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  • Shelley Dark

9. Sunday around Cape Town

Have you ever spent a Sunday near Cape Town on a clear blue balmy day? What beautiful, beautiful country!

We were picked up at 9am this morning by the wonderful Jimmy in his company car. And the adventure began again!

First stop, the Kirstenbosch Botanical Garden which we had nearly to ourselves so early in the morning. We've been sitting quite a bit on this trip so it was wonderful to stride out in the fresh morning air. The garden snuggles against the eastern base of Table Mountain. No matter where you walk, it's looking down at you.

The boomslang (meaning green tree snake) bridge is a new addition, winding over the canopy of the trees below. It's an interesting vantage point, but I'm a little squeamish about heights, particularly if I can feel the walk beneath me swaying even just a little and vibrating under its load!

Garden beds are laid out in vast lawns with taller vegetation defining discrete areas. The proteas and ericas are flowering at the moment.

We enjoyed the useful plants area. Did you know that about mother-in-law's tongue?

Or about the leaves of the flapjack?

This sculpture by Dylan Lewis of a wild cat is so at home here. We'll visit his studio in a couple of days.

So many of our common plants like the osteospermum call Africa home.

Jimmy tells us that later in the day it will be very busy with hikers on the trails and families picknicking.

As we left the gardens, we drove along Klaasens Road with its grand houses.

We stopped at Groot Constantia, the oldest wine estate in the Cape. Commander Simon van der Stel of the Dutch East India Company arrived here in 1679 with his children. Estranged from his wife, and interested in viticulture he was awarded this land.

The estate is surrounded by white washed walls, and already people were having tea and coffee in the sun. It was a glorious 23 degrees today!

There's a long rectangular pond at the back of the house, crossed by a small white-washed bridge.

The back of the house

And the tasting rooms.

The Kalk Bay shops were fun, but I only had eyes for the floral displays and these crazy black petunias!

One beach we saw was wild and scary while most like Muizenberg with its colourful huts were great for families and paddling.

Earnest knew his wine!

Harbour House Restaurant at Kalk Bay had been recommended to me by several people who know or live in Cape Town. It's in an old building right on the water at the marina and breakwater, overlooking the ocean and specialising in fresh line-caught fish.

Our reservation was for 1pm, upstairs against the glass, on the right (for your booking reference!). Can you believe the day!

I wanted to try the local oysters - just the one, with pickled red onion and lemon on the side. It was small, cold and delicious!

We both had a starter of tempura prawn with avocada and salsa, japanese mayo with a little chilli. Excellent!

We shared two main courses. One the Mozambique langoustines with aioli, grilled to perfection with the meat tender and moist.

This freshly caught line fish was kingklip on a garlic mash with beans, spinach, and a poached egg on top, encircled by basil-flavoured salsa verde. Perfecto!

As we ate, we drank a glass each of the Stellenbosch Graham Beck bubble made from chardonnay and pinot noir by the méthode champenoise. I think they call it the Stellenbosch method!