So for all you foodies out there (Louise) we present Mama Africa, a place that the locals recommend to go to if you are looking for authentic African fare.  It was our last night in Cape Town and we were really looking forward to this culinary experience.  Well, at least I was.


As per our tradition we started off with a couple of South Africa’s cool ones just to take the edge off.  Col had an African Moonshine while I tried a Bone Crusher.



Next it was time for our Appetisers.  I tried the Bushman’s Catch which is a salad with Kudu meat while Col had Mozambique chicken livers. 


And finally for the main course.  Col went all out and had Chicken.  The poor girl just couldn’t do it.  Her Wileman genes took over and she was not able to try anything exotic.  Very sad I must say…….  I had Mama’s Wild Game Mixed Grill which was a platter consisting of a baked potato along with a generous helping of Crocodile, Ostrich,  Springbok, Kudu, Venison Sausage and Warthog,  It was amazing. 


I didn’t bother to put in a picture of Col’s Chicken.  We have all seen Chicken before.  All in all we had a great evening.   See you in Johannesburg..

Museums, Sunsets and Mandela

Yesterday was fairly low key. We forced ourselves to leave the building though neither of us really felt like it. We decided to take the bus back to the scene of the crime and see if the folks at the tourist place had received a lost cell phone. Though we knew that the chance was slim, we took it anyway. Of course, there was no cell phone. Nor was it at the other tourist office, nor at the last restaurant that we had stopped at before the “incident”. We stopped for lunch at the Tiger’s Milk. You may recall that Richard had posted some beer pictures from this place in an earlier post. The food is good and the staff is wonderful. Our waiter, when learning of our recent “incident”, took us from the restaurant, across the street to a shop that sold used phones and told us that this was a good guy. If he didn’t have a phone for us, we could try another place that he recommended. Other than that, do not go anywhere else. This service and kindness was a blessing at a time that we needed it most. We never did catch his name but we are thankful to him for renewing our faith in humankind.

From there, we headed to the District Six Museum. As I am sure all of you know, South Africa was torn apart for years by apartheid. Though we in the west only learned of it during the 60’s, laws were being put into place as early as the 20th century to separate the races. District Six was a melting pot of cultures and colors. The neighborhood included blacks, coloreds, Jews, Polish, Indians, and Russians to name a few. It was decided in the 40’s that this area should be a whites only area and the process began to relocate the people that lived here. People that had the means (mostly the whites) were able to move themselves to areas of their choice. However, many families of blacks were relocated to the rural areas where there were no jobs, infrastructure or schooling for their children. Imagine, how you would feel if men with bulldozers show up in your neighborhood, come into your house, start loading your belongings onto a truck and move you to an area where you know no one and do not have a job. It kind of makes losing a cell phone seem a little insignificant.

From there we went to the Jewish Museum. While most Jews came to North America to escape religious persecution from Europe during the 1800’s, 40,000 came to South Africa. They established themselves as merchants and traders and are part of the fabric that weaves Cape Town together.

We headed down to the wharf to catch the bus to Signal Hill to watch the sunset. We had a few extra minutes so popped into the Two Oceans Museum. We was able to get some more penquin pictures and though they are not nearly as plentiful as the ones that we saw at Boulders Beach, it gives you an idea of their cuteness.

The view from Signal Hill is quite spectacular. From there you can see the harbour, the beaches, and of course Table Mountain. The mountain was covered with the famed Tablecloth (clouds) for most of the day which added to the beauty of the landscape. Many people come up to the Hill bringing picnic baskets and blankets to watch the sunset . We had bought a couple of sandwiches and a bottle of wine for the occasion. We sat on the hill eating our sandwiches, drinking our wine and watching as the views around us faded into the dusk. Though it wasn’t a Manitoba sunset, it was quite beautiful. A lovely evening.

Today we went to Robben Island. This island has had many uses over the centuries but is most famous for being the prison in which Nelson Mandela was incarcerated for 18 years. The 20 minute boat ride dropped us at the pier on the Island. From there we hopped on a bus that gave us a 45 minute tour of the island. Our guide was very knowledgeable and passionate about the island and its prison. I cannot even begin to tell you all of the facts that he gave us. The island closed as a prison in 1996 and opened as a museum at that time. We saw the quarry that Mandela and his prison mates laboured in under the hot African sun day after day. This was the only time that the prisoners would be together without the confinements of the prison. From Mandela’s book, A Long Walk to Freedom (a very good read), he mentioned that this is where he and his fellow political prisoners shared their ideas of a better future for their people. The highlight of the tour was a walk through the actual prison and a look at Mandela’s cell – which surprisingly looked much like the rest of them. This tour was given by an actual inmate that had been incarcerated in the prison for 5 years for inciting a protest rally while still in highschool. He was very businesslike about the tour and did not appear to harbour any ill will to his captors.

