Switching into vacation mode


Following the research workshops and conference, I was ready to switch into vacation mode and start further exploring around the Western Cape. I feel very fortunate that I was able to tack some vacation time onto this trip, and had another two weeks with which to explore further and enjoy the late South African Summer. While I had extended an open invite to  friends to join me in Cape Town for this trip, only one took that opportunity, and I am super grateful that she did! Sarah from Toronto joined me in Cape Town the day after I finished up my work obligations and we embarked on a trip east along the coast.

Driving around Hout Bay

With our rental car, and after a good rest for Sarah following the long voyage, we head out of Cape Town. We traveled south first, passing through the amazing Chapman Peak Drive, beach flats along the R310, through townships, then almost immediately wine lands as we approached Stellenbosch. I have a favorite restaurant in this area called 96 Winery Road, and we had a lovely lunch on the first day of our road trip.  We also opted to stop in at a few wineries along the way.

The Waenhuiskrans Caves

Just after Gordon’s Bay, there is a stunning seaside drive through the Hottentots Holland Mountains. The drive follows the seaside, along cliffs, down to sprawling beaches, and through various little seaside villages. We discovered the Penguin Nature Reserve in Betty’s Bay and were lucky enough to be the only people there interacting with the beautiful penguins. We spent a night in Hermanus before continuing on along the coast. We visited Cape Agulhas, the southernmost tip of the African continent and explored the Agulhas Lighthouse.  Our goal for the day was Arniston, a little seaside town with an interesting geological feature the Waenhuiskrans Cave.  Arniston was a very beautiful and peaceful place, the beaches and surf here are just amazing. This was one of my favorite spots on the trip.

At Arniston

The next day we head inland, as we were on route to the Garden Route Game Lodge. It was really important to Sarah to see some of the African wild animals, and since we didn’t want to fly to Kruger, or up to Etosha in Namibia, we tried a game lodge. I have to say, I was very impressed with the offering. We saw four of the ‘big five’ animals including elephants, lions, rhinoceros, and buffalo. Not only that we had a chance to get up close and personal with these animals as they grazed. We spent nearly 45 minutes within a stones throw of the rhino, which was a real treat. The lodge was quite nice too, great accommodations, food, and a lovely pool.

The next day we made the long drive back to Cape Town, stopping at Grotto Beach along the way for a swim. Once back in Cape Town we moved into our Airbnb in Sea Point. This turned out to be a beautiful little condo overlooking the Sea Point Pavilion swimming pool, and a perfect view of the sunset over the Atlantic.

CC BY 4.0 South Africa Road Trip by Michael Paskevicius is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.