Castle of Good Hope, Down Town CT & Lunch at the Waterfront

(3 July)

After a good night’s sleep, and a lovely breakfast we headed off for a quick look at Gardens shopping center. We then walked the length of Buitenkant, through District Six, to the Castle of Good Hope.

The castle was built between1666 and 1679 by the Dutch East India Company. The star shaped castle is the oldest exciting colonial building in South Africa. Yellow paint was originally chosen for the walls because it reduced the effects of the hot African sun.

Around the long table in the dining hall they could seat 100 guests (Alex counted 101 chairs today).

There was a volunteer explaining the firing of a  small canon, and also demonstrated a firing.

We then strolled through down town Cape Town towards the Waterfront. When we crossed the small pedestrian bridge to the Waterfront, the noon gun from Signal Hill was fired. We heard it and could see the smoke. Otherwise the clouds are heavy again today, even the top of Signal Hill was covered in clouds.

At the Waterfront we enjoyed a very tasty lunch in front of a small fireplace, with views overlooking the marina. There was also time for ice cream, and I got myself a take away coffee.

Today we also managed to dodge the rain. It started to drizzle as we hopped into the taxii. When it dropped us at our guesthouse, our airport shuttle arrived. Just popped in to grab out bags, and say goodbye.

At immigration they studied Alex’ birth certificate thoroughly. Now we’re waiting near our gate for or flight to be ready for boarding.

We have truly had an amazing African adventure! Thanks for coming along.


Another Pizza Night

Tonight is our last night in Cape Town, we decided to go for pizza. Alex had spotted a nice looking Italian restaurant when we walked to Bo-Kaap. We found it on the internet, and it looked like they’d have Neapolitan style, wood fired pizza.

We asked at our B&B for a taxi. The first company said in 40 minutes, the next in 20. It’s a cold, rainy night and that was probably the reason.

Great pizzas, and a good game of M.I.G (kind of like Trivial Pursuit) on an app. The winner tonight was Anna.

The waiter at the restaurant called is a taxi to take us back. The driver wasn’t sure where our street was . We tried to explain, since we know some well know places and streets near by. The driver tried to find it on google maps on his phone. Jan had to tell him an address in Australia came up. Not even close, not even the same continent (LOL). Eventually he got us home.

We’re hoping for no rain tomorrow on the last day in Africa. I think they are happy about the rain here though, since they have had a long drought.


Out and About in CT

(2 July)

After a good night sleep, warm and cozy thanks to the provided hot water bottles, we started our day with a really nice breakfast.

Today the clouds weigh even heavier on Table Mountain, only the foot of it can be seen.

Bringing our rain jackets along, we then head off via Long Street towards Bo-Kaap, with its brightly colored houses. This is the muslim neighbourhood. Signal Hill towers in the background.

As read on the internet: On Signal Hill
signal flags were used to communicate weather warnings as well as anchoring instructions to visiting ships in order to ensure that they prepared adequately for stormy weather while in the bay. Similarly, ships could use flags to signal for assistance if, for example, an anchor line parted during a storm.
It is also known for the Noon Gun that is operated there by the South African Navy and South African Astronomical Observatory.

We feel quite safe walking around today. Here and there we see public safety officers, standing in strategic spots.

Our walk continues towards the Waterfront. From our guesthouse it’s about 50 min, a bit more since we make the detour via Bo-Kaap.

Near the Waterfront we pass a bridge ending into nothing. The last stretch to Victoria & Alfred Waterfront we take the scenic route, along a nice little canal. Signal Hill can still be seen in the background.

At the Waterfront we stroll around, see the Clock Tower, from 1882, from where the harbour master used to control the comings and goings in the docks. We also stroll around the different malls, everything from High Street brands to souvenirs can be found here.

Alex was craving for sushi, and at V & A Food Market, we finally find great sushi at a reasonable price, joining the locals for lunch.

Rain is hanging in the air, and the wind is picking up as we take a ride on the Cape Wheel. It swings quite a lot as the wind get stronger. From the top we can see Robben Island, were Nelson Mandela spent 27 years in prison, despite the misty air.

After an ice cream we take a taxi back since it’s starting to rain, walk to a ‘hole in the wall’ (literally) coffee shop and bring back coffee to enjoy in the lounge at our B&B.


