Published: April 18th 2010
April 16th 2010
Big Lunch at Spier
Great food and lots of it. Great atmosphere
Friday was our last day in Cape Town so to celebrate a good time we all went out to Stellenbosch. Jeff had sorted out a winery there called Spier. The wine tasting was good so the grown ups were happy. There was a cheetah research place there so the boys (and Susan) got to pat a real cheetah without getting eaten, so they were happy. I was photographer. Smart.
There was an African-themed restaurant there called Mayo which served superb African dishes. You could help yourself and have as much as you like. A real problem for someone like me who was brought up to "eat what is put in front of you". All in all a brilliant venue and a nice way to say thanks to Jeff and Cornel.
Cornel took us for a drive around Stellenbosch University where she went to Engineering School. It reminded me so much of Otago, right down to the tree-lined avenues, students everywhere, and full on rugby atmosphere with games on every ground there that day. Very vocal supporters three deep up and down the sideline, so we figured it was some kind of inter-house competition.
It was with some sadness
Nice Pussy Cat
My family with a real cheetah at Spier.
that we got up early on Saturday for our flight to Johannesburg. Cape Town has got to be one of the great tourist destinations - it has just so many facets and it will be just buzzing here in two months time when the FIFA World Cup is on. They can't wait.
We didn't muck around in Joburg. After the Kea Campervan guy had scared the living crap out of me about how much it would cost if I blew the clutch, we got our campervan and got on the road east towards Kruger. I only ground the gears a few times but there wasn't much between first gear and third. Susan growled so I offered her the keys and that settled the situation for the first wee while at least. Kruger is what we want to see now.
I'd arranged to stay with clients of mine - Hedley & Heather Knight - just out of Kruger Park at a place called Hazyview. It is a LOT different to Cape Town here. The population is almost totally black because it is a big area for farming - mainly bananas and macadamia nuts. There are a lot of people
Bass fishing at Hazyview
With Hedley and Heather multitasking on their boat (fishing and breakfast at the same time).
working on the farms. Hedley was about to head off for another visit to Europe on behalf of the macadamia nut company which is owned by fifty farmers in the area.
Anyway we had a great night there. Hedley and Heather invited a few other people over and we had a braai and a few drinks, followed by one or two more, then a wee nightcap ( I think that was all). John & Jenny Robinson - also clients of mine- were there too. It is fair to say that there is a degree of nervousness about the crime problem, or more particularly the violent nature of it, amongst our friends here. Some of the stories they related do not make good reading and you can feel and understand their fear. Security is a fairly big issue for them.
For all that I have yet to feel threatened in any way in this country. Before we left NZ most people's reaction was "be careful". Now that we've been here a couple of weeks I can't help but think it is a bit of a word-of-mouth beat up on South Africa. I say that with great respect to the concerns expressed by our friends here because their concerns are genuine. But for a tourist it is like anywhere - keep your wits about you and use common sense - stay away from obvious trouble spots.
Into Kruger Park tomorrow. Boy are we looking forward to that.