South Africa

Southern Africa



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Richmond to Cape Town via the coast 2011 - The Overberg and The Cape Peninsula

Once we arrived in the Overberg we could see that we were in the Winter rainfall region as the land was very dry. Approaching the Breede river valley we could see the difference between the green valley and the surrounding land.

Cross the Breede RIver wasby way of a hand-drawn pontoon.

3 guys pulled 3 vehicles and 2 motorbikes across the river.

We'd intended to stay for a few days at De Hoop Nature Reserve but when we arrived at reception and were told that it was R295 per night to camp (£28) we only stayed 1 night. A pity as this looked to be a lovely reserve with beautiful white dunes and a large lagoon.


We visited Elim which is a small village founded by the Moravian Mission - the houses area all owned by the mission.

We were given a guided tour (R30 each) of the village, church and flour mill by Emile, one of the villagers.

Houses on the main street in Elim.

We enjoyed travelling on the gravel roads in the Overberg which meandered around the mountains passing through farmland.

Some valleys in the West of the region produce wine - the fields here are irrigated.

We spent 5 days in the Cape Town area - for 3 of them we stayed with Colin and Elsa who we met on the Indian Ocean cruise last year. One day Colin took us to Boulders beach, where there is a penguin colony. We walked along the boardwalk but didn't go down to the beach as we thought that R40 each was rather expensive.

We had a great view over Simonstown.

We then drove along Chapman's Peak Drive, on the Atlantic coast of the Cape, which has been blasted out of the cliffs - very spectacular.

Good company and great food - cheers!

We didn't go up Table Mountain or visit Cape Point as we've done that on previous trips to Cape Town so we concentrated on going to places that we'd not visited before.




We spent an afternoon wandering around Kirstebosch Botanic Gardens which are to the SE of Table Mountain. The weather was rather overcast but it was still an interesting walk. It would be lovely to visit it later in the year when the proteas and fynbos are in flower.

Most of the time that we spent around Cape Town the 'tablecloth' (clouds) was over the mountain. There was a strong south-easterly wind so there were plenty of kite surfers out on the sea.

We had a walk along the beach and saw lots of large mussels on the rocks so I picked some and we cooked and ate them that evening.

We visited Robben Island which is where Nelson Mandela was imprisoned for many years.

It was a very interesting and moving visit and well worth the R200 each that we paid.

The ferry from the mainland took about 20 minutes to reach the island. We then got onto coaches and were driven round the island stopping at various places.

We then returned to the port and visited the prison where ex-prisoners are employed as guides.

Communal dormitories were used by the 'ordinary' prisoners. To start with they slept on blankets on the floor but later were given bunk beds.


The political leaders were kept in solitary confinement for the majority of the time.

Nelson Mandela's cell.

The exercise yard next to the solitary confinement cells.

Rather than take the main N1 freeway out of Cape Town we travelled on the back roads and over Bainskloof Pass which, 150 years ago, was the first road from the Cape into the interior.

It was designed by Andrew Baines and constructed by convicts who hacked and blasted the pass over the mountains.

High sided vehicles can't use this route...

1. The Wild Coast.

2. Port Elizabeth and the Garden Route.

3. The Overberg and the Cape Peninsula.

Diary (word '97 document)

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