The Southern Line Tourism route trip made our Women's Day ultra special
|The Southern Line Tourism route trip was awesome
|Our super duper train driver, Sisiwe
Getting ready for our day trip
On Saturday, Women's Day, Sasha and I, together with my sister, Levona and my niece, Letitia, spent the day on the Southern Line Tourism route. Our trip took us to Simonstown where we were going to visit two museums and do the boardwalk at Boulders.
I had no idea that Metrorail had an active tourism sector and that the #Southern Line Tourism route is one of three dedicated tourism rail routes! The other two rail tourism day trips are the Khayelitsha route and the Stellenbosch Winelands route. Now that this confession is out of the way, let me share our tourists-in-our own city- train adventure.
The tourism train surprises
At the start of our journey to Simonstown, our Metrorail tour guide told us about the multiple personalities of our tourism train. During the week Tourism Train is an express commuter train on the Khayelitsha line and it then transforms into the Edu-train during off-peak hours, where schoolchildren become its guests. Then on Saturdays, it becomes the tourism train, doing one of the rail tourism routes I had mentioned. What a cheeky one it is, changing hats effortlessly and charming the various passengers! After this interesting sound bite, we boarded with two female train drivers, Sisiwe and Nozuko. This was so cool.
|Going down to the dungeons
On the train we were entertained by the two well known cousins ( young men who clearly enjoyed their role as chaperones on the Edu-train), Metrorail tourism staff and a Sh' Zen consultant. We received a biscuit snack pack and a Sh'Zen lip balm each as we chugged along through the changing landscapes.
Whales and dolphins in the bay
When we reached the Fish Hoek/ Clovelley area, we saw a small school of dolphins flying out the water and near the Glencairn area, we saw our famous guests,the whales, swimming quite close to the water's edge. Our train driver slowed down so that we could soak in the sights of the whales frolicking in the ocean waters.
Off to Simonstown museum
At Simonstown, we were chauffeured to the Simonstown museum. Besides the delightful collections, we were treated to an amusing and highly informative talk of the navy's famous sailor, AB Sailor Just Nuisance. Here too, we received a gift,compliments of the museum. By the time we visited the statue of Just Nuisance at Jubilee Square, I swear I saw a naughty glint in the left eye of this royal Dane. I almost saluted to this upright hero but was thankfully saved from doing this by the jazz music that flowed from the local buskers.
|Just Nuisance and his admirer
The Naval Museum
Our next stop was the Naval museum where the interesting collection of ships,submarines and everything naval can be seen. It is a pity that there wasn't a tour guide at the museum to add the narrative to all these wonderful pieces. We climbed the steep wooden staircase to view the clock tower up close and to keep our adrenalin pumping.
|Lunch at Harbour View
Harbour View Restaurant for our lunch date
After these cultural highlights, we had lunch at the Harbour View restaurant, where I tucked into a healthy-sized portion of hake and slightly oily prawns. With a well-lined tummy, we then proceeded by shuttle to Boulders where we did the scenic boardwalk. The scenic walk is priceless: in one go you are treated to fantastic ocean vistas, massive boulders and penguins resting in the greenery along the boardwalk. This was the final leg of our day trip and much appreciated,especially after our indulgence at lunch.
|Board walking and penguin viewing- free!
Local Tourism on our doorstep via Metrorail tourism
The Southern Line Tourism route provides us with multiple local tourism opportunities along our stunning False Bay coastline. Now that we know about Metrorail Tourism, we will do the three routes sometime. We need such soul food to balance our lives and to enjoy the fabulous sights of our own city with fresh eyes.
The recipe for deepening your own tourist experience is to plan your day trip around two or three focal places to visit. Such structure will allow you to explore the sights more creatively ; you will learn more than you would when you are merely passing through.
Expand Metrorail tourism advocacy campaign to local communities
The Metrorail tourism initiative also appeals to all because of the accessibility of railway stations to most neighborhoods and the relatively cheap ticket price. Perhaps Metrorail tourism should expand their advocacy campaign of their initiative beyond the realm of facebook, twitter and brochure stands.
They should explore taking their story to local shops, spaza shops, local libraries and community newspapers to spread the word to all our communities. This would step up the community-building services by Metrorail tourism and show the will to reach the poor communities in a proactive way. Our struggling communities need to know about such amazing, inexpensive trips they can do as families or friends.
Enjoy the pictures below.
|Brass band at Harbour view
|Jazz band at Jubilee Square