South Africa

Day 129, 19th October 2009

Cosy Mountain Farm (60km South of Springbok): 139 miles

 

Q: River paddling is most definitely not Angel's strongest attribute. She is a very keen participant and makes every effort to play her part well … but directional abilities are scarce. But hey … at least I was left to steer our canoe alone through the rapids of the upper reaches of the Orange River. What is it about us in rapids and me saving her life?   

 

It was a very nice way to mozy through the morning but I could not stop thinking that by the afternoon we would have crossed through the last border post that stood between us and Cape Town. It is too close. Only 4 days to complete what we started just over 4 months ago …

 

A: I agree with Andrew about my directional ability on the canoe. I just couldn't get the thing to go in a straight line. The distance we covered was easily doubled by my constant traversing from South Africa then back to Namibia along the river. I have a sneaky feeling my arms and shoulders are going to be pretty achy tomorrow!

 

Back at camp we had a quick shower and set off on our way to the border just 15km down the road, taking us back over the Orange River onto our final destination South Africa.

 

Once through we drove for roughly 70km to the small town of Springbok to do some admin and buy a SA sim card. We then headed south for a further 100 km or so to a wonderful campsite called Cosy Mountain. This place was magical and the site itself was situated up on a huge hill overlooking the most magnificent landscape of the Karoo.

 

We settled in and both decided that we weren't hungry enough to make dinner … a few pro-vita with cheese was enough for supper. We got chatting to a Dutch couple who had been travelling around Namibia for the past few weeks and also another SA/ UK couple. The SA/ UK couple were both married but not to one another and were on what seemed like a naughty holiday! They invited us to join them around their fire where we sat and exchanged stories and also listened to their scandalous story of leaving their partners at home while they had their little affair! 

 

Day 130, 20th October 2009

 

Die Drinken Farm (somewhere in the Boland, Western Cape): 340 miles

 

Q: Sitting around the fire last night ended in a dull headache this morning. That Namibian plonk we picked up obviously fought back after our rather hurtful comments during the evening.

 

Our route today took us down the western coast through the fishing towns of Veldrift and Paternoster and then back inland towards the Boland (farming region) of the Western Cape. I've been here before but never really looked around whilst driving through these regions. South Africa is a very beautiful country … perhaps being accustomed to something dampens your senses. No more.

 

After a long day on the road we found Die Drinken Farm which on our GPS had a campsite called Boscamp (bush camp). We were greeted by the owner of the farm who was surprised to see us but still invited us into his house and for a drink before we headed down to the camping site on the Berg River.

 

A: The drive to Die Drinken took us through acres upon acres of wheat fields that moved like waves as the wind blew. The campsite was on the rivers edge and soon after we ate, the wind began to blow so hard that it almost lifted the table off it's legs. We took shelter in the tent and lay listening to the creeking trees above our heads.

 

Day 131, 21st October 2009

 

Franschoek: 102 miles

 

Q: As a "last night on the road" before reaching Cape Town after over four months of sleeping in a tent or a filthy hotel room, we decided to spoil ourselves to clean sheets, a good glass of wine, a hot shower and a yummy dinner. Franschoek has all of these things … 

 

Phew … only one more night and then Cape Town.

 

A: Franschoek is one of my favourite places. It's a quaint little town surrounded by stunning vineyards. When Andrew and I first started dating we stayed here in a small boutique hotel and went to a lovely restaurant called French Connection. We found a gorgeous place to stay called the Coach House and made a booking for a big fat steak at French Connection. The town itself is so pretty with lovely little shops and cafes dotted around. I can't wait for my family to come over from the UK just so I can bring them here to experience this little piece of paradise.

 

A visit to this place isn't complete without a tour of a few wine farms and a wine tasting so we headed to one of our favorites first called Haute Cabrier and bought a few bottles of their Brut, then we headed to a farm we had never been to before called Glenwood. It sits alone in a valley and has the most magnificent views of the towering mountains. The wine tasting expert was quite comical and had Andrew and I in stitches. She asked all about our journey and when she discovered that we were spending the night in white fluffy sheets for the first time in months, she topped up our glasses almost to the brim with a very special merlot....

 

Back at the hotel we scrubbed up ready for our treat! The steak was divine and the wine was perfect. What a way to round the trip off. We had a wonderful evening and reminisced about our journey, recounting all the things we had done and placed we've been. We are really so luck to have done this ... it has been so so special.

