Punta Mujeres

Punta Mujeres is a pretty little village on the north-east cost on the island of Lanzarote. It does not seem to be overfilled with tourists as there are many locals living here. We rented a two-floor appartment with a huge rooftop terrace which could be reached from the main bedroom. The building had a sea view to the front and the volcano views at the back. One extinct volcano, the Monte Corona could be easily seen from here. Our neighbours were all locals, so we had very loud ones to our left and a charming old lady who loved talking to us on the right. The village is very lively and there are many restaurants to go to for some typical local food and conversation. Our Spanish is not great but we still manage to “talk” and laugh with everyone. There are also a few rock pools where everyone seemed to swim in, except us of course…no time…We found it easy and comfortable travelling to all interesting (for us) points on the island from Punta Mujeres, and it’s also not far from the main airport.

Here are a few photos of our appartment and view. The main bedroom and the view from the terrace, with our first sunrise and at the exact same time, a rainbow at the back. How is that for wonderful???

 

The “flora and fauna” were also interesting, especially the cats…oh, and does this white heron have green feet??

 

Lovely painted wall murals

 

Look closely and you will see the name of the village on the windmill. The clouds over the village looked scarier than they were.

 

 

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Cradle of Humankind: Rhino & Lion Nature Reserve

Phew! What an amazing road trip! We finally reached Johannesburg, our first and last point of this woweeee holiday. We were still in awe of the road trip we had accomplished in only sixteen days, and this all by ourselves *pat on the back* With two cars we clocked almost three thousand kilometres and motored across half of this big and wonderful country. Well, almost half…oh, okay, half of half…whatever-rrr. We “burnt rubber”, as the saying goes, but little did we know that rubber would really be burning. After the Elephants and a night full of trunks were tooting or was it snoring wild dreams, we were sooo ready to head up north. Johannesburg here we come! It was blerry hot. We had the car air-con on full blast which helped a bit. Who am I kidding…it helped zilch, nada, nix. Try driving and panting for air while pleating your forehead in the hope that those salty sweaty pearls will not plop into your eyes. After driving for six and a half hours through dry and empty landscapes, only stopping once, we decided to overnight in Bloemfontein, a city which loosely translated means “blooming fountain” or “fountain of flowers”. Forget blooming anything, to us it was just !Yay! People. Food. Bathtub. We did not feel like exploring. Pooped as hell. The next morning it was hotter than the devil’s *cough-cough* and one could even see heat waves dancing on the never-ending tarred road. The car was making strange noises and we also needed to fill up the petrol tank, so after almost three hours into our journey, we stopped at a service station. As we tried to leave, the car started to make funny noises, which got louder and louder with each metre, so we stopped and discovered that the whole front wheel arch on the right had melted onto the tyre! Geezus! It was a big and fancy car, but all that modern manufactured “plastic” apparently couldn’t stand the heat. Luckily our rental agent sorted everything out, but we still had to wait for an hour before a replacement car was brought to us. We were, after all, in the middle of nowhere. We used this time to have an early lunch, twiddle our thumbs…and fret. The new car was a snazzy little thing, emphasis on little, and we just about managed to squeeze all our luggage in. Daddy long legs sort of folded himself into the front seat. Phew, there was more than enough space, even if the seat was sorta the same length as his shoe 😜  How happy we were when we finally got home. Yoo-hoo!

A day before our flight out, we decided to go on one more safari, just because it was around the corner (a forty five minute drive corner) and also because “someone” was gaga about wild animals wanted to see more wild animals, probably for the last time in this year, so we visited a privately owned Rhino and Lion Nature Reserve that is situated within the Cradle of Humankind, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The Reserve is quite large, considering its close proximity to Johannesburg, Pretoria and other cities or towns. It was also founded by a former stockbroker, Ed Hern, who I personally know from my many years working at the Stock Exchange. Here’s something to smile about… According to their website, the reserve started off with, amongst others, two white rhinos, renamed “Ouvrou” (old woman) and “Bulle” (bull), that were imported all the way from…wait for it…a zoo…now get this…in Germany! A zoo in Germany! Mein lieber Scholli!!

