Saturday, September 24, 2016

Road travel of South Africa

On the morning of January 20th from 06:00 to 09:00, we did our final game drive in Kruger National Park of South Africa. With a last breakfast and goodbyes to new friends, Gramma Judy (Jordan's mom), Jordan, and I were soon on our way back to Johannesburg with a driver from the Park.

Having seen the wild animals of South Africa, we now wanted to see the civilized ones (human). We rented a car the next day so we could travel around the country and see the local culture, sights, and diverse landscapes that we had read about.

Johannesburg and Kruger are in the NE part of the country and Cape Town is in the SW. So our plan was to do a big circle, down to Cape Town, then east up the coast of the Indian Ocean through an area called Drakensburg, then back to Johannesburg for our return flight.

Stocking up with a few groceries, we made lunch at shaded stops along the roadside. Much more fun than sitting in noisy, busy restaurants - and more economical too!

Time for munchies (courtesy of Gramma Judy)

Scenery included vineyards, bright wild flowers, the occasional shantytown, flat scrub land, and rocky mountainous landscapes. A real variety - we never knew what to expect.

It was a bit of a jaunt down to the Cape but the highways were excellent so we made good time. Cape Town has been a strategic port for centuries and today is one of the most multicultural cities in the world. The residential areas rise up the slopes with grand views out over the bay and ocean beyond where it is easy to imagine how it was hundreds of years ago where old sailing ships plied these waters.

The next morning, we had to visit the infamous Table Mountain that loomed large over the city, a distinct and unique geographical feature used for centuries by sailors as a landmark while rounding the Cape of Good Hope. This is one of the oldest mountains in the world.

Approaching Cape Town and Table Mountain

The three of us boarded one of the round, rotating cable cars for the ride to the summit of the flat topped mountain. The cable car bases have built-in water tanks carrying 4,000 L of water for facilities at the top as well as ballast in windy weather!

At the top looking down

From Cape Town, we headed an hour and a half west to Port Owen to meet up with our good friends, Bruce and Jeannie of SV Jabula. They are building their beautiful waterfront home in this charming area that reminds one of Cape Cod. They showed us around the quaint fishing area stopping for, what else, freshly caught fish and chips.

Beautiful waterfront (courtesy of Gramma Judy)

Leisurely shopfront (courtesy of Gramma Judy)

It was unfortunately a short visit with our friends but we needed to make tracks - only so much time to visit this great country of South Africa. So onward we went, with suggestions from Bruce of great places to see on our sojourn...

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