Todd + Tamara Eden

Todd and Tamara arrived at our Cape Town Depot on 29 October 2018.They collected the keys to their temporary home for the next 8 days a Ford Ranger 4×4.

Below follows their story of the journey they took all along the garden route of the Western Cape, South Africa.

 

UN BUCKET SOUTH AFRICA

 

“It wasn’t on the list. I know it is on many peoples. But it wasn’t on mine, or come to think about it, my wife’s either. We have New Zealand, and Canada, and Yellowstone, and anywhere in South America. We’ve been across Europe, and into much of Asia, traveled in America, and dipped a toe into Africa. But South Africa never appeared on our bucket list.”

“It was work that took me there, and before I knew it, we’d both decided to go. Three days in Cape Town and then onto the road in rented 4×4 – camping our way around the Western Cape for a week.”

“Firsts up, Cape Town. The quality of everything is great. In fact, every single thing was better than I could have expected. The food is ‘chef-ed’ rather than ‘catered’; restaurants are tastefully ‘ambianced’; uber drivers chatty and speedy; traffic…. Light. And so cheap too. Right until the end of the holiday I was double checking the exchange rate – it all seemed too good to be true. The sun was out, it was hot, yet the breeze was cooling. The air bnb wonderfully located, with all the little touches that you could think of, and a balcony with a view out to sea.”

 

“On Monday we picked up our campervan rental and headed inland. A couple of hours of easy driving along the N1 out of Cape Town, as mountains swelled in size around us, and vineyards bathed their slopes. Turning onto ever narrowing roads, and from tarmac, to gravel to dust. This was it. Adventure time. Turn the dial to 4×4, reduce the speed, climb away from the bubbling river and up a hillside. The drop down to the river below growing, the lane narrowing, heartbeat rising, talking stopped. Turning the final bend to our first campsite, Trout Heaven. Each camping ground out of site of the next – just 10 pitches stretched almost 5km along the riverside. Deserted. Just us. And 360 degree mountain views.”

 

“It was the same at campsite number 2, just north of Montague. Just us. And the snake, mongoose, eagle and tortoise. Here, less than a couple of hours further east, but on the Northern face of the mountains, the land is barren, and dusty red.”

“Not a lot to do, but ramble over landmark-less terrain, or sit in stillness at the campsite watching the birds. Mindfulness is a given.”

“Moving south to the Bontebok National Park. Another 5 star camping location right on the Breede River, with antelope for company. All the campgrounds are right up our street. Functional, with no frills. The National Park itself isn’t a game seekers paradise – it’s a plain, that is a bit, well, plain.”

“On our way to campsite 4 near Greyton we detoured to check out Arniston, on the South Coast. It’s a long flat drive through wheat fields. It’s a long flat drive through wheat fields. Yep – worth repeating that sentence. It really is a very long, straight, boring drive through wheat fields. And the reward. Is not really worth it! After the long, long return leg and after passing through the delightful town of Greyton we arrived at our campsite hell. Hot and crowded. It looked like tons of fun for the large family groups who had the pick of the pitches along the river edge. For us, with the flexibility of the campervan, we could explore our options.”

“So, with some good dinner inside us at the serene Greyton Garden Centre and with the advice of super helpful owner Micheal, we located a charming family run B&B in the whale town of Hermanus (reached by through more mountains and vineyards) And that’s where we were awed by the sea’s gentle giants. Mums and babies chilling along the coastline. Juveniles fully leaping out of the water in the middle of the bay. It was both moving and inspiring.”

“The coast road between Betty’s Bay and Gordon’s bay is jaw dropping, and within a couple of hours of leaving Hermanus spat us right out into the heart of Stellenbosch wine country. The food and vistas at any one of the vineyards is out of this world, and just half an hour from the airport is the perfect place to end a perfect holiday.”

“It was sad to hand back our trusty 4×4 to the kind and caring team back at SA Roadtrippers, but fun to reflect on the journey whilst writing this blog, and to retrospectively add South Africa to the bucket list, and with a smile… strike it off again ;-)”