It is possible to do both a walk and/or a self-drive tour, depending on what you want to see. No! You cannot cuddle a lion nor tickle a crocodile (some idiots do try) but you can stand next to a curious Marabou Stork or be brave and visit the slithering snakes in the Reptile Park. There’s also a wonderful eatery where you can sample a typical local “snack” of chips with a boerewors roll, washed down with a cold creme-soda milkshake.

Boerewors Roll and Creme Soda Milkshake

Driving within the wild animal enclosure is also easy as the roads are okay. Dusty and unpaved, but okay. Well, it depends on your car. We had mother-dearest’s flat as a pancake low-lying Merc AMG sports car which scraped over stones and bumpity-bumps. Eish! We did not expect “natural” roads because at Addo everything was tarred. Added to that, at the furthest end of the reserve, surrounded by hungry-looking wild dogs and far far away from humans, or the exit gate, a thingy inside the car started making peeping noises. Buckled up? Yep. It didn’t stop. We looked again and geezuz, the petrol gauge was on red. So the German one of us started freaking out, like we’re going to be eaten alive or something 😱 Duh! The heat would have done us in before that because the windows had to stay closed 😰 Anyway, we manouvered the pancake car around a lazing animal or two trying to make a u-turn and slowly, very slowly edged our way towards the exit. The tortoise got there before us, but as soon as we hit the main road, tarred of course, we added some speed and found a petrol station only about twenty panicky minutes away. Glug-glug-glug. That was us drinking ginger beer instead of something spirity. Thankfully we’d seen most of the animals at the reserve, and oh, the handsome one also took lots of photos. Ende gut, alles gut (all’s well that ends well).  😀 😇  Enjoy these awesome photos!

African Wild Dog (Lycaon Pictus)

 

 

South African Cheetah (Acinonyx Jubatus Jubatus and Fennec Fox/Fennec (Vulpes Zerda)

 

 

White Lion Cubs

 

 

White Lion

 

 

 

Hartmann’s Mountain Zebra (Equus Zebra Hartmannae)

 

 

Blue Wildebeest (Connochaetes Taurinus), or common Wildebeest, and white-bearded Wildebeest or Brindled Gnu

 

 

Blesbok or Blesbuck (Damaliscus Pygargus Phillipsi)

 

 

Sable Antelope (Hippotragus Niger) and Waterbuck (Kobus Defassa)

 

 

Common Warthog (Phacochoerus Africanus)

 

 

 

Springbok (Antidorcas Marsupialis) and South African Ostrich (S. c. Australis)

 

 

Crocodiles and Pygmy Hippopotamus (Choeropsis Liberiensis or Hexaprotodon Liberiensis)

 

 

Python, Eastern Green Mamba (Dendroaspis angusticeps), also known as the common Mamba and a Puff Adder (Bitis Arietans)

 

 

Yellow Mongoose (Cynictis Penicillata), sometimes referred to as the red Meerkat

 

 

Cape Ground Squirrel (Xerus Inauris)

 

 

African Sacred Ibis (Threskiornis Aethiopicus)

 

 

Cattle Egret (Bubulcus Ibis) and a White Stork (Ciconia Ciconia)

 

 

Marabou Stork (Leptoptilos Crumenifer)

 

 

 

Secretary Bird (Sagittarius Serpentarius)

 

 

Southern Masked Weaver or African Masked Weaver (Ploceus Velatus)

 

 

Long-tailed Widowbird (Euplectes Progne) and Blacksmith Lapwing or Blacksmith Plover (Vanellus Armatus)

 

 

Helmeted Guineafowl (Numida Meleagris)

 

 

 

 

 