A First Glimpse of Cape Town

Traveling from the airport we pass town ships, next to nicer areas. This is part of the city structure – really poor neighborhoods right next to better ones.

The Table Mountain towers over the city. Today the clouds are hanging low, covering the top. The sun is trying it’s best to break through. Temperature is about 16 C.
We are struck by everything being so green, especially coming from the desert plains in Namibia.
After checking in to out cosy guesthouse, located in an old light blue and white building in the Garden area with views of Table Mountain from our room, we took a walk through the Gardens itself. Quite a large park. Inside are several museums, a botanical garden, restaurant etc.
It is safe to walk around during the day, but we’re always cautious anyway. A lot has happened here since Jan and I were here 15 years ago. Quite a bit of construction, the town has grown, and I can’t quite recall there were so many homeless people.
We found a light lunch at a crêperie not far from where we’re staying. Superb coffee. Then we were ready for a nap, before continuing our explorations.
Dinner was enjoyed at a wonderful seafood restaurant in Waterfront. Alex said it was, maybe almost, the best meal on our whole trip. This is the meat guy talking about risotto with kingfisher. It was really very good!


The Red Eye to Cape Town

(1 July)

We’re on the red eye to Jo-burg, and then Cape Town. We had arranged with the driver who took us from the airport yesterday to pick us up at 4.45 am. That would get us to the airport by 5. Windhoek airport is a very small one. We checked in on-line last night, and only travel with hand-baggage, so it was just to go through security, and then immigration. No need for a birth certificate today, she said she could see the resemblance to Jan.
Namibians don not seem to have warm jackets despite it being so cold here in winter. They do wear woolen hats, but the women wrap themselves in fleece blankets in various ways. Basically all female staff at the airport had blankets wrapped around them, around the waist, and even over their heads.
Our first flight to Jo-burg was about two hours. Our transit time for our connection flight was roughly 1,5 hrs. Unlike Windhoek Jo-burg is a large hub, thus the que for immigration was very long, taking a very long time. When we only had about 30 min to our next flight we asked an airport staff if we could pass in the queue. She let us pass the barrier, then another staff person, were telling people they couldn’t pass and told them to go back in the queue. We kind of rounded her, skipped the line by coming around from the outside. A porter outside customs saw we were in a hurry, took us on a short-cut to security, and found out our gate. Probably saves us 15 well needed minutes, and he got a well deserved tip. We arrived at the gate for boarding just in time to catch the bus.
Had we waited in the queue to immigration, we would have most likely not made it.
Alex has been enjoying playing with the seat that turns into a bed, there’s also a nice massage function. We have upgraded to Business on this flight – too bad it’s only two hours!
We’ll soon be landing and are embracing ourselves to be hit with the big city buzz.



It was lunchtime by the time we arrived in Windhoek. We looked up a restaurant in our travel guide, to get a general idea of where to head. That restaurant was only open for dinner, but there was another one next door that was open. We enjoyed a nice lunch in a little garden, enclosed behind the restaurant.

Before leaving Windhoek, we did a drive around sightseeing.
Windhoek is home to roughly 330 000. The town is surrounded by mountains in all three sides. There aren’t really any tourist sights, but we drove around a bit to get a feel for it. Windhoek appears to be modern city.
Stopped at the Christuskirche, it wasn’t open. Right next to it is Zoo Park (a park, not a zoo since 1962), and the Independence Memorial Museum.
It’s not that cold in Windhoek as when we arrived two weeks ago, but it is extremely windy today.
After checking in to our accommodation, the same one near the airport as when we arrived, we unloaded our Toyota Hilux. It has served us well during these two weeks, and taken us a total of 4022 km through Botswana and Namibia.
Alex borrowed a broom to swept the extremely sandy trunk, Jan and Alex even asked a guy at the accommodation if he could rinse it with a hose. Then It was nice and clean, and we could fill it up and drop it off at the rental agency at the airport. That took it’s time. First there was no staff, then they checked the car, our cross-border fee documents. After that we could go inside to get our final documents checked.
We took an airport taxi back to our accommodation (15 min), and arranged with the driver to pick us up again bright and early.
In the evening we had dinner at the accommodation. Jan and I had game platter, between us we had Kudu fillet, Springbok saddle, Oryx fillet, Eland fillet, Hartebeest fillet, and Zebra fillet. Alex went safe with beef, but tried it all. NAD 580 for the three of us!


