|Our drive in 2022|
Wednesday, October 26, 2022
First thing in the morning we drive into Cape Town and head to the bus carpark right beside the V&A Waterfront. Amazingly we can park here free for as long as we want. And we have a guard. Now it’s tourist time! As usual we start on the hop on/hop off bus to give us a good overview and so that John has a chance to look around properly. I always get that chance as passenger! Spend all morning driving this magic city, lunch at the waterfront, then out to Table Mountain to join the huge queue to get on the cable car. Unfortunately, it is school holidays this week so the queue is ginormous (later we discover the wait was 6 hours with a total of 5600 people going up in one day! Holy moly!!) We give it a miss! After a big day we head back to our campground – we cannot camp in the city or we will get wheel clamped. In the morning we return to our parking spot. A walking tour through the brightly painted Bo Kaap area before another attempt on Table Mountain. This time we jump the queue. At the top the misty tablecloth is in place. We wait, finally deciding to descend. About a metre down the view is magical. Love that the interior floor of the cable car slowly rotates allowing everyone a great view. Back at the truck we drive up Signal Hill for more stunning views, before heading out of this amazing city. We can see why South Africans flock here to live.
Back on the road again we head towards Paarl and find a great little campspot at Black Pearl Wineries. Wake to a cold grey day and head through the old Dutch city of Paarl and on through more wine growing regions surrounded by lovely jagged mountains. Pass through the lovely town of Franschhoek (also famous for its wines), up a magic pass and back down to the coast at Hermanus. This seaside towns’ claim to fame is the whales that swim close by. And golly they are so close they are practically surfing into the beach. We wander the waterfront getting lots of glimpses, although very few decent photos. Sadly, they don’t breech here – maybe it’s too shallow. John drags me away and we follow the coastline of Walker Bay all the way to the fishing port town of Gansbaii where there is a municipal campground right on the beach. A great chance to walk to the local pub for seafood.
We head off on another glorious day exploring more coastline. Eventually drive through the 2 towns of Struisbaai and L’Agulhas to get to the Southernmost point of Africa at Cape Agulhas. As magic as the beaches are we head inland through Swellendam, the third oldest town in Africa, where we find rows of lovely old Dutch buildings. After lunch we head on to Barrydale to follow Route 62, with a detour through the stunning Seweweekspoort Pass. Finally, at Calitzdorp we head out to the hot pools for the night. The water looks a bit murky but the temperature is perfect. Another long soak in the morning before we head off again. A must do of course is to visit one of the towns distilleries before we return to route 62. Before long we head through the stunning Swartberg Pass, climbing up from the lush valley up a huge mountain and through yet another red rock canyon. It’s a pretty narrow road and we get a few glares from oncoming traffic, even though we are under the weight limit of 7 ton. Then on to the old town of Prince Albert and eventually back down the equally stunning Meiringspoort Pass on the main sealed road.
Sunday morning, we head to Hope Church in George and are relieved to discover the service is in English not Afrikans. Then back along the coast stopping at the glorious Wilderness Beach for lunch, before heading to catch up with Susan & Brian in Knysna. We met them in the Central Kalahari Desert driving an Isuzu Camper like ours. A lovely afternoon and evening chatting and dinner out on the waterfront. After a long breakfast we reluctantly leave. It would have been lovely to stay longer but we are on our final countdown now and still have more new friends to pop in and see.
We head off, following the route suggested by Brian. We follow more lovely coastline and do a few magic drives off the main road. The first to Natures Valley, then to the lookout over Bloukrans Bridge, and finally Storm Rivers National Park.
In the morning we head back to the main road and on to Humansdorf, and then out to Cape St Francis. There is a cute little fishing port here where huge boats head out to catch chuka (or squid as we know it) and export it worldwide. We eventually leave the coast at the large city of Port Elizabeth. From here we head inland to Addo National Park. John is rather “animaled” out but I have convinced him we should visit, the sweetener being that entry will be free with our Wildcard. It is a huge park but we still manage to spy loads of elephants. They are smaller and pinker (due to the reddish dirt they have been rolling in!) There is a great animal hide where we can sit and watch them drinking a mere few metres away.
Early the next morning we head into yet another National Park (poor John!). This time Mountain Zebra National Park. Lots of zebras which are actually quite different with a pouch under their necks and brown patches on their noses. As a bonus we spy a cheetah who is too lazy to bother doing too much. John drags me away and we continue northwards, finally stopping at Onze Rust Camping in Colesburg for the night. The town is full of quaint old Guesthouses as it is roughly halfway between Cape Town & Joberg.
