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Flying South

On the road again

SOUTH AFRICA | Tuesday, 21 January 2014 | Views [245]

Once again we find ourselves on the road. We’re heading down the garden route towards Cape Town and have a couple of days to fill as we please before we are due at the accommodation we have pre-booked for when we get there.

We started the day by heading out towards Bloukrans but instead of going over the bridge we turned off and took the road to the old bridge. The road itself is closed but the fact that there is a sign saying such doesn’t seem to stop people here so off we went. The old bridge is at the bottom of the gorge where the new one sits atop it and so you have a long twisty route down one side, cross the bridge itself (which is much more palatable than it’s more modern counterpart!) and head up the other side. I’m not sure how long the road was closed for but it’s already got grass growing through the tar in places and an awful lot of fallen rocks at the edges. In places, especially where it goes over gullies, there is a reasonable degree of subsidence which makes the route interesting, although being in Travis’ 4x4 we were well equipped for the job at hand!

The scenery on the way down and back up was pretty cool too. At one point we had an amazing view of the new bridge further down the gorge towards the sea and got a real (as if we needed it) feel for exactly what the bungee jump involved! There were a lot of baboons on the road as we passed and we found a sign as we left the closed road warning not to feed the baboons from a stationary vehicle. I guess it’s fine to throw them scraps as you drive by though! ;-)

Our first stop of the day was looking for a rock formation on the coast called Cathedral Rock. Our first attempt came close but apparently we would have had a 6km trek to the rock itself along the beach. Our second effort was much more successful as a chap at the failed attempt had provided us with much better directions to the easier access route. We stopped in the car park by a restaurant called Enrico’s in a place surrounded by houses which, if they weren’t already, looked like they should be filled with the rich and famous! The car park attendant told us it was about 20 minutes down what turned out to be one of the best beaches I’ve ever been to in my life to get to the rock, so we duly set off in the indicated direction.

The beach was that perfect fine sand that only seems to exist these days in childhood memories and the ocean to our right was the most perfect cinematic mix of shades of green you could wish for. There were small fish in the shallows and, I’ve no doubt, sharks in wait beyond the breakers. The water was, in my considered opinion as a Brit, warm and in places bordered on hot and a very pleasant 20 minutes walking through the surf brought us to Cathedral Rock. The rock itself is a very high arch but what makes it so special is the smaller hole in the rock above which creates the effect of a small circular window above an arched window, hence Cathedral Rock. It was certainly worth the visit and the walk itself along such a wonderful beach was lovely.   

We stopped in Plettenberg Bay for lunch at a little Mozambique place which, along with it’s more traditional food, did one of the best burgers I have ever eaten. After lunch we headed west once more and made our way, with a couple of stops, to Mosselbaai or Mossel Bay in its English form. We had managed to blag a self-catering flat for the night, a stunning find from Amy as we were en-route and once we had checked in we popped down to the nearby beach for a quick dip. After that we headed out to supper at a restaurant called the King Fisher, which had been recommended to us as the place to go if you wanted to sample the mussels which gave the by its name.

The King Fisher did not disappoint. The food was good and the wine also. The mussels were some of the best I’ve had and the garlic sauce was sublime. I think all four of us would recommend this restaurant to anyone who finds themselves in the area. The plan for the morning is to keep heading west and hopefully end the day in the vicinity of Cape Agulhas which is the geographic southernmost point in Africa and also has a marker on the beach showing official dividing line between the Atlantic and Indian Oceans.

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