Garden Route Glory – The glory of the ride!

Good times and bad times are like the weather, ultimately they are fleeting and they pass. The Impermanence of all things can be sad, I mean everything has to come to an end, children grow up, holidays that we look forward to come and go, so do relationships. But am grateful for that because it works both ways. Crappy times also pass, I broke my wrist years ago and it stung like a bastard but I don’t remember the pain now. Life, for many of us in 2020 has not been great, some people have really suffered. Those who have lost loved ones, jobs, businesses. Those who are lonely, it’s tough, life is tough. As David Brent says, life is a struggle with beautiful surprises

But it passes, I have written on this blog before that Cape Convoy is just myself and a website now, so what? that is what is was 13 years ago when I started running tours. life is swings and roundabouts. I read that the vaccine is on it’s way. If that is the case then sooner rather than later South Africa will reopen and when it does, I will be ready. I am offering huge discounts on private Garden Route tours for folks that book early, 40 % discounts, until September 2021

Cape Convoy Tours, why you should book! Come join me

I am massively excited to start running the tours again, I love being a guide, I love South Africa and I love the Garden Route. So I am sending this out to the universe, if you’re looking for a Garden Route tour and looking for a guide to take you then hire me. It will be the best tour you will ever take. That’s my commitment to you!

Here are some links for the tours, when you book the Garden Route I include a free, private Cape Peninsula tour to the Cape of Good Hope via the Penguins. It doesn’t get any better than that chum!

4 Day 3 Night Garden Route tour with a FREE Cape Peninsula tour https://www.convoytours.co.za/garden.html

The Full Day Cape Peninsula Tour

https://www.convoytours.co.za/capepoint.html

We gotta go!

Whales, dogs and enjoying life

I am starting to get enquires for the Garden Route tour next year 2021, so that is a good thing, a positive thing. It is very hard, no, impossible to predict where things are heading at the moment. The global economy is in a tailspin and it seems we are all in limbo until a vaccine manifests itself and even then, not everyone is going to take it. The ‘new normal’ is a phase that is being thrown around a lot but I am not sure what that means, children in masks? hypochondria and fear? We have to be careful we don’t replace the joy of living with the fear of death. There is a old Russian saying ‘If you’re destined to drown, you’ll never hang’ I take Covid seriously and do my part but you die if you worry, you die if you don’t.

Julia my German Shepherd. Not stressed at all

The weather is fantastic here in the Cape. It is sunny but not too hot. The sea is dark blue and the wind is blowing. I love the wind but the majority of Capetonians don’t dig it. My wife can’t stand it (hair reasons I’m told) and my daughter is scared of it. I love it, I find it cleasning and exciting. I also enjoy the cold water in Cape Town, it feels brilliant to get into the sea. It is healing.

This past Sunday my family and I took a drive to Hermanus for the day to see the Whales. I have not seen many so far in False Bay so I wanted to see them before they leave in November. Hermanus was busy with locals, the sun was shining and there were loads of Southern Right Whales in the bay with their calves. It was brilliant. Seeing Whales makes people happy, seeing them makes me happy. They were breeching and that was the first time my children have seen that so they where loving it.

2021 is going to be a great year because I am going to make it a great year. How am I going to do that? I am going to continue to do what I am doing now. Meditation, gratitude for what I have, eating well, enjoying my family, my dogs and exercising. The Whales didn’t seem to be worried about much, my dogs don’t give a shit about politics and you and I will have a better chance of dealing with whatever life throws at us if we remember how great life is and how lucky we are to be here. This earth is 4 billion years old mate, even if we are lucky enough to manage 80 years here on the blue planet, so what? are you going to spend that fleeting time going crazy about politics and bullshit that you can’t control or influence?

Not me, not my dogs and I am sure the Whales agree. Life is awesome

Lets enjoy it while we can

This too shall pass. The future of tourism

On October 1st South Africa reopened for international tourists, with the exception of countries deemed to be high risk. On September 30th the list was released by the government and almost every country in the world was on it, so it was the illusion of progress more than anything else but at least it’s a step in the right direction.

Tourism globally have been hit hard, if major airlines like Virgin Atlantic and Virgin Australia are in trouble then small tour companies and businesses like Cape Convoy are doomed, like the last Polar bear, on the last ice cap, waiting for it to melt

Or are they?