Our next destination is Kimberly, and rather than take the longer main road we take the direct route over back roads. Some gravel and some potholed, but it is a pretty drive with lots of farming and a scattering of scruffy old towns all with large settlement areas. Then back to the main road and into the city of Kimberly. Our destination is the largest hand dug hole in the world - the De Beers Diamond Mine site. There is an excellent mining museum, a walk down a mine shaft, a chance to wander through a street of restored buildings relocated from all over town and of course the huge hole itself. Before we leave town, we hunt down a few of the lovely old mansions here. Then later that evening we stop at the campground at Christiana where the owners let us stay free beside the boat ramp on the lovely Vaal River.
Today we continue north east to Parys where we stay with Lorna & Searle who we met at Augrabies & Kgalagadi National Parks. They have a lovely sprawling home on a huge block of land. Its great chatting and finding out so much about life here in South Africa. We head off by midday back to Joberg.
It is Saturday, so driving into the city is pretty easy and the motorway system here is excellent. By 3pm we reach Peter’s lovely home on a secure golf estate in Joberg. We met Peter & Carrin in the Kgalagadi in Botswana and spend a lovely afternoon & evening with a group of their friends. Amazingly we discover they too met Searle & Lorna in the National Park and are meeting them in a few days. And the next afternoon Julie & Terry, who we met with Peter & Carrin when in the Kgalagadi Park, pop in unannounced. What an incredibly small world. While here John gets a chance to visit an exclusive private collection of gorgeous vehicles (well so I heard – I opted out fortunately as he was there for hours drooling!)
Our time is running out and we need to sort out all our stuff, pack bags and finally head to the airport on Wednesday for that long long flight home. In 6 months, we have clocked up well over 30,000 kms and toured Namibia, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Botswana & South Africa. We are really looking forward to seeing the family soon, especially the grandkids, Sammy, Toby, Emmie, Mia, Luna, Brooklyn and Brammy.
Tuesday, October 25, 2022
|Exploring the V&A Waterfront|
|And out on the bus|
|Along the gorgeous coastline gain|
|Such a clear day with Table Mtn in the distance|
|Going up.... the tablecloth is on!|
|Gorgeous vineyard estates|
|Back up the mountains|
|We do love the drive|
|Hermanus and one tale sticking up|
|Our view at Gansbaii|
|Southern most point. Wish the photograher had waited till his wife moved on!|
|Church at Swellendam|
|Lovely red canyon|
|Heading to Prince Albert.|
|And back down|
|Magic waterfront at Wilderness|
|Camping on the wild beach|
|Francis Bay Lighthouse|
|And the pretty port|
|Addo National Park|
|A rather upmarket settlement area|
|Mountain Zebra National Park - our cheetah (he is collared)|
|Two of the mountain zebras|
|The Big Hole in Kimberly|
|And one of the lovely old homes there|
Monday, October 10, 2022
Well, here we are back in South Africa at McCarthys Rest. We have just finished with the various border people and are heading off when the lady from immigration stops us. Air is rushing out of one of back tyres. We find a nice level spot and John changes the tyre. There are plenty of helpers as there are lots of staff and no people crossing the border. The other back shock (remember we got one fixed in Kwai) is now hanging down, so we are directed down the road to get it welded. At last, we head out and find the Springbokpan Guest Farm for the night.
The following morning, we are heading westward on gravel roads towards Kgalagardi National Park, when oh no – another blow out. The tyre is stuffed! Amazingly in the middle of this nothingness 5 guys pop out to help. They have been doing repairs to the farm fence. Biscuits and drinks all around before we say goodbye. We continue west to Askham to get the tyre repaired and wheels changed around. Now we have no reliable spare, so our plans will have to change. Instead of heading north we head south to Upington where there are a few tyre shops. We won’t make it today so we stop in the driveway of the Kalahari Guesthouse and leave bright and early in the morning.
The biggest tyre shop in Upington is Hi-Q where we really are in luck. They can order in new tyres, which will arrive next week (of course it is Friday) or they have 3 second hand tyres. Bonus, second-hand will do us nicely! While John has been busy with tyres, I have managed to book campsites at Kgalagardi Nat Park because we have discovered people have been turned away if they haven’t got a booking. But of course they are not for a few more days, so we need a new plan. We decide to head to Augrabies National Park for the weekend. We are back on the road again. It’s a lovely drive to the park through countless gorgeous vineyards (most for raisins rather than wine) and citrus groves.
We settle in to our campspot and explore the walkways alongside the falls. Not heaps of water as it hasn’t rained for months but the rocky gorge is stunning. The next day we drive the “game” drive which is truly magical. Not much game but lots of stunning scenery. After our two nights we head back to Upington via a scenic back road. When we spy a huge luminescent tower, we go to investigate. It is in the middle of a solar farm and is a solar thermal tower with mirrors that magnify the light. Truly amazing in its production of power. Later we overnight right beside the river. It is a cold miserable day, but we still go out for an evening boat trip (about the only thing to do in this town).