 

Day 132, 22nd October 2009

 

Cape Town/ Cape Point: 127 miles

 

Q: We have done it … we arrived in Cape Town at 11:39am on the 22nd of October 2009. It is hard to believe that a little under four and a half months ago we left London in the United Kingdom and headed towards the channel crossing at Dover with Cape Town on the tip of Africa as our final destination. Since that day it has been a journey of incredible experiences. We have sat alongside each other driving endless miles of road listening to ummm, … Jack Johnston and Bob Marley; we've watched almost every sun set together and struggled to wake for a few spectacular sunrises; we've crossed too many borders and negotiated a few thousand dollars into local currency; we've met a countless number of interesting people and made wonderful friends in almost every place through which we have passed … this list is endless.

 

I had a lump in my throat the whole way from Franschoek to our first stop in Cape Town … Table View, but it was only really when we walked out onto the beach with Table Mountain in the background did it hit me as to exactly what we had achieved together.

 

On the way to Cape Point, we quickly popped past Fish Hoek to pick up my Mom and Dad … I was hungry and we needed someone to take the pictures of us at our final destination. Cape Point was showing off today … bright sunshine, absolutely no clouds and very little wind to speak of.

 

A: I really can't believe were here. It was quite an emotional lead up as we drove to Table View both glancing at one another as we approached. We stepped out of the car and threw our arms around one another. It has been the most magnificent experience and something we will remember for as long as we live. It amazes us to think of all the things we have experienced over this past four months. We really are so blessed to have been able to do this. We've seen and done so much that we can hardly believe what we have achieved.

 

I will talk of this for the rest of my life and I'm so lucky to have been able to share it with my very kind, loving and tolerant husband-to-be. I've loved every moment we have spent together, we've had so much fun and have so many memories that I'm sure you will hear about over and over again.

 

We will forever more have the travel bug or itch (whichever you prefer ... the latter sounding like some kind of lurgy we picked up along the way) as we are already thinking of where to go next! Probably not for some time but we have the fever now and can't wait for our next adventure.

 

Credits ….

 

Credits … surely there are many more to add, but this is what we can remember right now … so keep coming back to this page to see any updates …

 

  1. To our parents, family and friends who have supported us throughout the last six months. We would never have managed to do this without you.
  2. The staff of SOS Children's villages who we met on our journey. It was a privilege to be apart of this. What you do is incredible and so very important. This must continue … 
  3. Thank you to everyone who supported SOS Children's Villages through our website. Without your support what SOS do would not happen.
  4. www.africaoverland.net and all those intrepid story telling African overlanders … both past and present for providing us with valuable information.
  5. Foley Overland Specialist Vehicles … for building the king of overland vehicles.
  6. Tracks4Africa for the GPS maps that made life easier.
  7. The guys that made our head torches …
  8. Doxicylcene and its side kick Jungle Formula insect repellent for keeping us safe from them pesky mozzies.
  9. The breweries throughout East Africa for making a thirst quenching treat.
  10. Every truck driver who safely maneuvered their vehicle past us without pushing us off the road or ploughing head-on into us … thanks.
  11. All the money changers with good chat who made the task of crossing borders in Africa an experience to remember.
  12. The countless number of street venders who cooked up a variety of delicious meals … especially the falafal man in Gedaref.
  13. Erman, our lovely friend from the petrol station in Turkey, who fed and watered us just before we crossed into Syria.
  14. Mr Salah of the Nile River Transportation Company in Aswan for holding that airconditioned berth on the ferry from Egypt to Sudan … life saver - it would have been HOT otherwise.
  15. The Sudanese farmer who lives about 25km down the Nile outside of Dongola. We will never forget how you welcomed us with a bed and fresh milk.
  16. Allan, Si and Dirty for helping us conquer Kilimanjaro … it was wonderful to have you with us.
  17. Sharif and Jane for stopping on that terrible Marsibit/ Isolo road .. oh and for sharing the comforts of the Nanyuki Country Club.
  18. Chris and Sasha and the kids for waking up early (most mornings) to have a coffee with us … we loved travelling with you. 
  19. Joel and Hannah … and of course that invisible (miracle more like) single stroke motorbike of yours … you guys have made history and are an inspiration to all overlanders. You also taught us a thing or two about how to consume Brisol crème.
  20. To all the campsite and hotel pets - dogs, cats, roaches, spiders, snakes, ants, nagaapis, hippos, cheetahs, scorpions, fleas, elephants … it was nice of you to keep us company whenever we stopped.

 

… will update as we remember more.