Before Christmas last year, we had a scrumptious late-afternoon dinner at Café Neo at 129 Beach Road, Green Point, with good friends of ours.
Johann is my ex-boss and Janice is his partner-for-life, and they have just returned from New Zealand. As Café Neo is dog-friendly, their beautiful, friendly border collie Blew lay underneath our chairs, where she happily crunched her way through three carrots I’d brought along as a Christmas present for her. (She loves carrots.)
This is the beautiful red-and-white Green Point Lighthouse. It dates back to 1824, and is thus the oldest operational lighthouse in South Africa:
“Completed by German builder Herman Schutte in 1824 to curb the frequency of ships running aground off Table Bay, it originally had two fixed lanterns that burned nine litres of oil every night. The lighthouse was electrified in 1929 and, to this day, its light is still visible from a distance of 25 nautical miles. Until the 1850s, Mouille Point was used as farmland and livestock grazed on the neighbouring Green Point common – then a soggy vlei but currently under construction as a Soccer World Cup stadium. For visitors information, phone 021 449 5171.” (See: Cape Etc.)
This lighthouse is also famous for its foghorn, which emits a low, eerie hooting sound when the fog rolls in from the sea and obscures visibility. The sound can even be heard from far away in the City Bowl.
“Because of the foghorn the lighthouse has been given the nickname of “Moaning Minnie”. Green Point lighthouse has witnessed many a ship wrecked on its doorstep with the latest wreck happening in 1966 when the SS Seafarer ran aground during a gale force northwest storm. Fortunately no lives were lost as helicopters from the Ysterplaat airbase were able to lift people off the stricken vessel and land them safely on the beach.” (See: Turtle SA)
After dinner, as the sun was sinking lower towards the horizon, we went for a brisk-ish stroll along the Green Point promenade. We hadn’t walked along the Green Point promenade for a number of years – probably because it’s not in our immediate neighbourhood. I guess we’ve become a bit insular: we have our islands of comfort in the turbulent sea that is the city of Cape Town, and we tend to go the quickest, shortest and safest routes from home to shops to work to friends and back home again.
So this was a wonderful, invigorating reminder that our Mother City has some very beautiful areas that are definitely worth visiting.
The two men strode on ahead, talking about manly things like investments, finance and share-markets, while we two women tagged behind, conversing about the differences between life in South Africa and life in New Zealand, while Blew-dog trotted back and forth, side to side, sniffing here, pausing there, gazing at the sea, checking in with all of us in turn.
We spotted a whale-watching boat… but no whales.
And we so enjoyed the sunset.
The perfect end to a lovely evening spent with good friends.