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Captivated by Cape Town’s beauty

Before, during and after the Two Oceans Marathon and its multitude of additional events and happenings, runners, their families and supporters who have come in from all over the region and the world, take full advantage of being in Cape Town.

Outdoor with Rosie Mitchell

This attractive peninsular city has a great deal to offer a tourist.
An annual event with over four decades of history, the Two Oceans Marathon grew rapidly over the years from a small, informal training race to the international running extravaganza that is it today — and it’s still growing.

For many years now backed by Old Mutual, this event each Easter draws tens of thousands of visitors to the Mother City, boosting its economy and packing its various accommodations, from self-catering to luxury hotel, so best you book early — most available accommodation is snapped up well before the end of the preceding year.

For ourselves and various friends who also mission down to Cape Town annually to run, to support, and to soak up the carnival atmosphere around the running events, enjoying Cape Town provides just as much pleasure as the race days themselves.

This year, our enjoyment began with an opportunity to see the smash hit show Tap Dogs at Artscape Theatre, a remarkable and very exciting experience.

A foot stomping, uniquely imaginative and unusual show, Tap Dogs began its vibrant life in steel town Newcastle, north of Sydney, Australia.

The talent for this show first emerged in a garage behind a dance teacher’s house where Australian creator and choreographer Dein Perry grew up, and where he and the “Dogs” first learned to tap dance as youngsters.

At 17, lacking opportunities for the dancing career he wanted, Perry first qualified as an industrial machinist, then moved to Sydney to try to get into show business.

After a big break when he was cast in the long-running 42nd Street, he launched his show Tap Brothers, drawing on his industrial experiences and those of his friends. Ultimately, Tap Dogs was born in 1995 at the Sydney Theatre Festival and has played to rave reviews all over the world, ever since.

The company has won 15 International Awards and 1 300 Tap Dogs from companies worldwide performed at the 2000 Sydney Olympics Opening Ceremony to an audience of 3,4 billion viewers globally.

Their story has now been turned into the movie Bootmen and the stage show has been touring for 18 years, continuing to wow audiences everywhere it goes — and so it did, us! It was spectacular, ingenious and like nothing we’d ever experienced.

It actually included one set where the dancers all used angle grinders on the stage, with sparks flying everywhere — very dramatic. Their dexterity and virtuosity in tap was magnificent and the entire show filled with humour. If you ever have the chance to see this, take it!

Of course, no trip to Cape Town is complete without some beach time, and we returned to two of our favourite beaches — Boulders, long home to an entire colony of African penguins, and Noordhoek.

Boulders is an absolute delight, as the penguins, an endangered species who there have safe, protected harbour, have become very used to humans and you really can get up close and personal with them. Children and adults alike, love this — and though the sea is very cold, you can take a quick dip and even swim near some penguins.

The day after our half marathon, we headed there to enjoy the penguins and added another recuperative “ice bath” for our legs by swimming for a short time! Boulders Beach is now a National Park, providing safety for the penguins who breed here, and a stroll around the boardwalk allows one to see the multitudes of breeding birds and read informative signage along the way.

Penguins mate for life and are clearly very affectionate couples! We also dined at the beach restaurant and were highly amused to see a lone penguin marching purposefully up the street towards the suburb, long after dark. Indeed, the road signs in the area warn of penguins crossing, and advise that you check for them under your car!

The magnificent Noordhoek beach

The massive Noordhoek Beach, on the even colder Atlantic side of the peninsular, is absolutely magnificent — and is a place to get away from the madding crowds and enjoy a really, really long beach walk — or run.

Horse-riding is also available there.

A dip in the sea entirely takes your breath away, rendering you numb all over, and unless you have a wetsuit, is mostly done as a dare! The endless white sands, the over 3km length of beach, with its width almost half a km wide in many parts, allows for a wonderful sense of remoteness and freedom. There’s also an interesting ship wreck to visit.

Very tragically, just after we arrived in Cape Town, 19 Pilot whales beached themselves here, and despite a full-scale rescue operation, all but six perished. More tales of Cape Town next week!
Feedback:
rosie@wildimaginings.net.

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