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Published: April 3rd 2014
Sadly we are leaving South Africa arriving home on April 4th. We said goodbye to Highcliffe House on April 1st and spent a couple of days in Paternoster which is on the West Coast of South Africa, about 1 1/2 hours outside of Cape Town. It is a small, quaint, fishing village that has a very long beach and a beautiful Nature Preserve, called Cape Columbine. See pictures of both. The coast line is very rugged and the coastal waves in the Park are large and muscular (For those who have visited Peggy's Cove, it reminded us of that area of Nova Scotia only 10 times larger). For the camping enthusiast, there are a number of camp sites with toilet and shower facilities. It would certainly offer a unique camping experience with the sounds and smells of the waves crashing on the large boulders.
We stayed at a quest house called AH! (Which are the initials of the owners). The facility is excellent and several times a week, Arnold provides a dinner experience second to none. We just happened to stay there one of the nights and the meal was wonderful. Breakfast in the morning also reflected Arnold's love of
food and it's preparation. We had dinner the second night at the Noisy Oyster which is the # 1 restaurant in the area and lived up to it's rating. On the way to Cape Town area, stopped by the West Coast National Park which was huge, meandered along the Atlantic Ocean coast.
On the way to Paternoster, we met up with Kyle Good for lunch. Kyle is the son of Christine Good, one of Debra's oldest friends. Kyle has been touring South Africa and it was such a pleasure to be able see him so far from home. We've known Kyle since he was little (not very little anymore) and haven't connected with him in quite a long time.
Before leaving Highcliffe House, Jane and Jim prepared an special dinner for us, Paella, which was far superior to the meals we had in either Spain or Peru. Jane and Jim have been so hospitable and it was difficult to bid them adieu. The Saturday before our departure, we had lunch as Stark Conde winery. As you can see from the pictures, the setting was beautiful and a very pleasant place to have a leisurely lunch.
Africa is a fabulous place to holiday and escape the harshness of the North American winter. The extra time it takes to travel is more than off set with the benefits. The country has a vast, diverse topography, with lots of interesting mountain ranges, gentle rolling farmland and fields. The infrastructure is well developed (at least in the areas that we travelled) so getting around is as good as we've experienced anywhere. Travel, food, entertainment etc, offers good value, partly driven by exchange rates, but also labour costs is lower thereby helping get cost down. Accommodation choices are varied and are up to International Standards. Where we stayed in the Western Cape, the weather in January, February and March was excellent, with only a few days of rain and temperatures most days quite comfortable. There is a lot to do and see throughout and we were only able to cover a small portion of other interesting places and activity. Train travel for example is quite well developed offering some very interesting trips. We always get questions about safety and security. There was never a time in the 3 months we stayed in South Africa that we felt unsafe. Of course,
it's like most areas (including Toronto), we only went to areas in which we were comfortable and reasonably sure were safe.
We'd be happy to provide advice and expand on our experiences for those considering travel to South Africa. It's a hidden gem for North American travellers that many Europeans are already experiencing.
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