South Africa

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In June 2018, we decided to discover South Africa. Indeed, we wanted to change continent after having dedicated with a lot of happiness to the Americas in previous years (Western America and Chicago in 2013, Brazil in 2015, Western America again in 2016, Canada and North-East of America in 2017). We had already been on the African continent with J.R. in 2006 for our very first journey together on the occasion of a trip to Tunisia. I had also been to Morocco in 2001 with members of my family and a couple of friends. Finally, I had a memorable trip to Madagascar in 2007, which is told in a section of this website (click here).
However, we were dreaming of Sub-Saharan Africa, which fascinated as well the greatest explorers and adventurers as modest travelers, all of them eager for faraway exotic lands, entrancing wild landscapes, tribal regions where various ancestral traditions still remain, and obviously exciting safaris. Indeed, if our first trip to the U.S.A. allowed us to achieve teenage dreams, we were able to make children dreams come true thanks to that trip to South Africa, approaching with an inexpressible wonder many animals in their natural habitat.
Unfortunately, an imponderable event forced us to delay our departure, thus shortening that stay from three to two weeks. It is as more regrettable as we had to give up such sites as Blyde Canyon, the mythic and must-see Kruger Park, Swaziland, and Kosi Bay. But we did not want that bad luck bring us down and ensured to make those two weeks memorable… with success. We had to book hastily an overnight stay in Pongola in the state of KwaZulu Natal, for the beginning of our itinerary was messed up. The road from the Johannesburg airport was long, but we were thus able to become familiar with the fabulous landscapes of Southern Africa, like no other. We got used to driving on the left-hand side of the road faster than we thought. However, it can have a double-edged effect for you may become over-confident and thus make some little mistakes. So, we decided to make sure that the passenger is as vigilant as the driver most of the time. Besides, we were pleasantly surprised by the good state of major routes in every region we visited. We were also surprised by the number of people walking along the road, as well on state roads as in the countryside. However, the country was suffering from a long and terrible drought and we could see here and there fire starts.
After we made an unforgettable safari on the second day in the Hluhluwe-Umfolozi Reserve, we continued with another safari the day after as we joined the coast in Saint-Lucia. From then on, we went down day by day along the coast swept by the powerful waves of the Indian Ocean, crossing fabulous landscapes: though Africa is naturally well known for its fauna, it would be unfair not to mention its colorful flora, with remarkable richness and diversity. Given that June is before austral winter, we were travelling out of the tourist season and we did not meet much people except in places busy all year round. The crossing of picturesque villages came to break long moments of driving in the heart of fascinating deserted areas.
Then, we visited the states of Eastern Cape and Western Cape, ending with a stay in Cape Town, where a friend of J.R. who lives in that superb city, colored and full of energy, was waiting for us. Her recommendations where precious to us all along our journey, and more specifically in that city where she brought us to remarkable places.
Those two memorable weeks filled us with happiness… but that little taste of unfinished and that part of frustration for not having enjoyed it for three weeks as expected still remains. So we decided
not to stop there, and we already know that we will return to that fantastic country, first to visit the sites we missed because of that unfortunate unexpected event. Besides, the couple of friends who came with us to Slovenia in 2016 and to Canada and the U.S.A. in 2017 recently had a happy event. So, we took one decision: as soon as their son is old enough to have that kind of trip, we will go to South Africa all together. There are two good reasons to live that adventure again… and to share it.


