Penguins are awesome


Penguins really are amongst the funniest and cutest animals on the planet.

Just an hour’s drive from Cape Town is Betty’s Bay, a pretty little seaside town on the scenic Clarence Drive Route (R44). Like most of the towns I’d seen so far, it is situated on a narrow strip of land between the ocean and the mountain range.

A stop along the scenic drive

As we approached Stony Point penguin colony, the first thing that hits you is the smell. Penguins are even worse than seals! And with the new viewing walkway, it’s really easy to be amongst the penguins and watch them in their natural habitat. These African Penguins are protected, and it’s great to see them thriving. There really are hundreds of them.

Although we went in the height of summer, the penguins are also here in the winter and it is also a good spot for whale watching.

Again, we tried out the new lens, and I’m pretty pleased with some of these.

Also amongst the penguins were the occasional Rock Hyrax, commonly known as dassie. I thought they looked like a mini-wombat.

The ‘mini-wombat’

After Betty’s Bay, we had a lazy lunch, and then drove up to Elgin Valley, a little known beauty spot on the outskirts of Cape Town. It is the place where the apples come from, and where they supply Appletizer.

We stayed at Old Mac Daddy luxury trailer park. Check out some of their converted trailers! Ours was ‘Life before Colour’ and I got so excited I ran around snapping photos.

This rural trailer park is filled with Airstream trailers, the iconic aluminium-clad caravan of the 1940s, all sourced from the USA and brought back to Cape Town. Each one is designed by a different artist, and no two are alike.

The designer trailers are spaced out on a hillside, connected by a series of walkways. Every trailer also has its own American-style postbox, which I kept checking in the hope of a surprise letter. The bed was surprisingly comfortable and the bath was amazing.

After a cool down swim, we sat by the lily pond filled dam with a beer and watched the sunset, how the light danced along the water, the colours in the fields changed constantly, while an eagle circled over our heads.

When we arrived at Old Mac Daddy and told the staff that we wanted a vegetarian meal, we expected the usual vege fair: pasta or salad. Later, a man with tattoos up his arm pointed at Matt and said ‘Vege?’, shook his hand and introduced himself as ‘Johnny’, the chef.

And Johnny delivered. We had the best meal of the holiday: hand-made pumpkin gnocchi with butter fried vegetables. While it sounds very simple, it was delicious, rustic and full of flavour. We liked it so much, Johnny even gave us the recipe! (I wish we’d written it down!)

It turned out the restaurant at Old Mac Daddy is run by a different company. It’s called ‘Brinny Breezes’. It is a sister restaurant to Boo Radley’s, a very famous restaurant in Cape Town with a New York aesthetic.

Brinny Breezes located in the main building and decked with blonde wood with a strong Scandinavian feel. Floor-to-ceiling windows frame the beautiful valley. And the wine is great too.

There is plenty to do at Old Mac Daddy and in Elgin Valley, wine tours, bike rides, hiking. But instead, we found it a perfect refreshing spot to unwind.

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