Western Cape, South Africa

Road trip - March 2004

Table Mountain as seen from the plane.

Intro:  Jane & Robert's travels around the southern parts of South Africa.  Jane is South African, living in the USA.  Robert is American and this was his first time visiting South Africa.  This report was written by Jane.

Date:  March 13 to 26, which is Autumn.

Robert on Blauberg Beach with Table Mountain in the background.

Arrival.  We arrived in Cape Town at 8:10am on Sunday morning after a 15 hour non-stop flight from Atlanta, USA.  We rented a car and drove up the west coast, stopping at Blauberg Beach for some photos and then on to Darling where my parents live.  We took a nap and then enjoyed some time with my folks.  My dad's fruit trees were sagging with plump offerings so we got to enjoy a feast of several different varieties of grapes and other fruits.  Robert especially liked the Hannepoot, which is a much loved South African grape.  The next day we all went to Yzerfontein Beach which is about 20 minutes west of Darling.  The water is very cold and the area around there arid with few trees, making a very striking landscape.

Robert sitting on Table mountain with Lion's Head and Cape Town below.

Cape Town.  On Tuesday the jetlag was gone and we were on our way to explore Cape Town.  We did a quick drive through the city, which Robert found very crowded, then headed up to the cable car which took us up Table Mountain.  There was not a cloud in the sky and just a light breeze.  It was wonderful seeing the lay of the land from up there.

Jane at the highest point on Table Mountain (1,086m, 3,560ft).

We walked a trail along Table Mountain to the pile of rocks that marks the highest point on the mountain.  We had lunch and enjoyed the wildflowers.  Then at around 3pm we could see what at first looked like a landmass far out to sea.  Of course there is no landmass but miles of ocean so we kept our eye on it.  It soon became evident that it was a huge cloudbank moving in rapidly.  At that time they announced that everyone should get off the mountain as a storm was rolling in.  Within an hour and a half the clouds came rolling down Table Mountain, forming the well known tablecloth.  By then we were down the mountain and on our way to Milnerton, just a few minutes north of Cape Town.  The cloud was so thick and hugged the ground that we could only see a few feet ahead of us.  We parked the car and did some shopping for supplies until it lifted.

We then headed back to Darling to pick my mother up to go do some sightseeing further north up the west coast.

Robert sitting in the only bit of shade he could find.  Clanwilliam (West Coast)

Mom, Robert and I went to Clanwilliam in the Cederberg Mountains where we used to go waterskiing every long weekend and holiday when I was a child.  It was very hot and dry so we went for a swim in the dam.  The water was warm and didn't cool us off much.  We then went on at the Rooibos tea factory where we were shown how the tea is grown and produced.  This is the only area in the world where this bush is found and the tea is exported all over the world.

From there we went to Warmbad which is an area with natural warm springs.  My dad was able to join us so we spent the night out there enjoying the warm baths.  It was only $60 for a cabin which sleeps up to 8 people with a full kitchen and use of the baths for the day.  We saw a troop of wild baboons in a guava tree as we walked under the tree to get to our cabin.  They were eating the fruit and throwing pieces down out of the tree.  Baboons can be seen in many places around the south.  That night we had a braai (bar-B-Q) of lamb chops and sat outside enjoying the warm evening air.  The next morning we spent some more time in  the hot baths then my parents went back to Darling and we went on into the Cederberg Mountains.

Cape Town & Clanwilliam Cederberg
& Paarl
Bree River & Oudshoorn Tsitsikamma & Knysna Cape Agullas & Cape Point


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