Cape Town trip 2002
Please note that some of these photographs are quite big!
For a couple of years we've been gearing ourselves (make that 'promise') to go down to the West coast again. It's been close on five years since we've last seen the family, so it was long overdue.
Left Johannesburg at about 16:00 and hit the road. Thought night driving will do the trick (can't waste daytime now - can we?) and decided to push right through. No map in the car, but this is South Africa right? How many roads can lead to Cape Town after all? After the first re-fill of fuel, I got a map. Right! We were on the wrong route. Instead of hitting Kimberley, we hit Bloemfontein. And a terrible rainstorm in the Free State. After Colesburg we turned off the main route to De Aar, then on to Britstown. This was about four in the morning so photo opportunities were none.
Game aplenty this time of night with bucks, rabbits, owls and 'ystervarke' all over the road. Never mind the potholes and road works. But thank goodness no taxis! From Britstown we headed West towards Calvinia where I eventually stopped for a breather. We eventually got to Vredenburg at about ten. What a drive!
We spent a week at Club Mykonos where my holiday scheme eventually paid off. The place has a casino (the West coast has some of the poorest people in the Cape - why a casino?), some tennis courts, a heated pool and a couple of pubs and restaurants. Of course, there is a small beach for those brave enough to venture into the sea. Club Mykonos is located between Langebaan and Saldanha, the one a bit of an industrial town, the other where the rich play. And of course there is the odd oilrig in the bay area. Close to Saldanha (being so industrial) is the Iscor steel plant which took years to get to where it is today.
Not much really to do at Mykonos except of course for lazing around and spending money you think you have. Went on one of the cats for a trip around the 'lagoon' but if it was worth the money is debatable. The same applies to the restaurants where the food prices seem reasonable until you get it! Half portions during holiday seasons it seems. So it was off on day trips. Back to Velddrift then on to Piketberg (which we passed through on the way down). Understand this, if you want to experience South African culture, this is the place to be! Not much in terms of wine farms here, so we didn't bother. But back in Saldanha is where my car keys went missing. Must say that if restaurants/pubs in Jo'burg had the sort of service we experienced at the Captains Cabin, they would make a lot more money! The same can be said about Weskaap Delta, the local Opel dealers who went out of their way to accommodate us. One day without transport as we waited for the spare keys to be couriered down from Jo'burg.
The following week we spent with the family. Had our own personal guide with my brother taking us to some of the smaller as well as bigger beaches around. Paternoster is full of Gauteng people. Here you lock your car, just in case! With the locals being there first, this place is a mix of new and old. Holiday homes all over with the prime spot still in the hands of the Cape coloreds. With more and more people wanting a 'spot' on this stretch, the locals are being offered vast amounts of money for their stands (the house on it doesn't matter at all - there's a new one coming). The road down to Tietiesbay (so called for the 'hump' on the hillside resembling a female breast) is breathtaking. It surely is a wonderful world we live in! This is the area for living it up in nature as God intended. No ablution blocks, no hotels, no shops. Just you, your tent (or caravan) and nature. Must say that these people live off the sea. Crayfish being the definitive food.
Vredenburg, as with most other South African towns and cities have their fair share of problems. The surrounding areas, specifically small coastal 'towns' suffer due to bad roads, little infrastructure and a growing influx of people. Paternoster boomed since the road was tarred, now other established areas are struggling to get their roads (for one) upgraded. South Africans have only really discovered the beauty of the West coast in the past five years or so. People are falling over each other to secure a plot or a stand on the coastline. Prices are still fair (depending on where you want to invest) with prime spots in Vredenburg going for around 30 thousand Rands. But I'm not going to go into politics now, not here anyway.
On to Cape Town, the 'mother city'. About a 150 km's travel and you're there. Blaauwbergstrand being immensely popular and totally overcrowded! You do get a nice view of Table mountain though.