The seals of South Africa : Seals belong to the order Pinnipedia of which there are 33 species worldwide. These fall into two categories. Fur seals – Otariidae – or sea lions, have external ears and hind limbs that can be rotated forward to allow them to walk and climb on land. True seals – Phocidae – have hind limbs that cannot be rotated forward and have no external ears. Only one species, the cape fur seal is resident in South Africa. Other species occasionally occur as vagrants. The seals of South Africa :

Fur seals of South AfricaCAPE FUR SEALTHE CAPE FUR SEAL – Arctocephalus pusillus.
Identification: Cape fur seals can weigh up to 350kg – the largest of all fur seals. The males have a rough mane on their powerfully developed necks and are much larger than the females, which only attain a weight of around 90kg. Both males and females are covered in thick, dark-brown to olive fur. The pups are born black and moult for the first time at 4 months.
Biology: Mature bulls come ashore in late October to establish territories which they actively defend. The females arrive later and join the bulls harem which consists of around 20 females. Pups conceived the previous year are then born and the bulls mate with the cows only 6 days after they have given birth. Within the female, the implantation of the embryo is delayed by 4 months. A gestation period of 8 months follows and thus ensures that the pups are born on a yearly cycle.
Behaviour: When on land, fur seals are skilled climbers and may be sighted in surprisingly high places. At sea they are known to travel large distances – as much as 80km a day – and may spend months offshore where they are able to dive to over 200m in search of food. The females tend to remain at the colony for most of the year, feeding at sea on fish, squid and crustaceans and returning every few days to suckle the pups. Twenty five fur seal colonies are found between Algoa Bay (Port Elizabeth) and Cape Frio (Northern Namibia) most of which are on offshore islands and sightings are guaranteed the year round. Being fantastically agile and always graceful underwater, they are a pleasure to watch when diving.

Elephant seals South AfricaSOUTHERN ELEPHANT SEAL – Mirounga leonina.
Identification: The Largest of all seals, male elephant seals can attain 6m and 3500kg while the females are smaller at 4m and 800kg. The bulls are easily identified by the short, bulbous, trunk-like proboscis that hangs over the mouth. The elephant seals fur is grey-brown to brown but can be yellow-brown in mature males and before moulting.
Biology: The bulls come ashore in spring to establish territories. The females arrive later and join the harem. The pups conceived the previous year are born about a week later and the bulls mate with the cows 2-3 weeks after they have given birth.
Behaviour: Elephant seals have a circumpolar distribution and are largely restricted to sub-Antarctic waters as far north as the southern tip of South America. They feed mainly on fish and squid, however crustaceans are also occasionally taken. Elephant seals are mostly solitary animals. Spending most of their time at sea, data suggests that almost 90% of that time is spent underwater where they can dive to over 1400m and remain submerged for up to 2 hours. Sightings in South Africa are rare, although vagrants occasionally beach along our coastline.

Cape clawless otter South AfricaTHE CAPE CLAWLESS OTTER – Aonyx capensis.
Cape clawless otters are found throughout the southern and eastern coastal regions of South Africa, where they prefer areas with both fresh and salt water.
Identification: Attaining 1.5m and 18kg, the males are larger than the females. The body is dark to light-brown with a white throat and belly. Slender, and seal-like in form, cape clawless otters have a thick and tapering tail, flattened underneath to act like a rudder. The front legs have highly dexterous, clawless, fingers which enable them to probe under stones and in crevices for prey. The hind legs are partially webbed and provide most of the propulsion for swimming.
Biology: Little is known. However based on studies undertaken on other species of otter, it is believed that two or three cubs are born in the summertime following a three month gestation period. The cubs are completely weaned after an estimated 14 weeks but, stay in a family group with their mother for some years.
Behaviour: Adult clawless otters are mostly solitary animals, pairing up only for mating season. They are territorial and shy but can be found in rivers, wetlands, estuaries and coastal waters. With molars especially adapted to crushing, they feed largely on crabs, crayfish and molluscs. Octopus, small fish, frogs, rodents, insects and even birds are taken opportunistically. When not feeding, they are often playful and, if you’re lucky, they can be seen chasing each other, mock fighting and playing with stones or sticks for long periods. They have also been observed washing food items before eating. Otters are most active at dusk and at dawn, the daylight hours usually being spent in thick vegetation or in their holts.

Follow this link to our Facebook Page and see an incredible video we uploaded of a Cape Clawless Otter: https://www.facebook.com/MarinerGuestHouse/

 

Source Credit: http://www.oceansafrica.com

Are you planning a wonderful stay in Simon’s Town at Mariner Guesthouse and need some inspiration to the best dining this gem of a town?

