Little Badger

Believe it or not, this little fellow is the nearest closest living relative of the elephant. Dassies (pron. dussies) are like fluffy guinea pigs that you’ll find all over South Africa.

Their name is the Africaans version of dasje which means little badger, the name given to them by the first Dutch settlers.

The one in the photo was spotted at the Cape of Good Hope yesterday. We’re in a last few days frenzy of sightseeing and had returned to Cape Point in the hope that it wouldn’t be shrouded in cloud as it was last time.

It was, but this turned out to be a blessing as we walked from Cape Point to the Cape of Good Hope and discovered Dias Beach on the way which is one of the most stunning I’ve seen.

It is a long way down, and a damn sight longer coming back, and we almost didn’t bother for that reason. But Darling Daughter persuaded us that it was worth the effort and I’m glad she did.

The sand is white and soft and the beach is much larger than it appears at first. Oyster catchers and other birds abound and the Atlantic rollers crash against the shore — it’s not a place to swim — especially against the rocks at either end.

Legend has it that this is where Bartolomeu Dias landed after rounding the Cape, though I find that hard to believe. Assuming he could have landed a boat through the waves, he would have found himself surrounded by 200 foot high cliffs with no wooden stairway to help him climb up.

After making our way back to the path, breathlessly and jelly-legged, Mrs and Miss P continued the walk to the top of the Cape of Good Hope while I walked back to Cape Point to recover the car.

Good Hope is one of my favourite photography spots, even if it is swarming with coachloads of people queueing to have their photo taken by the “most south-westerly point of Africa” sign.

Right is one shot I’m quite pleased with. Dias originally named it Cabo das Tormentas, or Cape of Tempests, but it was renamed Cabo da Boa Esperança, or Cape of Good Hope, by John II of Portugal in an early example of tourist industry spin.

We had to get our daughter back to Cape Town to work, so left in the late afternoon. Again we took her advice and returned via Chapman’s Peak and the toll road cut into the rocks of the western coast of the peninsula up to Hout Bay.

The photo on the left shows the road snaking along the cliffs, but what you can’t see is where a section on the cliff has been “chisseled” away to create a demi-tunnel that is open on one side.

Having dropped off Darling Daughter, we decided that time was too precious to waste and took ourselves off to signal for the sunset.

However, several hundred people had had the same idea, including three of the city’s open-topped tour buses. It looked as if we would be unable to park until the efficient car guard found a spot for us.

Sunsets tend to be pretty special wherever you are in Cape Town, assuming you’re not on the eastern shadow side, and it was especially pleasant as there was little wind and the evening was balmy.

But much as I like sunsets, what I’ve really been after is an aerial shot of Cape Town by night and left is my attempt from Signal Hill.

It still isn’t exactly what I’m looking for and today we plan to do the Nest of Tables — Table View, Table Bay and Table Mountain — when, fingers-crossed, it will be clear enough to get my snap.

Nobody’s prefect. If you find any spelling mistakes or other errors in this post, please let me know by highlighting the text and pressing Ctrl+Enter.

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