So here’s the first update on Shirley and my travels in SA! Just thought I’d give you readers in the Northern Hemisphere something to be jealous about 😉
I’ve been given an amazing week of whirlwind tours around the Cape area, and I’ll try and give you a short run down. We’ve done so much its difficult to know where to start! Our first major outing was to Cape Point, on a lovely sunny, but rather blowy day. Cape point is the southernmost tip of the cape bay. Not quite the southernmost point of South Africa, but close enough for me to be satisfied I’d travelled as far south as I could. Much hilarity was had watching the cormorants trying to land on their cliff-side nests in a gale!
We then travelled south-east to Hermanus, to hook up with Shirley’s friend Loren and her husband Alan. We stayed for a couple of days in a fantastic holiday home, with decking looking out over Hermanus bay. We could see whales from the living room! I managed to get a couple of piccies of the whales waving their tails and fins around, but unfortunately missed getting a picture of one of them breaching (launching their upper body out of the sea) – although we saw one doing it while we were having lunch.
On return to Cape Town, I redeemed the second part of my birthday present from Shirley. We headed down to the waterfront, where we were booked on the sailboat ‘Spirit of Victoria’ for a sunset cruise on Cape Bay. There was quite a swell, but we managed to hold onto our lunch(!), and the view back towards the lights of the city was awesome.
The next day we trekked out to the Stellenbosch winelands. We tasted a range of red, white and rosé wines, and I was finally impressed with a South African red – a bottle of ‘Peter Barlow’ from the Rustenburg vineyard. They only make 5000 bottles per year, from the best 12 rows of vine on the farm. I would have bought a bottle back, but they only had 1.5L magnums available at about £50! The wine was the best single grape variety bottle of wine I’ve tasted – a wonderfully smooth Cabernet Sauvignon with a beautiful fruity flavour. Good job the staff didn’t leave me near the unfinished bottle 😉
Friday we took on the Skeleton Gorge route up Table Mountain. It was a beautiful sunny day with a bit of a breeze, which really helped with our reasonably strenuous climb. We had absolutely amazing views from the top of the gorge, and carried on up to the highest point, Maclears beacon. As we headed down, we got caught in the mountains famous ‘table cloth’ shroud of cloud. Thankfully our visibility was pretty good, because the path we were on went right near several hundred foot sheer drops! By the time we reached our point of descent, Platteklip Gorge, the wind had really whipped up, and we were almost blown down the mountain. Safely at the bottom we had a great sense of having accomplished a truly memorable hike.
As I write this I’m sat in the airport lounge waiting for the next instalment of our trip to begin. We’re off to the Kruger National Park after a brief stopover in Jo’burg. More soon…