lions head, lion's head, cape town, hiking, south africa, wally's cave, table mountain

Lion’s Head: two alternative routes to try

It’s a strange compulsion we Capetonians have – this need to conquer Lion’s Head. Not once. Not twice. But as many times as we possibly can.

At the crack of dawn. As dusk settles over the city. By the light of the full moon.

There’s a mountain in the middle of the city and we shall climb it. We shall climb it till our feet would follow the path even if our eyes were blindfolded. And we shall Instagram every attempt and share our pics on Facebook too.

I guess it says a lot about our need to reconnect with nature, but when you’re battling crowds just to get a view… it kind of defeats the purpose.

So, how about taking a route less travelled next time?

Here are two I can highly recommend:

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Lamberts Bay, sunset, yo yos, camping, explore, adventure, West Coast, South Africa, travel, gypsified, road tripping, south african road trip, backroad adventures in south africa

Winter wandering along the West Coast: Lamberts Bay camping

On the short (and possibly illegal) drive from Elands to Lamberts Bay, we encountered several cars heavy-laden with surfboards and saw a few stoked-looking bodyboarders changing into and out of wetsuits at Doringbaai.

This spelled only good things for Lamberts, which made Guillaume step a little more firmly on the accelerator.

True as bob, popular surf spot Yo Yos was pumping: 3 – 4ft lines marched into the bay, with a stiff, yet gentle offshore wind combing the perfect a-frame peaks. Surfers whooped as they carved up the playful walls, the sun slowly setting behind them, leaving streaks of incandescent pink, orange, purple and blue in its wake. (This beautiful description courtesy of Guillaume).

We witnessed all of this from the neighbouring municipal camspite, where we were pitching our tent for the next two or three (we hadn’t quite decided yet) nights. Guillaume had gallantly sacrificed his surf to help set up the camp in the last bit of light.

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Elands Bay, Lamberts Bay, West Coast, South Africa, travel, gypsified, road tripping, south african road trip, road signs, backroad adventures in south africa

Winter wandering along the West Coast: Lunch in the Elands Bay cave

After a warm and cosy night at Die Opstal in Paternoster, we packed the bakkie once more and set off bright and early towards Lamberts Bay.

With only 150km to cover, we decided to take it super slow and stop ever so often along the way. Instead of tracing our way back along the R399 via Vredenburg, Guillaume took us on a scenic back road adventure through St. Helena Bay, where the prevalence of Lucky Star branding suggested that this must be the tuna and sardine canning capital of the West Coast.

The chilly morning skies were clear and blue, forming a striking contrast with the rolling green farmlands unfurling to the left and right.

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vergenoegd wine estate, stellenbosch, indian runner ducks, ducks, cute, animals, winelands, winter adventures

Snaps: Vergenoegd runner duck parade

If you’ve been following this blog for a while, you’ll know that I have a real weakness for animals. Especially cute ones.

Just dip into the Gypsified archives and you will find plenty of evidence – phantom cat syndrome, alpaca cuddling with Marli, Monday menagerie, sleepy owls, lonely whales and, of course, a Sandokan overload.

So, when Vergenoegd Wine Estate’s daily duck parade started making headline news sometime earlier this year, it wasn’t very long before I developed a serious obsession.

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Paternoster, West Coast, South Africa, travel, gypsified, road tripping, south african road trip, atlantic ocean view

Winter wandering along the West Coast: Paternoster

At the beginning of June, Guillaume and I set out on a little road trip up the West Coast.

We’d been looking forward to it for a while, as it marked an important milestone for us: the end of our long distance relationship.

After living and working in Riversdale for almost two years, Guillaume was back in Cape Town for good and we wanted to celebrate with a bit of adventure.

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Rod's Trail, Betty's Bay, mountains, hiking, overberg, overberg hiking, adventure, travel, explore, fynbos, kogelberg

Snaps: Rod’s Trail, Betty’s Bay

While the past week or so has been a rather stormy one down here in the Western Cape, I must say, we’ve really been blessed with some particularly pleasant winter weather.

And nowhere is a bright winter’s day more beautiful than in Betty’s Bay. Anyone familiar with that side of the world will know that for 80% of the year it’s a high energy zone – all gale force winds and stormy seas. But when it decides to take a breather and… just… rel…ax, it’s seriously the most exquisite place in the world.

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An itinerary for my brain on its 3am adventures

3am – Depart from the land of Fitful Sleep for a short excursion into Wakefulness en route to the Republic of Deep Sleep.

