Surf’s Up!…and Penguins!

Next up was surfing! Hannah, Josh, and Adri decided to take surfing lessons from the famous Gary’s Surf School on Muizenberg beach. We all went along to cheer them on. What a fun beach town! We had breakfast at an open-air coffee shop called the Hang Ten Café, that is in the same building as the surf store. Great food, as we’ve had everywhere we’ve eaten in South Africa so far. Although service tends to be on the slow side everywhere, the taste, presentation, and selection of foods has been fantastic wherever we’ve eaten, from little cafés to higher-end restaurants. Most places accommodate food allergies well and we’ve found almond, oat, and coconut milk products available in most coffee shops and many restaurants.

Muizenberg is full of people learning to surf in the slightly warmer Indian Ocean waves. The beach is ideal for beginners with constant, small swells. There were so many people out there that it was a bit crowded, but not to the point of frustration. Besides, with so many learners, you’re just one of many, so the pressure to perform is lower! Hannah, Adri, and Josh all did great, popping up quickly and getting some nice rides. Their instructor kept them moving, so there was little rest time and they were pretty fatigued by the end of an hour-long lesson. For those who wished to continue practicing on their own, the company allowed an extra hour of surfing for a small fee.

After they changed and tried to rid themselves of the stale wetsuit smell, we headed out along the coast, passing through one quaint seaside town after another. The 3 things they all seemed to have in common were stores selling artwork, stores selling antiques/used furniture, and coffee shops.

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We stopped off at Boulder Beach to see the penguin colony and cool off in the water. We parked and then hiked along the rocks, past some little beaches, then along a boardwalk to the park entrance. Although most everything in South Africa is a bargain for Americans right now, we found the foreigner price for the National parks to be way too high. We had already seen a bunch of penguins at the free beach, so we voted to skip the 160 rand entry fee ($(10.15 at the time) and go back to swim a bit in the cove.

Ready for lunch, we found another beautiful restaurant perched along the coastline with perfect views, called The Black Marlin at Miller’s Point. From there, we headed out to Cape Point, also part of Table Mountain National Park. We intended to visit the Cape Point lighthouse and see the ship graveyard along this treacherous point. However, when we got to the entrance, the per person fee of 320 rand ($20.35) was again more than most of our group wanted to spend. I’m not sure if we made the right call turning around and missing that one or not, but when traveling with a sizable family group, you often have to make compromises. So we headed back home, enjoying yet more gorgeous coastal views.

That night’s blackout started in the late afternoon and lasted until 8 pm, so eating in wasn’t much of an option. Thankfully, we had so many great restaurants within a 10-minute walk of our house, eating out was simple and enjoyable. That evening, there were so many people walking around since it was a Saturday night, that we decided to walk back rather then Uber. We had no problems at all as a large group, but 2 of our group stayed out a little later and had a few uncomfortable moments returning.

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