We got-up reasonably early and packed like crazy ready to leave Cape Town then wandered down to Tourist Information to cash some travellers cheques and headed to Global Car Hire. Whilst James dealt with the car I went down to Shoprite and went a bit mad on bottled water, crisps, chocolate and sweets - provisions for the journey should we get stranded. Unfortunately the car we were meant to have had come back with a broken windscreen so we had to wait for another to be returned in a few hours time, we used this time productively and headed for a bar! On the way to The Purple Turtle we stopped-by the Holiday Inn in Greenmarket Square to book a room for our last night in Cape Town before we fly home.
On arrival at The Purple Turtle we decided to play some pool and met two rather strange people. One guy was your regular common-or-garden variety of weirdo - staring at us and gibbering to himself, I think he was European but not British (not that that's a reason). The other person was British and of undetermined gender (James thought it was an effeminate guy, I thought it was a butch girl) and was thereafter referred to as 'The Monkey' - an alarmingly appropriate moniker. After the pool we sat down and finished our drinks watching MTV's top 10 cameos, we never did work out if the two weird guys actually knew each other.
We headed back to Global and hung around a bit - the car (a Toyota Corolla) was being cleaned and we filled in the paperwork and chatted to the car people. The car was already damaged, it had some kind of impact on the left side (as you look at the car), but structurally it seemed fine. James noticed a few extra bumps and abrasions which the guy wrote down but the all the main guy Shane kept saying to us was "as long as comes back with six wheels and five doors it's fine" (there's a moral here). We left the place with an empty tank, so we filled-up at the Shell garage at the bottom of Long Street and headed off towards the Cape.
On the way down to Cape Point we tried to get the radio in the car working & it seemed reasonably OK, we came across countless Motown stations - these guys LOVE their soul music. When we got down to the Cape National Park we saw an antelope-type-animal from the car - the first real wildlife we had seen so far. In the car park for Cape Point there were Baboons, climbing on cars and running around, we walked up to the Cape Point lighthouse and took some photos of where the two oceans meet. As it turns out Cape Point is neither the place where the oceans meet nor the most southerly tip of Africa - nonetheless it's still a spectacular view.
After the lighthouse we got lunch from the little takeaway kiosk and sat down on a wall to eat - a big mistake. We were rather stealthily approached by a baboon which was hissing & bearing its teeth at us, it then proceeded to run up to me across the wall (within two feet) and steal my ice-cream. I was bloody terrified, you can get rabies from Baboons if you're bitten. After finishing what remained of my lunch we left and headed for Boulders Beach.
On arrival at Boulders we got out of the car, walked down and took a left - here we saw a lovely beach with huge boulders and one single penguin. We went over to look at the penguin and took a few photos thinking (if only briefly) that this was it - we'd come to Boulders Beach on a quiet day. We decided to explore the other direction too and steadily saw more and more penguins until we finally got to the REAL Boulders Beach where there were well over fifty penguins!
We headed away from Boulders
through the Cape Flats, a desolate but not unattractive stretch of land just
off the coast, the townships inland from here give Cape Town it's place as the
murder capital of the world. We stopped for a quick break in a small agricultural
town called Caledon, the people seemed friendly here but we were a little wary
since this was our first venture out of the big city. We arrived in Swellendam
(another agricultural town) at about 20:30 and searched around for a B&B.
In the end we chose the Swellengrebel Hotel, dumped our things and went into
We ate in a restaurant called One Baker Street, apparently named after the original street name when the town was first settled by a Malay gentleman. The food was good and the atmosphere was that of a small cosy diner, one thing we noticed was that the restaurant was basically full of locals, tourism was not so obvious in these parts. After dinner we wandered through the town and ended up at a pub called The Goose and The Bear where I got to try Cape Velvet, a local liqueur not entirely dissimilar to Bailey's. On the way back to the room through the hotel area they were playing 'Where do you go to my Lovely' by Peter Sarstedt - a little piece of home all the way out in South Africa.
As Swellendam was a dark town we took this opportunity to do a bit of stargazing and put into practice the things we had learned in the Cape Town Planetarium. I managed to find south fairly easily - providing a little help should we get lost in the wilderness somewhere, the most bizarre thing (though it should have been expected) was to see the constellation of Orion upside-down in the sky.
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