Addo Elephant National Park

Day fourteen: We spent the night of day thirteen in Jeffrey’s Bay only because we had too much fun in Knysna and the oh so interesting Monkeyland (📢 what? ⌛️ you’re closing?? but…but…but..! Yes, we were the last ones who had to be escorted out, duh! obviously 😳). Despite driving fast for one and a half hours and trying very hard to ignore the stunning beauty of the Tsitsikamma Forest which seemed to nuzzle both sides of the road (waa-haaa-sob-sniff), twilight was looming and there was no way we were going to reach the Addo Elephant National Park before the sun waved bye-bye for the day. A quick search on the internet, a short call and yay, we found somewhere to spend the night! Our room had a view of the ocean (see below) but seriously, it was a bit hazy because the only thing we could see were plates full of huge pieces of deliciously fried fish. We were starving! Forget tired, our growling stomachs needed some serious feeding. A restaurant called the Kitchen Windows Beach Restaurant, was highly recommended and just happened to be almost around the corner. Wow! What an amazing place. The ambience, the friendliness, the sea almost at your feet, the fingerlicking good food, and the wine! Hic. The W.I.N.E!!! Oh! My! Goodness! Slurp. Burp. Hic. Oh, and they make a mean whiskey Dom Pedro too! We only managed a few one glass each…Shhh!

 

The morning of day fourteen was nice and sunny, with a gentle breeze removing toast crumbs fanning our cheeks while we ate breakfast. We were really excited about our next adventure (toot-toot-parp! Elephants!), so much so that between tea sipping and jam on toast, we managed to find somewhere to stay for the night. So with SatNav dearest up to date, we pointed the car in the direction of the highway, promising not to stop until we reached Addo. After surviving heavy morning traffic through Port Elizabeth, sniffing the sea for the last time on this trip, then hop-bopping on an ancient and very patchy tarred road, and finally, with wheels spitting gravel and dust on the dirt road leading up to the guest farm, we reached the welcoming gates of De Old Drift (below). It was hot, hot, HOT! Sssst! We were so tempted to jump into the sparkling pool, clothes and all, but we settled instead for a complimentary bottle of ice-cold water (glugg-glugg) as we had a date with some elephants. The guest farm has a large citrus orchard, is next to the Sundays River and is surrounded by raw nature. One could also see some bucks wandering nearby. The farm also lies in the pampas (basically in the middle of nowhere), and the only sounds reaching our ears were lots of sssss’s and other strange insect noises. This prompted one of us to ask about the snake situation because, you know, there are some milky-white hairy delicious foreign legs wearing shorts and sandals now here…She assured us that the whole property was surrounded with electric fencing, so if and when a creepy crawly, slither-roo or any other hungry gnasher touched the fence, then ZAPP! it was off to animal heaven. Okay, we believe you…not. We checked all the nooks and crannies of our lovely quarters, but found nothing, not even a spider. The delightful young lady was right. Unfortunately we had no time to dawdle as we still needed to drive by the “don’t-blink-or-you-will-miss-it” petrol station before we reached the park. We intended to do a self-drive tour then join a group for a guided sundowner tour.

 

 

Addo Elephant National Park

The park does not only have elephants, and it was quite surprising to see such a variety  of wild animals freely roaming around. The were Greater Kudus, Plains Zebras, common Warthogs (with babies) and Black-backed jackals, to name just a few…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

…and of course, the Southern African Lion, sitting in the shade, posing and preening…

 

 

 

 

The HIGHLIGHT, African Bush Elephants. Yummy, yummy, yummy, I’ve got green bush in my tummy. Elephants eat a lot. Really, A LOT! Bushes, trees, grass, plants, any vegetation they can get their trunks on. Vegetarians. They also drink a lot, which means that they’re always near water of some sort. Hmmm, all that green stuff and they’re still sooo big. Scary big. Oh nooo, this person prefers to be a carnivore, thank you very much…hahaha!

