Western Cape, South Africa: on a mission to avoid the news and relax

Doug and I are on the Western Cape of South Africa, trying to recover our equilibrium after the disastrous US election results by avoiding politics in specific and news in general.  We spent our first day in Cape Town, walking along Sea Point, and having dinner in trendy Camp’s Bay while enjoying the sunset. We then left for Tulbagh to get away from it all.  (Virtually everyone we talked to in Cape Town said “Why would you go to Tulbagh?  There is nothing to do there!” PRECISELY. We once again stayed at Rijk’s Country House, a little slice of heaven.

There, we did very strenuous things, like sit on the terrace and drink wine and appreciate the views:


Walk through the vineyards and appreciate the views:p1010523

Go for beautiful drives, and appreciate the views:


Baboons strolled by our car to say hello:


Flamboyant grasshoppers tried, and failed, to blend in with the scenery:


My knitting needles were put to use:


(Full disclosure here: some time was spent reviewing grants, preparing lectures, answering emails, grading papers – it is near impossible to truly get away from it all. But other than those ubiquitous tasks, we reveled in doing nothing.)

After three days in Tulbagh, we headed to the coast, to a little village called Paternoster. There we stayed at the wonderful Abalone House and Spa.  I cannot say enough good things about this place.  Here is a view from the deck at the Abalone:


Here is the whimsical plunge pool:


Here is where we sat drinking a glass of bubbly and appreciating the views (are you noticing a theme here?):


This is the view from the private terrace off of our room:


Need I mention the fabulous restaurant (Reuben’s at Abalone House, run by celebrity chef Reuben Riffel)?  The luxurious spa?  The lovely staff?  It would be easy to check in and never leave the hotel, but then you would miss the little gem that is Paternoster.  How could you not love a town that has a house like this one?


In Paternoster, we also did very stressful things, like stand on the rocks and appreciate the views:


Paternoster has a glorious beach. It goes on for miles, with beautiful white sands.  It is also a windy beach.  We couldn’t take photos on the beach itself because of the flying sand.  On this day, it shot past brisk to exhilarating and then to mini gale-force sand storm, and it was still a fantastic experience. Here is me fooling around in the wind, just before it knocked me over:


We had booked into the Abalone for one night, intending to have a glimpse of Paternoster and then head back down to Cape Town.  When it was time to leave, we found we couldn’t – we most happily stayed for an extra night.

We then headed down to Hout Bay, where we were meeting up with our friend Chris. We were all staying in the beach home of a dear friend.  We weren’t sure what to expect, but it wasn’t this.  Here we are on the balcony:


We have had an amazing time.   Unfortunately, we must now get back to work, although we will still be here in South Africa.  Doug has a very hectic schedule of meetings all week in Cape Town, and I have caught a quick flight to Johannesburg where I start teaching tomorrow. Soon enough it will be time to face up to the mess of the real world and contend with baboons of a different sort.  In the meantime, hello from South Africa!


11 thoughts on “Western Cape, South Africa: on a mission to avoid the news and relax

  1. Very wise move and how lovely for us all to bask vicariously in such beauty and splendour! Lovely knitting as usual, by the way. What are you making?

  2. What fabulous photos. We lived in Cape Town for a few years so it was lovely to revisit old haunts through your pictures. Enjoy the rest of your time in South Africa.

  3. It’s amazing how far you have to go to get away from Trump. Be thankful you no longer live in the States. I feel like we are going back to the dark ages. Your vacation looks stupendous.

    • Africa is not far enough. It is the first time I have ever had a customs official chat with me about politics – for ten minutes at least! Everyone, and I mean everyone, asked me about Trump. It is like rubber necking at a terrible car crash – it is unspeakably horrible, but riveting all the same.

  4. Dearest Kelly and Doug, I was so sad to see you struggling in the midst of hardship, bad weather, strong winds, rain, hail and tons and tons of work. Enough is enough, I am thinking I will write to the new head of the UN to look into this horrific violation of all human rights!!!!! Please, next time post some photos of more pleasant things, like being crammed on an airplane, evidence of actual work being conducted, and a couple of serious and stressed looking portraits. Keep in mind most of your beloved friends read these posts while protectic the big wall of hte north, deep in Winternalia…..love and kisses, it actually made me happy to see you having SO MUCH FUN!

    • Dearest Itziar, I shall look through my photos and see if I can find one of us as we very stressfully decide which fabulous wine to select for dinner -oh, such painful decisions! – or as we try to remove the sand from our shoes. In the meantime, we shall go on pretending to have fun. Love, Kelly

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