We are finally on our way to Kgalagardi National Park. And amazingly the road is tarsealed the whole way. We settle into our first camp and spend the evening with some very lovely South Africans camping there. The next day we drive deeper into the park. Not a lot of wildlife as we follow a dry riverbed with lots of permanent waterholes. What surprises us is how green the sanddunes are. The next day (as we cannot get another campspot) we cross the dunes, finally seeing rows of red dunes, and follow the dry river, that forms the border between RSA and Botswana, back to the entrance of the park. Then we return south to Upington and camp beside the Orange River yet again.
We are driving westwards towards the coast and are hoping to catch the wildflowers everyone keeps telling us about. But first we are heading to Klein Pella right beside the Orange River and Namibia. Klein Pella is a date plantation – the biggest in the southern hemisphere with 32,000 date palms. We can camp here and drive around the plantation. Stunning. The dates are pretty yummy too! On returning to our campspot one of the back tyres goes flat just like that. Its one of our old tyres. John has decided they are simply getting too old. This means visiting another tyre shop at the next town of Springbok. We drive through some glorious desert scenery (very like Namibia which isn’t surprising as it isn’t far away) and the dry mountain ranges are fabulous. One mountain range is being demolished and we discover that it is the largest zinc mine in the world! Before we know it, we reach Springbok to try to sort out our tyres. No new ones here but our spare from the roof is brought back down and wheels rotated.
We decide to drive in to the Geogob Scenic Reserve just out of town as our book says this is a great place to see the wildflowers. We are told we are too late; they have all gone! John is devastated (Not) and promises to bring me to see them next year (Not) So again a change of plan. No point driving through the “wildflower” areas, instead we will head south on the main road. John says he’s tired of gravel anyway.
By the end of the day, we reach the town of Nuwerus and camp at Fuy’s lovely Hardeveld Lodge. Our plan is now to head to Cederberg National Park, and we see there is a road that makes a loop through the park, so we will follow that. But first we pop into the town of Clanwilliam, the home of Rooibus tea, and stop for lunch that includes a rooibos milkshake. We also spy lots of rooibos plantations. They aren’t lovely green bushes like black tea, but rather scraggy plants. Time now for the loop. First section great with massive jumbles of rocks and craggy topped mountains. Then we turn onto gravel road. Whoops - no more gravel John!! Oh well the scenery makes up for it as we cross the Pakhaus Pass and head to Wuppental, which is a surprising little town. It is filled with old white Dutch buildings all in beautiful condition. Until recently it was a shoe factory set up by Missionaries in the 1700s. An amazing find.
In town we check the road continues to Eselbank as it is only a dotted line on my map. They assure us it does and we discover that our road is the one John pointed too and said “I hope that’s not our road!” The track (definitely NOT a road) goes straight up the mountainside with an incredibly scary drop-off! Petrifying. So glad we didn’t meet an oncoming vehicle as there is no extra space. Phew, at the top the track doesn’t improve, but at least the drop off has gone. There are huge areas of rocky outcrops, fields of rooibos and groups of flowering proteas. I love the flowers, but all John can think of is the Proteas Cricket Team.
When we reach the lookout for the waterfall, we decide to camp there the night. No one is around and we are out of sight of the small village of Eselbank. In the morning the weather is even more glorious, making everything more magical. We set off on lots more slow miles, over rocky ridges, through creeks and along more mountains. Finally, we reach Matjiesrivier Nature Reserve where the road improves. We have reached the touristy side of Cederberg (I don’t think many drive the route we came). There are lots of camping places and people setting off on hikes. We could too, but with such lovely weather I am keen to head to the coast. It has been ages since we last saw the ocean. So, we head west to Lamberts Bay and the ocean, passing countless rooibos plantations. We drive down to the fishing port where we can walk to Bird Sanctuary Island, but find it closed. Instead, we drive through the streets and wander along the glorious white sand beach. Paradise, despite being a little chilly. It’s a little early to stop so we continue down the coast to the much smaller town of Elandsbaai. Again, a gorgeous beach to wander along. We overnight behind the Pub, giving John a chance to enjoy a seafood platter.
The aim is the reach Cape Town early in the week so that we can get the all-important tyres and a few other jobs done, especially the hole in the roof from the aircon unit that had the top blow off. We were wondering why it was draughty and both of us looked up and saw a gaping hole inside the aircon unit. Not ideal!! So today we continue south. The roads are excellent as we explore the coastline. Towns are getting bigger and full of holiday homes. Love the bright white houses with stunning aqua water and blinding white sand. Then we take the scenic route through the lovely West Coast National Park and to top the day off we pull into Ganzekraal to camp right on the beach front. Its an awesome camping area a mere 100km from Cape Town.