Here are the Top 10 Restaurants according to Afristay.com:

 

It might be the naval suburb of Cape Town, but Simon’s Town is about so much more than the famous Boulders penguins, naval ships and deep-seated sea history.

And while it offers plenty to see and do, with world-famous attractions like Boulders Beach and Cape Point all within easy driving distance – it’s the good food that takes everyone by surprise.

Here are the top 10 restaurants in Simon’s Town:

#1 The Lighthouse Cafe

Boasting fabulous food, people and vibes, The Lighthouse Cafe may have only been around for a few years now – but it has fast cemented itself as one of the most popular eateries in Simon’s Town.

This pretty, airy space – bursting at the seams with laid-back, charming decor – has both a Provencal and coastal feeling to it… Best of all, its menu is as relaxed as its interiors. Meal choices are short but stellar and varied, ensuring there is something to satisfy all stomachs.

Dishes are freshly prepared, service is sound, reviews are solid and complimentary and the wine list is good… What more could you need from a cosy, local cafe?

Contact: +27 (021) 786 9000

Website: www.thelighthousecafe.co.za

Address: The Lighthouse Cafe, 90 St George’s Street, Simon’s Town, Cape Town, Western Cape, South Africa.

#2 The Sweetest Thing

Famed both locally and internationally for its delightful sweet treats, The Sweetest Thing is indeed aptly named.

The focus is on breakfast, lunch and of course, coffee time – ensuring you’re well looked after right throughout the day.

This wonderful patisserie provides customers with quality cakes, pies and pastries, with all food items (excepting the chocolate truffles) skillfully prepared on the premises.

We would go so far as to say that this sweet delight would impress Willy Wonka himself!

Contact: +27 (021) 786 4200

Website: www.simonstown.com/listings/winedine/sweetest/index.html

Address: The Sweetest Thing, 82 St George’s Street, Simon’s Town, Cape Town, Western Cape, South Africa.

#3 Saveur

Hailing from the Saveur Restaurant Group, Saveur Simon’s Town has, for the past four years, consistently proved a big hit with locals and visitors alike!

The menu, which offers an array of dishes, is sure to delight, with its generous portions and reasonable prices.

Service is good, the staff are friendly and the restaurant’s own relaxing atmosphere adds a prevailing peaceful mood.

So if you haven’t tried this restaurant yet, be sure to visit it as soon as possible!

Contact: +27 (021) 786 1919

Website: www.saveur.co.za

Address: Saveur, Shop WC2A, Simon’s Town, Boardwalk Centre
Cape Town, Western Cape, South Africa.

Saveur Restaurant Simonstown via Facebook
Saveur Restaurant Simonstown via Facebook

#4 Seaforth

This elegant, bustling restaurant – situated just across from Simon’s Town’s Seaforth Beach – is sure to delight with its excellent range of primarily seafood-orientated options.

Seaforth is a well-run establishment, found in a prime location (it’s within close walking distance to both Seaforth and Boulders Beach). Add to that, efficient service, a solid menu and great food – and it’s hard to lose.

Oh, and did we mention it offers stunning views of the nearby beach and ocean?

When in Simon’s Town, this sensational seafood restaurant is a safe bet every time.

Contact: +27 (021) 786 4810

Website: www.seaforthrestaurant.co.za

Address: Seaforth Restaurant, Seaforth Beach, Seaforth Road, Simon’s Town, Cape Town, Western Cape, South Africa.

#5 Monocle & Mermaid

At Monocle & Mermaid (or M&M, as it’s fondly referred to as), there is an intense passion for coffee, burgers and beer – which, as many will agree, are three of life’s finest things.

Situated close to the Simon’s Town train station, M&M is big on its breakfasts, lunches and burgers… and it shows! The food is delicious, interiors are trendy and service is great, ensuring that the whole M&M experience is smooth from start to finish.

Whether you visit it for a flat white, mouthwatering burger or some good beer, you will leave M&M with a full tummy and a desire to return soon!

Contact: +27 (021) 786 1370, monocleandmermaid@gmail.com

Website: www.facebook.com/pg/Monocle.Mermaid

Address: Monocle & Mermaid, Shop No. 1, St George’s Building, St George’s Street, Simon’s Town, Cape Town, Western Cape, South Africa.

#6 Black Marlin Restaurant

Located between Simon’s Town and Cape Point, one can find the delightful Black Marlin Restaurant.

The food focus here is firmly on great tasting, quality seafood meals, served in a beautiful and fun setting at Miller’s Point.

Once a whaling station, it is now a place of joy and good food, with views to rave about. And, during whale season, guests can even do some whale watching while they dine – talk about meals to remember!

