Sunday, 17 May 2009

Camping and Cape Agulhas...

This past weekend was a good one. I had Friday and Monday off from work as I had some paid leave owed to me before I leave the company at the end of this month. My sister, Debbie, and a group of her friends were travelling out to Montagu, a country town a couple of hours drive from Cape Town, for a weekend of camping and fun. Although Cape Town was bracing for one of the first winter storms, we decided to continue with our plans. And as Debs had a couple of spots free in her car I decided to ask my Mercy Ships friend Jamie and her Child Life colleague from Boston, Danielle, if they were keen to come along. Dani also has a great blog which chronicles her time in Cape Town at

I picked up the girls from the Red Cross Children's Hospital shortly after lunch on Friday and then drove home. Debs then picked us up there with all our camping equipment and we drove the 200 or so kilometres to Montagu, travelling on the N1 national road (which links Cape Town to Johannesburg) and through the Huguenot toll tunnel, an eleven-kilometre long tunnel that goes right under the Drakenstein Mountains. We reached the peaceful town of Montagu in the dark after 18h00 and pitched tents and had a braai (barbecue) for supper.

On Saturday morning there was the Mountain Mania festival at the Montagu Hotsprings and while Danielle did the ten-kilometre trail run and Jamie the four-kilometre fun run, Debs and I ate bacon and egg sandwiches by the hot springs. It was cold and wet and I wasn't feeling as brave as the two girls! After swimming in the lovely warm natural spring waters bubbling up from the ground and sitting having lunch, we all made our way back to the campsite. The rain really started to come down in the afternoon, and so Jamie, Dani and myself sat in the car chatting and drinking hot chocolate with marshmallows before relocating to their tent where the three of us played a really fun camp game that required a lot of thought. (And which left me pretty tired by the time the game had finished!) Dani gave Jamie and I a statement which comes at the end of a story (we were given the statement, "If he had seen the dust, he would not have wanted to kill himself") and then we had to figure out what happened. What is the dust? Why is it that had the man saw it he wouldn't have killed himself? You ask Yes or No questions that eventually lead you to the answers and reveal the full story. It's quite a complicated story, but we eventually managed to undercover enough clues to get to the truth. It was quite fun hanging out in the tent all warm and dry and listening to the rain pattering on the canvas. In the evening we went to a quaint little restaurant for supper, and then drove back to camp before 22h00 and headed to bed shortly afterwards. We were all pretty beat.

Sunday was probably my favourite day of the weekend. We packed up camp and then the four of us (Debs, Jamie, Dani, me) drove down towards the southern-most tip of the African Continent, Cape Agulhas. It was a great time of roadtripping and sharing stories as we drove to the place where the Atlantic and Indian Oceans officially meet. We got out and stood on both the Indian and Atlantic side of Africa and then drove a little way along to one of the many shipwrecks that litter this treacherous coastline. I've always had a deep fascination with shipwrecks - ever since I was a little boy. We then drove back to the lighthouse at Cape Agulhas and enjoyed the museum and shop and exploring this beacon of hope and safety to many ships over the past 160 years (the lighthouse was built in 1849 and is the second-oldest lighthouse on the South African coast).

We then drove along some beautiful winding roads overlooking the sea and through many coastal villages and towns on our way home towards Cape Town, including such places as Gansbaai, Stanford, Hermanus, Kleinmond, Betty's Bay and Gordon's Bay before we joined the N2 national road (linking Cape Town with Durban on the east coast) in Somerset West. We got home at around 16h30 and I then drove the girls back to their flat (apartment) in Cape Town. It was a great day but I am now (at the time of writing this - Sunday at 21h45) fading fast. I'll sleep well (and late) tonight - and it is nice that I am off work tomorrow, because I definitely need the sleep! Here are some more photos of today's roadtrip to Agulhas.

Fishing boats in harbour at Struisbaai, near Cape Agulhas

Jamie and Dani in a fishing boat at Struisbaai

Being blown off the spot where the two oceans meet

Jamie and I at the southern-most tip of the African continent

No comments: