Cape Holiday
16 to 30 January, 2004

This was our first holiday to the Cape Province in quite a few years. Our main reason for going was to meet up with my sister, Mig and hubby John, who were visiting  SA from the UK. I hadn't seen her in about 18 years and decided to combine visiting her with a long overdue Cape holiday.
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This page is dedicated to Doreen and Lorraine, thanks for a great holiday! Also to my Internet "family", you know who you are. Wish you could all have accompanied us on this trip. Hope this page makes up for it!

Click here for trip statistics (Distance travelled, cost etc)

Day 1 - Jan 16 Johannesburg to Welkom
We picked daughter Lorraine up from work at 2.30 pm and navigated thru the Johannesburg Friday afternoon traffic to the M1 South towards the Free State town of Welkom where Doreen's sister lives and where we were going to overnight. The trip was uneventful and we arrived at about 5.30, caught up on all the local gossip and hit the hay, ready for an early start the next morning.

Day 2 - Jan 17 Welkom to Beaufort West
We left Welkom at 6 am sharp and headed South towards Beaufort West, about 700 kilometers away where we intended to overnight at the Formula 1 hotel. There are Formula 1 hotels all over south Africa and we always use them as overnight stops. They are cheap but clean and functional, ideal for an overnight stop. Current rate is R209 per night per room and it sleeps 3 people. Breakfast is an additional R18.

Once again the trip was uneventful and after stopping for lunch at one of the many Ultra Cities along the way, we arrived at our destination at about 2.30 pm.
I found the section of 300 kilometers between Colesberg and Beaufort West very tiring and boring as the road goes straight as an arrow through the Karoo, which is flat and dry and hot. Frequent road signs advising travelers to stop and rest as well as driver alert sections attest to the fact that many accidents have been caused by drivers nodding off resulting in frequent fatal accidents.

Having lunch at a Shell Ultra City

Old architecture in Beaufort West

Dutch Reformed church in Beaufort West

Beaufort West architecture

Day 3 - Jan 18 Beaufort West to Cape Town

After filling the car up again  we headed out again, next stop, to pay a brief visit and to overnight at cousin James' place near Cape Town. On the way we stopped over briefly at Matjiesfontein to take a pic of the famous Lord Milner Hotel. While there we also saw the Rovos Rail train, the most luxurious train in the world. The train was on its way from Pretoria to Cape Town, stopping briefly at Matjiesfontein. We had a snack at Laingsburg, famous for the flood they had in the early 80's when the Buffels river flooded and just about washed the whole town away. We stopped at Worcester as well where we paid  a quick visit to an ex colleague of Doreen's, Johan Theron.

We then left for Cape Town deciding to take the scenic route over the Du Toitskloof pass rather than drive through the 8 km long tunnel The pass took 107 years (1842 - 1949) to complete while the tunnel took 4 years to construct and was only completed recently.

From there it was a short distance to James' place where we had a nice visit and a great bbq (ostrich sausages, ribs, sosaties, and a selection of salads)

Road thru the Karoo, goes on forever with not much to see!

The level of the floods in Laingsburg

The Lord Milner hotel at Matjiesfontein

Trees are few and far between in the Karoo!!

View from the top of the Du Toit's Kloof pass

Cousin Jame has making a bbq fire doen to a fine art!

Onion salad, green salad, potato salad, three bean salad with ribs, sausage and kebabs, a meal fit for a king!

Day 4 - Jan 19 Cape Town to Hermanus
We were on the road again early the next morning, this time to our first holiday accommodation at Hermanus. Instead of travelling on the N2 all the way to Hermanus, we did the scenic route and turned off the N2 at Strand and drove along the scenic Cape coastline. We passed places like Gordon's Bay, Pringle Bay and Betty's Bay where we we visited the local African penguin colony. We were then phoned by my sister, Mig. She, hubby John, Camilla and Steve were on their way to Gansbaai to have lunch. We agreed to go there as well and have lunch with them. After a nice lunch we headed back to Hermanus where we booked into our accommodation for the week, Hermanus Beach Club. We were invited to a bbq at Mig's holiday cottage. They asked for us to be there at 6.30, which sounded a bit late to us. We don't have different time zones in SA and the sun sets about 2 hours later than we are used to it setting in Johannesburg. We seem to be getting much less sleep while in the Cape Province! 

