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Category: Cape Town

Planet KidsThis last weekend, Claudia and I were out on a drive to Fish Hoek, and decided to go and pop in for a visit at an old friend of ours, Andy Schwaeb.

He runs a great play centre for kids, called Planet Kids, in Muizenberg. One of the best features of this place is that it caters for all kids, as well as for kids with special needs, and provides a safe environment for them to play and learn.

Planet Kids
Part of the inspiration that urged Andy to start this play centre 2 years ago, is his son, Luca, who has autism, and I hear that the centre is doing quite well.
It was nice to catch up with how he is doing, and I hope that his endeavour continues to be a success.


As a programmer, I am no stranger to projects that have ended up being late and/or over budget. Every programmer can tell you the horror stories. But being R3 billion over budget even blows me away.

I am talking about the new Bus Rapid Transit system that Cape Town is building to help ease traffic congestion, and provide some infrastructure for the Soccer World Cup next year.

The original plan was to have four phases, to be completed by 2020, and costing about R10 billion in total. Phase one, which is due to be completed by mid next year, was forecast to cost R1.4 billion.

Construction has been going on for a while now, severely affecting my route home from work every day, and causing taxi drivers to protest about the extra competition.

Well, recently it turned out that someone had miscalculated the budget, and a scaled down version of phase one would cost R2.35 billion. That is almost double the money for a much smaller project than originally intended. I then heard today that the budget had grown to R4.2 billion!

How on earth does a project like this end up costing 3 times as much as the original estimate resulting in being R3 billion over budget?

And if you want to know how much the extra cost is going to cost an average Capetonian? There are according to Wikipedia, about 3.5 million people living in Cape Town, which means that the extra budget amounts to R850 per PERSON in Cape Town. I think that puts it a little bit more into perspective….

You can read more at News24.


The Cape of Storms lives up to its name once again. I was on my way to work yesterday morning when I heard on the radio that a large ship had run aground during the storm the night before at Bloubergstrand, which is 5 minutes away from where I live. I was tempted to turn around to go and look at this (semi)rare event, but realised that it would have made me very late for work.

coalshipI did get some nice photos of the wreck from Claudia, who had time to go and have a look.

What had happened is that the coal carrier was anchored in Table Bay, apparently awaiting engine repairs, when a fierce storm struck on Monday night, with gale force winds.

Waves were apparently breaking over her bow, and when the ship’s anchor cable snapped, the ship was forced onto the beach.

By the early hours of the morning the 25 Turkish crew had been rescued by the NSRI, but the ship itself is another matter.

By the time I left work, I stopped at the beach on the way, and the ship was still exactly where it had been beached. It is such a delightful sight (in a rather macabre way) to see this huge hulk so close to the shore. It looked like half of Cape Town turned up to see it too, as the beach was thronged with people catching a view of the ship, and taking countless photos.

The main concerns of the salvage operations now is getting the coal and fuel off the ship before it pollutes the surrounding area if the ship breaks up, but for me, I am rather a bit more curious as to how they are going to get rid of this beast…


Yesterday, there was an accident on the N1 highway out of central Cape Town, that ended up causing every route out of the city centre to be clogged up with traffic. The accident had happened at 10am, and the road was only reopened after 4pm, thus causing rush hour to be a nightmare. I got caught in that traffic and did not even go anywhere near the spot where the accident happened.

I would like to know, how can a city be designed where if one of the routes out of the city has a problem, the rest of the city comes to a standstill. True, the N1 is one of the main arterials out of the city, but off the top of my head, I can think of at least three or four alternative routes to avoid the area. The problem comes in that all of Cape Town’s roads are so near full capacity that any additional pressure on any of those routes causes those routes to be pushed over the limits and causing tens of thousands of commuters to have elevated blood pressure.

Our traffic problems are not helped by the myriad of road works in progress, and even the usefulness of the planned Bus Rapid Transit system, which would be the first real public transport which would work, is in doubt. Last week taxi drivers once again striked about the BRT and want the project canned. Is there any light at the end of the tunnel?

Local government needs to do something to address our road system…..perhaps we, as Capetonians, ought to strike to get some improvement rather than strike to get rid of any improvements.


I have read several ghost stories surrounding Simon’s Town, quite a few of which are centred on “The Residency”, which was built in 1777 to house visiting VOC governers.

The most famous ghost reported in this building is connected with a certain painting which can be found in the Bar Room. It is a portrait of a young gentlewoman, and some people have reported seeing her still walking round the building. She is often called the “lavender lady” or the “lilac lady” and was often seen by magistrates and their wives when they had lived there.

There is also another story that there is a painting hanging in the building which cannot be photographed, and any attempt to do so results in a either a blank, or a blurry photograph.

The building is now used as the Simon’s Town Museum, and so, being open to the public here begins the adventure…..
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Looking at Sunset Beach over Diep River

Looking at Sunset Beach over Diep River - Cole's Pic

What a winter we are having here in Cape Town. Two weeks ago I wrote about a major storm with gale force winds which I enjoyed so much, and here we are after another weekend of huge amounts of rain.

On Saturday, we had the second highest rainfall in a 24 hour period since recording began. 55mm of rain fell, compared with the record set in 1985 of 61mm. It has truly been a very wet weekend.

On Friday night, we had guests over for supper. They live just a few blocks away from us, but had to drive all around trying to find a route to our house since most of the roads in our suburb had flooded. That was the first clue that we were going to have it bad.
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One of my favourite things when I was growing up was the circus. Another one of my favourites was pirates. Not the Somalian oil tanker hijacking variety, mind you, but rather the swashbuckling Pirates of the Caribbean kind. Now take both of these and combine them and you get the fantastic show I saw last night.

I went to see The Pirate Experience, put on by Boswell Wilkie Circus at the Grand West Arena, with Claudia and Cole and we enjoyed it thouroughly. And trust me, it takes a lot to hold a 7 year old’s attention for almost 2 hours. 

It has everything you could ask for including a drunken sailor harassing the crowd, sword fights, a lake with actual water on stage, a huge ship and many supurb acrobatic and aerial acts.

It also had a story of sorts binding the whole show together, but that played second fiddle to the acts. There was never a moment when the action stopped and at times there was two or three different acts happening at once.

There was only one element missing from my youthful circus experiences and that was the tantalising smell
of sawdust and popcorn, which was more than made up for by the caliber of the performance.

I am very glad to see that the circus is able to reinvent itself in a time when I feared that it might become a relic of the past.
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