Start: February 1, Cape Town
Finish: March 15, Olifantsfontein
Number of ostriches that can fit in a truck: 84
Cutest baby animals: Cheetahs (followed by miniature horses)
From the beaches and Indian restaurants of Cape Town we head east along the coast to explore the rest of the cape. We spend weeks in the middle of nowhere, track down Kobus' ancestors, and stand in awe at the diversity and beauty of South Africa.
Our next stop was a little place called Groot Brak River. Just the other side of Mossel Bay, this mostly farming town, does not disappoint. We rented a little cottage out in the sticks. With huge windows, a fire pit, indoor braai area, absolute peace and quiet, oh, and did I mention there's wifi? It didn't take long for us to extend our stay.
We spent a few less-than-sober nights taking star trail photos. It really looks like this!
Every weekend we made sure to visit the famous Sedgefield farmers market. Kobus' aunt and uncle both have stands there. And, to our delight, one of them was an amazing tacos stand! Fresh ingredients, handmade tortillas, cilantro, and homemade chili sauce. Finally someone that understands Mexican food in South Africa. We pigged out every weekend. And even bought the extra tortillas at the end of the market to make our own back at the ranch.
Kobus' uncle on the other hand, sells these flowers, Proteas. Native to South Africa, they are huge and bright and beautiful! It's difficult to explain, until you have a bouquet of them sitting in your house.
But we didn't run around to markets all the time. In fact the majority of our 2 weeks in Groot Brak were spent here, on laptops, working for clients and paying the bills. But with a view like that, can you really complain? No. No you can't.
Next stop was Knysna and a visit to the famous forest of Yellow Wood trees. I know, forests in Africa? But this is a bonafied gigantic forest, and just to make it African, it does have elephants. Made famous by Dalene Matthee's book, Circles in the Forest, this place is magic.
But what we discovered a few days later was even more fascinating...
Kobus' great grandfather, Jan Barnard, was a lumberjack in the same forest, back in the early 1900's when it was still legal to harvest the yellow wood trees. We found his grave, and a few crazy old South Africans that knew him before he passed away, more than 40 years ago.
It doesn't take long for Kobus to make friends with the Knysa butcher (does it ever). And all the sudden we're eating proper Argentinian Asado, right here in the middle of South Africa. The meat is cheaper here than in Argentina, so we made a feast.
Up next, the creepy Thesen Island. Just outside of Knysna, this small island was owned by a saw mill. The whole place was almost completely underwater at high tide, but then it was purchased by a developer, who built the entire island up 3 meters. Then made a series of canals and cookie-cuter houses, which now sell for entirely too much money. It's like the Truman show, only on water.
After 2 months in the Western Cape we finally cross the state line over to Jeffery's Bay. Again, in a moment of weakness, I see a sign for a Mexican restaurant and we decide to check it out. Kobus does not approve. "We're only going to be disappointed." He was right. The food was awful. Thankfully we had Caiprinhas to wash it down with.
From Jeffery's Bay we head to East London, passing delightful ostrich trucks as we go.
But our arrival in Cintsa East was worth the long haul. We walked for hours and hours on the beach without seeing another person. Of course, that wasn't such a good idea with no food and water. But the pile of fish and chips and cold beer made the long walk worth it.
Next stop was Port St. John's. A place that has seen better days. In fact, while we were shopping at the local supermarket, there was an robbery of an armored vehicle. Six people shot, and they still got away with the money. I guess that's why they call it the wild coast.
The view from our balcony... where the river meets the ocean. There's no beach, just a big messy wild coast. More like jungle than tundra. And no farmland in sight.
From Port St. Johns we return to one of our favorite places, the Drakensburg. Huge plateaus and mountains for hundreds of miles. The Drakensburg borders Lesotho, and is a spectacular place to do some hiking.
The place we stayed also had baby ponies (technically, baby miniature horses). They're extra fluffy and about the size of small dog. But oh-so-cute! Speaking of fluffy:
In case you missed it, we also stopped off in Bela Bela to visit the DeWildt-Shingwedzi Cheetah farm. The only place I know in the world that will actually let you pet baby cheetahs!
And from there, home again. We spend a few weeks with the family, celebrating my Dad's 60th birthday with a 12 kilo lamb roast.
Up next: We're headed back to the States... Did you hear, Overland Expo is less than a month away?!