KwaZulu Natal

The Pongola village is located in the Maputaland region, just below Swaziland. It is surrounded by private reserves. The vast Pongola Lake brings its share of coolness and humidity in the heart of wide dry landscapes, yet fascinating. So, we only made an overnight stay for purely geographical reasons. It allowed us to meet Georgie the parrot, whose jokes are told in the «Our anecdotes – South Africa» section.
The day after, we made our very first safari in the Hluhluwe-Umfolozi Reserve (photo), which enjoys the famous Big Five (lions, leopards, rhinoceros, elephants, buffaloes) just like the famous Kruger Park. Naturally, we have been reminded safety instructions as soon as we entered, notably not to get down of the car during the safari and not to bring any food in our vehicle. We were immediately caught by a childish impatience, expecting naively to see animals from the very first moments. We had to wait… The very first one was an elephant. And from then on, we saw any of them regularly all day long: impalas, zebras, giraffes, rhinoceros, buffaloes, kudus, warthogs, monkeys (blue vervets), diverse birds… and a pack of wild dogs, very hard to meet. We had much luck. Our childish impatience was replaced by childish wonder. With J.R., our eye quickly adapted and we managed to locate many animals, even from a distance, even partially hidden. Moreover, I decided to move to the backseat of our S.U.V. on the left side, whereas J.R. was seating at the wheel on the right side. As a result, we did not bother each other visually, and we had a much more open view angle to watch and to take pictures.
We left the reserve at the end of the day filled with happiness, with exhilarating images in our minds. That fabulous experience deeply made a lasting impression on us. We reached Saint-Lucia on the coast, also located in the Maputaland region. The lake which bears the same name is connected to the Indian Ocean by an estuary. Saint-Lucia Game Park is a wildlife park well known for its large concentration of hippopotamus and crocodiles. Unfortunately, we could not have access there because of works. However, we could enjoy a second safari in the iSimangaliso Wetland Park reserve, were we sympathized with three members of the staff (see the «Our anecdotes – South Africa» section). Certainly, it was not as picturesque as the one from the previous day, but it left us with an excellent memory. Among others, we could see hippopotamus from the distance, as well as baboons. Just before, we lingered on beautiful beaches, notably Main Beach, and Cape Vidal with its fringe of coastal dunes that separates the lake from the ocean.
Then we joined the sprawling Durban, which revolves around a huge port. Its long beaches are suitable for swimming thanks to the anti-sharks nets. It has developed very quickly at tourism level. The largest Indian community in the country lives there. Unfortunately, criminality there is elevated, and townships sprang up like mushrooms in the suburbs. They reminded us Brazilian favelas. Moreover, we found it much polluted. So we did not linger there. That is the reason why we invite you not to take these few lines into account, for they will leave you with a negative impression. Find further information about that authentic and cosmopolite city with mixed flavors, that must have many treasures to reveal.


