16 February 2013 – Bad Luck in the Mother City

We all know that most caching trips have the occasional, almost obligatory DNF (or Did Not Find); such is life.  But then you get the odd day where the winds are against you, the sun is in your eyes, your GPS is all over the place and the Cache Fates simply throw you an empty hand…  This was such a day!

Our first failed attempt was located on the incomplete overpass located alongside the N2 inbound.  Two  approaches via the N2 failed to give us a safe spot to access it and resulted in several red-faced, fuming fellow motorists being confounded by the Sugar-mobile travelling at 20km/h in the right-hand lane with their right indicator on…

From here we moved on – maybe a bit ambitious, by eye-balling our first Letterbox Hybrid Cache.  Letterboxing is yet another form of treasure hunting using clues instead of coordinates, and we wanted to grab our first one located in the Golden Acre Mall in Cape Town.  Unfortunately, inexperience, being pressed for time and thousands of muggles, vendors, flower sellers, and other dodgy looking characters prevented us from really giving this one a go.

Our third botched attempt was a mystery cache about SA sailing legend, Bertie Reed.  The coordinates took us to the roof of the breakwater parking garage in the V&A Waterfront.  Unfortunately, this area was cordoned off for some private party function…

Orange Street in Cape Town, South Africa

S33°55.884 E18°24.802

The Mount Nelson, our saving grace; we finally found one next to this iconic pink hotel.

The Mount Nelson opened on 6 March 1899 and was built to emulate London’s finest and was the first South African hotel to offer both hot and cold running water.  It was named The Mount Nelson in honour of Admiral Lord Nelson, who died at the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805, and because of its proximity to Table Mountain.

It functioned as a British headquarters during the Anglo-Boer War (1899-1902) and housed the likes of Lords Roberts, Kitchener and Buller, as well as a young, up-and-coming war correspondent named Winston Churchill…

The hotel was painted its iconic pink by Aldo Renato, the second manager in celebration of the end of the First World War.  Pink hotels were popular throughout Europe for the next few decades, and so it was that Mount Nelson Hotel retained her blush and is still known as “Cape Town’s famous pink hotel”.

The current entrance gate (also known as the Prince of Wales Gate) and its palm-lined driveway were constructed in preparation for a visit by the Prince of Wales to the hotel in 1925.

Visit Mount Nelson Hotel at www.geocaching.com


30 October 2012 – Oprah, or Alfred?

089 O... I am famous

#89 “O”…. I’M FAMOUS (GC2G27Z)
V&A Waterfront in Cape Town, South Africa

S33°54.231 E18°25.296

This cache was, well, we suppose, literally a sit-and-grab located at the Victoria and Alfred Waterfront in Cape Town – South Africa’s most visited tourist destination.

The cache itself had us quite confused for a while, as its origins and clue seemed to refer to Oprah Winfrey, but we were unable to find any reference to the talk show host in the area.

This minor confusion regarding the name seemed fitting as many tourists and locals alike, often and incorrectly refer to the V&A Waterfront as the Victoria and Albert Waterfront, in reference to Queen Victoria and her Prince consort, Albert.

In truth, it was Queen Victoria’s second son, Prince Alfred that began construction of the Cape Town harbour in 1860.  The first harbour basin was named after himself and the second after his mother, hence the name – Victoria and Alfred Waterfront.

Visit O… I’m Famous at www.geocaching.com

25 October 2012 – Tripping up Table Mountain

086 Table Mountain TB Hotel#86 TABLE MOUNTAIN TB HOTEL (GC31WXR)
Table Mountain Upper Cable Station near Cape Town, South Africa

S33°57.444 E18°24.185

The news that Table Mountain was voted as one of the New 7 Natural Wonders of the World was met with great joy and celebration throughout South Africa.  Brunette Suikerbos herself had run a baby campaign off her Facebook page and swears to have contributed over a hundred votes from her mobile.

This South African icon is the only natural site on the planet to have a constellation of stars named after it – Mensa, meaning “the table.”   It has withstood six million years of erosion and hosts the richest, yet smallest floral kingdom on earth with over 1,470 floral species.  Table Mountain, with its unique flat-topped peaks reaching 1,086 metres above sea level, is regarded the most recognized site in Cape Town, and as part of the Mother City, was declared #23 on the Traveller’s Choice Top 25 Best Destinations for 2012.

With the Souties (Boer&Brit) visiting, what better caching trip than taking them up the mountain?  We started our summit adventure by visiting the TB Hotel located next to the upper cable way station.

