Friday, 23 March 2007

South African Holiday Part 2. Saldanha - CT

Part 1 - Sydney - Saldanha
Part 3 - Cape Town
Part 4 - Pretoria - Kruger
Part 5 - Kruger Park
Part 6 - Kruger - Sydney

We landed in Cape Town on Sat 3rd March in pouring rain. We had a complete nightmare getting our hire car, and I will not be using Europcar out of CT airport again. It took us over an hour to reach the head of the queue at their office, and once we’d done the paperwork the car I’d booked was not even there and we had to stand around for another half hour! Very very unimpressed. Then we drove from the airport to my Dad’s house in Saldanha, in the still pouring rain. What with the delayed flight and the incredible wait for the car, we set off a lot later than intended. We turned up at 5 having told him 3, so he was very relieved to see us! We had a lovely evening with my Dad and my step-mom Estelle with cold meat and salads and plenty of wine until late! I tried to have an early night but Rob was having none of it since I’d kept him up the night before!

The following morning we all went for a walk on Saldanha Bay beach around mid-morning. Saldanha Bay is the largest natural anchorage in South Africa, so as you can imagine the beach goes on for some way. It is lovely white sand, quite firm underfoot, and good for walking. While we were out the clouds blew away, and it turned into a clear sunny day with a light cool breeze.

For lunch that Sunday I had arranged for us to go to The Strandloper in Langebaan which is a brilliant beach fish restaurant. It is designed to be supremely rustic, with just about everything recycled or found in the sea. You sit on rough wooden benches under awnings of fishing nets, and eat off paper plates using mussel shells as implements. There are no walls or gates, and you can wander off for a paddle in the sea at any time. Eight fish and shellfish courses are cooked centrally over a large fire, and then you line up to help yourself to as much as you like, including fresh hot bread and butter. The final course is crayfish, so you have to leave a little room! They let you bring your own drinks, and so it works out really cheap in the end.

Dad’s friends Ron and Doris joined us, and in the late afternoon I had some family pop by too: my cousin Nikki and her brand new husband Dennis, my cousin Louise, and my aunt Marieta and uncle Les. It was wonderful of them to make the effort to join us.

As the sun got low in the sky we headed home, via a scenic trip to the fishing harbour and also to a lookout over Saldanha, where Milord saw his first dassie. Then a quiet night in with a few beers where no one needed dinner.

On Monday I was awake at stupid-o-clock, and lay quietly in the dark listening to Milord's gentle snores until I heard movement. Luckily my Dad isn’t much of a sleeper and is usually up before dawn so I joined him for a coffee as the sun rose. By 9 we were on our way to Cape Town, with Dad catching a lift with us to his ship at Cape Town docks. We stopped on the way to take some postcard shots of Table Mountain, and had an early lunch with views of the mountain. After depositing Dad at the ship we navigated our way to Fresnaye and checked into a self-catering 2-bedroom flat with its own garden and pool.


I’d had great plans of us getting in some sightseeing that afternoon, but we were shattered so we found the nearest supermarket and stocked up on the essentials, and then sat in the garden with a beer or two. Richard and Shona kindly came to pick us up and we went for an early Thai dinner in town. Richard had an essay to finish that night so they couldn’t stick around, but we really appreciated them making time for us. We finished our day in the huge free standing bath with a cold bottle of wine ;-).



Part 3 - Cape Town

South African Holiday Part 1. Sydney – Saldanha

Part 2 - Saldanha - CT
Part 3 - Cape Town
Part 4 - Pretoria - Kruger
Part 5 - Kruger Park
Part 6 - Kruger - Sydney


Milord and I have just come home after a couple of weeks in South Africa. We spent a week in Cape Town, and then a week in Pretoria and the Kruger National Park. It was very rushed, as it was his first time and I wanted to show him everything, as well as catching up with my friends and large family.

On Friday 2nd March we flew from Sydney to Johannesburg. It seems there are only a couple of carriers who fly direct from Sydney to SA, so we picked Qantas into Jhb. It’s a bit more expensive than dog-legging, but I hate transit so chose to go direct. The flight left Sydney at 10:30am, and landed in Jhb 14 hours later at 3:30pm (just before midnight Sydney time). Yes, I know, the time difference does my head in too!

My cousin Lisa picked us up from the airport, and took us home for the night. She stays in a lovely little townhouse in a secure development with her 5 year old son Jack. That night Lisa kindly offered to host a gathering, and a mob came around. Those who came over were my cousin Cal with partner Bear and children Cieran, Connor and Justin, my cousin Kean with fiancee T, my aunt Hilary, Lisa’s boyfriend Schalk, and my old friends Chris, Madeleine and HJ.

It was great fun see everyone, and I just didn’t have enough time to talk properly to each person. Milord handled it all very well, although when the rugby was switched on he jumped at the opportunity to quietly chill out in front of it. I had to shake him awake to be sociable!

We were asleep by midnight I think, and as is my rather annoying habit in a strange bed I was awake with the dawn. Luckily so were Lisa and Schalk and I joined them for a coffee as the day started, which woke Milord too. By the time Hilary arrived to take us to the airport we were ready to go back to bed!

We flew Kulula to Cape Town (it was delayed by an hour), and it was a fun flight. They are trying to be a comical airline, and the usual patter was embellished with humor like: “In the event of loss of cabin pressure oxygen masks will fall from the ceiling. Today your oxygen will be provided free of charge courtesy of the crew.” Their sandwiches were surprisingly good too.



Part 2 - Saldanha - CT