Today we reach the city and start our chores. Just set the address on the GPS and head off. We go from place to place to place, but by early afternoon we have 2 new tyres ordered (they will be fitted tomorrow) and booked repairs at a caravan workshop on Thursday. Again, we set the GPS for Africa Overland – an area we can camp. It is right out of town, just beyond a huge settlement area. Hmmm interesting neighbours, but we are assured it is safe with farms and 2 sets of electric fences between us.
After the tyres are fitted, we decide to drive up into the mountains at Stellenbosch, the famous wine growing area in Cape Town. Perfect weather for a stunning drive and a late lunch at a local berry farm. Finally, back to town and a local campground we have found not far from our workshops. OK its not flash and 2 main roads pass it but it is convenient. Off to the workshop bright and early. Roof hole fixed, new water pump installed and we are booked in next Monday for our final job. (Hopefully the final job this trip!) So, we have 3 days to fill in. Pretty easy in the gorgeous city of Cape Town. We head out to the North Cape Peninsula to camp for the night. The motorway systems are really good here and it makes easy driving via the city then over the mountains to Cape Point. We are right near the lovely beach at Kommetjie. When we wander along the beach, we spy whales leaping out of the ocean in a great display (sadly a bit far out for a decent photo.)
Friday sees us heading along a scenic coastal route back towards Cape Town to visit friends for brunch. A glorious coastal drive (love the beaches here) and a lovely day. Mid afternoon we head back to the peninsula via the other side, giving us another scenic drive, to Boulders Beach where we camp with lots of fishermen. Very peaceful until they all head out fishing in the early hours of the morning.
Saturday morning, we head down to the beach to see the famous South African penguins, and they don’t disappoint. Many are playing on the beach, having a dip or sitting in their nests. They are a rowdy bunch and a delight to watch. Back to Simon Town to explore the very touristy street and wharves and then we head out to drive the Cape. It is a stunning National Park, and as it is the first weekend of the school holidays, it is pretty busy. We take the obligatory photo of us and GR2 at The Cape of Good Hope and climb up to the lighthouse at North Cape. I am devastated that the cable car is not running. Probably something to do with “load sharing” that is huge over here. In other words, power is shared and can be off for big chunks of the day. Anyway, finally out of the park we drive to Scarborough Beach – simple stunning. Wish our Scarborough Beach at home looked like this. Then back to our campground at Kommetjie.
Sunday, we head back to Kaulk Bay (not far from Simons Town) for a delicious brekkie. Then time for another scenic drive as the weather is perfect. We follow the coastline of False Bay southwards all the way along a huge sandy beach. At the end we see that the huge shanty town of Khayelitsha that reaches the sand dunes. Miles and miles of squalor. So many people living in shacks, fortunately they have power and water, but the loos are in long rows and are shared by many people. Apparently 2.4 million people live here and it’s one of the biggest 5 slums in the world! A very sobering thought. We don’t head in, instead continuing our drive along cliff tops right beside the ocean. We had hoped to spy more whales, but the sea is much too choppy. We return along the waterfront and make our way back to the city suburbs for another night ready to head to the workshop in the morning.
Job all done. A simple enough job of replacing the worn-out rubber between the camper box and the chassis, but it involves lifting the box up, so hence a workshop. By the end of the day we are done and ready to become tourists again as we only have a few weeks left before we head home.
|Who we met at the falls|
|Us at another part of the canyon|
|We are suprised to see giraffes|
|The lovely river and more canyon|
|A Dassie hiding in the rocks|
|Magic game/scenic drive|
|A Klipspringer trying to stay really still so you can't see him|
|Heading back to Upington via back roads|
|Solar Power One plant|
|A mongoose in Kagalardi National Park|
|He just grabbed a passing bird and demolished it in a few minutes|
|More in the Park|
|A friendly tussle|
|Heading west towards Pella|
|Inside the Date Plantation|
|Heading towards Cederberg National Park|
|Heading into Cederberg|
|The road turns to gravel|
|Stopping at Wuppental|
|The road becomes a track|
|Heading back out of Cederberg|
|Heading to the coast through rooibus plantation|
|YAY Finally the beach again|
|St Helena Bay|
|Camping at Ganzekraal|
|Heading into Cape Town with Table Mountain in the distance|
|Not far from our campsite|
|Gorgeous Stellenbosh area|
|So many vineyards|
|Back on the beach at Kommetjie|
|Breaching or jumping for joy. A bit far out for my zoom lens|
|Waterfront in Cape Town|
|With our friends for brunch|
|Wandering the waterfront near their apartment|
|See the 12 Apostles looming over the beach|
|Love the penguins at Boulders|
|Heading to North Cape|
|Looking down over Cape of Good Hope|
|Shanties for miles - Khayelitsha|
|Such a lovely coastal drive|