There are 2 sides to this. On one hand it’s very sad to see everything you have worked hard for and worked towards get stripped away to nothing. I don’t have any buses or tour guides anymore, the money has run out and after 6 months of lockdown, my lights have been turned off by a situation bigger than me and beyond my control. Strangely, it is because of those reasons that I feel reasonably calm. Perhaps the feeling of being in control was always an illusion and all Covid 19 has done has brought home the hard, uncomfortable truth that anything can be taken from you at anytime, without any warning. People who are sick understand this, becoming unwell is never part of any plans we may have, nor is losing a loved one or a million other things that life can throw at you

So Cape Convoy is now just me and a website. I have gone full circle, back to where I started. Just like Ace in the movie Casino! And you know, it’s not that bad! The thing about life is that it goes on, Cape Convoy goes on. I am personally in the position where there is nothing more than can be taken from me (professionally speaking) and I am OK, it’s really not that bad. It could be called rock bottom but as JK Rowling said, rock bottom is a solid foundation to build from, I think of Kipling, in his magnificent poem ‘If’

If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
    And treat those two impostors just the same;   
If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken
    Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
    And stoop and build ’em up with worn-out tools:

I still love being a guide, I still love Cape Town and I am going to hit the ground running again in 2021, if Cape Convoy makes it or not, I don’t know (although I suspect it will) but I know I will always be able to give great tours!

What does the future of Tourism globally hold? no idea mate although I do feel I am on the right continent. Africa’s star is rising and there is so so much here. I can’t think of any reason why people would ever want to stop visiting

This global change that is happening and that we maybe lucky, or unlucky enough to be living through will pass eventually. It is bigger than us. We must surrender to it, accept it and become one with it because we have no choice. At least that’s the way I see it

Stiff upper lip

Me and my Octopus

On the 7th of March of this year, just before the world went into a Covid induced tailspin, I got married. It was a great day, great weather and I was marrying the woman I love. It does not get any better than that chum!

Although it can and did get better, because we had a unexpected guest. An Octopus!

We were married in Kalk Bay in the Western Cape at stunning old house that I used to live in and now live in again (in a flat attached to the house) I am not sure how old the house is but I do know that in 1910 a British Lord build a tidal pool so he could take his disabled daughter swimming. The house is on the rock, right on the water on the False Bay coastline. For my money it’s the best place to live, or just be, in Cape Town.

octopus

Roberto and me. In my fantasy, this is us. In reality I saw her twice for a few seconds then she got eaten

The tidal pool attracts lots of different types of marine life as you would expect, but sadly none last to long in there as the locals soon spot them and take then out. I have seen fish, large and small Starfish (even a pink one like Patrick from Spongebob) and we have even had a Cape Fur Seal in there and on my wedding day, we had an Octopus.

I heard excitement and walked to the steps that lead down to the pool, and then the Octopus, a big brown one, started climbing up the steps to see me! I mean this guy came up 3 or 4 steps and we had a moment. He was waving his tentacles around and I was smitten. Then he went back into the water

WHOOPTIDALPOOL2

Kalk Bay Tidal Pool in False Bay

I called him Roberto and it was the best thing ever. Getting married was awesome and so was this. Evelyn who has lived and worked at the house forever and who is very well known told me that he had been there for a while, she also told me she had eaten some of her babies.

Right, kill the motor dude.

I made Evelyn promise me that that she would not eat Roberto. It could be her wedding gift to me and she agreed. She did warn me though that the locals were aware that Roberto was there.

Then I knew that the game was up

See, Roberto was really big. Times are hard. That Octopus is worth at least R200 to the locals or even just a decent meal. The bottom line was that Roberto was money, a lot of money to a lot of people.

I saw him once or twice after that. Then he disappeared. I like to like she swam out to the open sea, found another boyfriend and had a nice happy family and who knows, maybe she did. People are often in the tidal pool looking for sea food or anything they can sell or eat. I would do the same if my situation demanded it. It’s not a criticism, it’s just life.

