August 4, 2016
I'm driving parts of the Garden Route together with Andreas and Ryan. Along the route we make several stops for shark cage diving, a local microbrewery, watching penguins, lots of great views, and a bungy jump
The Vikings Across Africa-trip is now over, but I still have a few more weeks before I need to head back to Sweden. At this point Andreas joined me in South Africa, and due to his limited time we really packed the schedule. Ryan from the group also decided to join as our itinerary matched pretty well with what he wanted to see and do around Cape Town. For this we rented a car. The kilometers passed so much faster than in the truck!
One thing that all three of us wanted to do in South Africa was a cage dive with great white sharks, and one of the best places for that was also our first stop, Gansbaai. The dive, if you could even call it a dive, was not quite what I expected. It was more like just floating in the cage, trying to keep my head under water for as long as possible to get the best view, quickly up for more air, and then try to stay down again. But we did get to see great white sharks! They were relatively small but still a good 3 meters and could probably do quite a bit of damage if they wanted to. But the sharks were not interested in us or the cage at all. They only came by to get some of the tuna heads used as bait. It wasn’t as impressive as I thought it would be and I probably won’t do this again, but I’m still happy I did it.
The next stop in the area was Struisbaai and Cape Agulhas, famous for being the southernmost point of Africa and also the spot where the Atlantic and the Indian Oceans meet. The rocky shore and shallow sea has always been bad for ships and only a few kilometres down the road was a shipwreck that apparently have been standing there for years and after a recent storm turned around 180°.
Craft beer has gotten really popular in South Africa lately and pretty much every little town has its own microbrewery. The hostel in Struisbaai had the local beer, Fraser’s Folly, in the bar and during the evening the brewer himself came by. We had a talk with him and got invited to his brewery the next day for a short tour and tasting. It’s hard to beat unfiltered beer straight from the tank!
After a bit of a drive we reached the Garden Route, a stretch really popular among tourists for its great views and plenty of adrenaline sports. We made stops in Mossel Bay and Knysna to just have a look around, get some food or stay the night, and enjoyed the scenic drive inbetween. I started getting really annoyed with my phone camera and decided to try some DIY solutions. It turned out that the only thing causing the blur was scratches on the camera glass, and as soon as I managed to remove it with a knife the photos got really sharp again, so from here on, good photos again! Off course the camera is now completely unprotected instead, but I don’t expect this phone to survive for much longer anyway. I just want to be able to take some good photos during the last few weeks of this trip.
Halfway through the Garden Route it was time to go off a bridge again. This time was however a bit more voluntarily than the last. It was time for a bungy jump! Bloukrans Bridge is a 216 meter high bridge across a canyon and home to one of the highest bungy jumps in the world. Really good view, a great jump, and quite a bit of adrenaline, just as it should be!
Our last stop along the Garden Route was Storm River and Tsitsikamma National Park. In the park we did a short hike over a few hours up to a viewpoint. The hike was tiring but really nice and even contained a swing bridge crossing the mouth of the Storm River. Really amazing landscape that reminded me quite a bit of New Zealand for some reason. It had the same kind of Lord of the Rings-mystic feeling to it.
That was all we had time for on the Garden Route, but before we returned the car we spent a day out on the cape by Cape Town. On the way out to the cape we stopped at Boulders Penguin Colony in Simon’s Town to see some African penguins. Funny little creatures, and probably one of my favourite kinds of animal. They do smell pretty bad though…
When we got out to the cape we went for a few walks, one of them being to the famous Cape of Good Hopes, and again we got some really great views. Cape Agulhas that we visited earlier was the southernmost point of Africa. This is the south-westernmost point.
That’s all for South Africa for now. Tomorrow morning Andreas and I fly to Livingstone, Zambia, and Victoria Falls!