Eastern Cape

As we entered that state coming from Durban, we were heading a little into the unknown, for that part of the country is neglected by most of tour-operators. In general, people take a domestic flight from Durban to join directly the Western Cape. But we were keen on discovering those regions far from the beaten tracks of tourism. Besides, the Eastern Cape enjoys at least two main assets: the aptly named Wild Coast, and the Xhosa country, where the late lamented Nelson Mandela is from.
We took the main road to Port Edward. It crossed a stunning panorama where incredibly rich and varied vegetation flourishes: palm trees, but also trees and shrubs with beautiful red, orange and mauve flowers, various exotic plants… in spite of the drought. And all along our way to the south, the landscape turned greener and hillier. Many people were on the shoulder: some were walking, other were selling fruits, sugar cane, sea-products, notably lobsters. Then we made our turn to the right, taking a picturesque country road. We crossed with wonder much populated villages that exuded real Africa. There reigned a crowding and a disorder that were gratifying and filled with exoticism, which totally disconnected us from the European way of life. As we were getting closer to them, we met a lot of pedestrians on the shoulder walking many kilometers - some of them hitch-hiking - notably students in uniform. Besides, we had to increase our vigilance because of domestic animals (dogs, cows, goats, sheep and others) that crossed with reckless abandon. The landscape changed to turn even hillier, or even mountainous in places… drier as well, and we saw other fire starts.
We finally reconnected with coolness and greenery as we got closer to the Indian Ocean to reach the beautiful small town of Port Saint Johns. It is located on the mouth of the River Mzimvubu, which flows into the ocean in the heart of low mountains, thus shaping a breathtaking landscape. The heart of the village is typically African, with its domestic animals right in the middle of the street, its colorful daily market where they sell fruits and vegetables, but also works of art, animal skins or others. Besides, you meet there original people – even eccentric – from various backgrounds. Maybe cannabis cultivation in the region has something to do with that… We found a small end of beach paradise in Second Beach. Given that Port Saint Johns is well known for its numerous shark attacks, we hesitated on having a swim. Whereas J.R. contented himself with a photo shooting, I finally dived into the ocean: I read on a board that the shark busy period lasted essentially from December to March; moreover, I was reassured as I saw locals swimming dozens of meters away. Finally, we joined the hiking trails on the mountains close to the river mouth. We walked to the First Beach lighthouse and admired from a viewpoint a spectacle out of the ordinary: indeed, it was the migration period of sardines - called «sardine run» - an event awaited all year round. Whole shoals move north, attracting in their wake dolphins, rorquals, eared seals as well as northern gannets and other seabirds that dive to catch some of them. Sharks may sometimes invite themselves. Certainly, we only saw bits and pieces of that from the distance, but we felt privileged anyway.
The day after, we took the beautiful Road 61 to the village of Mthatha, famous for offering three museums dedicated to Nelson Mandela, who was born in Mvezo, another village located a few kilometers south that we also crossed. We carried on driving along the Wild Coast and its virgin beaches that extend as far as the eye can see, making a stop in Morgans Bay: the place was wild and idyllic, but swept by a powerful off-shore wind, to the great delight of surfers, and of jet-skis pilots who rode the waves the same way! Then, we reached Kei Mouth, nearby, taking a track punctuated by potholes and big stones. We saw some nice birds, notably stone curlews - also called «land curlews» - and black oystercatchers.
We finally joined East London, next step. Like Durban, we almost saw nothing of it. It is also a city that revolves around an important port (a river port in that case). Insecurity there is substantial and the suburbs are invaded by townships. The city is not especially attractive: ugly buildings are numerous in its center, notably by the coast. Nevertheless, some edifices mark themselves out, notably the superb City Hall that mixes Victorian, Neo-Classical and Renaissance styles. In front of it rises the statue of Steve Biko, founder of the Black Consciousness movement. The Nelson Mandela Museum and the East London Museum are part of other remarkable attractions. We stayed in a secure district far from the center and got back on the road the very next day. That is the reason why we invite you – like about Durban – to get further information about that city if you want to visit it and make up your own mind.
So, we pursued the adventure to the South, making a first stop in Mpekweni Beach Resort, which enjoys a privileged location between a wide beach and a freshwater lake. Then, we went to Port Alfred (photo), beautiful seaside resort by the Kowie River with superb beaches where dunes run along. We enjoyed the magnificent setting of East Beach, where thrill seekers glide as well on water as on the dunes. Two parallel rocky groins jut into a turbulent ocean. In the land, we went to admire the giant pineapple in the Summerhill Pineapple Farm in Bathurst. Almost 17 meters high, it is to say the least an original building to which you can have free access.
We stopped a few minutes in Kenton-on-Sea, another seaside resort. Located between Bushmans and Kariega rivers, it is surrounded by beautiful beaches and verdant hills. It also enjoys a nature reserve.
We reached Port Elizabeth, next overnight step. Other city with suburbs invaded by townships, it does not neither escape insecurity, including the city center. The latter is nevertheless much more attractive than the one of East London. The Victorian architecture predominates, making room for some Georgian and Art Nouveau styles buildings nevertheless. The poorest districts spread to the inland in a sprawling manner, whereas the richest districts are located on the seafront, notably Summerstrand, where we stayed. There, we visited at length the Boardwalk, new commercial complex where local handicraft shops, gift shops, as well as bars and restaurants are numerous. It is essentially made of wooden buildings in Victorian architecture that recalls the one of the Hotel Del Coronado in San Diego, U.S.A., relatively speaking. The place is adorned with some small ponds where you can see Egyptian geese, typically African species of duck. Certainly, it is touristy, but very pleasant while keeping a certain style. Just before, we went to Cape Recife, where the road along the coast (Marine Drive) offers an extraordinary panorama of rocks covered with lichen erected obliquely to the sky, the whole in the heart of greenery. The waves from the ocean come to break on them in an unceasing ballet of slashes. As we were passing by, we could admire the lighthouse from the 19th century. We made a stop by a small cliff to get down on the beach. The mist, created by the combined effects of the waves that crashed violently and the powerful wind that swept the coast, gave the scenery a fascinating dimension. Colors were softened, the rocks outlines seemed to spring out of an immaculate veil. It had a stunning beauty.