3.20am – Train delayed due to howling winds outside? No problem! While away the time by exploring the popular after-hours district of Existential Dread.

3.30am – Enjoy a lengthy trip down the dark side of highly acclaimed Memory Lane with its spectacular display of neon billboards flashing all your worst, weakest, meanest and most embarrassing moments.

3.45am – Since the latter normally proves to be particularly gripping, we highly recommend taking the time to investigate the extensive exhibits on display in the Museum of Awkwardness.

4:15am – That was fun right? Well it could hardly match what happens next: a continuous replay of the scariest moment from the FIRST AND ONLY scary movie you EVER watched, followed by the renowned What Was That Noise?! rollercoaster ride.

4:45am – Head down to Blues Beach and take a languid swim in the Sea of Comparison. This ancient site of emotional torture will have you weighing up your life, looks, personality and intelligence against every other human you have ever known… and particularly those you don’t, in no time whatsoever!

5:15am – By now you would have worked up quite the appetite! Quench your thirst with the legendary Self Doubt cocktail while indulging in a platter of the choicest selection of What Ifs.

5:45am – After a jam-packed adventure in Wakefulness, it’s finally time to head on to the Republic of  Deep Sleep.

6:30am – Curse the alarm clock and come up with the groggy idea to write this silly blog post. Also vow to steer clear of the District of Existential Dread on the next excursion into Wakefulness, planning to opt instead for a wander down the Lane of Love and a top-down drive along the Coast of Contentment, cruising back along the Happiness Highway.

Any insomniacs out there who can relate or is it just me?

 

Snaps: Summer in Cape Town

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On top of Lion’s Head. We set out at 4pm one Wednesday afternoon in search of Watchman’s Cave… and ended up climbing all the way to the top!

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The view from the top of Lion’s Head really is spectacular. Let’s never forget that. 

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Did you know that Signal Hill is known as Vlaeberg in Afrikaans? I never did!

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Sea Point sunsets <3

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One morning in early December, I headed to Clifton 2 long before any crowds could descend. As I lay there soaking up the sun, I suddenly felt something brushing against my hip. I almost swiped it away, but luckily I looked first and saw this beauty just chilling there. What a surreal moment of perfection. 

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Glen Beach at dusk

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Glen beach

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Last paddlers coming in at Glen Beach

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The 12 Apostles bathed in light

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Clifton 2 before 10 am

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Mass yoga and meditation on Camp’s Bay beach. 

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My favourite nursery – Montebello in Newlands

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Saluting the sun on Camp’s Bay Beach.

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Beach meditation and the 12 Apostles hiding away under a fluffy duvet. 

A short list of things I saw on the Sea Point promenade lately that made me smile

The other day I felt a little cooped up in my flat after a long day of working from home and decided to go for a walk along the sea. I also happened to have had an awfully ‘fat day’, so the intended stroll snowballed into a spontaneous jog-walk combo (to my surprise), measured in landmarks – from the Winchester Mansions Hotel to the seal-shaped bench {walk} from the far side of Three Anchor Bay to the big glasses {walk} etc.

While huffing and puffing along, I somehow still managed to catch snatches of conversation, pretty scenes and poignant interactions that made me smile (and even cry a little bit on the inside) at how very saturated with life those ephemeral moments in-between are.

I’ve written about my love for the Sea Point promenade once before, about my deep-seated fascination with the unfiltered expressions of humanness that play themselves out there and decided it was time to share some of my most recent observations.

So, here’s a short list of the things I saw on the promenade the other day that squeezed my heart:

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Cute white alpaca at the Alpaca Loom Coffee Shop & Weaving Studio

An adventure of unparalleled cuteness? Alpaca my bags!

It was just before 8am on Heritage Day morning and Marli and I were rushing along Agter Paarl road in an effort to get her to a trail run – that would be starting in about t-10 minutes at Spice Route – on time.

I was still a little groggy and bleary-eyed and not yet able to fully appreciate the picturesque scenery unfolding (at top speed, I might add) around me: spring-green vineyards with hazy purple mountains towering above them, white ducks kicking up concentric waves in otherwise glassy dams, little houses sending tentative columns of smoke up into the blue – preempting the braai fires that would later be lit.

You know, the standard sort of winelands prettiness one can expect from this time of year.

And then I suddenly found myself doing a double take – as though my body responded to what I’d seen before my mind could quite register.

It was a simple black silhouette on a sign post – recognisable in its absolute ridiculousness, unmistakable in its unexpectedness:

“Alpacas!” Marli and I exclaimed in unison.

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