Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Our Beloved Cape Town.

On the way to Cape Town on the North side of False Bay.

 So much has been written about this amazingly beautiful city it seems silly for me to say anything, but of course I will! There are so many ways to enjoy Cape Town, tourists came in by the thousands on cruise ships, dock in the restored Victoria & Albert Basin and get taken on great excursions to the Cable Car which whisks them up to the top of Table Mountain where they enjoy unparallel views of the city and its two oceans. Other excursions include visits to Stellenbosch and the wine country, Cape Point Nature Reserve, the penguins at Boulders, City Tours, a boat ride to Robben Island where Nelson Mandela was imprisoned and unforgettable walks through the Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens. Then there are the hundreds of tourists who came to Cape Town on organized Tours from all over the world and enjoy much of the same sights included in their tours.

Then of course there are the few Overlanders who camp right next to the famous beaches, like Fish Hoek, Bloubergstrand & Kommetjie and get to do early morning walks along these beaches and interact with the locals like the surf fisherman which row out into the surf with their nets and then row back and pull the nets back in with help of anyone who wishes to join in the fun.  

Early morning walk on Fish Hoek beach
Surf fisherman's boat with its net and rope ready
Beach huts for changing and the shark
warning flag. Black means the water is not clear
 enough for the shark spotters on the mountain to see the
 sharks so swim at your own risk!
We, as Overlanders also do all the same sights but at a much more leisurely pace and maybe at times before the tourist’s busses get there. But then we also have to put up with the troops of baboons which come down off the mountain and raid the garbage cans at some campsites. These nuisances, which are protected by law, have worked out how to open “Baboon Proof” garbage cans. They can’t get the lids off as there are two latches that must be held back simultaneously and they just can’t do that! But they have worked out if they charge the cans with enough force they will knock the can flying and the lid will pop off. They will also attempt to enter any unattended camper and steal eggs and fruit out of the refrigerator which they have found much easier to open than the garbage cans. We had one jump up to our side window and bear its teeth at me, but I stood my ground with my trusty broom stick and snarled and growled at it. Thankfully it jumped off and looked for easier pickings.  Ah, the joys of Overlanding!


We spent a glorious day at Kistenbosch Gardens enjoying the quiet beauty framed by Table Mountain. As Annie says everywhere you go in Cape Town the mountain is always there and then you are also never far from the ocean. The day was topped off with tea and scones at the Kirstenbosch tearoom. I have been waiting a lifetime to enjoy these treats again. Of course there was homemade strawberry jam and clotted cream. My mouth waters, just thinking about scones, jam and cream.

Back side of Table Mountain from Kirstenbosch
Sunbird at Kirstenbosch

We spent 3 glorious weeks in Cape Town and probably will find someway to return real soon.

Groot Constantia

The courtyard at Groot Constantia

Slave bell at Spier Winery, Stellenbosch
The bell was used to call the salves in from the fields

Ostrich traffic jam at Cape Point.
They walk slowly in front of the cars. I told you they were stupid.

Condos in Sea Point.
The light blue on top of the building is the glass wall to a roof-top swimming pool

Beautiful bay at Cape Point.

Tidal swimming pool. Each new high tide refreshes the water inside the pool

Cape Point. View of both oceans.

Beach at sunset.

Parking security guard on top of his innovate guard post.
Campsite at Miller's Point with the full moon raising

Tortoise at Cape Point. Its brain is surly bigger than its eyeball

Kelp beds at Cape Point

Cape Point

Hundreds of Cormorants.
Cape of Good Hope. The most South Western point of the African continent.

Lunch stop view out our door.

Recent ship wreck on the stormy Atlantic side

Just real pretty flowers


Muizenberg Beach from Kalk Bay Mountain

Biggest tent-peg I have ever seen!

Huguenot Memorial, Franschhoek

Huguenot Memorial, Franschhoek

Huguenot Memorial, Franschhoek

Our mascot. Wire bicycle bought for $5.00

Monday, March 19, 2012

Storms River to Cape Town.


Storms River Mouth

From Addo we went down the coast to The Tstitskamma National Park. This is one of South Africa’s premium National Parks as your campsite is right on the ocean affording some really spectacular sunsets. We did the walk to the river’s mouth and a great view of the suspension bridge over the Storms River. While we were there a river dolphin swam under the bridge giving us a real nice memory.

Like a rock.
Our campsite was visited by a family of Rock Hyrax or as they are called in Afrikaans Dassies. When one of the young ones climbed on our front wheel we imagined all sorts of advertising slogans like: ”Even a Rock Hyrax knows that a Chevy is Built like a Rock!” or “The Rock Hyrax approves of Rickson wheels as they are Rock-Solid!” but that seemed too silly.

In the morning we were surprised by a Bushbuck exploring around our site. We later found out that they are really very shy and we were lucky to have seen it.
We also paid a visit to the Big Tree which in Afrikaans is Die Groot Boom which definitely has a nice ring to it.

Start of Baviaanskloof. Little did we know.
We then went inland to Baviaanskloof Wilderness Area. This remote drive transverses 3 Hair Raising mountain passes on a very narrow (one car wide) dirt road. I really don’t know what we would have done if another car had been coming in the opposite direction while we were on the pass as there wasn’t any room for more than 1 car and no guard rail with a sheer drop-off to the bottom. What little hair I have left definitely stood up and why we don’t have any photo’s is anyone’s guess or was it because of Annie’s white knuckling it.

Farm workers house on Route 62

Street sellers in Oudtshoorn selling Ostrich feather dusters. 

On to Oudtshoorn via the scenic Route 62. Oudtshoorn is famous for its Ostrich Farms and The Cango Caves. We visited both and the Ostrich Farm was much more interesting than the caves which are really showing the abuse of years of over exposure to human contact. We were told by the guide that in its heyday the caves would have over 1,000 people in each group and there would be a group every hour from 9am to 4pm. Our group that day consisted of about 15 to 20 people. I can’t imagine a group of 1,000. The most memorable fact I took away from the Ostrich Farm was that an Ostrich is really stupid and that its brain is smaller than its eyeball….

Smaller than its eye-ball, really?
The boat
Back to the coast for a couple of days at the pleasant town of George and then further down the coast to Mossel Bay where we visited the Bartholomew Diaz museum where they house a replica of his ship which was rebuilt a couple of years back in Portugal and then they sailed his exact route to Mossel Bay and donated the boat to the museum.

Cape Agulhas
The Oceans meet
Then we continued further south to Cape Agulhas which is the Southernmost point of Africa and where the Indian and Atlantic oceans meet. 

We feel so little.
There was an Overland Tour Truck there at the same time filled with young people from all over the world which was really cool. After an overnight at a campground right on the beach we went on to Gansbaai where most of the White Shark tour boats depart. It was fun to see them prepare the shark cage for the next trip and then we watched them load up with the tour takers and head out to the off shore seal islands where the Great Whites hang out. Not for me though!

Waves breaking at Klienmond.

A couple of nights in Klienmond and then around the mountain and the little town of Rooiels and we were on the north side of False Bay and across the bay was the fabulous city of Cape Town where we spent the next 3 or 4 weeks. 

Famous Table Mountain and Bush Baby