After our wonderful lunch at Zorgvliet on Friday, we headed further east. Here is a shot of the beautiful Franschhoek Valley from partway up the pass that is north east of the town. On the way up this pass, we finally got to see our baboons on the side of the road! We didn’t want to get too close like some of the bear spotters do back home, so we couldn’t get a great photo… but it was still very cool. In 3 separate groups there were about 20 of them.
After we dropped down many switchbacks on the other side of Franschhoek Pass, the land became much drier – you would never know you were in the heart of wine country just a few miles away. Some of the terrain even looked just like Southern Alberta!
We spent the night in a small town called Riversdale, about 350 km east of Cape Town on the N2 highway. It’s basically at the beginning of the Garden Route which unfortunately we won’t be visiting on this trip. Saturday morning we headed over to the Garden Route Game Lodge, which is a private game reserve and basically the closest thing you can get to a safari within driving distance of Cape Town.
Just like so many other places we’ve visited on this trip, they had a great kids playground. Approved!
We had a leisurely lunch in their classic safari lodge style restaurant.
Our final stop on our tour of the Western Cape – you got it – more penguins – back to Boulders Beach! We had some spare time in the afternoon so we went back there to exchange some shirts at the gift shop that we’d purchased the previous weekend without trying first (oops!). What a contrast to Stony Point – there was a lineup for parking, crowds of people waiting to get in…. but somebody got a new stuffy!
Well, this ends another amazing adventure. We’re at the Cape Town airport now where our air journey home will begin in a couple of hours. This trip has been so full of “favorite parts” that none of us are really sure what to pick what was the best – the penguins seem to be coming out on top though. We have all loved this part of South Africa; what a diverse country in terms of geography, scenery, and people. And we’ve only just scratched the surface of this corner of the country! We could easily come back and stay 4-6 weeks just in the Western Cape. There is so much to do here and all of the people we met have been pretty amazing. South Africa has a reputation for being extremely dangerous and plenty of people think that you’d might as well be murdered or at least mugged as soon as you get off the plane, we found the absolute opposite. The times that we felt uneasy or sketchy were less than we would have if we’d spent the same amount of time in downtown Calgary; we didn’t even experience aggressive begging. That being said, we did hear about and see some of the conditions in South Africa that aren’t all roses: there is still plenty of poverty to go around, the government is broke and corrupt, and it sounds like a lot of the “systems” are more or less set up for failure. It must be very sad for South African people who have the ability to do so, to seriously consider leaving the country if things continue down this path. It’s such a beautiful place. A real gem of the world. We are extremely grateful that we had the opportunity to visit this place at least once.