First day there, Table Mountain was cowering beneath clouds. So I went walkabout. First down to the Victoria & Albert Waterfront, a combination tourista trap, shopping mall and working ship yard. Then into the city proper to Green Market Square and up to Bo Kaap. The next day, the mountain was clear, so I hiked up. On my return to Cape Town after exploring the Western and a bit o f the Eastern Capes, I cruised over to Robben Island. Saw Nelson Mandel’s cell. Then on final stroll around the V & A Waterfront. The musical accompaniment is Cruising Through by Goldfish.
Originally published elsewhere on 3 December 2011.
Dropped off at Die Top of the Swartberg pass, I was left to make my way back on bicycle for 54 harrowing kilometers through the Kleine Karoo. I passed farms and ostrich ranches (and camel rides?). At times pursued by ravenous herds of man-eating ostriches. Luckily, I arrived unscathed in the town of Oudtshoorn. Then we’re magically transported to Stellenbosch. Uni town and wine center. Strolled through the Village Museum for a gander at Dutch colonial life in the 17th and 18th centuries. Then I hired a dodgy bike to pedal the vineyards, but ventured only as far as I was willing to walk back – a real el crappo bike. The musical accompaniment is Get Some by Lykke Li and Concerto 2 – F Major of the Brandenburg Concertos by Johann Sebastian Bach, conducted by Helmuth Rilling.
originally published elsewhere on 16 January 2012.
Spring in the Mother City. On flight fatigued walkabout in the city, I stumbled upon Green Market Square selling tourist junk. After climbing Table Mountain, sans cloud cover, I rode back down on the cable way. I was lucky nabbing a hard to get ticket to Robben Island. We were shown the prison by a former political prisoner named Nande (apologies to the gentleman if I’ve misspelt his name). You’ll have to wait for the photo/video to see Nelson Mandela’s cell. The V & A Waterfront is gentrified and tourista-fied, though still a working port and ship yard.
Originally published elsewhere on 30 October 2011.
From Cape Town, I hopped the Baz Bus to ride along the Garden Route. First stop – Hermanus. Where right whale watching can be done seasick-free from shore. Whales seen, the next stop was Mossel Bay. Wind swept coast around from the town. Those rodent-like critters are Dassis, whose closest genetic relative is the elephant. Next stop – Wilderness (cool name). Grotty weather till the sun emerged just before I left. Enroute to Storms River Village, we crossed the Bloukrans Bridge with the world’s highest bungy jump (I’d done my once-in-a-lifetime jump in New Zealand). Off the ground and into the trees with a canopy tour in the Tsitsikamma Forest. Taking a walk in the forest, I ran into some baboons – pardon the big foot fuzzy images. I finished in Port Elizabeth with a safari which is another video entirely. Backtracking, I ventured into the Kleine Karoo to Oudtshoorn. Driven up to the Swartberg Pass, I was tossed out with a mountain bike to make my way back. Passed ostrich ranches. A tourist show, where they paid thousands of rand, and which I secretly filmed from the road so you can view it for free. Then regretfully paid to enter an ostrich farm with ostrich riding – yee-haw! Finally, before returning to Cape Town, I ventured as far as I dared on a shitty bike in the vinelands of Stellenbosch.
Originally published elsewhere on 31 October 2011.
Venturing south from Cape Town, we were the first people to set foot on the Cape Peninsula in ages. Three seconds to be exact. The first stop was Hout Bay. I hopped a boat to Duiker Island. There, cape fur seals in solidarity with the Occupy Movement have occupied the island (right on, comrades). Then to Simon Town and Boulder Beach. Here a colony of penguins have claimed the continent as part of Greater Antarctica. Carrying on, on clunky bikes we rode a few kilometers through landscape like the Scottish moors (och aye, and not a piper to be heard… nor Mel screaming) to Buffelsfontein for eating. Finally to the Cape of Good Hope, The southwestern tip of Africa. The Atlantic and Indian Oceans really meet further east at Cape Agulhas. But if you can’t make it there, you can pretend you saw the oceans kiss. The musical accompaniment is Lighthouse by The Waifs.
Originally published elsewhere on 25 February 2012.