December 7, 2011
As anybody who’s been to Cape Town will know, its one of those special places you really struggle to get away from. We had made it out as far as the Tulbagh valley out in the winelands, a good hour and a half drive away. Yet as soon as our time was up there the wheels of the car were pointing back towards the mother city. The three day’s we’d had there earlier that week just were not enough. Plus the long term forecast was predicting some incredible weather on the Saturday morning and we didn’t want to risk missing one of those unbelievable weather days there.
So we headed back to one of the campsites we’d spotted (you’d be surprised, but its hard to find campsites in cities..) around the Noordhoek side of town. We had been aiming for one which promised incredible sea views, but when we got round to that side of the mountain the wind was howling and we changed plans at the last minute and headed for Chapmans Peak Caravan Park. It didn’t have the sea views from the campsite, but it did offer respite from the winds. And its a great neck of the woods too – we popped out to Skebangas that first evening for pizza (just as good as I remembered and still served on old floor tiles instead of plates). We’d already done a lot of the touristy things the previous pass through Cape Town (going to sea the penguins at Boulders Beach, hiking down to the lighthouse at Cape Point, watching Southern Right Whales in Kalk Bay) so our plans for the following day were simple – a morning at the waterfront seeing what all the big shops were offering up for this years Xmas swag. We tried to get hold of Hails sister to join us for lunch but couldn’t get hold of her, so once again changed plans and moved over to Forries in Newlands for an ice cold beer in the sun. We ended up chilling there all afternoon – totally amazed at how few Capetonians seem to work on a Friday afternoon – that place was packed to the rafters all afternoon!Â That evening we went and met up with my mate Syko over in Vredehoek. Â It was awesome to check him again and to see that corner of Cape Town – the views from up there at the foot of Table Mountain are incredible and the neighbourhood seemed awesome. We had dinner around the corner from his place, then slowly made our way back over to Noordhoek to our campsite.
The next day we were scheduled to leave, but it was also going to have awesome weather according to the forecasts we had checked out. We had our alarms set and were up early – the perfect weather had arrived and we lost no time getting our camp packed up camp and were heading for the beach by 8AM. I think we got to Clifton 4, one of Cape Town’s absolute gems, around half past eight and got a parking for the landy right down near the beach (once again, for anyone who’s been to Cape Town, to get one of those spots on a perfect weather Saturday is pretty rare haha). It wasn’t even too full yet, although the weather was literally postcard perfect and we knew that wouldn’t last long. We had an awesome morning on the beach, then when the sun reached “incenerate-vampires-on-contact” hotness level, we made our exit (and made some dude super stoked about getting a parking so close to the beach!) and with heavy hearts made our way back onto the freeway and started heading north.
But our destination wasn’t the worst in the world – Hermanus – and our route there definitely helped as we took the coastal road from Gordons Bay instead of popping over Sir Lowries pass. Definitely recommended if you’re heading that way and have the time. All those people who say that road is more scenic than Chapmans Peak are right, and best of all its still toll-free. We had a great afternoon doing a leisurely drive up the coast, nobody was in a hurry and with the sun shining down on us you couldn’t have wanted to be anywhere else that day.
We ended up in a campsite just outside Hermanus, and it was packed to the rafters. We managed to snag one of the last stands, a great little shady spot under ancient milkwood trees. The sea was just meters away on the other side of the trees, so we spent some time exploring the rock pools and looking for hermit crabs and little fish and all that. We even got a decent sundowner in before the weather finally caught up and the wind and rain arrived. We had just jumped into bed though, so fell asleep to the sound of rain drops falling on our tent. It had been an awesome day, if not a little sad that now we had finally turned back towards Durban – towards the end of our African Leg.