View over Vals Bay

Another Vals Bay view

Winding coastal road

Coastal booardwalk at Betty's Bay

Betty's Bay

Lunch at Gansbaai

Lunch of hake , salad and chips at Gansbaai

Gathering of family and friends

Hermanus Beach Club, our holiday accommodation

Hermanus Beach Club

Day 5 - Jan 20 Trip to Still Bay
Today we went to Still Bay to meet Rosi and Peet, two internet friends. Rosi runs a Yahoo Group similar to mine and hubby Peet operates an Amakombi-Kombi tourist day trip and shuttle service.  Upon our arrival we all piled into the Kombi (mini-bus) and Peet took us on a tour of the Still Bay and Jongensfontein areas, both are coastal resort towns, mostly occupied by holiday home owners and pensioners, or at least that's the way it appeared to me. Most of the houses were luxurious homes with breathtaking views, I guess most of the houses are way above most people's price league. However, as am investment for someone from overseas buying one of these properties would make an excellent investment, taking into account the value of our Rand against other currencies.
Peet is an excellent guide and I can recommend their services if you ever happen to visit the Cape Town area. If you do not know the Area, a guided trip is the answer, you get picked up and dropped off and trips are tailored to your requirements.

After a lunch of fish and chips we headed home again for Hermanus and a good nights rest.

We were hoping for good weather for the next day as a trip to the top of Table Mountain was planned. We ordered a clear day with minimal wind, knowing the Cape weather, that was a really tall order.

Wine estate on the way to Caledon

Storm clouds

River mouth at Still Bay

Holiday home at Jongensfontein

Jongensfontein view

Jongensfontein view

Rosi and Peet with Amakombi-kombi

Day 6 - Jan 21 Cape Town and Table Mountain
Another early start on the N2 to Cape Town to meet cousin James who was going to be our guide for the day as he knows Cape Town having lived there all his life. We hit morning traffic as we headed to the lower cable station on the slopes of table Mountain. There we met up with sister Mig, hubby John and friends Camilla and Steve.

The floor of the cable car rotates on it's 4 minute trip to the top so you get an all round view of the side of the mountain as well as the city of Cape Town down below. The perfect day we had hoped for was realised and we had a windstill, sunny day, perfect for viewing and photographing from the top of the mountain.

We met some cricket fans from the West Indies, the friendliest people I have come across in a long time. A pity we had to beat them at cricket!

The top of the mountain is quite flat with clearly marked paths leading to viewpoints, a photographer's dream. I even took some panorama pics, and I also bought some postcards to send to people who specially requested them. Doreen bought some really nice fridge magnets. If anyone outside of South Africa would like one, just mail us a fridge magnet depicting your state or country and we will mail you one from here. Just email me first for mailing details.

We also watched the midday cannon fire from signal hill. It fires every day at midday except Sundays and wakes up all the pigeons in Cape Town!

After spending most of the morning on the mountain, we headed to the V&A Waterfront where we met up with Annette, another member of Rosi's Yahoo Group. It so nice to be able to meet up with your internet friends. We had lunch at the Waterfront and then headed to the Bo-Kaap, an area where the old Cape houses have been restored and painted in the most beautiful colours.

We then headed back to Hermanus and got back in time for supper, another interesting and eventful day.

Table Mountain view from the lower cable station

The top cable station from the cable car on the way up

A view from the top

Another view from the top

View of Cape Town from the top

Our group with Robben Island in the background

Pathway on top of the mountain

Doreen getting up close and personal with the flora!

