Tuesday, 22 May 2012

Wine, Vistas and Capes

We are truly enjoying South Africa –firstly the landscape and stunning vistas from farmlands and vineyards to semi-deserts and rugged mountains, the way of life, food, wine  and down home hospitality -bunny chow (curry in hollowed out bread) bobotie, biltong, boerewors, droewors and braai and not forgetting pinotage!. However many amenities are somewhat old fashioned eg slow internet, slow service and exhorbitant prices for non essential and luxury items. And heavily protected luxury exists side by side with poverty.

Left Durban Thurs May 10 after a big Cockerell family send off! Travelled through farmlands with Drakensberg Ranges as a stunning backdrop. Through hills to the dry  rocky plateau with cacti then down to the coast to Jeffreys Bay surf spot. Next day via highway 62 through Natures Valley-pine forests and pristine rocky beaches. Then on to Knysna –spent the night at Tree Tops house overlooking the bay at Knysna- delicious oysters at the pretentious restaurant at the heads. Next stop Barrydale-no room at hotels or B&B’s due to film crew overrunning town-so stayed at Christine’s farm house- simple cosy home owned by delightful old fashioned Africaans family.

Next morning went up through the windy, misty mountain roads then back down to farmlands near the coast-finally reached our real starting point after 2000kms! Cape Agulhas where the Atlantic and Indian oceans meet! Rugged, rocky wild coastline and the famous lighthouse.

Continued to Hermanus- a small town on the coast near  Walker Bay famous for winter whale watching. No whales insight however amazing rugged, rocky coast. 

Headed  to wine country  and stayed at the 19thcentury Cecil John Rhodes farmhouse at Boschendal - absolutely stunning in a vineyard .  Such picturesque scenery with vines of yellow/brown hues of Autumn- amazing-  two days of tasting most delicious wines - can’t remember which ones at end of each day- also  fantastic food and company with Chris and Kim.

Then on to beautiful Cape Town protected by the Table Mountain. Went up there for an amazing 360 view. Thanks to Chris's aunt  Marlene we ended up staying in a waterfront condo to make up for the suffering on the road!

Best ride yet to Cape point with a view to Cape of Good Hope and stunning vistas followed. Some 300 ship wrecks are down  there and Flying Dutchman all about.

Heading North to Namibia now and trying to catch the rhythm of long distance overland travel.

Wednesday, 9 May 2012

Beginning the journey. Feet up

We arrived in Durban almost two weeks ago to join our dear friends and travel buddies Chris and Kim to finalize plans and preparations for our 6 month journey through 32 countries.

Tomorrow feet up at 8am! marks the first day on the road of our motorbike journey – LONG WAY UP! Travelling from CAPE  TO  KAPP - Cape Agulhas, the most southern point in South Africa to NordKapp, Norway, the most northern point in Europe.

The grand plan is to travel south to Cape Agulhas, then on to Cape Town, north to Namibia, then east to Botswana, Zambia, Malawi, Tanzania and continue north through eastern Africa - Kenya, Ethiopia, Sudan –with a detour to Uganda & Rwanda -  through Egypt to Jordon and Israel, crossing by ferry to Greece then  east to Turkey and north on through Eastern Europe and the Baltic States to Norway and  Nordkapp.  Our final destination will be Munich’s Octoberfest in early October!

We spent the first week waiting for Namibia and Big Betty (our trusted motor bikes) to arrive. After numerous dramas, including theft of our registration papers due to an encounter with a shonky dealer in Miami, the bikes were finally successfully shipped from Miami to Durban thanks to Chris.
Meanwhile we all took a short relaxing break at the Cockerell’s & partners “Success Farm”in the Drakensburg Ranges. A truly relaxing time at the farmhouse overlooking the valley with mountains views and the Blesboks grazing on the front lawn! We took a couple of invigorating road trips by four wheel drive along with the boys riding their motocross bikes up the rocky and bumpy mountain roads to Lesotho and to see Bushman cave paintings -such magic scenery as we traversed the rugged mountain ridges and panoramic views to die for.
In both Durban and at the farm we‘ve had lots of family gatherings and parties (ie lots of fun anddrinking !!!) and have been thoroughly spoilt by our generous and delightful hosts Clinton and Debbie (Chris’s brother& wife). 

We’ve also had the opportunity to see a little of Durban, meet all of Chris’s warm family and a number of friends and to enjoy a fantastic party to celebrate Chris’ birthday.

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