Samstag, 16. Februar 2013
After a very happy Christmas break with our kids Philipp and Pascale in Frankfurt we returned to South Africa in the beginning of January. Johannesburg greeted us with sunshine and very warm temperatures – what a difference to Germany, where we hadn’t seen any sunshine for more than 2 weeks. It took Stefan only half a day for the necessary repairs (we brought some replacement pieces with us) and we were ready to go again. The last evening at the campsite, where we had our car parked safely, we spent with a couple from Germany who had been travelling Africa’s west coast and told some interesting stories about the difficulties along that route., i. e. the car was broken into, a long waiting time at the border to Angola, extremely expensive visas for Nigeria etc., but as well about very helpful people. These days that route is off limits due to several political conflicts.
The next morning saw us travelling to Kimberly, Northern Cape, and the thermometer showed over 40 C again with rain clouds mounting at the horizon. It was just a day’s drive in direction to the Karoo and Cape Region and we were curious about the world’s largest hand-dug hole, the Big Hole, where a century ago people dug out diamonds under unbelievably difficult living and working conditions. De Beers paid for the partial reconstruction of the small mining camp and the visitor centre, where we admired the display of some of “the girl’s best friends” behind closed doors. That evening a heavy thunderstorm with lots of hail locked us into our car and we were thankful for the delicatessen we had bought at Woolworths Food Market. Unlike in other countries, Woolworth offers the best quality supermarket, better than Pick N Pay, Checkers or SPAR, the normal choice of food store.
Karoo NP was our next stop. Karoo is a Khoisan word meaning “land of thirst” and it is a semi-arid plateau with stunning views, day and night – due to the vast and empty spaces, you can watch the stars perfectly well. Stefan and I always liked the desert feel and we enjoyed the morning drive with all the creatures big and small (i.e. gemsbok, mountain zebras, hartebeest). We continued through the Little Karoo for yet another delicious dinner in Prince Albert and wine shopping in the Swartsberg mountains and along the well known “Route 62” (at least here in SA) to see the Bontebocks, which were nearly extinct, in the De Hoop Nature Reserve. Just like in Dec. 2011 we drove around the Southern tip of Africa – this time the sun was shining and we loved to see all the European Storks and Blue Cranes feeding on the empty fields in the Overberg Region along the way to Cape Town.
The longer we traveled through the Western Cape Province and Cape Region the more we realized how different this part of the country is from the rest of the nation. Not only politically – it is the only province ruled by the Democratic Party, the other seven by the ANC; but as well with a different climate and a colorful mix of people from all over the world and English as the dominant language. Now in January the northern and eastern provinces and neighboring countries are hit by severe rainfalls (again in Kruger NP some camps are closed) and the Zambezi River flooded roads and bridges in MOZ, the Caprivi region in northern Namibia is under water, etc. Meanwhile Northern and Western Cape are hot and dry, perfect for the grapes and other fruit and veggies to grow. Not so perfect for changing a tire on a Saturday afternoon. We were on our trip to the Cederberg region, just 5 hrs north of Cape Town and stopped at Cederberg Oasis – a backpacker cum Camping and swimming pool, a real oasis as it turned out. The owner hands out the permits and hand drawn maps and we hiked through bizarre sandstone formation to find rock paintings of the San bushmen from about 3000 years ago.Further on towards West Coast NP we found another oasis in Tulbagh, high above vineyards and with a terrific view all the way to Table Mountain, called Isle of Sky.
Walking the shoreline in West Coast NP we realized, that we had finished our circle from one side of Southern Africa in Namibia in October 2012 to the Indian Ocean in Mozambique in late November 2012 and back to South Africa. Again and again we meet long term travelers from all destinations who have stories to tell and who give us advice on where to go. In Stellenbosch, the wine land capital and famous university town close to Cape Town, we spent a very entertaining evening with Swiss “overlanders”. Patrick and Ingrid are taking a “time out” from work and we became friends in
Oct. 2012 in Kasane, BOT, what a coincidence to stop at the same campground!
After so much “loneliness” and empty spaces a visit to the Mothertown, as Cape Town is called in SA, is always fun. Together with friends from Germany who happened to be in town, we explored the neighborhoods of Bo-Kaap, Gardens and Woodstock – no problem in daylight, in the evening a taxi is the better choice for Long Street with its lively mixture of restaurants and bars. Hans-Dieter, our friend from student days joined us for a short week and together we visited the penguins at Cape of Good Hope, enjoyed the scenery, good food and wine in and around Stellenbosch, before haeding east along the coast again.
The Garden Route NP and adjacent country side offers so much for hikers, bikers and water freaks. (Due to the lack of wild animals you can actually get out of the car and move your legs!) At places you could imagine to be in Canadian cottage country if it were not for the African flora- fynbos vegetation known as Protea to us, Yellow- and Ironwood trees, hundreds of years old and huge and all sorts of colorful shrubs feeding the sunbirds and the Knysna Turaco, a beautiful bird, but so difficult to catch on film. Here along the seashore we had our first full day of rain in 8 months of travel and we parked Reisephant at the Tsitsikamma NP Campground. It is extra time for working through a pile of photos or reading a new Deon Meyer thriller playing here in SA and drinking a cup of Rooibos-Tea.
We spent our last few days in Addo Elephant NP and on a private Game Reserve near Port Elizabeth. We took the last photos of elephants big and small, as well as Rhinos and Giraffes, all being animals closely associated with Africa, but not visible everywhere. During the 2 days in Leuwenbosch Lodge we could see how the settlers lived and how the world has changed here. Farmland was turned into a Game Reserve to protect what is so unique to South Africa, flora and fauna alike and to teach the coming generations of African people and tourists from all over the world.
Black wildebeest were saved from extinction in game reserves and white rhinoceros are protected day and night by anti-poaching personal in these reserves.
We’ll fly back to Germany and later Canada mid February and look back on a wonderful experience – together, Stefan and I. SA and all the other countries around it share a lot of history and very interesting people. We return well tanned and relaxed with many pictures of sunsets in our minds and the sound of birds in our ears, walking on the rooftop of our car in the morning or their dawn chorus in the tropical forest at 4 am…
On our last evening in the communal kitchen of Addo Campground we talked to other campers about how much we liked our trip and how sad we are to leave. But they only said: ” Don’t worry, now you’ve got Africa in your heart and you’ll come back “ – I guess, we will!
Pictures are at the end of the German blog.
Eingestellt von Christa + Stefan um 15:02
Dies ist unser letzter Reisebericht aus Afrika. So langsam geht unsere Reise zu Ende, am 11.2. fliegen wir mit Emirates nach Dubai, verbringen noch einen Tag in Dubai, um dann nach Frankfurt weiter zu fliegen. Das Auto kommt dann später mit der Fähre nach.
|Cape Zebras Karoo NP|
|Mit Freunden bei der Weinprobe|
|Wilderness NP Gardenroute|
|Wilderness NP Gardenroute|
|Addo Elelphantspark NP|
|Addo Elephantspark NP|
Eingestellt von Christa + Stefan um 15:00