March 1998: South Africa

Cape Town viewed from a Robben Island boat trip:
(from left) Devils Peak, Table Mountain, Lions Head, and Signal Hill

The Breakwater Prison (right centre) with the Hotel (left) and the Cape Town Stadium behind (main photo adapted from Hotel web site).

The 19th session of the Joint Scientific Committee for the World Climate Research Programme was held in Cape Town from the 16th to 20th March 1998. It was one of several JSC meetings which I attended as an invited expert.

Amusingly the meeting, and our accommodation, was in the “Breakwater Prison” which nowadays is part Hotel and part the Business school of the University of Cape Town.  Zoe came with me as a travelling companion, it was the first trip we did together.

As well as exploring the town and waterfront we climbed Table Mountain, taking the cable car back down. Zoe was keen to see some African “Big Game” (as they were once called) but the main Wild Life Parks such as the Kruger National park are in the east and north of South Africa and a long way from Cape Town.

Addo Elephant National park

However the map showed that Addo Elephant National Park was situated north of Port Elizabeth, some 500 miles east of Cape Town, so we hired a car and drove there. On the way we visited the sand dunes at De Hoop National Park, and an Ostrich Farm near Oudtshoorne. On the way back we stopped of at the famous surf break at Jeffreys Bay. Before reaching Cape Town we detoured inland and hiked on the Cogman’s Kloof Trail.

I can’t now retrace our exact route between these various sights. However a memorable feature of the trip was the quality of the accommodation in the places where we stayed which we were able to rent at very moderate rates.

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