 

 

 

 

It was very interesting to see the interaction of the whole herd towards the little ones, and especially how cheeky these young ‘uns were! There was the littlest one, hiding under one of the adults, then coming out to tease his bigger “brother”, and then running for it before big brother wacks him…(last pic) 🐘. It was so funny! What a wonderful and fantastic day! We were so near to them that it was sometimes scary, but after giving us the BIG eye, they carried on as if they didn’t just scare the shit hell out of you. Amazing animals! Amazing experience ❤️ There’s nothing more pray, pray humbling than having one or more of these “gentle” giants surround your car…just for a sniff… 

 

 

 

 

Hoo-hoo-a-a-cheep-cheep: Monkeyland & the Birds of Eden

Day Thirteen: After an interesting night spent with strange-looking spiders lurking in the toilet and heavy insect repellant smells still clinging to the hairs of our nostrils, we said our good-byes and headed off to our next “we-do-not-know-where” destination. We used the national highway that takes you all along the beautiful coastline and through one or two national parks, a few lush and indigenous forests, many towns and quaint villages, about ten rivers and three large tranquil lakes. This was one of the most interesting and greenest roads we’ve travelled on so far. The highway cuts right through the centre of the town of Knysna (pronounced NIZE-NA) and after driving along the Knysna River, we were so impressed that we decided to stop here.  It was hot. Ssstt! We parked next to an old “Choo-Tjoe” Trolley (see below) at the Waterfront-Knysna Quays then hurried over to get some much needed shade, and ice-cream. We peeked into a few delightful little boutiques and curio shops, strolled along the marina with its bobbing boats and fancy yachts, then stopped to admire the famous lagoon. We were quite sad that we were not able to spend more time here, but we put it on our bucket list for next time. Oh, and we almost, almost ended up buying a big fat diamond engagement ring. She said…!Yikes! 😱 Let’s get outta here…

 

The interesting statue below is carved from cypress wood. The Berlin Pub near to it sold ice-cold German beers, but was totally ignored by the German. The other one wanted to sip that bitter yucky stuff just for some relief from the plip-plip-plip heat, but…DRIVING!!

 

Knysna Yacht Club with part of the vast lagoon which flows into the Indian Ocean

 

 

Monkeyland

Only about a forty-five minute drive from Knysna, and just outside the beautiful holiday resort Plettenberg Bay (“Plett” as it’s lovingly called), is a free-roaming (fenced) primate sanctuary called Monkeyland. It covers about twelve hectares of indigenous forest and has several private nature reserves around it. The best and only way to see everything in Monkeyland is to book a walking safari tour. Done and dusted! As we sat outside waiting for our safari guide, a brown squirrel monkey jumped out of nowhere and bounced on the head of an unsuspecting “sipping-a-drink-female. Le Moi! Okay, so the curly wispy afro did look like a wild bush and the sipping-through-the-straw was a bit loud, but still, there was no reason to scare the living daylights out of an afro mop(pet). A wanna-be blood-curdling scream gathered at the bottom of my dry-from-shock throat but that got stifled just as quickly when the sun-tanned guide appeared and said “howzit everyone”. It took quite a while for my thumpity-thump booming heart to settle down, but all in all it was an amazing experience, retrospectively. The trembling legs even managed to cross a swaying rope bridge, alone! Only one person at a time could walk that bridge 🐒 🐵

Our guide was fantastic and had a great sense of humour. The safari is very informative and extensive with a lot of walking, talking, ooh-ing and aah-ing. You can look, but not touch, even if the animals are curling around your feet (or jumping on your head). There are more than seven hundred primates and we were lucky to have seen ten of the eleven species in this wonderful monkey paradise. Yes, they are all ex-captives brought here to be physically and emotionally rehabilitated, then left to be free in their natural lifestyle. Strangely enough, almost none of the monkeys here are from South Africa, probably not even from Africa at all. Click on these amazing photos for further information…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Birds of Eden

The Birds of Eden is a free-flight bird sanctuary under a fifty metre high mesh dome, is right next to Monkeyland, and also a rehabilitation aviary for more than two hundred and fifty species of formerly caged birds. Here you will mainly find African birds, but there are some also from South America, Asia or elsewhere, and one or two unknowns. There are no guided tours, but it’s an easy two kilometre walkabout at your own pace through two or more hectares of beautiful forest and waterways. As for the birds! Oh my word! The first one as we entered the sanctuary was cheeky enough to shout a big “Hello!” to us. Another tried to peck our toes, or walk on our shoulders and yet another tried to chew my ear! To crown it all, a bird also pooped on Le Moi! Eeeew! A very good day hahahaha. As the saying goes, if a bird poops on you, it brings luck. Well, I agree!

