Left the West Coast

After our return to Capetown for Christmas, we went for a drive down to Cape Point, which is the most south-westerly point in Africa. There is a large national park where it’s a half hour wait just to get through the toll-gate. Once in, the crowds disperse, and you can drive around fairly easily. There were a few baboons walking along the road, but otherwise no sign of wildlife. We reached the road to Cape Point but it was so busy we turned around and went somewhere else for a view of the ocean.

New Years day was fun. We went to Veldrif, which is about 30 mins drive from Langebaan. Norman had arranged a seafood lunch at a place called the ‘Seafood Shak’. The guy opened just for us, and the menu was dependent on what came in that morning from the boats. We had crayfish salad, hake and calamari and drank rose and sauvignon blanc. It was really nicely cooked food, and cost about 65 rands each. (AU$10). The township was deserted and it was very hot and still – just how I remember Africa from when I was here in 1996.

Yesterday we drove into the West Coast National Park. It is known for its tortoise population. The tortoises walk along the roadside, and there are signs everywhere that you can’t get out or touch them. We drove past one car and I saw a guy get out and take a tortoise and put it in his car and take off. So we turned back and gave chase, pretending to call the authorities on the phone, with the guy watching us through his rear vision mirror. A little while up the road the car stopped and the guy got out and put the tortoise back in the scrub. We were quite pleased that we saved at least one tortoise that day.

There is a restaurant in the national park called Geebek, and it’s situated in an old Cape Dutch homestead which dates back to the mid 1700s. The food is cooked by local west cape women, and I had a Cape Malay Chicken curry. The mussels were good as well. We are going back there today for lunch again.

We drove on through the park and saw beautiful bays, blue water, white sand and lots of people in boats, houseboats and jet skis. The park is set along a spit of land which forms a lagoon on one side, with the Atlantic ocean on the other. The lagoon is huge and provides for a sheltered place for people to swim and do water sports. Over the other side of the national park is the Atlantic Ocean and it is one of the most spectacular sites I’ve seen on this trip. The waves are huge and the water is icy cold. There is a permanent sea mist hovering around the coastline. I can only imagine how the place looked to the early explorers coming along the coast from Europe.

We plan to go back to Capetown tomorrow and I’m hoping we can go to a bush pub/restaurant before we leave. We still need to go up Table Mountain, but overall we’ve done a lot since we’ve been here and it seems like we’ve been here for ages.

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