Western Cape – Garden Route & Overberg

As we entered the state of Western Cape, we started the breathtaking Garden Route. We made a first stop in Tsitsikamma National Park (photo). The abrupt landscapes, with rugged coast and coves where waves come crashing, are beautiful. Red flowers bring some color there, offering a striking contrast with the rest of the panorama. You can see many white-breasted cormorants on the brown rocks. We went down to the Suspended Bridge, impressive right-angled double bridge. Then, we went up on the other side along a steep path that leaded to a viewpoint where we had an incredible bird’s eye view of the whole scenery. On our way back, we met a green-crested turaco, arboreal bird with a funny crest, as well as dassies, small typical mammalians that have the size of a marmot.
As we wanted to reach Nature’s Valley, we were surprised at baboons that prevented us from carrying on further a few minutes by standing insistently right in the middle (see the «Our anecdotes – South Africa» section). That idyllic place is located between Salt River and Tsitsikamma Mountains. There you can admire the Indian Ocean in its full power and majesty, as well as the River Groot Lagoon. We met many birds, notably white-breasted cormorants, snowy egrets and Dominican seagulls.
Then, we stopped in Plettenberg Bay, which left us with a mixed feeling. It is an upscale seaside resort made of golden sand beaches, small cliffs, rocks and groves on the seaside. The Piesang River mouth endows it with an additional attraction. Waves come breaking there to the great delight of surfing and body-boarding enthusiasts. However, we visited on that even coast other seaside resorts of the same kind that were more attractive, and «Plet» suffers from the comparison. And above it all, the Beacon Island hotel, built in the early 1970’s is a real eyesore that soils the seafront: its relative height and its white color that totally detonates from the rest of the panorama make it visible from afar. It is all the more regrettable that there was better to make out of such a natural setting.
Knysna has nothing extraordinary neither, at least as far as the seaside resort itself is concerned, for it is too exploited for tourism. But its bay is stunning, and we could admire it from viewpoints offering a breathtaking bird’s eye view. The place tempts to peace and contemplation, and we lingered there with much delight. At night, we joined its center and its Waterfront where we had dinner in a restaurant in the heart of a complex that reminded us the Boardwalk in Port Elizabeth, however less aesthetic. Before we start the meal, we had an oyster-tasting with white wine. There I ate some kudu and I found it delicious: it was served with vegetables and a hint of dark chocolate, and flavors mingled perfectly.
The day after, we crossed the Wilderness National Park, which includes no less than five lakes. It owes its name to the Wilderness seaside resort, located on a thin gold sand beach. It is very pleasant, but swimming there is dangerous, contrary to Victoria Bay, embedded in a splendid small cove. There too, the off-shore wind allowed a superb surfing session. A small pier was reflecting on a pool left by the falling tide. The small promenade is really nice: it runs along beautiful wooden houses that all have a particular character, surrounded by lush vegetation and by works of art for some of them. Each one seems to reflect the personality of its occupiers. A message on a plate cut out from the rock says: «leave nothing but footprints, kill nothing but time». Handprints are regularly arranged on the low wall, and at the end a sundial is sealed on. You can feel that the residents are very close to each other and share the same philosophy of life. As we were leaving, we saw birds on trees, notably yellow canaries and speckled mouse-birds, brown birds with a funny crest.
 