 

The hadada or hadeda ibis below is probably the loudest screaming bird ever! They’re like everywhere in your garden and the noise starts before the cock crows. Early!

 

 

 

 

Male and Female Golden pheasant or Chinese pheasants. The men are colourful and the females a boring brown. Why, mara, why??

 

 

 

Red-shouldered macaw “picking”. It refused to leave us alone, following us until we managed to “hide” up a tree-house. Funny!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Knysna turaco (Tauraco corythaix), a local!

 

 

Please stay off the grass – a Scarlet ibis that can read…and obey 😂

 

 

 

 

 

White-faced whistling ducks. The German spent what felt like hours with these lovers, and the not so impressed loser watching them canoodle in front of him. Aw, shame…

 

 

 

Flamingos and Spoonbills are not so easy to get this close to in the wild, so it was nice to have this eye-to-eye with them.

 

 

Chinese goose – not a species for the Christmas roast…oops!

 

A Black swan (Cygnus atratus) is also not found everywhere…

 

 

 

 

 

A town gathers to burn a witch

There are many reasons why a witch just has to be burnt, and yes, it still happens in our day and age. We were quite excited and did not want to miss this blazing opportunity so we brrr…braved the night cold and marched along with our neighbours and many other townspeople up to the fields near our house. We were heading for the tower, a very big and high pile of dead wood, which had taken a day or two to put together. The moon was full and the witch tied to the stake at the top of the wooden tower must have been casting her last spell. She was now ready to burn! The children from the voluntary fire brigade all fired up their torches and, as we all looked on, set the giant heap on fire.

There’s something mesmerising about flickering flames and it gets even more hypnotic as the fire grows, not so? This is one of the oldest annual traditions typical to our area and no, the witch is not a real live person. Duh-uh! In fact our witch looked more like a male scarecrow wanting to hug the moon hee…heee. It is also not celebrated everywhere in Germany and there are two versions of this custom, called the “Funkenfeuer”. The one that seems most popular is that it is a relict from an old Germanic-Pagan custom to drive the winter right outta here! Like, like, LIKE especially when standing in a cold field and feeling the heat eminating from the fire, hoping it stays this warm…like please…forever. Some-one does not like winter 🌞🌞 The others see it as a ritual between the ending of the Shrovetide (carnival) and the beginning of the long fasting period before Easter. This or that, it’s a lovely tradition which brings us all together even though we know that the winter can sometimes last longer than your Easter eggs. The “Funkenfeuer” in our area is also always on the first Saturday after Ash Wednesday. Other areas do this on the Sunday.

A fire this size takes very long to burn. L.O.N.G. We stay put, with our eyes on the witch scarecrow thingy. It is sort of goose-bumpy seeing it slowly tilt towards the ground and threatening to fall down in one whole piece. Nooo! Stay up! Stay up! Yeah, a couple of crazies around here. You see, it’s seen as a bad omen if the witch scarecrow thingy falls down before exploding or burning out completely. Plopps! Well, our one did fall but they pushed it right back into the fire. Burn, baby, burn! See, no problem. Bye-bye bad omen. Hello Spring. Phew! Give me a beer 🍺

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cape Agulhas to Mossel Bay

Day twelve, with a dozen impressions. Last night was our first sleep “alone” in this very big country. We survived, hee-hee! Our room for the night, with a full view of the ocean, was a very large honeymoon suite, with beds for four people (???), a couch, dining area and TWO bathrooms, both en-suite. Just the definition of their en-suite was a bit puzzling. The one at the end part of the room had an open air shower (no roof) with big leafy plants. It looked more like a tickle zone. The other one…hmm. A bathtub on a raised bed full of white pebble stones and big enough to swim a lap or two, a basin and a toilet all squatting right there in the middle of the room. No walls. No privacy. Orgy? Cough-cough. Oops! So one of us decided to go get tickled and meet some crawling thingies, and the other turned on the taps and foamed bubbles almost to the ceiling. We slept well. The morning sounds of splashing waves, chirpy (and thirsty) birds and sizzling bacon started the day off well.Honeymoon Suite, Oceanview Guesthouse in Struis Bay (Struisbaai), Western Cape, South Africa

 

Cape Agulhas

This is the geographical tip of Africa and also the point where the two oceans, the warm Indian and the cold Atlantic, meet. The different ocean currents, winter storms, high roaring waves and strong winds have caused many a ship to perish in this area, estimated at 150 so far. We did what most tourists do when here, we posed! Hee-hee. As you can see, it was quite windy, but we walked all the way, and back, from the southernmost tip of Africa to the Cape Agulhas Lighthouse. The whole area has a boardwalk so it’s easier than tramping on stones or clambering over rocks. Shh, we did that…we clambered…

 

The R319 Road

This incredible regional road was both a bit scary and exciting. Scary because it was very empty. We did not see any human being for miles on end, just naughty monkeys with hanging toolilys. The roads stretches on and on…and on…yawn, seemingly never-ending, but we stopped a lot to admire the wonderful nature and of course, the birds. It was not easy just getting out of the car as we were so scared of stepping on snakes, but thankfully none of them wanted to meet with us. After about a hundred or so kilometres, the road ends, in the middle of nowhere, and joins the N2, also in the middle of nowhere 😜 We took the national road because we were undecided as to where we would like to stay overnight, so wanted to find a place before it got dark.

 

Mossel Bay

We reached the small coastal town of Mossel Bay, the half-way stop along the Garden Route between Cape Town and Port Elizabeth. After an almost three hundred kilometre drive we were tired, hungry and happy. Before we could enjoy the beach sand between our toes, we had to search for a lodgings first. A few calls later we found a B&B on the hilltop overlooking the town and with a lovely view of the sea. Room good, parking nasty. Imagine sinking down from the street above and having to curve into a narrow parking space with thick pillars everywhere. It’s easy, said the old man (owner). Yeah right, then you park the car. He did. The next day he offered to “unpark” it for us, probably because the burning clutch whiffs and smoke was making his dogs bark in terror.

Mossel Bay is also known for the renowned oil-from-gas project which started in the apartheid era when the threat of oil sanctions (or higher prices) against South Africa were looming. There are quite a few natural gas stores off the coast of this harbour town. It was interesting to see the town where my father spent a lot of his time and knowledge as part of this project in their early days. We did not linger here longer than necessary as there were other exciting stuff waiting on the road ahead. Stuff we were not so sure of 😊

 

The Garden Route: Penguins, Whales and a fantabulous Sunset

Day eleven: Eleven is a good number. We woke up early, more due to excitement, packed our bags and sniff-sniffed our teary good-byes. We were leaving the comfort-zone of a very warm and wonderful family, where we were spoilt rotten and entertained beyond measure, to embark on a two week road-trip adventure. This was a spontaneous decision and we had no time to plan any details as to what and where. So with a “local-but-not-so-local-anymore” woman in the driving seat and a German GPS reader sitting next to her, we pointed the rental car towards the highway and drove out of the bustling city towards the coast. We were now excitedly beginning a memory-making trip along one of the most beautiful coasts in South Africa, the wonderful Garden Route. No strategy, no blueprint, just drive, stop where we find it to be interesting and find somewhere to sleep before it gets dark. Simple, methinks 😇 It was not even an hour before our first stop. Well, more like a “OMG this is so WOW, where can we…there, over there…quick…STOP!” If it was possible we would have pulled the car over every ten metres or so, that’s how impressive it was, but the verge of the road was very narrow and no stopping allowed. There were one or two nice parking spots before and after Gordons Bay though, and as you can see from the following four photos, we were rewarded with wonderful and breathtaking sceneries. Click on pics for info…