Contact: +27 (021) 786 1621, reservations@blackmarlin.co.za

Website: blackmarlin.co.za

Address: Black Marlin, Miller’s Point, Simon’s Town, Cape Town, Western Cape, South Africa.

#7 One Three Six Restaurant

One Three Six is yet another Simon’s Town restaurant blessed with perfect sea views.  Far more than that though, this still-new restaurant impresses from its location at the Harbour Bay Shopping Centre.

It is popular with both locals and tourists, particularly as it offers everything from daring starters (think braised rabbit ravioli) to filling, sensational mains, like the Wild Sea Bass or Peppered Ostrich Fillet. Last but not least, the desserts will leave a sweet taste on your lips!

If the views and the food at One Three Six don’t delight you – then few restaurants will!

Contact: +27 (021) 180 4776

Website: onethreesix.co.za

Address: One Three Six, Shop GF09B Harbour Bay Centre, Corner Dido Valley & Main Road, Simon’s Town, Cape Town, Western Cape, South Africa.

#8 Cafe Pescado

With its pizzas, burgers, steaks and delicious seafood, this family-friendly eatery has something to keep everyone happy.

Prices are good, staff are warm and friendly and the vibe inside Cafe Pescado is cosy, comfortable and welcoming, making you feel instantly at home.

Whether you pop in for lunch, a romantic (pizza) date night or supper with some live music. At this warm eatery, you won’t be left wanting… that much is certain!

Contact: +27 (021) 786 2272

Website: www.pescados.co.za

Address: Cafe Pescado, 118 St George’s Street, Simon’s Town, Cape Town, Western Cape, South Africa.

#9 I Love Waffles

Calling all waffle-, muffin-, ice cream-, pancake- and coffee-lovers… Gather round because I Love Waffles is the place to cure all cravings!

This bright and cheerful place is where culinary magic happens… After all, who doesn’t love good coffee or a sweet treat (or better still, a bit of both)?

But it’s not just for sweet tooths, as I Love Waffles serves up the likes of salads and sandwiches too, helping to keep all kinds of hunger pangs firmly at bay.

So whether you need a coffee fix, sweet indulgence or quick snack, I Love Waffles has you sorted!

Contact: +27 (021) 786 9361, info@ilovewaffles.co.za

Website: www.facebook.com/pg/ilovewafflessa

Address: I Love Waffles, Shop 6 & 7, Quayside Centre, Wharf Street, Simon’s Town, Cape Town, Western Cape, South Africa.

#10 TastyTable

Those looking for a homely restaurant with good bites need look no further than the family-run TastyTable.

This contemporary-style bistro offers fresh, artisanal food with an honest and fun approach. What’s more, the service is attentive and helpful, catering to your every food need.

Locals and online reviewers praise TastyTable across the board – and it’s not hard to understand why.

Contact: 076 933 7643

Website: www.facebook.com/pg/tasty.table.brands, www.tastytable.co.za

Address: TastyTable, 132 St George’s Street, Simon’s Town, Cape Town, Western Cape, South Africa.

These restaurants are just some of the many reasons to make Simon’s Town your next port of call!

 

Source Credit: www.afristay.com

 

 

Spoil your mom, granny or wife this month with a few nights at 4-star Mariner Guesthouse in Simon’s Town. All “moms” stay for free for the month of May, so you basically get 50% off when sharing a room!

Enjoy some of what the beautiful Cape Peninsula has to offer. Take a leisurely walk along the beach, stroll down the quaint cobbled streets of historical Simon’s Town, enjoy coffee & cake or a meal at one of the many coffee shops or restaurants, visit our cute penguins down the road at Boulders or go for a pamper day at one of our nearby Spa’s.

Find more information on www.marinerguesthouse.co.za or book at: info@marinerguesthouse.co.za / 021 786 4528.

Fun for the whole family in Simons Town at the St. George and the Dragon festival organised annually by the Simon’s Town Business Association on a Saturday towards the end of April.
Come join in some medieval fun in Simon’s Town at the third annual St. George and the Dragon festival.
Jubilee Square comes alive with medieval festivities, kiddies events, food stall, a market, and much more, on Saturday 30 April 2016.

 

 

 

The legend of Saint George and the Dragon:

The legend of Saint George and the Dragon describes the saint taming and slaying a dragon that demanded human sacrifices; the saint thereby rescues the princess chosen as the next offering. The narrative is set in Cappadocia in the earliest sources of the 11th and 12th centuries, but transferred to Libya in the 13th-century Golden Legend.