What an awesome TB Hotel!  It is divided into six compartments – each representative of a continent, and you can leave your trackable according to the continent you would like it to visit.  (For those of you new to our blog, a trackable is a registered, trackable item – often a Geocoin or Travel Bug (TB).  It belongs to a specific cacher and it is moved from cache to cache by fellow cachers, its goal to log travel mileage, and often in support of a cause or in commemoration of a person, event or achievement.)

So, needless to say, our Travel Bug, Petrus, the Endangered Rhino was promptly placed in the Asian box.  Hopefully it will help to create awareness.  See our previous blogs The Elephant and the Rhino for more detail on Petrus and West Coast Route for the inner workings of a TB Hotel.

Visit Table Mountain TB Hotel at www.geocaching.com

087 Table Top Trove

Table Mountain near Cape Town, South Africa

S33°57.633 E18°24.392

This cache is located a short hike from the cable station and is credited on its profile, as the HIGHEST visited cache in Africa.

Its location allows beautiful panoramic views of the Cape peninsula.

Visit Table Top Trove at www.geocaching.com

088 Platteklip Trail Throne

Table Mountain near Cape Town, South Africa

S33°57.716 E18°24.461

As both Suikerbossies and Boer&Brit had completed the Platteklip Gorge hiking trail on previous occasions, it was decided to grab this cache following the much easier route via the upper cable way station.

Platteklip Gorge splits the central and main plateau of Table Mountain, providing an easy and direct ascent to the summit.  This route was first taken by António de Saldanha in 1503 during the first recorded ascent of the mountain.

Visit Platteklip Trail Throne at www.geocaching.com

13 September 2012 – West Coast Route

Hiddingh Campus in Cape Town, South Africa

S33°55.789 E18°24.794

This was our first acquaintance with a TB or Travel Bug Hotel – a secure container in a controlled location where Travel Bugs and other trackable items can safely be dropped and collected with no fear of it being stolen.  Trackables (often in the form of Geocoins or Travel Bugs) are registered, trackable items.  They belong to a certain cacher and are moved from cache to cache by fellow cachers – their goal to accumulate travel mileage.  They are often created in support of a cause, or to commemorate a person, event or achievement.

We picked up Clancy, the Swaggie TB and some friends to accompany us to Dwarskersbos in celebration of Brunette Suikerbossie’s birthday.

Visit Hiddingh Security TB at www.geocaching.com

Along the R27 West Coast Route, South Africa

S33°06.816 E18°07.853

This was another quick park-and-grab along Route 27 along the West Coast on our way to Dwarskersbos.

Visit Off the Road at www.geocaching.com

This was day 19 of 30 days of consecutive caching.

1 September 2012 – Cape Town Spring Day

Long Street in Cape Town, South Africa

S33°55.596 E18°24.865

Spring Day was spent at a Luscious Food and Wine Workshop of which Blonde Suikerbossie had done the PR and marketing.  Feeling a bit out of our wits being surrounded by several, well-known food bloggers and other Tweeps, a Master Chef SA finalist and a television presenter-slash-author of several top-selling cookbooks, we decided to balance the day by doing some quick caching in the Mother City.

First on our list was the soon to be archived St. Martini Church in Long Street.  This German Evangelical Lutheran Church of St Martini was founded in 1853 by German immigrants and remains the oldest Lutheran communion in South Africa.

Visit Gotteshaeuser: St Martini Kirche at www.geocaching.com

Dock Road Parking at the V&A Waterfront in Cape Town, South Africa

S33°54.397 E18°25.084

This was a challenging, and very literal park-and-grab micro cache.

We spotted it quickly and off we were to the next…

Visit Gate to Knowhere at www.geocaching.com

Noble Square at the V&A Waterfront in Cape Town, South Africa

S33°54.388 E18°25.189

Number 3 for the day and an absolute must as both Suikerbossies absolutely adore our jolly, Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu!

The first Nobel Prizes were awarded in 1901 for achievements in physics, chemistry, physiology or medicine, literature and for peace.  A prize for economic sciences was added in 1969.  Each winner receives a solid gold medal, diploma and cash amount.

Nobel Square in the Victoria & Alfred Waterfront was constructed in 2005 and exhibits four bronze statues representing South Africa’s own four Nobel Peace Prize Laureates:

Albert Luthuli, 1960
Desmond Tutu, 1984
FW de Klerk, 1993
Nelson Mandela, 1993

Visit Nobel Square at www.geocaching.com

This was Day 7 of 30 consecutive geocaching days.