The exquisite beauty of Knysna had left us speechless and it is not without reason that this area is so popular with tourists all year round. However, we had to move on to our final destination – the highlight of the trip – Cape Town (CT). As mentioned in my earlier post, having booked a little late, we could not find any accommodation in CT and had to settle for Paarl, a small sleepy town 70kms from CT.
Instead of taking the national highway NI, we happened to take Route 62 just by chance. And were glad we did too! Route 62 is a more scenic and touristy route, passing through picturesque towns and mountains. This route also boasts of being the longest wine route in the Western Cape, meandering through the wine producing towns of Barrydale, Montagu, Ashton, Robertson, Wellington, Paarl, etc.
We arrived in Paarl in under 5 hours, having completed yet another stress-free & memorable drive. Having rested for an hour or so, and after putting little Mia to bed, we quietly made our way to CT. Since it was already late afternoon, we decided to drive straight to the V&A waterfront. Of course the fact that the waterfront also houses a huge big mall, completely slipped my mind. So the mall baby (hubby obviously!) spent the first 60mins exploring the shops. Post that, we walked around the pier but the throngs of crowds made it impossible to enjoy the place. After a quick dinner, we headed back to Paarl.
The next day, bright & early, we set off for the table mountain. Although we were expecting long queues, we weren’t prepared for what awaited us. There were cars parked all the way down, from where the road leading to the cable car began. We were lucky enough to find a spot right next to the ticketing counter – but the wait was approximately 2.5hrs. Another reason why choosing this time of the year to visit is sheer madness. On my last trip, in May, there was absolutely no queue and I was able to just breeze through the top and the weather was gorgeous (this time, gale force winds were threatening to close down the cable car; and it did – through most of 31st). Anyway, since we weren’t prepared to wait that long, we decided to use the time to drive through the gorgeous Devil’s Peak, before making our way to Simon’s Town.
A small town on the eastern shores of the Cape Peninsua, Simon’s Town is an important naval base. Our reason for choosing to stop here was its proximity to the Boulders Beach Penguin Colony – one of the few sites that house endangered land-based African Penguins. These penguins are also called Jackass penguins because of their braying call! Unfortunately, as with most other endangered species, these birds are also steadily decreasing in number.
Our next stop was Cape Point & Cape of Good Hope – the former being the southern-most tip of the Cape peninsula and no, the latter is NOT the southern most point of Africa, as popularly misconstrued. Nevertheless, the place remains immensely popular and houses several hundred species of indigenous plants and several small animals. The magnificent sights from the lighthouse washed away any disappointment we felt after not having been able to go up the Table Mountain. Tired after a fruitful day, we drove back to our humble abode in Paarl in semi-comatose form.
We were going to spend the last & final day of our trip (and the year!) visiting the Eagles’ Nest vineyard in Constantia. Hubby’s colleague’s parents live & work at this vineyard and were kind enough to show us around and explain the entire wine making process in detail. The visit ended at the tasting room – the most awaited part of the tour – where we tasted 5 different wines made there. A good two hours later, feeling a little lighter in the head and much in the wallet (bought a case of wine), we drove back to Paarl and spent the last day of the year wandering around the little town.
The next day we began our 1400km long journey home, spending the night at a working farm in Venterstad, called the Morning Glory Cottages. Situated in the middle of the Karoo, with nothing in sight for miles, this was by far the most restful & pleasant stop-overs of our journey, giving the trip a perfect end. After a mouth-watering Karoo dinner (cooked by the owner who is a great chef with all ingredients fresh from the farm!), we retired to bed early. The next day we drove the last 600kms, taking us back home and bringing an end to the longest road-trip we have undertaken thus far.
“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines, sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” – Mark Twain