We enjoyed this tour very much. It gave us just a glimpse of the turmoil that has been raging for many years in this country. Though South Africa has come a long way since the ending of apartheid 20 years ago, there is still a lot of work to do. There is much begging and crime in the streets, homelessness and poverty. One of our black Uber drivers said that jobs were scarce and that she had been looking for a long time. However, one of our white Uber drivers said that the blacks had to get over it, that there were lots of jobs and they just needed to start working for a living. So, as you can see, problems of race, poverty, and unemployment are not exclusive to North America.

Below is the plaque that is outside of the old church that is now the District 6 Museum.


The penguin and the sunset:



The maximum security centre on Robben Island:

Our Tour Guide Jama:


Below is a picture of one of the communal cells:


In cell block A where some of the political prisoners were they have a picture of an inmate that at one time occupied that cell along with a reflection of the man. We visited many of those cells in cell block A, below is an example of one of the many.



On our way to cell block B where Nelson Mandela was held:


Cell Block B and Nelson Mandela’s Cell:





The reunion of the political prisoners after the Island was turned into a museum.


Col and I at Robben Island:


Cape of Good Hope

This was the place that all sailors were excited to see. Before the Suez Canal was opened in 1869, all ships from Europe that were on their way to India and Asia had to pass by the southwesternmost tip of Africa – the Cape of Good Hope. Today, this was also our destination but we were doing it by land.

While waiting for our bus, we met a wonderful couple from California. They have done a lot of travel and we exchanged tidbits and tips. They were very excited about our adventure and made the comment that they wanted to be us. That made us feel pretty good. Maybe we inspire people more than we know.

Our first stop on the way to the Cape was at Simon’s Town to see a colony of African penguins. There are about 3000 of them in this colony. There were adults and fuzzy babies – some sunning themselves and some swimming. It made me want to watch Happy Feet all over again.

We reached the Cape around noon. We had a bite to eat and then headed up to see the original lighthouse. This was a nice hike up to the top of the point. This lighthouse was eventually replaced with another that was not quite so high up. Apparently the original was too high and was usually enshrouded in fog making it essentially useless. From there, we hiked across and down to the coast and had our picture taken at the iconic Cape of Good Hope sign. We hopped back on the bus and rode back to Cape Town. Along the way, we saw ostriches and a band of baboons. Although baboons are reported to be quite vicious and sneaky, they were pretty cute from the bus window!

Back at the waterfront, we wandered around and stopped in at Mitchell’s brewery for a glass of Pinotage (remember yesterday’s blog?) and Richard tried a number of craft beer samples. After booking a sunset tour for the following day, we got back on the bus and headed downtown for supper at Mama Africa’s.

Richard took some wonderful pictures of this day’s adventures. Unfortunately, we will be unable to post them. Once off the bus downtown and wandering down the street towards the restaurant where we intended to have supper, Richard’s phone was picked. Yup, removed from his person. I have run those 5 minutes from the time that we got off the bus until we discovered it was missing at least a thousand times in my mind (if you think that is an exaggeration, I would not think so). I now remember being bumped, separated from each other and consequently separated from the phone. The first rule of travelling is to always be aware of your possessions and your surroundings. However, after a wonderful day of touring and and feeling comfortable and relaxed, we were not diligent when getting off the bus. We are thankful that it was only the phone and not one of our wallets. It was a hard lesson learned and though we feel violated, angry and a little nervous about venturing out again, we know that it could have been so much worse. Because of this experience we are no longer tourists. We are now officially to travellers.

Wine Tasting and Thanksgiving

Today Richard and I went on our first wine tour – ever. I know that is hard to believe but we never really thought that it would interest us a whole lot. Well, as this journey has been known to do, our perceptions were shattered. We loved it!! We toured the Groot Constantia estate which is the oldest winery in South Africa, established in 1679 by Governor Simon van de Stel. Over the years the winery has changed hands but the wines from this estate have been all over the world. It is said that when Napoleon was sent to exile on the island of St Helena, he ordered cases of the Groot Constantia dessert wine and drank a bottle every day. As our group giggled at that little anecdote, our tour guide said “well, they didn’t have antidepressants back then you know!!” True enough.