The Overberg is the southernmost part of the African continent. We made an overnight stop in Hermanus, where we arrived in the middle of the afternoon because we wanted to enjoy that superb small seaside town, known to be one of the most pleasant in the country. It is also famous for whale watching, which is even possible from the coast, for they come to give birth in those waters. We took a long walk on the coastal path in the heart of an idyllic setting made of ripped cliffs, brown rocks rising from the water, the whole in front of a stormy ocean swept by very powerful winds. The sky was cloudy, but it adorned the place with an undeniable character and completed the picture. We ventured on the rocks taking care not to be unbalanced by the incredible strength of the wind. We saw some dolphins jumping out of the water. The day after, we had an appointment for a whale-watching cruise. Unfortunately, it was cancelled: not because of the weather since the sun was back, but because of the too rough ocean. What a shame!.. Still, we tried to see some them from the costal path, in vain… We comforted us with eared seals that favored us with a funny show jumping out of the water every ten seconds. And on the land, we saw from close a common redstart, and then a hadada ibis, a typical African bird that has the particularity to have shiny wings.
We got back on the road and made a first stop in Kleinmond and its beautiful beach. A coastal path runs along it, between dense vegetation and rocky spurs emerging from the water to rise up obliquely to the sky. The whole was embellished by the sun that appeared between the clouds to cover the landscape with superb colors. A rainbow completed that stunning picture. It is possible with a little luck to watch whales and wild horses, but we had not that privilege. Nevertheless, we could see dassies from very close on our way back.
A few kilometers further, we stopped in Betty’s Bay, village where stands the Harold Porter National Botanical Garden, as well as a colony of African penguins, adorable typical birds from Southern Africa that we could admire from close, included babies in their nest. Not far, dassies were having a nap in the sun. On our way back, we saw Egyptian geese, then cormorants and seagulls on rocks, the whole in front of the bow of a shipwreck that emerged from the water like a blast from a distant past.
Then, we got back on the road headed for Cape Town, last step of that extraordinary journey, where we stayed for four days. We took with wonder the Clarence Drive Scenic Route, simply the most extraordinary road of that trip. The scenery was picturesque, much abrupt and dramatic. The spectacle was breathtaking. We were driving just by the wonderful blue-green ocean with ocher mountains covered with lush greenery pushing against the coast. The play of colors was striking.


