Saturday, May 14

More Cape Town, Dirt Roads and Stars in the Karoo

Mary: It was great to visit friends and family in Cape Town - we were really well looked after and it was great to see everyone's houses. We had lunch with my family and went out to dinner with loads of friends.  Simon took us to Ballroom Dancing in Brackenfell and taught us the Loopdans. We went to Kirstenbosch Gardens, Brett played touch rugby and tested Andrew's 120km/h remote controlled car. As can be expected by this type of trip, plans changed - we extended our time in Cape Town as we found a good place to buy kit and a great mechanic. As a result, we didn't get go to Cape Point, Cape Agulhas or wine tasting at all!! We will have to make a plan to do a lot of wine farms when we get back to Cape Town at the end of the trip.

We were going to come back along the Garden Route but changed our route back last minute - taking the dirt roads from Ceres to Sutherland - the Beast was brilliant on the rough dirt roads. Sutherland is the coldest place in SA and was 1 degree when we were there - we stayed at the Sutherland Hotel which had a cool Karoo-style bar, ie grubby, seedy, but filled with lovely friendly locals. We did star gazing through some impressive tracking telescopes with the owner of a local cafe, Haylee-se-kom-eet. We were able to see Saturn and its rings which was very impressive - we also saw lots of stars including Alpha Centuri, the Southern Cross and the Milky Way.  We couldn't see any deep space objects because the moon was out so there. On the way out, we had a close up view of SALT, but decided not to take the tour as you don't get to see anything in real-time.

More dirt roads to Victoria West through hail storms, thunder storms, locust swarms and a river then back to Joburg via Kimberly. Kimberly city centre is extremely depressing - a real "hole", with huge amounts of litter, grime, a couple burnt out shells of buildings, lots of broken windows etc. It really looks like a slum and it struck me as one of the few places in SA that seemed to have deteriorated in the last few years. We passed several neatly laid out little townships on the N12 that looked infinitely prettier & tidier than Kimberley!

Click on the thumbnails below for larger pics....

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