01 August, 2013

Simon’s Town by the sea

by Diana Studer
- gardening for biodiversity
in Cape Town, South Africa

We are going thru another round of Life Happens. Last month, for my birthday we had a day and a night off. We went to Simon’s Town. Arriving tired and stressed out to a friendly welcome. I settled on the sofa in front of the window and balcony, with my vanilla tea (choose your tea!) and book. 

Evening at Simon's Town

Next morning at Simon's Town

As the sun set, the sky darkened, and the lights came up – we were intrigued by a neighbouring house. Their skylight/clerestory windows were blazing out into the night, a bijou lighthouse. Come the morning, the mystery was resolved and we saw the house. Just for a while, we lived by the sea. Falling asleep to the sound of waves breaking on the beach below us. 

Welcome to Whale View Manor

Across our balcony at Whale View Manor

It was our good fortune that we happened on a night with no other guests. Just the 2 of us revelling in the view. That night was minus 7 in Sutherland (the coldest place on South Africa’s weather forecast) and they lit the gas fire for us. Since we are vegetarian, our menu choices were limited – but we enjoyed a Caprese salad and a hearty portion of linguini with mushrooms. Breakfast was granola and yoghurt as an elegantly layered parfait in a tumbler, with a stack of sliced fruit – pawpaw, pineapple, orange and kiwi. Garnished with garden herbs. And the usual, eggs, toast and juice. 

Dinner for 2 at Whale View Manor

We saw seals, and a pair of African Black Oystercatchers on the rocks along the shore. Time it right, and there would be whales, dolphins or sharks to see in False Bay. Sunset is on the Noordhoek side of the Cape Peninsula. We had a glorious sunrise. 

Sunrise across False Bay to the Hottentots Holland Mountains from Whale View Manor

Whale View Manor Guesthouse is just at the edge of Simon’s Town, with the road and the beach between it and the breaking waves. 

Arriving at Whale View Manor

We use Daddy's Deals to afford accommodation normally out of our budget, but blissfully in our comfort range!

Late afternoon at Whale View Manor
Rooiels and Cape Hangklip

One day, when we live in False Bay and I no longer look across the garden to Elephant’s Eye – thanks to Studio 22 we’ll still see our mountain. I was impressed by their service. Despite the special offer from Daddy’s Deals, a young man and his Apple Mac took time to walk me thru the process. I brought my memory stick. The original image (the one I use for Elephant’s Eye blog’s header) taken with a zoom lens didn’t have enough data for a sharp image, but printed on canvas it now gives the impression of an artist’s brush strokes. Together we cut out the image again from the original, matching my ‘this is what I want’. Then the font - Papyrus please. Repeating the original font colour. The 2 images side by side, and a section of ‘this is what it will look like actual size’. 

Next morning from Whale View Manor

When I drink my morning tea, I see Elephant’s Eye watching over me as we wait between houses. 

Septemberbossie in our future False Bay garden

After the time out, back to business at our False Bay house. Some small repairs organised. Sitting on a bench in the sun, I was chatting to our tenant, while ‘they’ sort out the work. Another look at our garden, where 2 tubs of Septemberbossie bloom either side of the garden gate. (Polygala myrtifolia is a tough pioneer shrub in the milkwort family, flowering year round, especially August and September).

Pictures by Jurg and Diana
and text by Diana Studer (on Google Plus)
AKA Diana of Elephant's Eye (on False Bay)
- wildlife gardening in Porterville,
near Cape Town in South Africa

(If you mouse over teal blue text,
it turns seaweed red.Those are my links.)


  1. Happy birthday!! What a lovely place. Being on the beach sounds so good to me as I sit here surrounded by hills in central Africa.

  2. Ah... my kind of vacation, Diana. I love the sound of the sea and the salty air. What a wonderful respite from the cares of the world.

  3. This looks like a really nice place to visit :-) It's always great When there aren't others at the place you're staying :-) Beautiful pics and thanks for sharing

  4. Oh, what a lovely escape from Life Happenings. The morning view across the water is just exquisite. (And I realize now that I haven't seen that much water all in one place for years!)

  5. Now that's my idea of the way to celebrate a birthday: time out from a busy life in a splendid setting. Happy Birthday!

  6. What a gorgeous place to relax and celebrate a birthday. There is just something about the water that is so soothing and peaceful, and just like your mountain, so strong and permanent.

  7. Its amazing to get away like this, just the two of you. Not always that easy for us with the KidZ but we make the most of it. When we do get the opportunity though we do make the most of it cause we never know when it will come by again

  8. What a gorgeous vacation spot. Looks like you had a lovely time - so nice that it was just the two of you and wonderfully quiet! What a great way to enjoy the sound of the waves.

  9. what an amazing place for a get away, stunning views,

  10. A perfect place for respite and relaxing....I loved the views and what a beautiful flower in your new garden.

  11. This is just exactly the kind of getaway that resides in some of my fondest memories. Afternoon, the night views, the sunrise! All are gorgeous and so soothing to the soul. This must be a very busy time for you, and this retreat must have seemed to be the perfect refreshment. I am eagerly looking to your posts once you are settled into your new home.

    Also, Diana, thank you for your encouraging comment on my own blog. I really appreciate it!

  12. Diana, It sounds as though you are managing your transition very well. Even when we look forward to changes, they can be very stressful. I love the fact that you will have an art image of your beloved elephant's eye to bring with you to False Bay. -Jean

  13. Certainly was a splendid setting and what a sunset. I think the only issue I am going to have with moving is not being near the sea.

  14. Dear Diana and Jurg

    It was wonderful having you stay with us at Whale View Manor, and certainly hope we have the pleasure in welcoming you back to the most beautiful part of the Cape.
    Your pics are fabulous. Would you mind if we posted them on tripadvisor?

    enjoy your travels from all of us at Whale View

  15. happy birthday Diana - what a perfect place to celebrate a birthday.

  16. Diana: It sounds like you had a wonderful time there, and what a beautiful location to move to! I will look forward to your future posts on False Bay. Stunning!

  17. I want to be there NOW and experience that morning light on the rocks, and fall asleep to the sound of waves.