The overnight rain had cleared as dawn broke and it looks like being a fair sort of day if a little breezy for our drive along the coast east towards Hermanus.
We aren’t in any hurry as it is only roughly just hundred 200km depending a little on which route we will take from the city and we advised our next host that we wouldn’t be arriving before 3pm.
To keep our breakfasts varied we will try an Italian place just next to the rental car pick up point downtown.One doesn’t usually think of an Italian restaurant as a place for breakfast but the menu online looked varied and had things we would usually choose.
We got ourselves packed and placed all our luggage in the middle of the lounge just in case the cleaner arrived early while we were downtown doing the formalities on the car pick up.
Gretchen is concerned that we will get a car with boot space too small to fit all our luggage in as it is not advisable to leave anything visible in the back seat while the car is parked unattended as is sure to happen during a stop or
two on the way east.Only time now will tell what type of car is allocated to us.
It was a pleasant walk downtown from the apartment and our walking fitness is starting to show improvement after the last few days walking around the sights we had been to and also around the city centre and back home yesterday.
The restaurant had the Italian theme alright and a waft of pizza oven smoke filled the interior as they appeared to be setting the fire for their lunchtime crowd of pizza eaters.
It was OJ,eggs,a berry smoothie and coffee to set us up right for the day.The cost of our breakfasts have been half or less than what we would pay in NZ and we thought we had a low wage society,I can’t even imagine what hourly rate the servers we have had have been on and so we feel a little happier paying a 15% tip to help them out ever so slightly.
Completing the paperwork was a breeze and our fears of a vehicle with too small a boot were unfounded as we were given a Toyota Corolla Quest to drive away in with space in
the boot even after adding all our luggage.
The cleaner hadn’t arrived by the time we got the car loaded and started on our way heading back over coastal territory we covered yesterday on the Mini Peninsula tour we took.The object was to take in the 12 Apostles as we drove along the coast.
The jagged peaks,more than 12 apparently,are as impressive as Table Mountain is towering over the city.This morning we were lucky to be on the road just as a large rainbow arched from the peaks to the sea and we took a couple of opportunities to stop and record the scene.
We also took the drive up to the cableway lower building,not to ride the cableway as it was still closed because of the wind,but to take in whatever we could of the view down and across the city from about 400 of the 1000 metres up.
We took the road past Constantia which also meant we had to pass the shanty town of Imizamo Yethu again and we both agreed it is difficult to get your head around the fact that poor people were living in such poverty while the rich were
right across the road in their mansions with guarded gates and barbed electrified wire.It will be something that will bug us for time to come,not that there is much we can do for the poor people totalling 36,000 living in a half square kilometre.
Heading down to start the drive along the coast we passed through an intersection that was undergoing to some repairs including maintenance to the traffic lights.To our astonishment,as we stopped waiting for the green light,we noticed a guy standing on the very top of a ladder with no safety harness administering maintenance to one of the lights.This clearly was a dangerous act as we recall what our ladder tells us in bright red writing DO NOT STAND ON THE TOP OF THE LADDER.We had to drive off before he came down which we hope was in an orderly manner !
At Muizenberg we swung left and headed on Baden Powell Drive heading east around False BayThere was a wide stretch of sanddunes and the housing was of varied quality.Then the land must have become swampy because the housing stopped and it wasn’t until we came across another vast shanty town that the place looked
to be populated again.At least the rich weren’t looking over this shanty town although a little further on there looked to be plans for a new village of some quality with roads and services being established.The shanty town spread over a vast area and had a population in excess of 390,000.There did appear to be electricity to many of the structures and there were very tall light standards which would provide some lighting for people to move around the ‘town’after dark.
The R310 to Stellenbosch,a large wine growing area,was under major reconstruction.What was interesting was that about every 100 metres there was a man or a woman fully rugged up to keep the chilly wind at bay while they waved their red or orange flag up and down to remind motorists of the dangers around them with road building equipment.At least a few dozen people were in employment,we guessed.
Next in line for us was Strand and we took a stop to visit the toilet at McD’s.Like everywhere in the world you can almost always count on McD’s for a relatively clean toilet.And the Big Mac was also as good as you should expect anywhere in the world
and at half the price of a NZ Big Mac.
The R44 took us onto Gordons Bay,a delightful seaside town which was the last we would encounter with shops and facilities as the road hugged the coastline with a stony mountainside on our left.
The roadway looked like it had a substantial makeover in recent years with gentle curved corners and very little traffic.
At Rooi-Els the road swung away from the coast for a few kilometres taking a direct route across the last headland that formed part of the huge False Bay which we had driven in and around for the last 2 days including our trip down to the Cape of Good Hope.
There had been a fire through the scrubby undergrowth recently and a tinge of green was just starting to come back.The land was certainly not fit to grow any crops or sustain any animals and it was unclear just how the few people that lived here made a living.
Back out to the seaside again the evidence of a recent fire continued and around Betty’s Bay where the housing was a bit more extensive there were several homes that had
been burnt,some fully gutted and others badly burnt so they couldn’t be inhabited.Yet there were other homes right next door that had not been touched by the fire at all.On one property there was a tall hedge,perhaps 30 metres long where roughly half had been charred by the fire whereas the other half was left untouched.
At Kleinmont we came across another shanty town on the left hand side of the road while on the right hand side(the beach side)the housing looked to be of good quality with many of them being empty seaside homes.This was just another one of enigmas that will haunt us for the rest of our time in South Africa.People living in poverty while good quality homes were unoccupied across the road.OK these homes more than likely were not owned by the government but what is the sense in the government not buying them and housing as many of the people living in squalor right across the road.
Along the way we passed numerous people waiting on the side of the road for the' local minibus vans' which we saw everywhere in Cape Town.These minibuses have a bad name for being a significant reason
for the extremely high road toll in the country especially at holiday times when drivers speed to take their passengers out to their homeland and then speed back to pick as many people in a day that they can achieve.We have our eyes on stalks watching out for these minivans which are quite distinctive,coming towards us !
The R44 swung inland to skirt the large Botrivier Lagoon also passing the expensive looking Arabella Country Estate which was enclosed by a high fence,with cameras every couple of hundred metres keeping a watch on anyone trying to get in illegally.
The road became the R43 as it turned towards the sea and ran down the other side of the vast lagoon where it became evident that we were getting closer to the largest town on this part of the coast and our destination for the night,Hermanus.
Our B&B is located in a suburb called Sandbraii and well protected like most other properties around it with tall walls and an electronic gate that could only be activated from the inside by the owner after you pushed a buzzer to announce your arrival.
We had booked a standard queen bed
room(after all this is the BBA) which was ground floor and poolside.However,we were offered a free upgrade to a suite with a king size bed,what else could the BBA say….yes please!
Dinner was at a local brewery with a restaurant offering spare ribs at R140 (NZ$14) which was too good an offer to refuse.
Tomorrow it is a relatively short drive to Swellendam,the third oldest town in South Africa with obviously a lot of history to look over.Although first we will have time to take a stroll along the coastal pathway to watch out for whales which Hermanus is renown for although we are probably just a couple of weeks too early for them.
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