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Archive for July, 2011

This is a wonderful opportunity to see a bit more of the Cape  countryside and enjoy some whale watching – either from the cliffs and paths above Walker Bay or participate in boat based whale viewing.

Either way, you’ll have a remarkable excursion. Best times of the year are between August and late October when the Southern Right and Humpback whales grace our shores.

Slides below include the Old Harbour in the centre of Hermanus as well as Bientangs cave restaurant where whales have been known to keep a close eye  on the diners nearby! Bientang was a resident of the cave for many years and had a special relationship with the whales that kept her company.

Overlooking this is the interesting Memorial dedicated to Roger Bushell who’s parents hailed from Hermanus. He became a prisoner of war during WWII and his heroic attempt to escape has been immortalised in the film “The Great Escape”, which premiered in his home town. Bushell’s role was played by Richard Attenborough – other actors in the film include Steve McQueen, Charles Bronson, James Garner.

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Private Gardens

There are many private gardens which may be viewed in Cape Town as well as the Winelands. One can either make gardens the entire focus of the day or weave in a wine tasting en route to slake parched throats!

There are many private gardens and those on wine farms and hotels which may be visited.

 Some favourites have proved t0 be The Cellars, Stellenberg, Vergelegen, Rustenberg, Mount Nelson amongst others.

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Jackie is passionate about plants and gardens! Hence, she has developed a repertoire of beautiful gardens which may be visited – both in the public and private sphere.

The one public garden which cannot be missed is Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens which sports a collection of roughly a third of the plants of Southern African origin.

Thus, the emphasis is largely on indigenous plants in Southern Africa as well as plants belonging to the Cape Floral Kingdom, also known as Fynbos (translated as Fine Leafed Bush). The Proteacea Family, as well as Ericas or Heath varieties, Restios or Reeds, bulbs,  succulents and many more are represented in the unique Fynbos realm. Many of these plants have medicinal properties which have been known and exploited for centuries.

The gardens are laid out on the sloping rear of Table Mountain – land which was bequeathed to the nation when Cecil John Rhodes (erstwhile Prime Minister of the Cape Colony and founder of De Beers diamonds) died in 1902. The views accross the Cape Flats were the favourite of Rhodes.

The hard landscaping, held in place by a series of sweeping terraces, is divided into several sections, very effectively showcasing such diverse specimens as succulents, cycads, seasonal spring daisies, a braille trail, a scented garden, endangered plants, useful plants, medicinal plants, proteas, waterwise gardening examples etc.

The gardens  may be visited on foot or by Golf Cart for those with walking difficulties.

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