A blog covering life and happenings in Cape Town

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Tours in Cape Town

Hi Folks

Visit my new blog photos and information on the Cape town stadium which is complete and ready to host the Fifa world cup.

I have managed to obtain pictures from the day construction started till today.

Go and check them out at



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Monday, July 24, 2006

Whale beaches at Kommetjie

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Whale on the rocks

This week a 15 metre Southern Bottlenose whale beached at Kommetjie near the Slangkop lighthouse.

It caused quite a stir as people from all over the Cape Peninsula made the trip to Kommetjie to see it lying in the sun on the rocks.
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Chunks of blubber lie near the whale

Scientists and other interested parties have been to examine the carcass of the whale and have cut large chunks out of it to get to the whale's vital organs.

Disposal of the whale has become a problem as the authorities cannot drag it up to Lighthouse Road as they would tear up a sensitive stretch of veld with their tractors.

If it is not removed soon Kommetjie is going to be in for a "Big Stink " while it rots on the beach.

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Surfers at Inner Kom just a few hundred metres from where the whale beached

Surfers surfing at the Outer and Inner Kom will have to be on the lookout for large sharks as the whale is likely to attract their attention.

Geoff Fairman

PS. It took the authorities a week to decide what to do with the carcass of the whale and it was eventually decided to burn it.

It took three days to completely dispose of the whale after piling wood all around the carcass and pouring petrol over it to get the fire started.


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Saturday, May 20, 2006

Winter in Cape Town

Winter has come to Cape Town with a vengeance this week.

Its rained for the whole week and has not been the usual drizzle but very heavy rain.

Our dam levels have dropped to a low of 40% full over the past few months but the heavy rain we have had this week will go a long way to raising the levels of the dams.

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This photo shows some of the flooding in Monte Vista.

Today I went out with my camera to see what damage the weather had caused.

This is what I found.

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A new lake on our park with a pair of Egyptian geese enjoying the water

The photos above show a park here in Monte Vista that has been flooded by all the rain and even more remarkable is the variety of birds that have arrived to make use of the flooding.

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The Ibyss and the egrets were also enjoying the new found lakes

Trust you will enjoy the photos.

Geoff Fairman


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Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Knysna holiday town on the Garden Route

Knysna Lagoon

Knysna is built on the banks of the Knysna lagoon.

As the lagoon is tidal the sea water flows in and out of the lagoon through the Knysna Heads which are two large cliffs on either side of a 100 metre channel that was formed when a combination of sea and rivers cut a channel through the rocky coastline.

The channel is navigable for smaller ships and the navy regularly enters the lagoon with its frigates during the oyster festival which is held in July.

Shipping entering the lagoon has to be extremely careful as there is a large rock in the middle of the channel which they have to navigate around.

Over the years a number of ships have run aground on the rock and their remains lay strewn along the bottom of the channel.

A diving school at the Heads regularly dives in the channel to inspect the wrecks and to spear fish.

Fishing off the rocks in the vicinity of the Heads is good especially on a rising tide when fish enter the lagoon.

The channel through the heads

The two heads have been developed differently.

The eastern head which can be reached by road has been developed into a residential area while the western head has been turned into a private nature reserve.

On the eastern head a number of lookout points have been built giving visitors a fantastic view over Knysna and the lagoon.

The lookout points on the sea side hang over the cliff face with a sheer drop of about 120 metres to the sea far below.

Scary stuff for those scared of heights.

The nature reserve on western head is called the Feather Bed Nature Reserve and is owned by William Smith son of J B Smith the man who discovered the Coelacanth in South Africa.

One can visit the Nature Reserve by booking a ticket on old four legs, a pleasure craft used by the Smiths to transport visitors across the lagoon to the Reserve.

Old four legs actually has four legs which are used to raise the vessel to the level of the fixed jetty on the nature reserve side of the channel.

If not for the legs passengers would not be able to get off the ferry at low tide.

After your excursion across the lagoon its time to explore the waterfront area.

The waterfront is a marina which is built on the banks of the lagoon opposite the heads and consists of a shopping centre, restaurants and residential flats.

Canals have been built between the buildings to form the marina.

There is a small drawbridge which is raised to allow yachts into the marina area so that one can park ones boat and car quite close to one another.

A small boat harbour has been built near the channel into the marina and many yachts and pleasure craft are moored there.

The Outeniqu Choo Choo

Close by is the Knysna railway station where one can board the world famous Outeniqua Choo Choo, one of the last scheduled steam train services in South Africa.

This train crosses the lagoon and puffs its way along the coast through Sedgefield and around the lakes to the Wilderness.

After stopping at the Wilderness station it crosses the Kaaimans River bridge with the sea breaking round the pillars of the bridge far below and then enters a short tunnel before making its way inland to George.

There is a surprise waiting for steam train enthusiasts when they arrive in George.

The Choo Choo does not go to the regular George station but pulls into a station at the entrance to the SA Railway Museum.