The narrative has pre-Christian origins (Jason and Medea, Perseus and Andromeda, Typhon, etc.), and is recorded in various saints’ lives prior to its attribution to St George specifically. It was particularly attributed to Saint Theodore Tiro in the 9th and 10th centuries, and was first transferred to Saint George in the 11th century. The earliest narrative record of Saint George slaying a dragon is found in a Georgian text of the 11th century.

The legend and iconography spread rapidly through the Byzantine cultural sphere in the 12th century. It reached Western Christian tradition still in the 12th century, via the crusades. The knights of the First Crusade believed that St George with his fellow soldier-saints Demetrius, Maurice and Theodore had fought alongside them at Antioch and Jerusalem. The legend was popularised in Western tradition in the 13th century based on its Latin versions in the Speculum Historiale and the Golden Legend. At first limited to the courtly setting of Chivalric romance, the legend was popularised in the 13th century and became a favourite literary and pictorial subject in the Late Middle Ages and Renaissance, and it has become an integral part of the Christian traditions relating to Saint George both in Eastern and Western tradition.

Source credit: wikipedia

The 50th consecutive Old Mutual Two Oceans Marathon will remain on the traditional route via Chapman’s Peak, Hout Bay and Constantia Nek (unless deemed unsafe by authorities in which case the Ou Kaapse Weg route (prior to 2004) will be used). The Old Mutual Two Oceans Marathon is run under the rules of IAAF, Athletics South Africa (ASA) and Western Province Athletics (WPA).

A marathon with global appeal is the Two Oceans Marathon. Hosted in the beautiful sea side city of Cape Town, the Two Oceans marathon attracts some 20 000 participants who willingly taken on 56 kilometers of open road and challenging mountain climbs. An interesting feature of the route of Two Oceans Marathon, is as the name indicates, it passes both oceans surrounding the South African shoreline – the Indian and Atlantic Oceans. It is therefore as stunning as it is challenging.

The toughest part of the Two Oceans Marathon, is undoubtedly the mountain climb known as the ‘Suikerbossie Pass’. After you’ve enjoyed the scenery of Chapmans peak and you’ve passed through the relative flats of Hout Bay, every ounce of remaining energy will be used as you climb this monstrous hill. Even if you don’t harbour any ambitions of running 56km, there’s a great vibe amongst the spectators lining the course in support. The screams of supporters will edge you on to the top of this hill where you’re greeted by the welcome sight of the Atlantic Ocean.

RACE INFO

Date of Race: 20 April 2019
Start Time: 06:30
Distance: 56 km (34.8 miles)
Start point : Main Road in Newlands.

Marathon mark (42.195 km): Near the cemetery on Constantia Nek.

Ultra Route
The World’s Most Beautiful Marathon: This year’s route (the PURPLE line on the map) will be the same as the one used since 2004. Runners will veer off left onto Noordhoek Road (Chapman’s Peak Drive) at the foot of Ou Kaapse Weg after passing through Sun Valley, and then head through Noordhoek and Hout Bay to Constantia Nek.

Start point : Main Road in Newlands.
Quarter way mark (14 km): In Lakeside, just past the Sandvlei turnoff.
Halfway mark (28 km): On Noordhoek Road before Chapman’s Peak
Marathon mark (42.195 km): Near the cemetery on Constantia Nek.

It is the responsibility of each runner to know the route of their race. Traffic Police and race marshals will take all reasonable steps to ensure runners safety, however runners are responsible for their well being at all times.

Chapman’s Peak Drive re-opened in December 2003, nearly 4 years after the scenic road was closed because of dangerous rock falls. The new road includes a number of additional safety features, such as 1560 metres of high energy catch fences and two curved canopy structures totalling 81 metres in length. The construction costs were in excess of R157 million. The re-opening of this classic scenic road was welcomed by thousands of Two Oceans ultra marathon runners.

56 km: The route remains the same as last year. From the start in Newlands along the Main Road to Fish Hoek, Chapman’s Peak Drive, Hout Bay, Constantia Nek, Rhodes Drive, and Union Avenue to the finish at UCT. An IAAF graded course measurer has certified the route. A sign will mark every kilometer of the route. The course is 56 km (35 miles).

Half Marathon
Distance | 
21.1 km (13.1 miles)
Date of Race | Easter Saturday, 20 April 2019
Start time | 06:00

Why is it called the Two Oceans Marathon?

As indicated in the name, the marathon’s route takes in two oceans, the Indian and Atlantic Oceans, which meet at a point fluctuating between Cape Agulhas and Cape Point. … The race is not just about the ultra-marathon, which was its only race when it began.

Source credit:

www.mycapetownstay.com

www.brandsouthafrica.com

 

 

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