The Old Biscuit Mill Market and the Two Oceans Aquarium

It is Saturday, but quite rainy and cold, which effectively has nixed Krishna and my plans to go to Robben Island. The waters off of Cape Town are very dangerous when it is stormy, so we decided that it would be best to postpone our tour for more temperate day.  We decided to go to the Old Biscuit Mill Market, for lunch and then go to Cape Town’s famous Two Oceans Aquarium.

The Old Biscuit Mill Market, as the name implies, is located at Cape Town’s Old Biscuit Mill. Dozens of food vendor stands line the inside of the old warehouse selling a variety of ethnic foods.   Krishna and I were joined by two of our fellow hostel guests, Kate and Stefano, who had been to the market before, and offered to show us how to get there. We decided to each buy a different food, and share so that we could try as many of the delicious offerings as possible. We sampled a Mediterranean falafel plate, which filled with tzatziki sauce, dilled cucumber, and roasted aubergine (eggplant), a dim sum plate, which was filled with a variety of dumplings and spring rolls, a Thai noodle dish, and samosas. 

The plethora of Food Stalls at the Old Biscuit Mill Market



Stefano, Kate, and Krishna enjoying Rooibos Ice Tea at the Market.  


After our lunch at Old Biscuit Mill, the rain still had not abated, so Stefano, Krishna, and I decided that the Two Ocean’s Aquarium would be an excellent way to finish the rainy afternoon.  Unfortunately, Kate had an interview to attend at a nearby township, so we parted ways with her, and headed to the waterfront area.

  The aquarium received its name because South Africa borders both the Indian and the Atlantic Ocean, and displays flora and fauna from both oceans.  We saw a remarkable collection of sharks, fish, stingrays, turtles, and penguins.  One of the most popular exhibits, especially with children, is the large tank of clownfish.  Children love it for two reasons.  Firstly, the characters Marlin and Nemo from Pixar’s Finding Nemo movie are clownfish. Secondly, the tank is constructed with a cylindrical center so that children (or anyone vertically challenged, I suppose), can crawl under it, and when they stand, it appears as if they are inside the tank with the clownfish.  My favorite exhibit, however, was the penguin enclosure. The aquarium is home two different breeds of penguins: the South African penguin and the Rockhopper penguin. Like most other penguins, the South African penguin is black and white, but it is distinguished by its distinctive braying sound, which has led to its nickname, the “jackass penguin.”  The Rockhopper penguin, is a crested penguin, which means that it has several yellow feathers that stick out from its head.  All of the penguins on display were injured in the wild are being rehabilitated.

The Clownfish Tank


South African Angelfish


Great White Shark Tank


Nicki, the South African "Jackass" Penguin


Rockhopper Penguins


After our exciting day at the aquarium, it was time to return to our home away from home, our hostel.  Stefano wanted to take the train, the MetroRail, back, so we walked a little over a kilometer to the station in downtown Cape Town. Unfortunately, the next train was not due to leave for over an hour, so we had wait in the empty train.  We joked that our first MetroRail trip, was a “Metro-Fail” experience. Luckily, the time passed quickly while we people watched and were entertained by performers who panhandle on the train.  Best of all, we made it back to our hostel, and were able to enjoy the warm fire in the reception area for the rest of the evening.