Beyond Cape Town

28th November. The car’s out, and we’re on the road.
Duncan, from Africa Overland (yellow jacket) did a great job of shipping and Customs clearance with his colleague Jason.
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We camped overnight at his new farm – for which he has ambitious development plans.
But it’s time to get out into the real world and away from Cities.
Heading north from Cape Town to Ceres we went over Mitchell’s Pass into one of the Western Cape wine regions. Wonderful mountain ranges, dramatic weather (that’s British for heavy rain) but glorious views when it cleared. Good roads, baboons & Fish Eagles at the roadside. No wonder they call it God’s Country round here.
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From Ceres we took the remote gravel track north through the Cederberg Wilderness area and Tankwa Karoo National Park.
A remote, hot, dusty, dramatic change in scenery for 200km.
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In 6 hours we saw 2 other vehicles and one of them was at the side of the track with a double puncture. He changed one wheel and we managed to get air into the second from our compressor, but who knows how lang that was going to last him. He was going the opposite direction and didn’t want any further help or a lift, so headed off merrily.

After a long day we made it to Groenrivier Farm in Niewoudtville and camped. The farm is run by Elsa and her husband and they’ve been there for 3 generations. A lovely pitch (with it’s own private shower block!) for only 160 Rand (£11, $16). The wagon was brought in by her family when they arrived and is one of her restoration projects.
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We settled for a quick dinner on the Brai (BBQ to you and me), a steak from the local shop – £3 – enough for a family of 4.
We finished it.
For what we are about to receive…
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No light pollution at all and the stars were amazing (although strange to us as we’re not used to the Southern Hemisphere constellations yet). The Milky Way stood out, but the rest of the major stars were hard to pick out as the sky was littered with them in all directions – even on the horizon.

The next morning, this was the view from the penthouse. Beautiful, peaceful spot.
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Slightly disappointed to have to move on (but we have bookings in Etosha National Park in Namibia in 10 days and it’s a long drag to get there).
3rd November’s highlight was the Vanrhyns Pass.
Outstanding. The track we traveled the previous day was the other side of the mountains.

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50 – 60 km later the road was pretty much a tar road (the N7) all the way north to Springbok, about 120km south of the Namibian border.
Despite being a main road, still no more than 4-5 vehicles per hour for 340km.
Often long straight stretches, with frequent roadworks & contra-flows.
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In the UK they would drive you nuts. Here, they are an opportunity to switch the engine off, relax, absorb the superb desert scenery – maybe even make a cup of tea.

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