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Published: March 25th 2012
To close out our big adventure, we had decided to take one last train trip and use it as a last opportunity to see a bit more countryside before we left this great continent.
First, let me say that the Trans Karoo Train taking us from Johannesburg back to Cape Town was everything the Tazara Train was not. Clean, relatively quiet, working toilets, white bedding and linen, a real dining car with porcelain and a wine list! But then, also a bit dull, a bit predictable, nothing really went wrong . . .
But there were also similarities between the two. Did you notice that both trains begin with a 'T'? Once again we had a double sleeper car to ourselves with 2 benches that turned into beds and a central table. Once again, the train was late - but not to the extent that the Tazara was. The engine suffered some kind of breakdown in the night while we were sleeping which put us about 4 hours behind schedule. But frankly, I didn't care; we were not in a rush to get to Cape Town as we were not leaving for home until the following night and the
delay also meant that we got a chance to view scenery that we would have passed by in the dark.
We traveled by train between the two great South African cities through an area known as the Karoo, an arid, semi-desert natural region of the country (see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Karoo
). And we were not disappointed. I have grown to love the more stark and barren landscapes we have passed through - the Serengeti, the Makgadikgadi Pans, the Namib Desert and now the Great Karoo. One gets thirsty just looking at it!
And so we passed a pleasant, if uneventful 27 hours or so filled with watching the scenery, reading, eating lovely meals, chatting with fellow passengers from Australia, Holland and Pretoria and sleeping soundly. All too soon, we pulled into Cape Town and gazed up at Devil's Peak one last time just as darkness fell over the city.
Then we were down to our last 24 hours in Africa! A last gargantuan effort to get packed back into our original bags and under airline weight limits (thanks James for holding our monster suitcase for us while we went on the Garden Route and through Kruger!). A last
Mon Across the Way
Only The A.C. Didn't Work - Too Cold
stroll through downtown and a visit to the Gold Museum (missed during our last visit to the city).
As I write this entry from the comfort of home, clearly we made it back safe and sound. We are so so grateful to our wonderful friends and intrepid travelers Lois and Andrea for picking us up after 3 flights and 27 hours of travel, taking us to their home for a sleep before our last trip out to St Marg's Bay, and giving us a lovely first meal to take home with us. The 27 degree celsius day and total lack of snow that greeted us back in Nova Scotia also helped immensely with the re-entry back into our old life. Winter - what winter?
Home again, home again, jiggity jig! I am sitting in front of the fire in the living room, reunited with Jessie Dog as she snoozes at my feet, with bags mostly unpacked and trip laundry done (ok, so I really missed the washer/dryer as well as the dog) and trying to ease back into the local rhythms and gear up for a return to work in a few days. To say that I loved
every minute of this adventure is a massive understatement. Even when I was miserable I loved it. Really, for me there are only two thoughts remaining - what is my next great adventure and how soon can I go.
Thanks to all of you who read and enjoyed our blog, especially to those of you who took a few mo and wrote comments or sent us messages - those nuggets from home meant a lot to both of us and it was great hearing from you along the way.
As the dust settles (now only figuratively, thank goodness) and for those of you who are interested, we plan to write two more entries -
Barbe and Mon's Africa By The Numbers
(paying homage to the Toronto Globe and Mail) - read how many kms we traveled, how many pics we took, how many animal species we saw, how many pools I swam in, you get the idea.
The Top 5 of Everything Africa
- top 5 places we stayed at, African beers, game parks we visited, animal encounters, pools I swam in, things like that. I may throw in a few bottom
Karoo Scenery 1
The Other Table Mountain?
fives just to make it interesting.
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