The museum covers the history of the railways in South Africa and has a number of old steam trains on display together with many smaller items which were once used on the trains to entertain passengers.

A visit to the museum is recommended.

Knysna is a lovely holiday destination in the middle of the sunshine coast and Tsitsikamma area.

It is not to be missed.

Turtle SA can arrange tours for you to this area.

To contact us send us an email to Tourinfo

We look forward to hearing from you.

Geoff Fairman

Cape Peninsula Tours


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Monday, February 27, 2006

Touring with TurtleSA can be a blast

Lion battery on Signal Hill

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The guns that are fired daily on Signal Hill

For the last 194 years every day, Monday to Saturday the gun on Signal hill has been fired.

The tradition started way back in 1806 when the gun (cannon) was first fired from the Castle of Good Hope on the beach front in Cape Town.

As ships had no way of determining the real time it was fired to advise the ships in the bay that it was noon.

In 1902 it was decided to move the gun from the Castle to its present position on Signal Hill from where it overlooks Cape Town, the harbour and Table Bay.

The Lion battery has been fired in excess of 31300 times since it was installed on Signal Hill.

On the 4th August 2002 the gun celebrated its centenary of being on Signal Hill.

Two cannons are utilised, one as a back up to the other.

They were cast in 1791 and 1794 respectively.

Each day Chief Petty Officer Dudley Malgas has the duty of loading the cannons with a 1.5kg charge of gunpowder.

At three seconds before twelve o’clock one cannon is electronically fired from the Astronomical Observatory in Observatory, about 8 kilometres away.

The firing of the Noon day gun is a tourist attraction and can be watched every day on Signal Hill.

If you are a visitor to Cape Town and happen to be walking the streets of Cape Town at noon you will get the fright of your life when the gun fires at precisely 12 o'clock.

The pigeons all take off in fright and even the locals who know that the gun fires will jump before continuing with what they are doing.

The Noon day gun is a great tradition and has been firing for close on 200 years .

Next time you visit Cape Town contact Turtlesa for a tour to see the firingof the gun.

See you all here soon.

Geoff Fairman

Book your Peninsula tour today


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Monday, January 23, 2006

Bush fire in Goodwood prison grounds

Fires seem to be stalking Cape Town at the moment.

We just get one out and another one starts somewhere else.

Today we had a fire flare up in the grounds of the Goodwood prison.

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Bush smouldering before bursting into flame

It's really strange how these fires start.

The whole morning was clear and windless and as soon as the wind started to blow the fire began.

What caused the fire?

I think that it was a cigarette butt from a speeding car that landed up in the veld and started the fire.

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Port Jackson bush starting to burn.

It was scary as the flames spread quickly and soon a large tract of bush was on fire.

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The fire starting to get out of hand.

Luckily the fire brigade was on hand to put this horrible fire out.

Three tenders and a water lorry managed to get the fire damped down and a short while later it was out.

Geoff Fairman,

ps Want to find out more about Cape Town fires visit
Fires in Cape Town


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Thursday, December 01, 2005

Volvo Yachts arrive in Cape Town.

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ABN Amro One at anchor in the Waterfront after arriving in Table Bay

After 19 days 24 minutes and 2 seconds the first Volvo yacht Abn Amro One arrived in Table Bay at 3.24pm this afternoon.

It made a record crossing averaging 400 miles per day at an average speed of 16 knots which is a world record.

After crossing the line it arrived at the keyside at approximately 4.10pm where it was met by a number of dignatories who handed over a number of prizes.

After a vey tiring crossing I'm sure the crew enjoyed the cases of Heinecken beers closely followed by some of the largest hamburgers I have seen.

The families of the crew members were all waiting on the quay to meet their loved ones.

A number of interviews then took place on the quayside and then the crew were introduced to the public before the champagne was opened and sprayed over everybody.

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ABN Amro two arriving at the key in Table Bay tonight

The second yacht ABN Amro Two which was about 80 kilometres behind ABN Amro One got becalmed off the Cape coastline for about five hours before it finally made it into Table bay to cross the first leg finishing line at about 9.00pm.

On arrival at the keyside at about 10.10pm it was met by the crew of the first yacht and hundreds of people who had been waiting hours for its arrival.

The third yacht Brasil 1 is due to cross the line at about 3.00 am tomorrow morning followed by the Ericsson racing yacht.

One of the yachts " Moviestar " will however not be sailing into Cape Town under its own sails as a mishap in rough seas off Spain saw it being withdrawn from the first leg of the race.

It has however been repaired and will arrive in Cape Town in a week or so to be prepared for the leg to Australia.

Its crew will arrive in Cape Town on the 4th of December to continue their training while waiting for their yacht to arrive.

All crews have until the 26th of December to rest and repair their yachts before they face the southern oceans on their way to Australia.

We wish them all a good rest in Cape Town and a safe trip to Australia and for the rest of the race.

Geoff Fairman
Cape Town tours


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