Apr 172011

After leaving Cape Town we headed for the Cederberg National Park, staying the night at Sandriff Camp. The camp is quite popular with chalets as well campsites, all of which were grassed and spacious. It rained a little in the evening, but not enough to be a problem.

The next morning we took a scenic drive through the park. It is very rugged scenery with rocky mountains and dry, sparse vegetation. There were only a couple of small villages along the way and very few people about, which is no wonder as I expect it would be a harsh place to live. The drive though was pleasant enough.

We spent the next night at Cosy Mountain Retreat in Kamieskroon. It is a great site, nestled on your own up in the rocky outcrops. There is a little shower and toilet and place for a fire. We had a pleasant afternoon watching the sun go down and eating our dinner. Then though the wind started and boy did it start! It howled ALL night with some tremendous gusts. Our tent being on the roof copped the full force of it all. We tried to seek shelter behind some large boulders, and whilst that did help a little, it was still a very noisy and rocky night. Needless to say, neither of us got a lot of sleep through it all, so it will be early to bed tonight!

We entered Namibia this morning with no problem whatsoever and very little cost (the only cost was 220R for road tax, about $32). Right now we are sitting on the banks of the Orange River at Amanzi River Camp under the shade of some trees, a gentle breeze blowing,  watching the world go by. Much better than being at work!

To Cape Town

 Posted by Elizabeth at 1:16 am
Apr 162011

After leaving Cape Agulhas we followed the coast road for a couple of days on our way to Cape Town. At places it is very scenic, especially along the “whale coast” and immediately before Cape Town around Hout Bay. We unfortunately didn’t see any whales though as it is not quite whale season yet.

We stopped off at Boulder Beach where there is a significant colony of African Penguins. You can get extremely close to them via a boardwalk around the area as they sit on the beach and do what they do. There were fluffy baby penguins around that I have never seen before which look a bit odd, as well as penguins sitting on their eggs.

Cape of Good Hope was our next stop which is the most south westerly point in Africa, and again another obligatory photo stop. We took the funicular up to the top of Cape Point where there was some lovely views, when you could see them through the mist rolling in!

We then hit Cape Town, staying at the Imhoff Park 1 night and Hardekraaltjie Park another night, both of which were again clean and civilised. I am not sure how much longer this civilisation is going to last and when our first cold shower is going to appear! I’m not looking forward to the cold showers, but I am looking forward to being in the wild and experiencing the Africa we came back to see.

In Cape Town we took the cable car to the top of Table Mountain. It is an awesome view from the top over Cape Town and the bays on the other side of the point. We had a beautiful morning with clear skies and no wind, but from all accounts it seems it can be quite misty and windy up there at times. It is definitely worth the cost, but I would suggest getting there early as by the time we came back down around 11 the queue for tickets was long and you had to park and walk quite some way to the cable car terminal.

We took a walk around the V & A Waterfront, it is pretty with lots of restaurants and shops, but nothing much to interest us considering we’re not into shopping. It is very much like our Darling Harbour in concept. We dropped in to the Castle of Good Hope for a quick look around. It is worth a look but is probably better with the guided tour which unfortunately we were too late for,

Today we visited Robben Island which is where political prisoners, including Nelson Mandela, were imprisoned during the apartheid period up until 1991. I have to say we were both disappointed in the way tourism to the island is handled. Firstly the workers today were having a  “go slow” so the ferry left 45 minutes  late and then travelled at a slower speed than normal. Now I know that is just today, but it wasn’t a good start. When you arrive you are then herded like cattle onto buses and driven around some of the island with various buildings pointed out to you and information about them explained. Problem is, if you weren’t on the right side of the bus you really didn’t see anything. You were allowed off the bus at only a couple of places, one being of course a shop, and then when there was information to read there were so many people crammed into the small rooms you couldn’t get near the information anyway, and then you were hurried back onto the bus before there was  enough time to read anything! The last stop was the actual prison buildings where the political prisoners were held and you were guided by someone who was actually a political prisoner on the island. This was quite interesting although more time, less people in the group and more information would have been good. Overall the island was a disappointment although it has the potential to be an extremely interesting and informative place.