One of the gorges

Me sitting on top of the mountain

Pathway on top of the mountain

The waterfront with Table Mountain in the background

Waterfront musician

The old clock tower at the Waterfront

Distances from Cape Town

Old restored and painted Cape Town houses

More cheerfully painted houses

Castrol guitars - check the prices!!!

While on top of Table Mountain we witnessed a tour party concentrating on the flora of the mountain, see the pic above of Doreen getting up close and personal with some wildflowers. I took some pics which I have placed below:

Day 7 - Jan 22 In and around Hermanus
Today we just explored Hermanus. Started off at the New Harbor where we booked for a sunset cruise at 6 pm, weather permitting. Then off to Sandbaai to see if we could find any shells on the beach. Then we has tea, scones with home made jam and pancakes and headed to the Old Harbor in Hermanus where we had lunch at the Ocean Basket. I had the hake, calamari and chips combination. The hake I had at Still Bay was much better and crisper. We saved some of our chips to feed to the seagulls as I wanted to get a nice pic of a seagull in flight. The seagulls were quite tame and took the chips out of Doreen's hand. I shot into the bundle, finishing off the memory chip in my camera but still did not get a very sharp shot of one single gull. We will feed them some more tomorrow, better luck then, I hope.

The day was overcast and cool, lucky for us we had the clear and windless day yesterday for the trip up Table Mountain!
The sunset cruise was cancelled due to deteriorating weather conditions!

Fishing boat being repaired in Hermanus harbour

Kelp floatin in the ocean off Sandbaai

Close up of shells in a rock pool

A wine cellar in Hermanus

At the old harbour in Hermanus

Dassies on Hermanus rocks

Seagull in flight

Seagull in flight


Seagull in flight

Seagull grabbing a piece of bread

Day 8 - Jan 23 Exploring inland from Hermanus
Once again we left early and headed inland from Hermanus. I had heard about the mission town of Genadendal and I wanted to go take some pics there.  You will notice that we always leave early when going anywhere when on holiday, firmly believing that not a second of daylight time must be wasted. It was overcast and drizzling most of the way, breaking the heat of the previous few days.

Genadendal was founded by missionary George Schmidt way back in 1738. The mission church built in 1891 is in Church Square and all the buildings surrounding the Square have been declared national monuments. We were told that the old houses are all being restored so eventually the whole village will be restored to it's former glory.

We left Genadendal and headed towards the quaint village of Greyton. established in 1854. Once again, the original houses have been restored and the whole picture with the oak lined streets makes for something really unique and special. We looked at some property notices and saw  a shack being advertised for R1.1 million! Apparently city folk are willing to pay for peace and quiet, but that's a bit much for me, thank you! We had the yummiest pancakes ever with fillings of banana and caramel sauce at the local coffee shop !

We continued on to Bonnievale where we bought some wine as gifts for the folk back home and headed back to Hermanus via the coastal town of Stanford.

The old and the new (old car and satellite dish)

House with phone

Inside of church in Genadendal

genadendal museum

Genadendal church

Bonnievale homestead

Bonnievale wine cellar

Wheat fields

Day 9 - Jan 24 Once again, the day was spent at leisure in and around Hermanus. On Saturdays the town square is transformed into a craft market and I bought myself a nice wide brimmed hat for protection against the sun. I also tried to get some more seagull pics, I am getting quite the expert now and got a few goodish ones!

Cousin James and wife Ann arrived from Cape Town and  in the late afternoon we headed for Onrus and sister Mig's birthday bash!

Day 10 - Jan 25 Meandering to Cape Agulhas
We were up and about early as usual and headed for the small resort of Uilenkraalsmond where James and Ann had camped the previous night. They know the area well and they were going to accompany us to Cape Agulhas, the Southernmost tip of Africa. On the way we briefly stopped off at Kleinbaai to watch the shark boats launch. These boats take tourists on great white shark viewing trips. The more daring can get up close and personal in cages suspended from the boats. Not for me, thank you!