Western Cape – Cape Town

California, Louisiana, Brazil, old Europe… Cape Town looks like diverse regions in the planet, if you let your imagination wander as you are lingering in its different corners. Yet, that city like no other, colored and lively, is indeed located in Southern Africa. Standing between the ocean and the mountains, it seems to be at one with its breathtaking natural setting. Unfortunately, it cannot escape townships that seem to extend to infinity in the suburbs, especially in the outskirts of the airport. However, you can take a walk in its center at day with reckless abandon, with few exceptions. Insecurity exclusive to the big cities in the country only starts reigning at nightfall: the streets get emptied at amazing speed, sellers on markets pack up their products and their stalls… everything happens like in a movie in fast-forward… And you wait for a brand new day to enjoy again the beauties and the very pleasant daytime atmosphere of the city.
So we rushed to visit a part of its center the afternoon of our arrival. We could admire its superb Colonial architecture, notably the imposing Edwardian style City Hall: it has sculptures and columns, some of which are paired on its carillon that houses no less than 39 bells. That colossal building also includes an organ of inestimable value. It is all the more regrettable that it is not open to the visit. Then, we went to admire the Castle of Good Hope, which dates from the 17th century: its star-shaped construction reminds inevitably Vauban’s works. It houses a military museum, a collection of paintings and of various antiques… as well as a torture chamber and dungeons…
We spent two nights in Long Street, which is aptly named: it seems endless, for the greatest viewing pleasure: Colonial style buildings are numerous, with porches, courtyards, upstairs terraces and wrought-iron balconies that remind New-Orleans. It is colorful, and shops run along there, as well as art galleries, antique shops, and many bars and restaurants that make it a well known name in nightlife. Music there is omnipresent, in diverse styles. We also visited it at day a few hours before our departure. We took the opportunity to linger in the picturesque Bo-Kaap (photo): on the side of Signal Hill, it is one of the iconic districts in the city. The Muslim community symbolically painted its houses bright colors in order to struggle against apartheid, which gives it its inimitable character. It includes among others a small museum and mosques.
The hills and mountains just behind the city are must-visits. That is the reason why we climbed to the top of Signal Hill (350 meters high) to admire the city and the Atlantic Ocean on one side, and on the other side: Lion’s Head (669 meters high) and beyond Table Mountain (1087 meters high), to which a white cloud sheet got snagged insistently. Lion’s Head owes its name to the shape of its rocky peak. However, it takes a little bit of imagination to see the feline’s profile. There we took its famous hike that reminded us to a lesser degree the Angels Landing Trail in Zion, Utah (see «Our articles – U.S.A. 2016 - Utah»). There too, chains are fixed to the rock to hang on to, as well as ladders. The last part is not available for people suffering from vertigo. Moreover, the ground and the rocks are a little wet and covered with sand in places, and you have to watch your step. The unrestricted view once you arrive to the top appears to be a fair reward… To reach Table Mountain on the penultimate day, we took the cable car, which slowly turns on itself so that you can admire the whole scenery. The temperature was much lower once we arrived on top, because of the height and the violent wind. Dassies there are numerous, and not wild at all. We even saw a baby from very close. We also met nice birds, notably a crow with red wing tips, and an orange-breasted sunbird, little bird with brown feathers, black head and orange breast: its thin beak is slightly curved downwards. The view was breathtaking: we could see the previously visited Signal Hill and Lion’s Head, the city, the ocean, as well as the famous «Twelve apostles», impressive massif yet having 18 foothills, and not 12 as the name suggests.
We visited the Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden with wonder. As the one in Rio de Janeiro that we could admire in 2015, it is part of the most beautiful in the world. We went there early in the morning to avoid the crowd and enjoy superb colors: a light mist draped with a white veil the green landscape under the low sun, with Table Mountain on the background, on top of which clouds were still getting snagged to, as if they were part of it. The garden is much diversified. It is notably specialized in aromatic herbs and medicinal plants. It houses many endemic species. Do not miss the fynbos, natural vegetal formation typical of the South of the country. Its groves, its massifs and its lush green lawns are beautiful.
On the last day, we lingered for a long time in the Waterfront, a globally rich district. It is very pleasant in spite of the multiplication of high-rise buildings. The main attractions are the Two Oceans Aquarium, museums (Diamond Museum, Maritime Center, Mocaa, the Springbok Experience…) as well as the Clock Tower from the late 19th century that is home to the harbor office. It has a nice wrought iron balcony. Sometimes, you can see eared seals in the port. Obviously, bars, restaurants and shops are plentiful. A great shopping mall draws crowds. That day, African bands were performing just in front of it. We were taken aback by Nobel Square, where the statues of the four South-Africans Nobel Peace Prize laureates (Albert Lutuli, Desmond Tutu, F. W. de Klerk and Nelson Mandela) proudly rise. In front of the luxury hotel Table Bay stands the golden statue of male eared seal named Oscar. On its pedestal are fixed small plates with the names of celebrities and politicians who stayed there, and with a small flag that corresponds to their nationality. We carried on walking to the seafront where the ocean was raging. Waves came crashing on the rocks in impressive explosions of foam. We went on to the Green Point Lighthouse. On our way, we admired in Mouille Point a blue sculpture that represented two African women’s heads turning back to each other and linked by the same chignon. Off the coast, we could see in the mist Robben Island, where Nelson Mandela was jailed.


