After a week of relaxing in Qatar we have arrived in Cape Town !!! Unfortunately we can't say the same for our Landcruiser. Due to a faulty carnet de passage of the other car in the container we are expecting our vehicle on June 29th.
So we rented a car and are now on a short trip travelling the Cape, some wine regions and a small part of Karoo.
But first it was time for celebrations...for Judith's birthday we went to a small wine estate with an excellent restaurant Le Petite Ferme in Franschhoek. Stellenbosch, Franshhoek and Paarl are the three main wine regions close to Cape town and we loved our visit to these region 10 years ago and it isn't any different today... the mountain views, the vineyards, the excellent tastings and some amazing restaurants make this a very pleasant first stop.
Our next stop was in Cape Algulhas, which is the most southern town of South Africa. Remembering a lot of what we have done 10 years ago as well. Just off the coast is an amazing sunset spot...a shipwreck which is lit beautifully by the sun and one of the nicest sandy beaches of the Cape. We also bought some things at a 4x4 megastore: a really cool axe with a saw in the handle and a foldable spade. And Wilfred was very keen on buying a sling to scare away the monkeys when camping.
Then on to Swellendam where we stayed in the same guesthouse Aan de Oever as 10 years ago, and again it was amazing ! The most warm welcome, an upgrade to a suite and at check out we got some muffins to take with us. Swellendam is a small pretty town and has more than 50 heritage buildings, mostly built in de Cape Dutch style. We visited the Drostdy Museum and the Drostdy Mansion which was built by the Dutch East India Company in 1747 to serve as residence and official headquarters for the Landdrost (Kantonrechter). Close to Swellendam is the Bontebok National park and is very pleasant for hiking. We walked a 6 kilometer trail called the Aloe Vera Hill, providing amazing views of the Breede river and the surrounding hills.
Next stop Tankwa Karoo National Park. This is one of the newest national parks that is maintained by San Parks. On the way we drove through Robertson and on one of the wine estates you can create your own blend of wine. Our belnd was 60% Merlot, 30% Shiraz and 105 Cabernet and it went perfect with our steak made on the BBQ. The next morning we planned to drive and hike in Tankwa but instead we ended up staying around the guesthouse due to damage to the roads. Our small rental car (VW Polo) is not made to drive those kind of roads. And that day we really missed our own car ! We did meet some really nice people during our stay and we were invited to a complementary stay in a tented lodge near Oudtshoorn. We will definitely try to visit there, once we hit the road in the cruiser.
On our way back to Cape Town to collect our Landcruiser the last stop is Tulbagh. A pretty town with lots of heritage buildings. Some of them were destroyed in the earthquake of 1969 and our hotel 'The Tulbagh Hotel' only had minor damages. And for a short period it was used as a hospital to tend to the wounded of this event. The only positive thing of the earthquake is that all buildings were restored to their original state. The area around Tulbagh is renowned for their wines and olives. And every year during the last weekend of June the Christmas Winter festival is held. A funny sight seeing christmas trees around town and people wearing christmas hats.
A tip for fellow travellers is to buy a Wildcard. For all the park in South Africa you need to pay conservation fee per day to visit. This card gives us access to all the parks in South Africa, Swaziland and Lesotho for a year and is a lot cheaper than paying the daily conservation fees separately.