Beyond Cape Town
10 December 2012- Kgalagadi Transfrontier National Park (Kalahari)
We are well out of Cape Town now and it feels it! We are surrounded by dry dusty landscape, funny little mongoose things scurrying about and everything stopped being in English ages ago. Afrikaans is king up here and everyone speaks to us in Afrikaans before hearing us, blinking a few times, staring and then adjusting to English. Our final night in Cape Town was spent at a neighbourhood Malay restaurant feasting on curry with the acting manager of the B & B, Lexi- we have been really enjoying our chats with her and asked her to join us for dinner and had a great evening. We left Cape Town on Friday morning after doing a few final bits and pieces of practical stuff- getting some maps scanned, a food shop and trying to get malaria tablets (no luck as we needed a script and didn’t want to wait around to see a Dr).
After checking out of our lovely B & B we made our way south past miles of townships and then hugged the beautiful Indian Ocean coast through lovely little seaside suburbs and towns and finally down to the Cape of Good Hope. It was a sunny warm morning in Cape Town but the Cape of Good Hope poking right out into the sea was moody and misty and we could hardly see a thing looking out over the sea. It’s an atmospheric place with a few ostrich with their necks bobbing around, looking very out of place so near the sea. It’s widely considered where the stormy cold Atlantic meets the much warmer and more placid Indian Ocean. We just had a quick look around and the obligatory photo in front of the sign – very surreal to be at the bottom of Africa (we know its not actually the bottom but close enough) in our landy!! As soon as we pulled up someone pulled up behind us, got out, walked around landy looked twice at the number plates and knocked on the window and said “are you REALLY from NSW?!” He said an overland trip through Africa is something he would have loved to have done but was never brave enough, that’s something we have heard a number of people say wistfully over the past few months. We had a good chat with him and wished him happy holiday (he was from the UK) and he wished us safe journey and off we went. It’s really nice when people get excited for us- our favourite is when people drive past and hoot their horn and give us a thumbs up!
Next stop- Boulders Beach in Simons Town where there is a population of penguins. I was hoping we would be lucky enough to get a glimpse of a few and as we walked down I saw one on a rock in the distance and got very excited, as we approached the beach we could see about 100- here, there, everywhere and so close! They are brilliant to watch and we sat there for ages watching them waddle, shuffle, dig their burrows, fuss about, preen themselves and each other, swim and then dry off by shaking and standing in the sun. After about 30 minutes we noticed one standing and shifting and saw some eggs that she was moving about before sitting back on them and nipping at any others that waddled too close. Good fun to watch them!
We camped that night nearby at a farm/caravan park and then left the next morning and spent half day in Cape Town before heading north. The Northern Cape (the province that is the most northwesterly) is sparsely populated which is noticeable. Its been getting hotter and hotter, drier and drier and English used less and less until finally none, although of course everyone can speak English when needed. We have been driving for hours with little change in the landscape and big big skies stretching out forever.
We stayed last night at Augrabies Falls and had a look at the roaring mass of water this morning before heading off to the regional town of Upington where we managed to get our malaria tablets without a script technically you need one but the women at the chemist, which was a national chain, said she couldn’t give us any without a script but if we went around the corner she was sure they could ‘help us’ (without a script) so we did as suggested and the person there just said “how many”, as the place was recommended to us and seemed to be a busy and reputable we went ahead and got the rest of what we need and are sorted for the rest of the trip now, we havent needed them but will do soon.
We have a shady camping spot and there is a breeze so its not too hot. We are at the main camp tonight just inside the national park but tomorrow are going much further in. This is an area known for predators so who knows what we will see!
Now for some dinner.
Heaps of penguin photos… I know… I liked them!