Jenna suggested we take a ride on the sightseeing bus as a way to orient ourselves to the area, and since a cheap all-day pass afforded hop-on/hop-off access it seemed convenient. We caught an early bus at the waterfront and had a breezy ride on the top deck. The fresh air blowing in off the Atlantic and the heady aromas of the South African earth and eucalyptus trees were refreshing. These were the smells accompanying my childhood in Zimbabwe (minus the ocean breeze).
At Kirstenbosch we disembarked to explore the expansive garden grounds. I was going to leave from there on foot to hike up Skeleton Gorge and meet Jenna at the top of the cable car on the other side of Table Mountain but owing to high winds the cable car was not running. We took a leisurely stroll through the gardens instead.
Being autumn, much of the foliage was out of season, but we found some spectacular plant life and stunning views all the same. We walked through the tree canopy boardwalk, camphor avenue, enchanted forest, and aloe grove. With our change in plan we settled on some lunch on the rolling lawn. I wandered off to get some wildlife shots with my longer lens while Jenna fended off an aggressive pack of guinea fowl that wanted to pinch her lunch. I got lucky and found the lone blooming protea plant in the park and was treated to a colorful show by hungry
sunbirds. The protea is my favorite South African flower as it is also the emblem of the national cricket team.
We resumed our bus tour and stepped off for a walk around Hout Bay. This had a grittier feel, there was a working maritime economy down here with less of the curated tourist vibe. We had a snack at a small seafood hut and walked around the marina. As the afternoon was progressing we returned to the waterfront and Jenna was drawn into the large hall filled with crafts, arts, and food vendors.