Over the Spreetshoogte Pass onwards to Windhoek

(30 June)

Just after 9 am we headed of on our last road trip in Namibia. We had seen the sun rising over the Namib desert, with the mountains as shadows in the far distance.

We drove north on the washboard road. Just after Solitaire a flock of zebras galloped across the road, and disappeared across the plains. Later we turned east on a rollercoaster road towards the mountains. We drove through the Spreetshoogte pass. This pass connects the Namib desert with the Khomas highlands, by traversing the Great Escarpment. The serpentine road was really steep, and the hairpin curves really sharp. At least the road was made from bricks, and not only gravel. There were no barriers what so ever on the sides. From the top we had an amazing view, which we admired for a second, before starting our decent on the same kind of serpentine road.
We have seen more zebras, springbok, cattle, horses, baboons, goats, and sheep. We’ve only met a handful of cars. For quite some time we had to stay behind a cattle truck. We couldn’t pass since we couldn’t see anything through the dust from the truck. Eventually he pulled over to the right side, and let us pass on the left (the wrong side).
Closer to Windhoek, the capital, there were more trees that made the landscape more green, it was  more hilly, with a few mountains in the distance.
Kupferberg pass was merely a steep hill up, and a even steeper hill down, the road was pretty straight, just soft curves, then a long hill up, and a longer hill down. After the pass there was a road traffic checkpoint, we were just waved through, and I’m not sure what they were checking.
Just outside Windhoek we passes a couple of tourists pedaling away, seem like a crazy adventure on these roads.
It only took us a little over 3 hrs to reach Windhoek.


Our Stay near Solitaire

We stayed at a small lodge just 16 km south of Solitaire. From our little patio we had a fantastic view, yet again, over the desert plains, large rocks nearby, and mountains as shadows in the far distance.

Oryx came to drink at the waterhole just in front, they even ventured extremely close to the deck where we had dinner. There were also plenty of ground squirrels.

The lodge had a pet springbok called Amanda. It walked around the premises like she owned the place. She was cute!

After our excursion to the Dunes we went to Solitaire for lunch. Back at the lodge Alex climbed to the top of the big rock, Jan and I did laundry. Well needed after our adventures in the sand. The sun, warm weather, and wind dried the clothes in absolutely no time. When I hung the last things, the first clothes were already dry!

No need for a hairdryer either. Before Alex came back with the message that there was none to be had, my hair was dry.

Tea and cake was served and enjoyed in the afternoon. Dinner and a game of Farkel (Alex won big time!) was enjoyed at night.

The sunsets were amazing!


Sesriem Canyon

Our last stop was at Sesriem Canyon. It is 30 meters deep and 3 km long. Jan and Alex walked all the way to the bottom, I stayed about half way, not wanting to do the steep climb up again. It was really pretty where I sat on an acacia tree waiting for them (not one of the old ones).

Sesriem got it’s name from Six Thongs, the number of joined leather ox-wagon things necessary to pull up water from the canyon
After this stop the driver picked up our permits, and then we headed back towards the lodge. On our hour long drive back to the lodge we also saw many ostriches, springboks, and several oryx. They are quite easily spotted, since there isn’t anything for them to hide in.


Deadvlie, Sossusvlei, and Breakfast by the Dunes

Deadvlei is a clay pan. When it rains, the last time in 2011, the water stays for a few months. The trees are dead Acacia trees, estimated to be 900 years old. Pretty amazing! It is strictly prohibited to touch the trees.

From Deadvlei we had a 1 km, fairly flat, hike in the sand to get back to the car. Kind if like walking on a sandy beach. We then went to a picnic site for our breakfast. Yoghurt, fruitsad, sandwiches, egg, juice and coffee. It tasted really good by then, we had been up since 5, a long drive, and a hike up Big Daddy’s arm. At least we had some cereal this morning before we took off. The time was now 10.30.
We also drove by Sossusvlei pan, another clay pan, before heading off toward our next stop.
Sossusvlei is a combination of two languages, nama and afrikaans. Sossus – is the nama language for a gathering of water, the dunes stopped the water from the river here.
Vlei – is the Afrikaans word for valley or wetlands.