Filed: Cape Town

Thirteen Hours

Thirteen Hours

Most of the books I buy are impulse purchases based on the publisher’s blurb on the back cover, but Thirteen Hours was the first book I’ve bought simply because it was based in place that I’ve been to.

Actually, a slight correction — I bought it because I happened to be with my daughter who has just returned from South Africa and since the book is set in Cape Town, it appealed to us both. Read more ›››

Daughter Trek

We came across a text message that was still my wife’s mobile from last July sent by our Darling Daughter while awaiting her connecting flight to Cape Town.

She was nervous about travelling all that way on her own and we were keeping in touch to offer advice and encouragement throughout her first solo intercontinental journey, partly for her sake, but also to put our own parental concerns to rest. Read more ›››


One of the things that impressed me in South Africa was the generally correct use of the apostrophe. They were added where they shouldn’t be, as in DVD’s and potato’s, and were where they should be, today’s special, let’s party etc.

So it was a double shame that we should find the worst example on top of Table Mountain, as you can see from the photo. Read more ›››

Sin City

We were reminded of what a “scary” place Cape Town can be the very first weekend we were there. We had decided to walk up to the Rhodes Memorial on the slopes of Devil’s Peak, not far from where we were staying.

“Would you like to borrow a pepper spray?” asked our host with a look of concern. He then proceeded to tell us how groups of lowlifes were likely to pounce on unsuspecting tourists like us, especially those carrying decent looking cameras like mine. Read more ›››

Great Granary to Stately Home

One of the many highlights of our time in Cape Town was our private tour of Groote Schuur, home of Cecil John Rhodes which he bequeathed to the nation as the official residence for the country’s leaders.

What is odd is that it is not really on the list of sights to see in the city and odder still that most of the locals we spoke to were only vaguely aware of its existence and that it was possible to visit, especially as the confirmation email said: Read more ›››

Health and Efficiency

I hadn’t expected to be able to write much about my impressions of health service in South Africa, but then neither had I expected Mrs P to injure herself quite badly while we there.

It was one of those stupid accidents. We’d been at a local eatery one early evening halfway through the holiday and Mrs P missed her footing on a step and fell heavily against the back rest of another diner’s wooden chair. Read more ›››

Learning the Lingo

[Ladies in Xhosa Dress] There is a black African comedian who says: “My white friends all ask if I speak Zulu at home. You know why they ask if I speak Zulu? Because they can’t f****** say Xhosa.”

The joke works because the language really is a tongue twister for the non-native speaker.

The word Xhosa itself isn’t pronounced Corsa, as in the car, or Khosa with a hard sounding K. The X represent one of several barely audible, but essential clicking sounds that are part of the spoken language. Read more ›››

Groote Schuur

Mention Groote Schuur to a Capetonian and chances are they will think you are talking about the hospital where Christiaan Barnard carried the first heart transplant in 1967.

The original house and estate that gives the area its name is apparently ignored, which is odd since it was once the home of Cecil Rhodes who gifted it to the nation as a residence for the state leaders from 1910 to Jacob Zuma today, plus 18 of his cabinet colleagues. Read more ›››