Week 15: Coast to Cape Town

I actually wrote this sitting at a Mugg & Bean coffee shop in the Cape Town International Airport waiting for our flight out earlier this week. I can’t believe it’s over! Fifteen weeks in Southern Africa flew by in what now feels like a flash. We spent our last week leisurely making our way down the coast, from Knysna through the Winelands to Cape Town, our final destination.

Rain Check on the Garden Route

Knysna (“Nye-zna”) was going to be our base camp for exploring the Garden Route (sharks! canoes!) but it was so wet when we arrived at the Tsitsikamma National Park that most activities we had planned were essentially out of the question and we opted for a little hike instead. An hour or two later, our clothes were completely drenched but once again we were quite pleased with ourselves for at least doing that much. We vowed to come back during slightly more optimal weather and moved on to the Winelands.

foggy highway
We could barely see the Garden Route much less be able to enjoy doing much in it…

Wining, Dining & Pampering Ourselves Silly

That about sums it up! After Knysna we (partially) took Route 62 to experience a snippet of what is apparently the longest wine route in the world before checking in to a winery and indulging. The winery was also a ‘wellness retreat’ (what a coincidence!) so I made sure both Moreno and I partook in some spa treatments and massages before we went on to taste some very delicious wines.

patio at rosendal
Our patio at the Rosendal Winery & Wellness Retreat…

The Southernmost Point in Africa

We veered off course a little bit after the Winelands because you can’t be within a couple hours of something like the southernmost point in Africa and not see it. A lot of people mistakingly think that Cape Point on the Cape peninsula is the furthest point south but that’s the “south-western most point”  (semantics, I know), and we did visit that a couple days later.

cape of good hope
The ridiculously windy Cape of Good Hope…NOT the southern most point in Africa…

Alas, the southern most point of Africa is a teeny tiny town of Cape Agulhas, a few hundred kilometres southeast of Cape Town. As with many of the ‘sights’ we’ve visited in Africa, it wasn’t overly touristed and as such we waited around, pretending to take photos of each other until another pair showed up and we could ask them to take this shot:

cape agulhas
The splitting of the oceans at Cape Agulhas.

After a quick lunch and snack stop, we were on our way to Cape Town.

Cape Town. ‘Nuff Said.

There’s really not much more to say other than Cape Town delivered, right down to the last sunburn. The weather cooperated, the sun was out, the cable car up to Table Mountain was open, visibility was good, the water was turquoise and the mountains were stunningly rugged and rocky and green.

cape town
View from Table Mountain – stunning Cape Town below

The next day we took our time packing before heading over to the V&A Waterfront, which I have to admit, is not the first time in Cape Town where we thought, “Step it up Vancouver!!” Sure, our coastline is beautiful, but Cape Town just does so much with theirs, it’s like “Vancouver, the Expanded Edition,” and the wharf where we spent the rest of the day, was no exception.

waterfront
View from one of the restaurants of the waterfront in Cape Town

Anywhere Home Bound

Next up: We are back in Vancouver! We’ll likely be recuperating and relaxing for the first week before jumping in to the holiday festivities (Sidebar: It was super weird to hear someone singing “I’m Dreaming of a White Christmas” in the afternoon heat of a Cape Town square. “Dreaming, alright…” Moreno muttered.) so there won’t be a ‘weekly update.” BUT we’ll be going over all our adventures and still sharing a lot of the stories that haven’t made it online so definitely keep posted.

table mountain from plane
View from the plane: Table Mountain shrouded in clouds

Thanks for following along!!!
(awww….*sniffle*)

Week 14: Taking Care of Business

Now that I’ve finished cleaning the melted After Eights out of my fleece pocket (lesson learned), I can tell you all about our 14th week, which took us from Jo’burg to the coast.

Back in the ‘Burg

As much as we were excited to start our South African ‘tour,’ the reality was that we had some admin things to take care of. After the Panorama Route we headed back into Johannesburg to pick up some stuff we’d left and to have the Landy looked over one last time before we started showing it off to potential buyers (*single tear).

As Land Rover mechanics the country over were up to their necks in job orders, it took us a while to find someone willing to take a look at it, but after a couple days, the Landy was looking and performing better than ever, and while Jo’burg wasn’t as scary the second time around, we were ready to head to greener pastures.

corner in Johannesburg
Just another lovely suburb of Joburg: tin shacks, garbage and airtime ‘retailers.’

Drakensberg Mountains

And that we did. We headed south to the Northern Berg, where we visited our 6th Unesco World Heritage site in Africa, the Royal Natal Park of the Drakensberg Mountains. The mountains weren’t actually what we imagined – meadows and cliffs versus pointy gray rock – but it was beautiful, and our hike was much needed and the fresh air very much enjoyed.

amphitheater
8kms of sheer wall: the “Amphitheater” in the Drakensberg Mountains.

Downtime in Durban

From there we headed to Durban to check out the waterfront of the south coast. Durban is so much more laid back than Johannesburg and actually reminded us a bit of Vancouver – especially with the ‘neither here nor there’ weather (see patch of blue peeking through massive clouds at the top photo). We ‘camped’ at a game estate – the accommodations were just outside a safari park and there were zebra and impala grazing amid the gardens and backyards! Definitely one of the most memorable experiences of the trip.

baby zebra
Rearview: mama and barely-week-old baby zebra with its adorable full body mohawk.

Some Sad News

And then it came time to say goodbye to our loyal Landy :( I am a mushball and totally admit I got a bit emotional. We had turned the Landy into quite a beast and really loved it! But we found a Land Rover loving couple (blog readers, too! Hi!!) keen to adopt it so we left it in their capable hands to have adventures with from hereon in.

us and landy
We never had a photo taken! A final shot with our loyal Landy before we handed over the keys.

A Coastal Roadtrip

Next up: We continue towards Cape Town in a rental sedan (weird!) for our last (!!) week in Africa. En route: wine, sharks and canoes! (Not at the same time though…that would be ridiculous).

N1
En route southwards.

As always, thanks for tuning in!