Roberto will always be my friend though and I will never forget her. She came to my wedding and that made me very happy. She will live forever

2020 & Beyond

Hello all, I hope that life is being kind and that you are finding a way through the new world we all find ourselves in. The new normal is not exactly great is it? Gloves, masks, no school, no sound of children’s laughter, no sport, pubs or hugs! When times are tough I always think of it as the weather. Good bad or indifferent, it passes. Everything is ultimately fleeting and Covid 19 will be no different. Acceptance is the key and I feel that we should not waste this opportunity to come out the other side of this thing a kinder, nicer, fairer world.

Tourism globally has been smashed and the job losses will be awful. In Cape Town we have had one of the strictest lock downs in the world. No exercise and a smoking and drinking ban although all that seems to have achieved is make the black market thrive. Every smoker I know is still smoking but I digress..

I am re-training in another field but Cape Convoy will go on and I will run the tours. Cape Convoy is now just me and a website. I have no buses or cars anymore. They have all gone. I will rent them as needed. The sector is just too vulnerable to invest long term in and I doubt this will be the last pandemic. I hope this causes  humanity to have a re think about how we treat our animal brothers and sisters. If nothing else this proves we are all connected and live in a connected world. There is also little difference in Asian wet markets and the factory farming in a western city. It’s not sustainable and its cruel. We are destroying the natural world that rely on for out own survival.

On a more cheerful note, I have made the best of it Meditating every day, exercising, learning Spanish, walking my dogs and online training. I have also started to take a few bookings for April 2021 so that is great news. I don’t have any fear in my heart. Everything happens for a reason and as the Buddhists say. Every grain of sand is in it’s perfect place. Anyone who is struggling should do themselves a huge act of kindness and read The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle. A very important book and I also suggest watching his You Tube videos. He has helped me enormously in my life and can do the same for you

I made a small video to try to drum up a bit of interest in the tours for 2021. Any action is often better than no action. Cape Convoy will survive, it has too much heart and soul. As Shakespeare said in his play As you like it “This poor virgin isn’t much to look at, sir, but she’s mine”

Wishing you and your family good health and good fortune

Your Pal

Rob

 

 

 

 

Price increase to the Cape of Good Hope & the Penguins at Boulders. Is it worth it?

Guy at the hospital is waiting for his test results. The Doctors walks in and says ” I have good news and bad news for you, what do you want first?

‘Give me the good news first please Doc”

“Your going to have a disease named after you”

Ahh the old ones are the best. Well I have some good news for you and some bad news, what would you like first?

The good news? OK fine. The good news is that by booking with Cape Convoy you are going to have the best day you can imagine. You are going to avoid the crowds, avoid the lines. Learn a lot and laugh a lot. So if you have booked with Cape Convoy. congratulations, you’re a genius and you have made the correct descision

If you have decided not to book with Cape Convoy then you are a person of very poor judgement and the type of Zero we will be spending most of the day avoiding

line

                                                                This could be you

Now for the bad news. Table Mountain National Parks have increased the entrance fee’s for the Cape of Good Hope from R145 pp to R303 pp and increased the entrance fee’s to visit the Penguins at Boulders from R75 pp to R152

First things first. What genius decided to make the entrance fee’s R303 and R152? round it up or down! Now every time we turn up we get asked if we have change by the staff at the gate because the card machines never work!

So, the question is, is the increase worth it?

Yes it is

Cape Point and the Cape of Good Hope are stunning and booking with Cape Convoy means being there nice and early so it is a very pleasant experience in one of the most beautiful places on earth.

The Penguins I think is a but steep but that is me thinking like a South African. However more good news, we know places that you can visit and see the Penguins free of charge, they are in a few hidden spots we know and after that if you’re still keen then you can pay to visit them at the National Park

A cheaper option is to visit them is on our fabulous Garden Route tour, we can swing by Betty’s Bay if you like and it’s only R20

https://capeconvoy.co.za/garden.html

Until next time

Peace

Your Pal

Rob

 

 

 

 

Boulders Beach Vs Betty’s Bay, what’s the best for Penguin Viewing?

