A Travellerspoint blog

April 2019

S Africa Day 5: Wine Country

Finally feeling somewhat rested, we left Cliff House in the morning. We were driving to the winelands, specifically Franschoek, spending the day there, and then heading on to Capetown for several days. Driving in S Africa is quite easy once you get used to the steering wheel on the right and driving on the left. The roads are well-marked and well-paved. It was a beautiful drive and we stopped at an overlook above the town of Franschoek.
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Although the surroundings were beautiful, the town itself was crawling with tourists. There was slow traffic, difficult parking, and crowded restaurants. I was starving, however, so we stopped off for lunch before our wine tasting.
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The wine tasting we chose was a vineyard just outside of town called Rickety Bridge. A beautiful setting, amongst the mountains, where we sat on the porch and tasted five different wines.
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They had a red that was our favorite and we ordered a case to be shipped home (which we later split with our friends who took care of the dogs for the three weeks we were gone). It was getting late in the afternoon and we wanted to reach Capetown without a lot of traffic. We arrived in Capetown about an hour later and made our way to the wharf area to our apartment at Lawhill Luxury Apartments. We had a beautiful, two-bedroom apartment with a balcony overlooking the water. I loved the artwork and tried to figure out how I could smuggle the wild dog picture back to the US.
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This is the One and Only Hotel where would go for a nightcap at the bar before heading home each night.
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The view from the parking lot was of cloud-covered Table Mountain.
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We wanted to explore the wharf before it got dark so we freshened up and walked around the area to find dinner as well. These locks were just down from the apartment and are used to adjust the water level as boats enter and exit the marina. We caught a small boat exiting as we were passing by.
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We walked around the wharf a bit, just checking things out and getting the lay of the land.
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We settled on a tapas place for dinner and sat upstairs on the deck so that we could people and boat watch.
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After dinner, we stopped off at the One and Only for some of my favorite Havana Club rum then collapsed into bed in anticipation of a few busy days ahead.

Posted by zihuatcat 15:03 Archived in South Africa Tagged africa wine capetown Comments (0)

S Africa Days 1-4: Downtime in DeKelders

Day 1:
We arrived in Johannesburg late afternoon. Calvin from the African Rock Hotel was there to meet us. Unfortunately, we had to spend some time at Western Union getting our wire transfers sorted out. Our travel agent had been able to communicate with my parents back home to get some money transferred as I hadn't been able to call the bank from the bush. We got it all sorted and made our way to the hotel. On the way, we saw a poor man riding a bicycle get hit by a car. I have no idea if he survived but I sure hope so. We couldn't tell how serious it was.

The African Rock Hotel is a nice, little boutique hotel in a residential neighborhood.
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I had pre-scheduled a massage for 6p so we both took showers and got ready for that. A nice lady came to the room and did the massages there. They were much needed to relax us after 10 days of bouncing around the bush. After the massage, we had a delicious three-course dinner of spinach and cheese bruschetta, beef filet with potatoes and vegetables, and chocolate cake with caramel sauce. It soon began pouring rain so we retreated to our room to re-pack, organize money, and get some rest before yet another travel day.
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Day 2:
The rain had stopped by morning and we were up and ready for breakfast by 8a. Mike went with eggs and bacon and I settled on french toast and bacon.
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Givemore drove us back to the airport for our flight to Capetown. We were getting pretty familiar with the Johannesburg airport by now so we knew the ropes on where to go and what to do. But this time, South Africa Airways bused us to our plane. It was a huge plane that was only half full. The flight was a few hours yet there were no snacks and no free drinks. Our previous flights to/from Maun were on a much smaller plane with full meals and free drinks so this was kind of a let down. We arrived in Capetown and picked up our silver BMW for the two hour drive to DeKelders.

DeKelders is a small town on the coast, east of Capetown. I had originally found it when researching shark diving. Shark diving was something we both wanted to do but, ultimately, we decided it was not eco-friendly. We didn't like the idea of chumming the sharks and interrupting their normal migration and eating patterns. But I liked the town and we wanted to stay somewhere on the coast so we booked three nights at Cliff Lodge, another small, boutique hotel on a cliff overlooking the ocean. We were greeted with champagne by the owners, Gideon and Priscilla.
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It was almost dinnertime when we arrived and Gideon recommended a place within walking distance. Apparently, a neighbor of theirs served five or six tables in his home on certain nights. He had an opening and Gideon made a reservation for us. We walked a couple of blocks over to Neal's place and had an outstanding meal of beet soup, purple cabbage salad with oranges and blue cheese, fish and zucchini, and strawberries with ice cream. He also served homemade hummus butter which was extremely addictive. I could have eaten that all night. After returning to our room, we had some drinks on our balcony and enjoyed the rest and peacefulness.
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Day 3:
The next morning, Mike woke up early and hiked down to the coast, along the rocks.
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I woke up when he returned and we had breakfast on the balcony, admiring the view of the ocean below. Gideon joined us and asked about our plans for the day. He was going out for a cave swim and asked Mike to join him. I tagged along with the camera as the water was just too cold for anything else. He loaned Mike a wetsuit and off we went.
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We arrived at the spot and the guys jumped in with Gideon's dog, Tallulah, keeping watch the whole time.
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The water was cold but the air temperature was getting really hot by now. We went back to the room to cool down a bit and charge our phones, which was quite the challenge.
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In the afternoon, we decided to take a drive into Gansbaai and Kleinbaai, two small towns about 30 minutes away. We stopped off at the Great White House in town and had a snack and a drink. The gift shop there had whole whale and dolphin skeletons on display. After hanging out there for a bit, we drove five minutes down to the seafront to see Dyer Island Nature Reserve. Dyer Rock, just offshore, is where some 50,000 Cape fur seals congregate and raise their young. They use the sea between Dyer Rock and Dyer Island to search for food. This brings in the sharks, which brings in the tourists for cage diving. The area was deserted that day because it was cold and windy.
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There wasn't much to do here so we drove back to Cliff Lodge and relaxed on the balcony until dinnertime. You can see Gansbaai just across the bay from our room.
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For dinner, we drove a few minutes into town and went to Rosemary's, another recommendation of the hotel. It was one of the best meals of the trip. We started with springbok carpaccio. Mike had Mozambique giant prawns.
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I had warthog ribs with a chili glaze, potatoes, and veggies. The ribs were absolutely delicious.
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We shared a bottle of shiraz and ended the night on the garden patio with Amarula. Thankfully it was a short drive back to the hotel.
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Day 4:
Our last day in DeKelders started and ended pretty slow. It's amazing how tired we still were from so much travel and safari. We slept in and didn't get moving until about noon. We drove eastward to Cape Agulhas, the southernmost tip of the African continent. The tip divides the Atlantic and Indian Oceans.
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Had we been more peppy, we would have stopped in the lovely town of L'Agulhas and explored more but instead we headed back to the hotel. For dinner, I ran into town and picked up a pizza at Giuseppe's and we spent the evening eating pizza in bed and watching movies.

Posted by zihuatcat 14:29 Archived in South Africa Tagged africa safari johannesburg dekelders Comments (0)

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