 15-20 minutes away from the center of Cape Town,is the local white sand beaches.  We decided to walk there and here are the photos along the way to Clifton Beach.

Leaving our hotel, we followed the sidewalks around the jagged coast.  Here is a gorgeous pool right against a delightful ocean backdrop…

The wild, rocky coastline:

Our destination awaits…

Entering Clifton Beach…notice this is where the ultra wealthy live….

Some lucky person’s house….

Main drag along Clifton beach:

Some cabbies from the Rainbow Nation happy to have their photo taken:

In search of an outdoor cafe or restaurant for a wine-indulging lunch facing the beach:

View of the beach town where everyone comes to hang out and have fun:

The gorgous Clifton Beach:

Next stop….South Africa’s Wine Country…..stay tuned!!!!

Getting to know South Africa better:  Some noteworthy facts about South Africa (Statistics found from www.statssa.gov.za)

Population (2010): 49.99 million. Composition–black 79.4%; white 9.2%;

colored 8.7%; Asian (Indian) 2.7%. (2010 Mid-Year Population Estimate Report at
http://www.statssa.gov.za)

Annual population growth rate (2009): 1.2%.

Languages: Afrikaans, English, isiNdebele, isiXhosa, isiZulu, Sepedi, Sesotho,
Setswana, siSwati, Tshivenda, and Xitsonga (all official languages).

Religions: Predominantly Christian; traditional African, Hindu, Muslim, Jewish..

Health: Infant mortality rate (2010)–47 per 1,000 live births. Life expectancy–55.2 yrs. women; 53.3 yrs. men. (Health data from 2010 Mid-Year Population Estimate Report: http://www.statssa.gov.za)

Economy

GDP (2009): $287 billion.

Real GDP growth rate: (2008) 3.7%; (2009) -1.8%; (5-year average) 3.7%.

GDP per capita (2009): $5,787.

Unemployment (first quarter 2010): 25.2%.

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