Alright, everyone loves Penguins right? I do and I don’t trust people who don’t. The Western Cape is home to various Penguin colonies dotted all along the coast and the most famous is probably Boulders Beach National Park just outside Simon’s Town, it’s certainly the most popular

The African Jackass Penguin (I believe the word Jackass has been dropped now because it probably offended some snowflake) was given its name because it sounds just like a Jackass Donkey when it is braying. They are the only Penguin species in Africa and do not migrate anywhere but do move from area to area along the coast depending on fish stocks. They hunt the small bait fish, sardines and so on and because of overfishing they are endangered

penguin

      Not a people person

 

To protect them from humans the National Parks where you can view the Penguins have wooden walkways that you use to view them. The walkway also keeps people away from their nests so they can raise their young in peace without being stampeded to death

There is another place you visit Penguins is Betty’s Bay on route to Hermanus. To get there you take the stunning Clarence Drive along the coast. It’s a long way out of Cape Town and we only go to Hermanus during Whale Watching Season (August – November) and when we do we stop is Betty’s Bay. Some Private Garden Route tour clients like to stop there if they have planned their own itinerary.

https://capeconvoy.co.za/garden.html

On the full day Cape Point tour we visit Boulders Beach. It’s busy with tourists but we know a few tricks to help you avoid them and know a few places where they hang out (not for sharing here) but it’s expensive. From November I have heard the entrance fee’s is going up to R150 pp

Betty’s Bay is cheaper R20 and has way less people so would say Betty’s Bay is a better experience but you can only go there (with us) if you book a Garden Route tour and request it, and that would mean dropping something else.

So in summary, Betty’s Bay is better and cheaper but Boulders is easier and on the Cape Point tour and you get it free when you book the Garden Route tour anyway

Until next time

Peace

Your Pal

Rob

How easy is it being a vegetarian in South Africa?

I have stopped eating red meat. I have had the feeling for a while that I should stop but never seemed to manage it. I would last a few days and return to it, but this time I think I have nailed it. It’s a strange thing. Sometimes I craved it and sometimes I looked at meat before I ate it and felt repulsion. Also I would feel weak after a day or so and climb straight into a burger or something and feel better for a short while but then feel guilty for eating it. So red meat is over for me even if I continue to eat it because of the guilt I feel after so I may as well stop

VegetableLasagne

No dead Cow in here mate!

Years ago I was in Hermanus and I while I was waiting for my clients to return from a Whale Watching trip I was hanging around the harbour as the fishing boats came back in. There were 4 or 5 large silver fish, dead on the jetty all in a row and I was just staring at them. It was a hot day and the concreate was hot. Suddenly the fish on the far left started flapping around. It was still alive and it was obvious to me that it was in distress. I wanted to run over and throw him back in to cool blue water but I just stared at it. I was not brave enough.  The fisherman would have been understandable furious that I was interfering with his livelihood and his business.

Ever since then I have hardly touched fish and I doubt I will again. I can’t get that fish out my mind

I don’t eat Ostrich because I saw one get run over at Cape Point once and I remember how much pain it was in how scared it was and I remember thinking that all animals must feel that way in the slaughterhouse as they wait their turn

So I just eat chicken now and I want to get to the stage where I can leave that. My Daughter is a Vegetarian. When we were living in Kalk Bay she called me to remove a cockroach from the bathroom. I killed it and flushed it. She looked at me at said “Daddy, why did you do that? His life is as important to him as yours is to you” Maybe that’s when it started

So if you’re a Vegetarian or a Vegan and Visiting South Africa you may need to plan a bit. South African’s eat a lot of meat but you have lots of great options. I had the most amazing vegetarian bean lasagne the other day and on the Garden Route tour there are lots of great Vegetarian restaurants. As Cape Convoy has lots of Indian clients I have made it my business to know where they all are

https://capeconvoy.co.za/garden.html

Here is a list of some great Vegetarian restaurants in Cape Town

https://insideguide.co.za/cape-town/best-vegetarian-vegan-restaurants-cape-town/

https://www.tripadvisor.co.za/Restaurants-g312659-zfz10665-Cape_Town_Central_Western_Cape.html

Chow Down you happy herbivores!

Until next time

Peace

Your Pal

Rob

https://capeconvoy.co.za/garden.html

What to do when you arrive in Cape Town

Here are a few hints and tips for when you first touch down in Cape Town to help you settle in for your first day

 

How do I get to my hotel?

If you’re staying at a 5 Star hotel then they will most likely send you a car. If you have booked the Cape Convoy Garden Route tour, then we will collect you. If not, then Uber in South Africa is safe. I have always used Touch Down taxis based at the airport. They are reliable and safe and have never let me down

https://capeconvoy.co.za/garden.html

Look’s like a nice day, Table Mountain looks amazing

Drop your bags off and get up there STRAIGHT AWAY, regardless how tired you are because Table Mountain is more unpredictable than Donald Trump. It is always closed due to wind, cloud or heavy rain so if you have a chance to go, drop everything and go!