The tour of the wine cellar was fascinating – from the growing of the grapes to the final bottling, we followed the process through the drums that squeezed out the pulp, to the barrels in which the juice is stored, to the stainless steel vats and the final process of bottling. Our tour guide was excellent and obviously very passionate about her wine.

And then came the tasting. For a couple of connoisseurs like us who do not know a Merlot from a Shiraz, we learned the difference between the two and much more. Our favorite was a Pinotage which is exclusive to South Africa. We tried the Merlot, Shiraz and the Cabernet Sauvignon. We liked the two former, not so much the latter. We finished the tasting off with a couple of mouthfuls of Napoleon’s dessert wine (which was delicious) and happily made our way back to the bus. Our first wine tour was a grand success and we learned something in the process. What more can you ask?!?!

We stopped for a late lunch at the Hard Rock Cafe again – because the food is delicious and because we each got a free burger with our tour package! We had grand plans for a sunset boat cruise and a dinner out to celebrate our own Thanksgiving but between the wine, sun and long days, we decided to wrap up early and headed for “home”.

It is the first major holiday that we are not with our families and I think that we were both feeling a little sad and wanted to connect. I called my mom. Richard talked to Robin and the girls, we ordered a pizza, watched a movie and gave thanks for all the blessings in our life. We still believe that we live in the greatest country in the world, our families are our anchor and our friends are what keep us going. We love you, miss you and are so thankful that you are all in our lives.

God Bless.


The Wine Press:


Tanks and Barrels:


The Tasting:


We also stopped at the Botanical gardens and I took a couple pictures of some interesting birds:


And last, but not least another of South Africa’s finest:


Buses, Beaches and Boats

As the title implies, today’s activities consisted of riding a bus, walking a beach and taking a boat around the harbour. And that concludes today’s blog.

Well, you didn’t think that you were going to get off that easy did you?

Being a Sunday, we started our day going to mass at St. Mary’s Cathedral about a kilometre from our apartment. The day was already hot as we walked to church but the church was quite cool inside. The congregation consisted of a 70/30 split between black and white. The 70 year old priest was black with an awesome sense of humour. The mass proceeded as most do but just before the final hymn and dismissal, the priest called on a couple of people to come forward and they actually did a raffle draw.  This took about 10 minutes as they raffled hair care products, fondue sets and dinners for two. I found this a little bizarre but it did not seem out of the ordinary here. People also seemed to come and go at will during mass. They say that Cape Town is pretty laid back and time is but a suggestion. I guess this applies to church as well. After church, as we headed for home, the backyard of the church was full of people laughing, talking and generally enjoying each other. This is definitely a community event here.

After a quick stop at home to change and pick up supplies for the day (water and money), we hopped on our first HOHO bus that would take us on a mini peninsula tour around the mountains of Cape Town. We rode by Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens which is nestled at the eastern foot of Table Mountain and is considered one of the greatest botanical gardens in the world.  We continued on past historical vineyards on our left and forests on our right. We passed very affluent neighbourhoods, complete with walls, fences and electric wire, tucked in beside tin shack townships that loomed off the hills accusing us all of our lack of compassion for their plight. We almost got off the bus at Hout Bay to take a boat to Seal Island to see some seals – of course. However, we realized the next boat did not leave for another couple of hours so we stayed on the bus and got off at Camps Bay – the beach that we drove by yesterday. We stopped for a bite to eat at the Hard Rock Cafe. We were asked by you, our readers, to post some pictures of the food that we are eating. So far we have eaten nothing out of the ordinary here. We are trying to limit ourselves to one meal out per day and so far this is usually mid afternoon. We have had tomato soup, salad, chicken mexican rice, pizza, nachos, and at the Hard Rock an appetizer platter that consisted of chicken wings, onion rings, chicken tenders, spring rolls and brushetta. So, as you can see, nothing picture worthy yet. After our lunch, we wandered out to the beach. Being a Sunday and quite hot, it was very crowded with tourists and locals alike. As we walked closer to the water, you could feel the air getting cooler. This is because the water is freaking COLD!! I am sure that Richard will post the picture of me with my mouth wide open in absolute shock as the waves hit the backs of my legs!!