Western Cape – The surroundings of Cape Town

On the advice of the J.R.’s friend that we met in Cape Town, we made a stop in Hout Bay, pleasant small port town from the 17th century. Its fishing port, where colored trawlers are moored, is picturesque. Seagulls and cormorants liven up the place, and you can meet there eared seals and sea lions. That day, some African artists exhibited nice paintings and nice watercolors, which added some charm and gaiety to that spot. On our way back, we met Egyptian geese.
Then, we carried on to Boulder’s Beach and its famous refuge for African penguins, endangered species. To get there, we crossed Simon’s Town, very pretty and pleasant small town. The Victorian architecture dominates, with verandas, bow-windows, and typical entrance porches. Buildings are essentially made of wood, but you can see here and there some wrought iron balconies that bring some additional character. Its marina is much lively. Once we arrived to the refuge, we first went through the breeding and reproduction area. Like in Betty’s Bay, we saw babies in their nest, easily recognizable thanks to their gray down. Then, we went to the main beach, where stands the colony. Imposing rounded rocks protect it from waves and currents. Of course, the access is unauthorized not to disturb the numerous penguins that let themselves live with reckless abandon. Obviously, it is hard to escape the loads of tourists, which does not seem at all to bother the birds that ignore them. We even saw a male coming into a female and mating with her shamelessly!
Then, we went down to the South of the peninsula to join the must-visit Cape of Good Hope (photo). We first stopped in Cape Point, rocky promontory that offers a breathtaking bird’s eye view on the site. We climbed to the old lighthouse 250 meters above sea level. Considered as obsolete, it was replaced by a new lighthouse located down below, 87 meters above sea level. The landscape is extraordinary: the play of colors between the turquoise ocean, the rock of the cliffs, the greenery and the red flowers leaves you speechless. Then, we reached the cape itself. On our way, we met baboons, and then elands, imposing antelopes with beige or brown coat and lightly twisted short horns. We could not escape hordes of tourists discharged by busses, and we had to wait a relative calm to be able to enjoy completely that extraordinary site. The air there is much invigorating. A double board shows the name of the site as well as its latitude and its longitude. Besides, be aware that contrary to a very widespread given idea, it is not the southernmost place in the continent, title that belongs to Cape Agulhas in the Overberg.
Finally, we went back to Cape Town taking the splendid Chapman’s Peak Drive coastal road, which reminded us Clarence Drive Scenic Route. We stopped at a viewpoint open to a picturesque landscape made of ripped cliffs tortured by the assault of the Ocean Atlantic waves. An artist exhibited some colored wicker baskets on a low wall. We enjoyed the view a few minutes.
On the penultimate day, we headed for the north in the inland to visit the Winelands. The landscapes are beautiful, much verdant. That part of South Africa is filled with European influences. Besides, we stopped in a village called Franschhoek, with undeniable French accents as the name suggests. Moreover, some streets and some mansions bear French names, as well as some art galleries and shops, and some bars and restaurants. That is explained by the setting up of Huguenots exiled from France during the 17th century. A museum is dedicated to them, coupled with a monument that rises nearby. Strolling in its streets is very pleasant. The place exudes sweetness of life and a certain casualness. We saw a bronze statue of Nelson Mandela in a private property. We ended with a wine tasting in Plaisir de Merle mansion in Simondium, some kilometers away. The property is huge and the setting is beautiful. It includes many outbuildings with a sober and neat architecture. The wine tasting took place in a large living room with stylish furniture. We tasted wines from prestigious grape varieties such as Merlot and Cabernet-Sauvignon, and all for a small fee! We found that the reputation of South-African wines was far from being usurped.


Published on November, 18th 2019