Orange River - Richtersveld National Park - Alexander Bay - Springbok - Clan William - Lamberts Bay - Langebaan - CapeTown
After completing immigration procedures we then spent the night at one of the self-catering chalets on the banks of the Orange River, once again, Ber Braaing a couple of beautiful steaks for supper along with some broccoli and carrots we bought in Rosh Pinah. Fresh veg is something we have not been able to buy during much of our journey so it was a real luxury.
The road through to Alexander Bay went through the very north of the Richtersveld National Park - another diamond mining area - sand and gravel undulating roads, desolate landscape and with a bit of localised rain; the road surface in places was like a skating rink - bit scary especially going downhill.
At Alexander Bay we hit the tarmac with relief and headed for Port Nolloth where we stopped for a coffee and then headed on to Springbok to stay the night. Berwyn hadn't been feeling too well for a couple of days and now his cold had turned into flu; Julia also was struggling with a sprained ankle incurred at Ai-Ais; so we needed warmth (it was very cold), comfortable beds and a bit of extra TLC, which was provided for us at Annie's Guest House, a welcome oasis. There was heating in the bedrooms, electric blankets, hugh feathery duvets, lovely hot baths and showers and even a small carafe of brandy in the rooms for the needy!
Clan William - the home of Rooibos Tea
Clan William, spectacularly situated at the foot of the Cederberg Mountains,
was our next port of call, for lunch at Nancy's Cafe; we all chose traditional Bobote (akin to fruity, curried mince) and loved it! Clan William and the Cederberg Wilderness area looked very inviting, especially when the weather is warmer! From Clan William we drove through hectares of Rooibos tree plantations to Lambert's bay, to visit one of the areas where our Philip and David windsurf when they make their annual trip to Capetown; we also decided to put our feet up for a couple of days at a well appointed self-catering apartment overlooking the sea.
We have arrived in Capetown - mission accomplished
We arrived safely as evidenced by our posing on Bloubergstrand with Table Mountain and Capetown in the background. We have had a fantastic and unique journey with some outstanding experiences in some amazing countries, and we have met and shared experiences with some wonderful people.
From here we (Nigel and Jenny) will await the arrival of Martin (Nigel's brother) and wife (Miriam); Berwyn and Julia will return to the UK. There are many uncertainties about what we will do next but we will probably move on northwards through Mozambique and Tanzania to Kenya (to O'Loitokitok - our Michael's birth place); at least that is the plan, but who knows?
How, when and where we finish up will probably be determined by how, when and where we dispose of Mitzi - she has been, and still is a brilliant motor
Cape Town and its environs
Cape Town kept us well and truly occupied over the next two weeks. We shopped and watched the Lions/Springbok rugby test on big screen television at a V & A Waterfront pub amidst a crowd of red Lions jerseys (plus a few green and yellow ones) in a great atmosphere; visited Franschoek and Stellenbosch for the food and wine; watched whales breaching off the coast of De Hoop Nature Reserve; paddled in the Indian Ocean (sadly too cold for swimming!) at Arniston Bay; stayed in both Swellendham and Hermanus Bay and enjoyed a couple of really beautiful walks in both Fernkloof Nature Reserve and Silvermine near Muizenberg. Once again we were bowled over by the beauty of Kirstenbosch Botanical Garden; this is the first time we have seen it in winter, it was so green and fresh with proteas just coming into bloom and the Rockery Garden was amazing. Being wintertime also meant that there were fewer tourists/visitors and the peace and tranquility made our visit especially memorable.
When the Lions played the Emerging Springboks in CapeTown a group from Ruthin Rugby club flew in and we arranged to meet up with Allan Higitt and Roger Percival. It was brilliant to meet folks from home and to catch up with everything going on back in Ruthin. The day after the match we had a great day out to Cape Point and the Cape of Good Hope. It was a windy day which made the sea around Cape Point rough and pretty dramatic. We all had lunch at the Restaurant on top of Cape Point. There are superb views out towards the Antarctic - however, they have a real problem of baboons. They were everywhere and causing havoc, stealing from tables. Roger had his bread roll pinched from under his very nose by a cheeky baboon who had taken the opportunity to sneak into the restaurant through a door left open by an outgoing visitor. Quick as a flash the bread was gone from the plate. Too fast even for Berwyn to get a picture!
Table Mountain at last
The day before Bewyn and Julia were due to fly home we managed at last to get up Table Mountain. The clouds were scudding around and it was really chilly but we managed to get a short walk in before high winds and lack of visibility forced us to return to the Restaurant for a hot drink and then back down the mountain. A 16 course meal (!) at The Africa Cafe in Cape Town city rounded off the day.
Next we knuckled down to the domestics and began preparations for our onward journey - checking our gear, cutting the grass, tidying the garden and generally getting everything shipshape before M & M's arrival. Checking Mitzi over we have found a few things needing attention before the next part of our journey - clutch release cylinder leaking fluid, gearbox mounting shot, exhaust dodgy, tyres wearing low etc - so next stop a good mechanic!. We have acquired our Mozambique visas valid for entry within 2 months and then 2 entries of 30 days each allowed. Still deliberating where to go and by which route.
Martin & Miriam arrived as scheduled on July 8th. Until their departure on 15th July we walked, shopped, pottered about in the garden, continued to get Mitzy in top class condition and had a couple of meals out, the last night being with John and Gilly Freeth and Joyce Scott at 'The Galley' in Fishoek; a restaurant right on the beach front serving great fish and prawn dishes.
We had a lovely 'family' time together catching up with the news about children and grandchildren etc
After Capetown.... It has been difficult to tear ourselves away from the attractions of Capetown and its environs but Thursday 16th July saw us set off up the Garden route for our first stop at Wilderness. It is definitely true that you only really get the best out of this route if you stop and spend time along the way. We
Go to South Africa 2 Capetown to Durban