There are miles and miles of beaches in Cape Town so we only explored one little portion today. We got back on our HOHO bus and started our way through the traffic along the coast. Yesterday the ride to the wharf took about 10 minutes – today, a half hour. Even our Uber driver (who picked us up downtown at the end of the day) said that he avoids that area as much as possible due to the traffic. We got off at the Wharf and jumped on a catamaran that took us on a hour long Harbour cruise. It gave us some new views of Table Mountain and it helped us envision how the first European explorers first saw the Cape. (without all the buildings of course). After the cruise we decided to take the Cape Wheel (fashioned after the London wheel) as it was also included in our package. After seeing Cape Town from the top of Table Mountain, the views from the wheel were a little slack. But it gave us a nice opportunity to relax with the world at our feet (so to speak). HOHO buses stop running about 6:30 so we took an Uber back to our apartment. Another quiet evening at home and back out to explore tomorrow. I think maybe – wine country?



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Yep, the Water is Very Cold as you can tell by the look on Col’s face….




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On the Big Cape Wheel which was a bit Anti Climatic at the end of the day…



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And last but least I present another local South African Beer.  





Table Mountain

For anyone that has ever read any Wilbur Smith, you will know that Cape of Good Hope and Table Mountain play a role in most of his books. Richard mentioned in his last post that the fort (now called Castle) also played a predominant role in these stories.  Today we climbed Table Mountain. Well, technically we took a cable car to the top but we definitely did some hiking while we were up there.

Now from looking at it from the bottom and from all the pictures that I’ve seen, I expected a barren, flat rock once I got to the top. Au contraire, mes chers. (sorry for the poor French Robin). Though predominately flat, there are many small rock formations that dot the surface. There is also grass, shrubs, reeds, weeds, birds and even a couple of slithery things. (not sure what they were as I didn’t stick around long enough to find out!!) We ended up taking one of the hiking trails that took us around the “back” of the mountain to Maclear’s Beacon. The views were stunning!!

We wound out way back along the “front” which is the view that you see from the bay. This view looks over Capetown towards the waterfront and the beaches. You can see Robben Island from here. (We have a tour there in a few days so will give you the lowdown then). In total, we hiked about 6 miles and spent about three and half hours up there.

Once off the cable car, we loaded back on our HOHO bus (no Santa was not there – HOHO is Hop On-Hop Off). This bus took us around to Camps Bay and all along the beaches towards the V&A Waterfront. Though we have yet to explore this area on foot, our tour guide mentioned that this area was fashioned after San Francisco Wharf and Sydney Harbour (for those of you paying attention – we have been to both of those!!). Can’t wait to spend some time down here!!

We got back to our apartment about 5:30 and though we had grand illusions of showering and heading out for a night on the town, I was asleep on the couch by 7:30. I guess I am still fighting some jet lag. So, here I am at 5 AM, bright eyes and bushy tailed, writing and drinking coffee. Ahh, such is the life of a rockstar!!

Today, we are checking out the church around the corner and maybe spending some time on those beautiful beaches that we saw. And how’s the weather there?!?!?





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Also as promised another South African Beer for your viewing enjoyment.  This was at the Tiger’s Milk Restaurant and it is their own brew.


Not be outdone Col had her Gin and Soda.


Walk Around The Cape

After settling into our apartment Col and I managed to get a bit of sleep and headed out just before noon to do a bit of exploring.  Our host left us with a small list of attractions that were within walking distance.  All told by the time we arrived back at the apartment we had covered around eight miles.  I have to admit that I was a bit apprehensive stepping out into strange city in Africa for the first time, but lucky for me Col with me to protect and guide me.

A city is a city most everywhere you go.  People are busy eking out a living doing what they do and Cape Town does not seem to be the exception as the population seems friendly and welcoming.  We walked through Company Gardens on our way to the city centre which is full of beautiful plants, trees and birds along with an array of museums and galleries.   The Company Gardens gets its name from the VOC which was the Dutch East India Trading Company which landed at the Cape in the 1600’s.  The gardens were initially started as a source of food for the ships who would stop to re-supply on their way to India.  Cape Town was roughly half way between the Netherlands and India which made it an ideal location to replenish the ships with supplies as they travelled in both directions.

