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Crossing the border into South Africa, I was feeling emotional. Why?
Leaving Namibia meant we were officially in our final country of our 40-day overland tour from Kenya to Cape Town and our trip was nearly over!
On the other hand, I was excited for what was still to come. We had Cederberg wine country on the itinerary before reaching our final destination of Cape Town and I couldn’t wait to check out the city sights, climb Table Mountain, catch up with my friends who live there, and generally relax after our fast-paced trip.
So, my feelings were mixed. After the border crossing, our first night was spent at a campsite on the banks of Orange River. It was gorgeous! All the red sandy colours of Namibia’s dunes and rock formations quickly evaporated, and everything became lush and green.
The optional activity for the afternoon was canoeing on the river. I was up for going until me and Sarah mused that it was crazy hot (almost 40 degrees) and we had cold gin and tonic in the fridge. I’ve canoed since in South Africa so I can’t think we missed out too much, especially when everyone else came back sweating and we were feeling merry in the shade.
Our afternoon bevs set a theme for the remainder of the day… Flash forward six hours and we were all swaying at the bar after one too many tequila shots. Matt and Ed, two English guys from the group, decided to put their cards behind the bar and pay for whatever we drank… say what!?
Needless to say, we drank everything. Some people claimed their favourite moment of the night was me falling over then sterilising my bloody toe with a couple of tequila shots.
It seemed like a good idea at the time.
The next day heads were sore but an early start was on the cards (an early start was always on the cards when it came to the tour). Our next stop was Cederberg: wine country. Either our hangovers had subsided by the afternoon or we thought it would be madness to miss out on wine whilst in the vineyards…
We were staying at Highlanders campsite which was beautiful. We could see out for miles over green fields and grape plantations, and there was even a pool. Better yet – there was wine!
We sat down with our personal barman who told us a little bit about the reds, whites and roses we’d be trying and provided us with cheese and crackers to accompany our drinks. Anyone who knows me will know how much I enjoyed this.
I’d only been wine tasting once before, last year in New Zealand, so it’s still a novelty to me. It was our penultimate night on tour, so drinking happened again. The next day consisted of a final sweaty morning on the bus, which brought us to Cape Town.
As Table Mountain slid into view, it could have been a mirage. Twenty-two sets of tired eyes associated the city approaching with goodbyes, the end of an era and long forgotten amenities like warm showers and actual beds.
I felt quite emotional, thinking of how far we’d come, how much we’d seen, been through and shared. I’d initially wondered how I’d cope with a month and a half of camping but in the end, it had barely phased me.
I was thinking also of my great-grandparent’s voyage here almost 100 years ago, and how my great-grandad had described Table Mountain the first time he saw it sliding into view. He’d found it scary: ‘foreboding’. Was that because he was still close to the beginning of his voyage (which would eventually end his life), while it was the end of my journey and the start of my leisure time?
Bernie, Ben, Sarah, Judith and I hit the pavement as soon as we arrived, keen to see what Cape Town had in store. I liked it straight away. It was colourful, busy, buzzing. Bernie told us about Ocean Basket, his favourite seafood chain when he’d last visited. We were easily recruited. Tucking into an Ocean Bay meal overlooking the harbour became one of my favourite ways to spend time in Cape Town. Can you believe all this seafood only cost the equivalent of £5?
The Waterfront was very opulent and glitzy. I was a fan but I know lots of locals find it overpriced and touristic. But love it or hate it, it’s just one corner of the city – there were plenty more to explore over the coming days and weeks.
Over the next couple of days, my friends all left for their flights and there were plenty of tearful goodbyes. After all the crazy, stressful, exciting and wondrous new experiences we’d shared, I knew it wasn’t goodbye forever.
For me, it’s still just the beginning of my South African travels. I’ve got a couple of weeks left in Cape Town before I set off to backpack the Garden Route. I know you won’t be surprised when I say I’m going to be documenting it all here…
Thanks for reading!
My other overloading posts:
- Exploring Nairobi and meeting my tour
- First few days and Serengeti safari, Tanzania
- Zanzibar island, Tanzania
- Lake Malawi by horseback
- Tracing my family history in Zambia
- On safari in Zambia
- Halfway point at Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe
- Our week in Botswana
- Arriving in Namibia and spying rhinos in Etosha
- Damaraland, rock carvings and sunsets in Namibia
- Adrenaline activities in the Namib desert
- Dune 45, Sossusvlei and Fish River Canyon, Namibia
See you next time for more adventures,