We arrived into glorious sunshine – not bad for winter in Cape Town! Table Mountain was visible in all her glory and the Cape Town suburbs were looking lush.
It was a very easy and quick journey from the airport to Glen Avon Lodge – a mere 25 minutes and we were turning off of Strawberry Lane in Constantia and buzzing on the intercom to enter the courtyard at the lodge.
Here we were greeted by a very warm and friendly Tobias, who checked us in and showed us to our room. What a delight to cross our room, open the door and walk straight out into the gardens with a view over the grounds and the pool. Such a tranquil setting.
Starving hungry after a long day travelling we quickly dropped our bags off and went for a short stroll to Peddlars. What a delight and such a bonus to have right on the doorstep. Peddlars was an interesting concept. One place with three very different dining options – Italian Fine Dining, local tapas style dining and pub dining. In addition a lovely walled garden. We dined in the tapas restaurant and had an antipasti platter to share of local meats and cheeses with freshly baked focaccia.
This really hit the spot and still left room for our evening meal which I was hoping would be the highlight of our stay!
We would not be disappointed. Emmanuel was cooking for us. He started with Glen Avon in housekeeping but showed such interest in what chef and Manager Wendy did that it was soon clear that here was a talent to be nurtured and developed. Emmanuel produced beautifully presented, exquisitely seasoned cuisine using fresh and local ingredients. A truly memorable meal.
Over dinner, the owners, Annette and David, regaled us with stories relating to the history of Glen Avon, its significance within the local Muslim community and plans for its future. They explained that now that we were in the winter season, notoriously quiet for the Cape region, they used this time to run more intense staff training. One of their key exercises was to get the staff out in Cape Town and the region to experience the key tourist sites that their guests would also want to see. This personal knowledge would put them in a far better place to be able to advise guests on activities. What a great concept.
Waving farewell to our new friends we set off on a scenic trip along the coast to Simonstown to visit the penguins at Boulders Bay. This journey only took 30 minutes and enabled us to travel along the rugged coast line through towns such as Fish Hoek before reaching Simonstown. This was a beautiful and very quaint little town with ornate French styled balconies adorning the buildings along the Main Street.
However the highlight was to be the penguins. I visited more than 14 years ago and it has transformed beyond all recognition. The SA National Parks board are involved and a visitor museum and a boardwalk trail have now been built. You can opt for the free boardwalk which takes you above the beach to look down or the paid for boardwalk which takes you right down to the beach. We did both! The free boardwalk was lovely. You are walking along a path cut through the trees and bushes with fencing to protect the penguins from you. This was breeding time so you were able to see the penguins up close sitting on their nests and some with their young.
We then paid out R60 to go down to the beach where you see the penguins playing in the water and in greater numbers. I even got a little wave from one just coming out of the surf! What a lovely way to end our 24 hours experiencing Glen Avon Lodge and one of the excursions they recommend.