We then headed to Cape Agulhas where we had a look at the lighthouse and then went to the spot where the the Indian ocean meets the Atlantic ocean at the Southernmost tip of Africa! We did some exploring of the rock pools and James managed to catch an octopus!

We then bid James and Ann farewell as they were returning to their home in Cape Town and we headed back to Hermanus to say goodbye to  Mig, John, Camilla and Steve. We were heading to our next destination at Plettenberg Bay on Monday and we would not be seeing them again before they returned to the UK.

Beach at Uilenkraalsmond

Me taking a pic of James taking a pic of Ann

Great beach at Uilenkraalsmond

Bokkems - a local delicacy

Coastal village view

Boat with shark viewing cage

Shark viewing

Harbour cafe at Kleinbaai

Caps for sale in shark shop

Agulhas lighthouse, the Southernmost lighthouse in Africa

Watch out for tortoises

The Agulhas lighthouse

Me, between two oceans

James with octopus

Day 11 - Jan 26 Hermanus to Plettenberg Bay
Once again an early start, this time to Plettenberg Bay where we were going to stay for the week.  It drizzled for most of the way, so we didn't stop over for sightseeing. We checked into our accommodation at Castleton resort and had lunch at the beach restaurant called Moby Dick's.

The resort is advertised as being able to view bottle nosed dolphins from your unit, but with the miniscule bit of sea we could see about a mile away between a gap in two buildings there was no way we were going to spot a dolphin. However, I understand they saw over 2000 dolphins on a trip on one of the dolphin viewing boats.We enquired about boat trips to view whales but as the whales had all left the only sightings were dolphins and at R300 a head it was a bit much to pay just to see some dolphins (another tourist ripoff). We did some window shopping, especially property prices and noticed that the vast majority of property in Plett costs more than a million Rand. In fact we heard over the radio that they advertised "the last house for less than a million" Good luck to them! The answer to the price ripoff is to shop around, the closer to the sea, the more expensive. A good example is the different prices you pay for shells, by shopping around you can get them up to 50% cheaper.

Day 12 - Jan 27 Exploring Jeffrey's Bay and Tsitsikamma  
This morning early (again!) we took the N2 East towards Jeffrey's Bay, the surfing mecca of South Africa, but also well known for the beautiful shells on the beaches. We love walking on a beach looking for shells, and Jeffrey's Bay is well known for the quality of the shells you can pick up there. On the way we stopped off for tea and as we were leaving we saw a sign advertising helicopter flips, we promptly turned around and ten minutes later Lorraine and I were strapped in and ready to take off. This was both our first helicopter trip and we were very excited. Both the still camera and camcorder were ready for action when we took off. The flight went over the Van Stadens river mouth and the Stormsriver camp of the Tsitsikamma National park and a short and up the coast past a beautiful waterfall. All to soon the trip was over, but I had the photos I took as a reminder.

We then headed on to Jeffrey's Bay and headed for the beach where we spent an hour picking up shells. The best time to go shell collecting is early morning and by the time we got there the best ones had already been scooped up by other collectors. But we did manage to get a few good ones.

On the way back to Plettenberg Bay we briefly stopped to take a walk along a typical forest trail. A boardwalk took us through an indigenous forest to the "Big Tree" a giant 800 year old  Outeniqua yellowood tree.

We stopped off at the Tsitsikamma National Park. The main rest camp of the park is situated at the Storms river mouth in a picturesque setting. The camp is also the starting point of the world famous Otter hiking trail. A short walk along the coast takes you to the suspension bridge over the Storms river. We had lunch there and headed back to our base at Plettenberg Bay.

We turned in at the Bloukrans river bridge, at 206 meters it holds the Guinnes World record for the highest bungy jump. We watched one of the jumpers jump off the bridge and wondered if they were brave or foolish.
We arrived back at our accomodation in time for supper.

