26 July 2009

On the road

The cheapest car hire we could find got us a Toyota Tazz for about £12 a day.

Although it looks a bit of a heap it actually drives fine and is still miles better than the under powered hair dryer we had in Langkawi or the death trap jeep that we had in Bali. And lets face it, after spending two weeks crossing Africa in a truck, it actually feels quite palatial. Hopefully with it being a bit crap it also means that the gun wielding car jackers wont be interested in it either!

Our first port of call was the Tafelburg Road which takes you about 300m up the side of Table Mountain for some great views of the central Cape Town.

We then skirted round to the opposite side of the city bowl to check out the views from Signal Hill.

Next we headed out of the town centre for the coastal resort of Camps Bay. Although the sun was shining and the sky blue, thanks to the Antartic currents, the sea was absolutely freezing and out of bounds to all but those with a very thick wetsuit.

For our next stop, at Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens, we had to drive all the way around the base of Table Mountain to the Southern edge of the city. Kirstenbosch was the first botanical garden in the world to be established to protect local flora and is home to lots of giant protea and finbos plants.

After a couple of hours exploring the gardens we carried on South out of the city to Hout Bay on the West coast of the peninsular. For some unexplained reason the residents of Hout Bay have declared the town an independent republic. It is also home to Fish on the Rocks, reportedly the best chippy on the coast. We didn't get to sample their wares as the queue was out the door and half way down the (very long) road when we got there.

We had intended to leave Hout Bay by taking the Chapman's Peak drive. The road which is blasted into the side of the mountain is said to be one the most scenic routes in the World. Unfortunately it was closed for repairs so we had to take the slightly less scenic motorway instead.

We ended our first day on the road at Kalk Bay, a small fishing town on the Southeast coast of the Cape Peninsular. Thanks to another great deal that we found on Expedia www.expedia.co.uk we are staying at an absolutely stunning B&B called Chartfield Guesthouse. The room that we have is really beautiful with great views over the bay. Not bad for £20 a night.

After checking in we headed out for a quick drive around the coast. Whilst passing through the town of Glencairn we were lucky enough to spot a Southern Right Whale out in the waters of False Bay.

It may not look like much in the photo but at a weight of about 65 tons it was a pretty spectacular sight.

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