 

Stony Point Nature Reserve at Betty’s Bay

It’s only a 30-minute drive between Gordons Bay and the little coastal town Betty’s Bay, but with a few more “ooh-aah” stops in-between and getting seriously lost trying to find the Penguin Reserve (yes, it’s a village and yes, it is possible to get lost in it), it was almost mid-day when we reached Stony Beach. It was also very windy and the air a bit nippy. No matter, because there they were, welcoming us with curious eyes, the Dassies (Rock Hyrax). They were nearer to us than those on Table Mountain and so cute that one had the urge to pick one up for a little cuddle. These are wild animals and their environment should be respected, especially when their babies are around, that is why we kept our distance. Zoom-zoom!

The Nature Reserve is more known as one of the biggest breeding colonies of the African Penguin in the world. Not only the penguins, but on the outlying rocks, three species of Cormorant birds also breed here. You will not find anywhere else where you are so close to the Penguins in their natural habitat. It’s also not crowded with humans so one can enjoy the natural sounds of crashing waves, braying birds (they sound like donkeys) and oinking bird calls. Simply amazing! Oh, and believe it or not, the reserve was previously a whaling station which stopped operating in the mid-1950’s. Two African Penguins chose this site to breed, and the rest, as they say, is history. Nature happened and won. Also keep your eyes open, as there are “pooping-in-flight” seagulls (plop!), sneaky lizards and other crawling thingies too. Enjoy the photos!

 

Hermanus

Here you can have a whale of a time hee-hee. Seriously, Hermanus is a beautiful bustling coastal resort enveloped in mountains and where one can do whale watching without a boat. Yes, the Southern Right Whales come here every year (July to December) to breed and to rear their offspring. Nowhere can one sit on a rock or bench to watch whales that are often as close as only ten metres from the shore. Please don’t worry about missing a whale sighting. Go ahead, browse in a tourist shop or have coffee and cake, BUT keep your ears open. When you hear the sound of a kelp horn, stop what you’re doing and run to the shore. Hermanus has the only Whale Crier in the world! No, not the sobbing kind, but a man with a kelp horn and a good set of lungs. This whale crier “tradition” started as a publicity stunt in 1992 to alert the public when whales were sighted. It has become a tourist attraction and is part and parcel of the whale watching season. We were there in January, so did not see any whales 😞

After some lunch, freshly caught fish of course, and a long walk around the town, we set off towards the south. Driving through a few amazing nature reserves, we headed for the Danger Point Lighthouse near Gansbaai. We were too late, entry was closed, and soon it would be dark. Time to look for overnight accommodation. It was easy. A phone call later and we had a room. The only thing is, it was an hour and a half away. We agreed to drive without any stops…but…

…as you can see below, the sun was already setting. We just had to stop! Added to that we were forced to drive a major detour route because a lot of roads were washed away by heavy rains in the weeks before. Fortunately we were getting nearer to our lodgings in Struisbaai. We were also hoping to see more of the sun setting.

Sunset at the R319 close to Struis Bay, Western Cape, South Africa

AND WE DID! After motoring at full speed (legal of course…okay, just a bit faster…shh) we reached the coast. Stopping with screeching tyres and spitting gravel, and an excited GPS man almost falling out of the car, we had thankfully arrived just at the right moment for him to take these fantabulous and amazing sunset photos at the southernmost tip of Africa. Oh. What. A. Day!

ps: Without stops and all that nice stuff, the journey would only have been about three to four hours. It took us the whole day, from sunrise to sunset, and we enjoyed EVERY single minute. We were pooped and so ready for bed! Tomorrow is another day. ZzzzzzZ!