As we entered the down town area we came upon a group of young people singing and dancing for tips and right next to them was the Anglican Cathedral of St. George which was home to Bishop Desmond Tutu. He was awarded the Nobel Prize for Peace and was also a close friend of Nelson Mandela who also happens to be a winner of the Nobel Prize for Peace.  There ends the history lesson for today.

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We enjoyed a relaxing lunch at one of the local restaurants and moved on to visit the old Castle / Fort that was built by the Dutch East India Company in the late 1600’s.  I found the castle / fort very interesting in light of the fact that my favourite author Wilbur Smith has written many books in which the fort has been spoken of in detail.   In the background of one of the pictures you can see Table Mountain which is the most iconic landmark in South Africa.  The name comes from its very flat surface, flat as a table.


To end this post I thought perhaps I would start something new by adding a bit of culture for the Beer Connoisseurs out there.  I will endeavour to provide pictures of all the local South African Beer I will be privileged to sample.  Let me start with these.

Until next time, this is Richard filling in for Colleen Wileman.



What do you think of when you hear these words? Most people will say lions, elephants, zebras. When people hear South Africa, they think apartheid and Nelson Mandela. For me, this is also true. However, there is so much rich history on this continent, that I cannot wait to dive into it.

We arrived in Cape town yesterday afternoon after a 30 hour flight marathon. We flew with Qatar Airways so had a 3 hour layover in Doha, Qatar. Yup, I had never heard of it either until I booked the flights. Part of the Middle East just north of United Emirates. I only mention this flight and airline because the service was absolutely top notch. We ate constantly, you could drink constantly (if you so desired), all included in the price of the ticket. A little different than Jetstar where we did not even get a free glass of water on our 10 hour flight from Hawaii to Australia. (Thank goodness we still had our water bottles!) Qatar Airways also provided pillows, blankets, socks, toothbrush and toothpaste, lip balm, earplugs and eye mask. We’ll try and book with them again if we can.

But, I digress. From the airport, we took an Uber to our Bnb. As we drove along the freeway, our driver pointed out the townships on our left and right. Township in South Africa is a polite way of saying “slum”. There were miles and miles of tin shacks – more than we had ever seen in the Dominican Republic. These townships were set up during the apartheid era to separate blacks from whites. Once apartheid was abolished, these communities still existed and those of poor economic status could not afford to leave. From what I read, government has been ineffective in raising these people out of their poverty stricken lives. Lack of good water, sewage systems, continuous electricity and education in these areas are contributing to disease, gangs, and exploitation. I don’t think that we can even begin to understand these problems or come up with a way of solving them. I only wish I could.

We will be spending the next couple of days doing a few jetlag friendly activities until we are able to get caught up on our sleep. From there we will go up Table Mountain, take a tour of the cape, see Robben Island and just feel the vibe that is Cape town. Maybe we’ll even be able to start to solve the world’s problems!

Until then my sleep deprived brain must try and rest. Let’s see how that goes!

Saying Goodbye to New Zealand

Today we get on a plane to Cape Town, South Africa. As excited as I am about going to the mystical land of Africa, I am also heartbroken to say goodbye to New Zealand. I feel that we have only touched the surface of this beautiful country. We loved the beauty of the south with it’s green landscapes and snow covered mountains. We always felt that we were driving through a Lord of the Rings movie set. We loved the hills in Dunedin and the mountains in Te Anau. The drive to Milford Sound almost eclipsed the fjord itself. Such an amazing creation!!


The north is equally as beautiful with rolling hills dotted with sheep and dairy cattle. It is a rare find to drive on a road that is straight for a kilometre or more. Much different than our prairie landscape back home. We spent more time in the north doing activities – ziplining (fabulous), Maori hangi and celebration (fantastic), Hobbiton movie set (magical), the Waitomo Glow Worm caves (beautiful) and the Gondola Skytrain in Rotorua (breathtaking views).

We are so thankful that we have also met so many fabulous people on this portion of our journey. All of our BNB hosts were absolutely amazing in both their hospitality and their graciousness. The people we met on our tours were always so friendly, informative and helpful. It is these people that give one faith that this crazy world is going to be okay after all.

Again, to all our friends back home – we really do miss you and are so glad that you are sharing this blog journey with us. We wish that you could all be here to experience all of these adventures in person. Hopefully, we will inspire each of you to have your own adventure some day.

So, we have a 30 hour flight ahead of us (this is not the fun part of the adventure but rather a necessary evil) and we will see you again in Africa!!



My name is Richard and I approve this message.