The rain of yesterday had passed by and there was a good amount of sun warming the breakfast room at our B&B as we got ourselves ready for the day ahead. Being the only guests we thought that breakfast might not take too long and we would be on our way. Not so !
‘Arvey’(this was how we understood his name to be when we arrived last night)had our places set up and we ordered from the small menu thinking that although the menu said it could take up to 20 minutes for the meal to be prepared that because we were the only guests he would get it prepared quicker. Not so,again !
Keeping starvation at bay with a slice or two of toast while we waited for our cooked breakfasts was just enough to keep us going for near 40 minutes before Arvey turned up from the kitchen with our meals.
However, all in all it had been a pleasant stay and the breakfast was tasty and we would give him top marks for that.
Hermanus is reported to be the whale watching capital of the world where the whales come in very close to
the coast and they can be viewed with the naked eye. Of course we are just a few weeks too early for the whales to arrive.
We did however decide to take the cliff top walk in the town to get a sense of what it was like even though the south east wind was blowing very steadily.
Parking the car we encountered our first experience with the guy that finds you a park and ‘looks after your vehicle’ until you return. The procedure is that they direct you to a park and you pay them Rand5 or about NZ 50cents.We had read variously that sometimes you also have to pay a parking fee that would go to the local council. Nothing in the car park actually said that but we opted for a payment of a higher price upping the amount to Rand 10 or approx NZ$1 which the guy accepted with a smile. We left on our walk having visions of him going home to his wife tonight saying how generous those Kiwis he found a car park today for had been !
A 40 minute walk helped move the large breakfast from an hour
or so ago and also gave us time for various views of the bay, shoreline and some of the expensive homes and accommodations lining the cliff top walk.
The water in the bay is freezing but like a number of other seaside towns we have passed through including the seaside suburbs of Cape Town there was a pool against the shoreline with a rock wall around three sides with a sandy bottom and deep enough to swim in with waves washing over. We imagine that this pool water would warm up from the rays of sun during the day in summer making swimming possible right alongside the sea where you probably wouldn’t last more than a few minutes before hypothermia got the better of you. We are not sure what happens if you are swimming happily and a large wave crashes in and whether you would have to be careful not to be washed out !That could happen today, had anyone been silly enough to be swimming, given the large seas rolling in.
On our return from the walk to the car park the guy who had taken our Rand 10 smiled and waved us on our way.
Our main sightseeing activity today is to visit the southernmost point of Africa as we head towards tonight’s B&B accommodation in Swellenham.To get there will take us a little out of the way of a direct route but it should all be worth it to tick another geographical marker off our bucket list.
In the first half hour of the drive heading east towards Stanford we encountered two road works with traffic only allowed in one direction at a time. They were probably both the longest one way traffic situations we have ever come across with the other side of the road closed for at least 3 kilometres before our convoy came across those waiting to travel in the other direction. And all along the route every couple of hundred metres were mainly women warmly dressed to keep out a chilly southeast wind waving their red or orange flags robotically to slow the traffic as it passed by. It appears the minimum wage for the lowest paid person in a roading job, and we assume that includes these roadside wavers, is approx NZ$3 per hour.
From Stanford the road went more southerly towards Gansbaii over fairly flat
unproductive land leaving the rocky hills behind in the distance.
Gansbaii looked another nice seaside small town complete with its own shanty town on the outskirts. There didn’t seem to be a lot of employment on offer for those poor people crowded into the area of rough shelters.
The road beyond Gansbaii was often so straight that it appeared to narrow down to nothing in the distance. There was very little traffic making for a relaxing drive past open barren field interspersed with a few private game reserves, not that we spotted any wild animals from the road.
All the way since Cape Town we have driven on a sealed road with good width but all that was about to run out as we passed the turn off to Pearly Beach and the tarsal became red dirt. Our once clean car would surely take on a reddish/orange coat from the dry dust as we sped along towards our destination.
Turning north at Die Dam we encounted a more developed countryside and farmhouses started to appear every few kilometres.
We took a stop and checked the GPS on the mobile and found we were on the
right track to get to the Cape and it was 30 odd kilometres away. It showed that we hadn’t perhaps realised that we had travelled further away from the coast at Die Dam than what we had thought.
There was a small settlement of block buildings just before we reached Cape Agulhas which the government are trying to establish to replace the shanty towns and then it was to the flash seaside houses many of which looked like second homes for holiday purposes.
Cape Agulhas was named by the early Portuguese explorers trying to find a route to the east and India in the 1400’s and was named by the explorer Bartholomew Dias in 1488.
It is the point where the Indian and Atlantic Oceans meet and the spot is marked by a recent addition of a giant map of Africa(opened in March this year).Despite the strong wind blowing today we had time to wander around and take some photos and ticking off one of the must do’s from our bucket list.
We retraced our route bypassing the road we had taken from Die Dam and headed inland.
Surrounding us now was farmland although not
a lot of animals apart from a few sheep. A lot of the land had a tinge of green and looked as though it had been resown ready for some winter rain to get it growing although with so few animals evident in the vast paddocks it would be interesting to know when it will be grazed upon and by whom.
The tarsal was again under our wheels but thankfully Gretchen wasn’t tempted with a challenge at the 120kph speed limit for while the road was in good condition and fairly straight we have no burning desire to be anywhere in that much of a hurry. We did encounter a slow moving truck on a short hill and the driver was very courteous on the way down the other side using his indicators to invite us to pass him. At another point a little further on with clear vision of around 2 or 3 kilometres ahead a Ford pickup shot by us doing we reckon at least 150kph and disappeared so quickly.
Bredasdorp,a name we have seen a lot of today on road signs(it seems all roads lead to Bredasdorp,a)was a dusty little farming town but it was
actually quite good to see some decent size civilisation as it had been an hour since we had left the Cape and the last settlement of people.
Our run into Swellendam, the Republic’s third oldest city, was 73km away and we must say that the farm scenery became a bit boring in comparison to driving the coast where the scenery changed with every turn in the road.
However, a bit of a surprise was to greet us as we pulled up at the B&B !
I pushed the buzzer on the gate and a woman appeared on a balcony of the house and yelled down to us that we had been double booked and that we needed to drive 100 metres down the road to where we had had our booking transferred to. We shouldn’t worry as the accommodation was similar as was the price.
This all seemed a bit odd as we had had two emails in the morning checking on our arrival time and no mention of a double booking.AND we had booked 3 months ago !
A younger woman was waiting for us and showed us to our room. She sort of
hurried through the introduction as if she didn’t want to hang around to answer questions. She also mentioned that she lived off site and the B&B was full (4 rooms).We were still a little stunned but we are sure there will be more to happen before we are satisfied with this ‘double booking’.
Unpacking, we set the laptop up to find an email asking us to cancel our double booked room on booking.com or we would be charged a ‘no show fee’ !!
Dinner was at a restaurant just up the road and believe it or not our first glasses of South African wine to accompany a Cape Malay curry for me and a salmon salad for Gretchen.
We haven’t been impressed with South African TV and even though we have had satellite everywhere we have stayed we have had some difficulty working the remote controls to get to channels we would watch.
So it was a bit of reading before sleep overcame us. We need to be fresh for what might be an interesting morning when we are asked to pay the bill for the night.
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