We experienced little glitch at Heathrow airport when checking in to catch our flight to Cape Town. All UK airports only allow one piece of hand luggage regardless of the airline. We arrived laden with luggage, coats and jacket pockets bulging, sweat pouring off as we had so much clothing on. Time to rearrange the luggage. The booster cables, shackles and high-lift jack extension had to go, as did the bolts. We ditched our 4 pieces of hand luggage and purchased 2 new larger carry on. More stuff into our pockets, it is absolutely amazing what one can stuff into ones clothing if desperate. It felt as though my thighs expanded to 30 inches each in circumferences as I stuffed all I could into my pants pockets. In fact that I was so weighted down I could barely stand up straight. We were a sight to behold.
The sun was shining on Table Mountain as our plane arrived in Cape Town, and waiting for us at the airport was our friend Jackie who was going to take us to get our cruiser.
I fell in love all over again as I saw our cruiser parked in the shade of a large oak tree.
The thrill of adventure and travel surged through my veins and I could not wait to leave for our Africa overland up the west coast. But our Cruiser needs some pampering before it is ready to leave. We anticipate being in Cape Town for about 2-3 weeks while we prepare the Cruiser for her next adventure.
Cape Town is a delightful city to while away the time. We enjoy not only the setting but also the vibrant feel of the place.
South African recent history on show at the Waterfront. After years of oppression under Apartheid South Africa is now a true multi-racial society.
We were planning to travel through Angola and needed a Visa. Obtaining an Angolan visa is very difficult and we wanted a 30 day tourist visa which requires one to get an official invitation from an Angolan. We approached a South Africa company that owns a couple of fishing lodges to assist us. We headed off to the Angolan Embassy full of confidence that we would be successful. We did eventually get the Visa we wanted so the trip north to London started to feel real.
We now felt we could announce our intention to drive the west coast of Africa to the world by making a decal for the door of the Cruiser.
We enjoyed becoming reacquainted with our trusty Landcruiser “Chinook” driving some of the more beautiful Cape Coastal roads.
Before leaving Cape Town we headed off to Boulders Beach near Simonstown to photograph the penguins.
After enjoying the sunset we set up our rooftop tent and settled in for the night. It appeared we have forgotten some lessons we learnt on our last trip. Our first night camping was a dismissal wet experience. Snuggled up in our cozy tent we were soon asleep. However during the night, we were woken up by a torrential rain and wind storm. We lay in bed listening to the rain beating down on our tent, wondering whether we would be blown away in the winds and rain. We were not blown away but we were nearly drowned as the rain poured into our tent, water levels rose and our sponge mattress soaked up the water as fast as it could. Soon we were lying on a very soggy, wet mattress and it was not long before sleeping bags were soaked and our tent wasn’t cozy anymore. We knew immediately what the cause was; the tent had not been fully put up. We had done a quick pitch which we usually did when we were not staying for more than one night and we did not anticipate rain. It has been raining all week we should have known better.
With nothing left to prepare it was time to say farewell to friends and family in Cape Town and begin our next overland adventure. Cape Town to London up the West Coast of the African continent.
We had an early reminder of some of the challenges we are going to face as we head northwards.
Getting our camp 3-fuel camping cooker started was sometimes risky.
Pieter Du Plessis welcomed us to Glen Oakes Farm and 4X4 off road training area. It was time for Tom and me to review our off road driving skills and vehicle recovery procedures, gear and safety. Due to the fact that our West Coast route would be traversing the second largest rain forest in the world we felt that we should upgrade our off-road mud driving skills. The cattle farm is situated in the western coast of the Cape and it is on this farm that we were to tackle the steep inclines and deep mud. With all our recovery gear spread out on the grass we began the task of checking we had all we needed before trying out the winch, using the high lift jack as a jack, as a winch and a clamp. Finally confident we headed for the off road training routes.
We stopped at a few famous South African landmarks on the way to the Botswana border near Mafeking, including the Cango Caves and an Ostrich farm in Oudshoorn.
Oudshoorn is world famous for ostrich farming. They use the feathers for making boa, the meat is a delicacy (it tastes like beef not chicken) and the skin is made into bags and belts. It did not take much to convince Tom to try and ride an ostrich, reputably the stupidest bird on the planet with enormous and beautiful eyes which fill2/3 of their head. They cannot be trained and therefore ride is not without risks, the challenge of course is staying on the frantic and wild running bird. Tom did great and managed to stay on the bird until he shouted “that’s it I had enough.” He said it was a tough ride, as the feathers feel oily and soft and the back is sloping so it is difficult to hang onto the wings.
The trainers really know how to ride these wild animals and hold daily races where you can place bets.
At the campsite in Mafeking an amorous Emu made suggestive advances. She/he must be really lonely.
The following day we crossed the border into Botswana.