Saturday, April 30

Warmup - heading to Cape Town

Brett: We've spent the last week shopping around for deals on kit (rooftop tent, canopy, fridges etc) and visiting friends and family. As a warm-up, we have taken the scenic route through the Karoo to Cape Town, which is the official start and end of the trip. Strangely, "Cape Town to London and back" has a better ring to it than "Bloemfontein to Wheathampstead and back to Park View" :-) 

Prince Albert is a picturesque Karoo town with family connections for Mary - definitely a place to go back to and spend more time. We stayed in a 150 year old guest house (die Kuierhuis) and ate at a very casual but atmospheric local restaurant.

From there, we headed over the Swartberg Pass, which Louise had warned us would be very scary - the Beast handled it excellently! (As did several Hyundai Atos rental cars). We didn't have time to do the Gamkaskloof Pass/Die Hel (real 4x4 stuff), but have added it to our list. I highly recommend the route from Oudtshoorn to Cape Town along Route 62. We ended up doing the last bit in the dark which is something to avoid north of SA.

This warm-up leg has felt rushed and the driving has taken longer than expected - we need to make sure the rest of the trip is better paced. One issue we have found with the beast is that the prop shaft vibrates due to the raised suspension causing an increased angle which shows up when there is no load, no canopy and little fuel. The suspension is set up to take a load and won't be a problem once we add kit and our stuff (which we estimate to be 500kg). We have also found that going 100km/h rather than 120km/h helps the fuel consumption a lot - this only really feels slow on the South African motorways. 

Mary: For the next week, we will be living it up in Camps Bay - Claire has kindly organised timeshare for us at Place on the Bay - our room is about 50m from the beach! We have already done some fantasy-house-shopping on our walk around the area. It is warm & sunny but that might be an anomaly...

Being back in SA is quite surreal - feels very different from holidays home and we are really noticing how much prices have gone up on things like food & accommodation.

The kit for the 4x4 is also quite a lot more expensive than we anticipated and we have considered getting some things 2nd hand. Luckily before we left for Cape Town we found a shop that is significantly cheaper than what we have found elsewhere - Tentco in Boksborough. There we found rooftop tents for R7000 new which is pretty much the same as most of the 2nd hand tents. Also we found 40l 12v fridges for about R4750 which is an incredibly good price (and significantly cheaper than the 6 grand asked for some 2nd hand ones!!). The aluminium canopies we have been looking at are also more than we thought they would be, coming in at about R14500 + R1500 roofrack for a brand new one, but with nothing customised inside (ie just a box with 3 doors basically!), or about R12000 second hand. We have been holding out hoping to think up a cheaper solution but I think sometimes you've just got to "kak en betaal" as they say :-). We should also be able to get some money back for the 2 canopies that came with the car.

We are incredibly grateful that the Easter Bunny brought us a camping shower (yay!) & jerry can attachment along with some easter eggs....thank you Easter Bunny!!

Please click on the thumbnails for larger pictures


  1. Nice pictures keep them comming. When are you heading north ?