Helicopter view - Storms River camp, Tsitsikamma National Park

Helicopter view, Tsitsikamma coastline

Storms river mouth with suspension bridge

Inland helicopter view

Helicopter view, Storms river bridge

Picking up shells at Jeffrey's Bay

Doreen with arum lily

Taken in Tsitsikamma forest

Taken in Tsitsikamma forest

Tsitsikamma forest boardwalk

Giant yellowood tree

Wild orchid in forest

A walk in the forest

Beautiful forest ferns

Taken in Tsitsikamma forest

One of the many Protea varieties

Storms river mouth

Boardwalk to the suspension bridge

Storms river suspension bridge

Storms river mouth view from th suspension bridge

Another view of the suspension bridge

Bloukrans bridge, the highest bungy jump in the world!

Day 13 - Jan 28 Choo  jtoe-ing around
Once again we made an early start, this time heading for the railway station at Knysna where we were to embark on a steam train trip. The train is called the Outeniqua Choo-tjoe and runs between Knysna and George. A return trip costs R65. At the same time a similar train leaves George for Knysna and they cross halfway. If you don't want to spend the whole day on the rain you can just go halfway and change over at Sedgefield to the train heading in the opposite direction. After getting our tickets we had some time to kill and meandered around the Knysna yacht basin, drooling over the yachts and catamarans.

The Choo tjoe left on time and steamed it's way across the Knysna lagoon over a long bridge and then headed into the coastal forests providing the passengers great views of the passing countryside. As we didn't want to spend the whole day on the train, we changed over at Sedgefield and took the train heading towards Knysna back to where we started from. The intention was to do some exploring around Knysna but it started to drizzle and we decided to call it a day and headed for out accommodation at Plettenberg bay.

Knysna yacht basin

Cool cat

Knysna quayside

Park your boat in front of your apartment

Knysna quayside restaurant

Doreen and Lorraine keen to get goin!

Train steaming into Sedgefield station

Just steamin' along!

Me, relaxing....

Impressive life sized wood carving

Knysn harbour picture

Steam locomotive

Farm stall near Plettenberg Bay

Knysna, home of yellowood furniture

Plettenberg Bay beach, with Beacon Island hotel in the background

Now this is what I call a real nice beach!

Day 14 - Jan 29 Exploring inland from Knysna
The day started off with a sunrise trip to the beach to go shell hunting. We were after the elusive Pansy shell, but Doreen only managed to find half a shell. We did manage to find some other shells, but the Pansy still eludes us.

We then travelled to Knysna and went inland to explore the forests in the area. It was a gravel road and still muddy from the previous day's rain, so in no time our car was brown instead of white.

The road was lined by indigenous forest and at times it seemed as if we were driving through a tunnel of trees.. The roadside was also lined with the most beautiful ferns, a sight not seen in the part of the world we live in. We visited the Diepwalle Forest station where Doreen bought some ferns, went to the Spitskop viewpoint and then headed back to Knysna for lunch at the Knysna Quays where we watched the yachts in the yacht basin while enjoying our steaks.
As we were unable to find a Pansy shell on the beach, Doreen bought us one at the local shell shop, just to show to the folk back home.

We then headed back to our base at Plettenberg Bay where I took the car to  car wash while Doreen took washing to the resort laundry so we arrived home with the laundry done. This was our last day and we started packing so we could hit the road back to Johannesburg early the next morning.  

Day 15 - Jan 30 Homeward bound!
We started REALLY early and were on our merry way by 5 am. We had planned to overnight at the Formule 1 in Bloemfontein but they were fully booked so we decided to carry on and head for home. We got home exactly 14 hours later, tired but satisfied that we had an enjoyable holiday!

Please do not hesitate to email me if you intend visiting the places we went to, I will gladly try and answer any questions.