This Week in Africa…Cape Town Area (again) and Beyond, South Africa (May 2019)


At Cederberg Wilderness Area. Wow!

After a wonderful week exploring Cape Town area with Mathieu’s mom, Marie (see previous post), Mathieu and I were called back for a last hike overlooking the Atlantic Ocean before heading north (or so we thought).

Click HERE to go directly to the video slideshow or click “Continue reading” to read more.

We returned to the Kogelberg Nature Reserve to do a fabulous hike up the rocky mountain, through a forest of beautiful pink protea (the national flower of South Africa) to overlook the gorgeous coastline. It was a stunning day. Afterwards, we drove north, passing through beautiful vineyards on our way to Franschhoek Pass where we toasted a local microbrew while enjoying the sunset over one of the country’s famous wine valleys.

The next morning, while enjoying the sunrise from our bush camp, we noticed oil leaking down the inside of the right tire. Crap. We’d had a complete rear brake job done on both sides just two weeks prior while hanging with friends in the city of George. So, what could be wrong now?! We found a mechanic in the nearby city of Paarl who after an inspection, called a specialist who informed us we had a crack in our rear differential housing. Crap. This was a big deal. We spent the day using the wifi at local cafe while the differential specialist tracked down a used housing. By the end of the day he found one but the repairs wouldn’t be complete until Tuesday. It was Thursday. Crap. So, we drove back to Cape Town to meet Richard, another differential specialist.

Richard confirmed the crack in the differential housing. While he called all around the area for a used replacement, we did some maintenance on our roof-top tent at a nearby shop and had them make a new cover for it. By the afternoon, Richard found a used housing.Yeah! But, it couldn’t be installed until Monday. It was now Friday. Oh well. We took advantage of our time back in the area to return to Cape Peninsula for the weekend.

We had a wonderful weekend hiking. We did a long day-hike to Cape Point, walking through the fynbos, a type of coastal scrub vegetation found in the Cape region. Then the next day, we hiked to the Cape of Good Hope named as such because of the great optimism associated with the opening of a sea route to India and the East [1]. While not the most southern tip of Africa as some of the other tourists around us mistakenly believed, this cape is the most south-western point of Africa. Still cool. And the views from the rocky point were stunning.

During our hikes, we saw various sea birds, ostrich, a zebra, and eland antelope, finally! At night, we passed two nights wild camping in the Scarborough Beach parking lot. What a beautiful spot! We fell asleep after watching the gorgeous sunset over the white-sand beach and woke up to watch the sun light illuminate the crashing waves. Wow.

After wild camping Sunday night in the Cape Town waterfront mall parking lot (ha!), we returned for our 8am appointment to start the differential repairs. We spent the morning using the wifi at a local cafe while Richard’s crew was installing the used differential housing. Or so we thought. At about 2pm, he messaged with some bad news: the used housing was not the right size. He’d have to order a new housing from Toyota. Crap. Not only would the part be more expensive (by a lot), it wouldn’t arrive until Tuesday. It was Monday. Crap. With this turn of events, we had no choice but to find a place to stay in the area. By 5:30pm we hadn’t found an affordable place to stay so Richard offered us a solution. He invited us to stay at his house.

What a wonderful offer! We ended up enjoying a wonderful evening with Richard and his wife Sonja, sharing delicious wine, eating delicious food, and sharing stories. As Richard put it, we arrived as clients and would leave as friends. While waiting for the repairs to be completed, we relaxed in their comfortable home, journaling, doing yoga, watching movies, and playing with Pepper, their feisty terrier.

Tuesday afternoon, we got a message from Richard saying our new differential housing hadn’t been loaded onto the truck at the factory. So now, it would arrive Wednesday morning. Crap. Thankfully, he and Sonja offered for us to stay again. So, we passed another night sharing good wine, good food and great conversation with our new friends.

So now it’s Wednesday. The part arrived and Richard’s crew installed the new differential housing and a new drive shaft (another major part that we found out needed repair). By 5pm, we paid our repair bill (gulp) and were ready to hit the road again. We said farewell to Richard and Sonja (and Pepper), our new friends, thanking them for their wonderful hospitality.

Finally, we could head north (for real this time). Have I mentioned yet our reason for being especially impatient during these unavoidable repairs? Our 90-day tourist stamps for South African would expire in only 4 days!  

So, with just a few days left in South Africa, we drove directly to Cederberg Wilerness Area. We spent three days exploring the beautiful, rocky mountain wilderness, hiking to the monolithic Maltese Cross, exploring the Wolfberg Cracks, and Mathieu mountain biking through the rocky landscape. And in the evenings, we enjoyed cold Cederberg microbrew and some delicious Cederberg wine while watching the sunset over the rocky formations and sprawling valleys. It was an excellent end to our 3-month visit to South Africa.   

I’ll let the pictures and video show the beautiful Cape Peninsula and the stunning Cederberg wilderness. Enjoy!

Next up:  Namibia. Stay tuned!

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