What are those strange rat-like things?

They are called Rock Hyrax or a Dassie Rat and they are members or the Elephant family and there are loads of them on Table Mountain or anywhere it’s rocky. They are herbivores and quite far down the food chain. They eat a lot of vegetation, so the Birds of Prey keep their numbers in check

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dassie_rat

Dassie_rat_on_rock

 

I like my hotel, now I fancy a drink

Quay 4 at the Waterfront is nice or Café Caprice in Camps Bay for cocktails.

Now I am hungry, anywhere nice to eat?

I like to take my Girlfriend to the Black Sheep on Kloof Street. She loves it there and whenever I take her there I reap the benefits for ages. I am not a foodie but even I love it there. Hussar Grill in Sea Point of Camps Bay for steak and Harbour House at the Waterfront of Kalk Bay for Sea Food

https://blacksheeprestaurant.co.za/

Thanks Rob, I will take your advice, I will give you my feedback

Please don’t, I am not in the slightest bit interested. The only feedback I am interested in is feedback from clients who have paid for the tours. This is free advice so take it or leave it

What is the best way to experience the Garden Route?

Ha! That’s easy, with Cape Convoy of course

https://capeconvoy.co.za/garden.html

Peace

Your pal

Rob

Sharks Need Our Help

 

I love Sharks, I always have. When I was a child I loved the film Jaws. I found the Shark very exciting and mysterious. When the Shark was eating people I did not care and when Brody, Hooper and Quint go off in the Orca to kill the Shark, I was on the Sharks side. The Shark had the right to defend itself against the 3 men who have made it their mission in life to kill him. Sharks belong in the Ocean and humans don’t. If you don’t want to get eaten by a Shark then don’t swim in areas where you know that they live and if you dress up in a black wetsuit, pretending to be a dying Seal on a surfboard in a area that Great White Sharks have lived to 200 million years then, if you get eaten, it’s a tiny bit your fault.

My girlfriend went and saw that movie The Meg the other day. I am not interested in seeing another film demonizing these wonderful, beautiful animals that just want to live in peace and be left alone. Humans are not very good at leaving Sharks alone. Every years 150 000 000 Sharks are slaughtered for their fins. They are hacked off while the Shark is still alive and the poor animal is thrown back into the sea. To drown.

Sharks play a hugely important role in the eco systems in our oceans. Once Sharks become extinct then the entire eco system collapses and then we are all fucked. Once the Oceans die, we die.

Shark.jpg

  An unhinged killing machine and a Great White Shark

We are connected to the natural world but the problem is that we have forgotten that. We don’t realise that we share the same fate as our animal brothers and sisters and we can’t survive without them. Nature needs us and we need nature.

Shark Diving tours are very popular but the Great White Sharks in Gansbaai are not are common as they used to be. Do you want to live in a world without Sharks, Sea turtles, Whales, Dolphins, Penguins? Is that what you want for your children?

I am sure it’s not

So what can we do? Firstly you can support organizations such as Friends of the Earth, Save Our Seas or have a look at this list of the top 10 Shark Conservation groups worldwide, perhaps there is one in your country you can support?

https://welovesharks.club/top-10-shark-conservation-organizations-support-2017/

Also if you live in Asia, don’t eat Shark Fin Soup, it does not taste of anything and is pointless, just as Rhino Horn won’t make your dick bigger

Here is a poem by the late great Felix Dennis talking about Trees and humanity’s relationship with the Natural World. It’s called Place a Mirror by a Tree

 

Place a mirror by a tree;

Tell me now, what do you see?

 

Which of you will feed the earth?

Which of you contains more worth?

 

Which of you with sheltering arm

Keeps a thousand things from harm?

 

Which of you is nature’s bane?

Which is Abel? Which is Cain?

 

Which of you is God’s delight?

Which of you a parasite?

 

Place a mirror by a tree;

Tell me now— what do you see

You can learn more about Felix Dennis and his Poetry here   http://www.felixdennis.com/

Peace

Your Pal

Rob

https://capeconvoy.co.za/garden.html