Tuesday, 20 May 2008

South Africa 2008: Cape Town to Knynsa

On the day after the wedding (Saturday 5th April) Milord and I had a light room service breakfast and champagne in bed, then joined all the wedding guests left in Camps Bay for a late brunch on the beachfront. Then after lots of goodbyes we hopped in the car and headed off on honeymoon… joined by 3 of our guests. Yes really. Three of the Aussies (Milord’s sister and another couple) didn’t fancy travelling on their own in big bad Africa, and opted to join us along the Garden Route for a few days. Personally I reckon they should have stayed on in Cape Town and done the tourist thing there as they hadn’t given themselves enough time to do so beforehand. But anyway…

We didn’t go far that day, as I’d expected us to be tired. We drove an hour or two to the Houw Hoek Inn (pronounced “ho-hook”) high in the mountains, which calls itself the oldest hotel in South Africa. We checked in and had drinks in the gardens looking out at the mountains, and then everyone went off for a siesta. It was surprisingly chilly up in the mountains – our room had an open fireplace, so we started a log fire and shared a hot bath with a bottle of wine before having a snooze. We woke up to rain drumming on the roof in the evening.

On Saturdays the Houw Hoek Inn has a dinner-dancing special, so we all glammed up and went over to the converted barn. The set menu was good, the company a lot of fun and the dancing a hoot. We ended up staying on the dance floor until after midnight before heading back to our room and stoking the log fire again. We fell asleep watching the flames and listening to the rain.

On Sunday we drove to Knysna (“nighs-na” with a silent “k”) via Cape Agulhas, the southernmost tip of Africa. Folk tend to think Cape Point is as far south as the continent goes, but actually Cape Agulhas is a lot further south. The weather was wet and blustery, and as we hurtled along narrow roads deep into windswept scrub I began to wonder if I was doing the right thing. It was a lot further than I thought – more than an hour’s drive from the motorway. Luckily everyone was thrilled to be visiting the tip of Africa in spite of a freezing gale, and we had fun scrambling around on the rocks and climbing up to the top of the lighthouse. Then we found a pub for lunch, eventually heading off again at about 2pm.

At the tip of Africa:

Lighthouse pictures:

We were back on the motorway at 3pm, and I suddenly realised that we were still about 4 hours drive from our destination. This wouldn’t usually be a problem, but I needed to pick up the keys to our self-catering apartments before 6pm when the accommodation office closed. The timing wasn’t looking good! I rang ahead and was told that they could leave the keys next door, but that shop would also be closing at 7pm… which was cutting things a bit fine! I told Milord to step on it, and we floored the accelerator. Up to this point we’d been sticking to the speed limit as there was no rush and the police on the Garden Route love catching speeding tourists… I decided that as long as we slowed down through the towns we could fly on the motorway – like everyone else does. We zoomed along into the twilight, keeping an eye on the rear view mirror to that check our buddies were keeping up. Luckily we weren’t stopped for speeding!

We just made it before 7pm. By this stage everyone was exhausted and hungry, so we headed off to our various holiday apartments. I’d put our 3 friends into an apartment of their own so that Milord and I could have a little privacy, and they decided to give us a night to ourselves and we made plans to meet for lunch. Milord and I staggered into a very nice airy 1-bedroom self catering apartment in the Knysna Quays marina and dropped our bags before pouring a glass of wine and stepping out onto the balcony overlooking the water. After recharging a bit we went in search of dinner in the Kysna Waterfront complex, then had a much needed long sleep.


Canadian Girl said...

Loved the photos, and thanks for the geography lesson. I'd love to visit South Africa one day, and Australia too!

Suzanne said...

As always, I love hearing of your travels.

What great pictures you've taken! The one of the staircase in the lighthouse, the ones at the Cape-just fabulous!