We have now left Cape Town on our way towards Namibia, which we are both looking forward to.

A Week Already!

 Posted by Elizabeth at 7:24 pm
Apr 122011

I can’t believe we have been gone a week already. The time has certainly flown by and we have now got ourselves pretty much into a routine. It is much warmer, especially at night, than it was last week which makes everything a whole lot easier and more pleasant.

After spending the night at Addo we got up early and did a game drive for a couple of hours finding lots of elephants again (what a surprise). We then treated ourselves to a brunch which cost us a whole $12 for a meal of eggs, bacon, tomatoes and toast along with a drink – much cheaper than at home.

Taking the road south through the park we did a game drive on our way out and started to head towards Cape Town. Last night we stayed at the Ebb & Flow North Campsite which was very pleasant with lots of grass on a small river and clean showers.

Today we have followed the coast road through countryside that is pretty much the same as at home. We took a detour through Mossel Bay which is a typical seaside tourist town and then headed towards Cape Aghulas, the southern most point in Africa. After the obligatory photo and a climb up to the lighthouse it was back on the road and we are now staying at Uikraalmond Rest Camp which is pretty expensive at 230R ($33), but the amenities are clean and there is lots of grass to camp on.

So what have we learnt so far this week?

– Don’t leave the car keys on the seat and shut the door
– Make sure you put the tent cover on properly if you are driving in the rain
– Take care in the rain and don’t slip and hurt your thumb (which is still sore a week later, but hey at least it gets me out of having to do some things!)
– That a bucket with a lid filled with detergent, water and clothes and strapped to the roof rack makes an excellent washing machine. When you arrive in camp all they need is a quick rinse and they are done. Definitely beats hand washing!

Addo Elephant National Park

 Posted by Elizabeth at 8:54 pm
Apr 102011

Last night we stayed at Gonubie Holiday Resort which was definitely nothing to write home about, but was just fine as a stop over. Firstly the GPS took us to the wrong camp, but we took a scenic drive through town to find the right place, and then I managed to lock the keys in the car (oops!). The car we have automatically relocks if you don’t open the driver’s door, so leaving the keys on the passenger seat and shutting the door is not a good idea! Luckily there was a group of local workers camping next to us, and they very kindly helped us get the keys out of the car. At least we got to meet some of the locals and it didn’t happen when we were completely on our own in the middle of nowhere. Needless to say we now have the spare key tucked inside the tent just in case.

We arrived at Addo Elephant National Park around lunch time today and are staying here tonight. After a quick lunch it was off on our first game drive of the trip. There are definitely a lot of elephants here and they are very easy to find and extremely relaxed around vehicles. It is though quite civilised and feels a little like a zoo with the tarred roads, the perimeter fences (even if it is huge) and all the cars, although it is awesome to get so close to the elephants. The elephants are somewhat smaller than others we have seen in Africa and they are all caked in red mud. Apart from herds of elephants, we saw zebras, kudu, black-backed jackals, red hartebeest, buffalo, leopard tortoise and warthogs.

The campground is extremely civilised with each site fenced off with hedges for privacy, picnic tables and a braai. Not at all like some of the places we will be camping as we head further north!

Sani Pass

 Posted by Elizabeth at 6:31 pm
Apr 082011

Last night was very cold with a wind making it worse, so I donned the thermals and we got into our warm sleeping bags early and read for a while. Both of us slept well and were warm and comfortable despite the cold.

Today we headed through more scenic countryside and rough roads, passing villages and climbing to a height of 3242m, and this time the car survived. We exited Lesotho and descended the Sani Pass. The pass is quite high through some spectacular scenery, with lots of tight hairpin bends and steep inclines (you can just make out some of the road in the picture at left). It was a very pretty drive. Whilst the road was gravel it was in far better condition than we expected, although I’m not sure I would want to tackle it in a sedan.

Tonight we are staying at Mount Currie Nature Reserve. It is a very nice campground with lots of grass, a scenic outlook on a lake and clean hot showers. There were zebras in the picnic area as we came in and it looks like they wander through the camp. We have our first campfire tonight, although it is in a “braai” stand rather than a real campfire, but it will keep us warm and we’ll use it to cook dinner.

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