A Holiday to Cape Town by Car in One Week
Thoughts of a taking a Holiday after a long Hiatus
It had been on my mind for some time – taking a holiday to a place I haven't visited in over 25 years. In November 2017 it became a reality when my woman friend and I went on a short road trip to Cape Town South Africa. I write here about the journey and the few days we spent in this panoramic coastal city. I booked for us to stay in Fish Hoek a village on the Indian Ocean, part of the Cape Town peninsula.
We live 755km from Cape Town in Nelson Mandela Bay (PE), it's about an 8 hour drive but can take longer if there are roadworks and heavy traffic. I decided to split the journey in two by staying in the coastal town of Knysna for one night on our way there.
Taking a break at Storms River Bridge
On the road to our stopover we encountered heavy rain; quite daunting when driving. We stopped for a break at a place overlooking the Storms River bridge, a welcome relief from the strong downpour. This area is known as the Tsitsikamma and is deeply forested which makes it truly magical.
Storms River Bridge
Taking a Walk around Knysna
Knysna is a beautiful little town nestled on a lagoon with vast forests behind it. If you live in South Africa or ever visit, this is one town you should consider spending some time in.
We arrived early afternoon – about four hours from home including a lunch break. Taking a walk around Knysna revealed some rather ingenious metal works of art/works of engineering precision, as well as lots of stalls selling African arts and crafts.
An ingenious metal Construction
Our Accommodation for the Night
In the surrounds there are sawmills – this gives rise to prolific manufacturing of quality wooden furniture. Fires in the forests and town earlier in 2017 unfortunately destroyed many trees and houses. Both the wealthy and poor suffered from this devastation.
We stayed in a backpackers (not my ideal accommodation but more affordable) the first night. Fortunately we had a little house to ourselves and there was a great view from the lawn.
Sitting on the porch I could see how the fires had stopped short of a thin line of trees and foliage surrounding the accommodation area. Dogs and cats played freely, belonging to the owners I guess. Breakfast was included the following morning – always a bonus for travellers.
The View with a railway line no longer in Use
Next day's Journey, reaching the Destination
Setting off at about 9am the next morning we travelled through, or past towns and areas such as Sedgefield, The Wilderness, George and Mossel Bay (all picturesque in their own way) before settling down on the rather uneventful, long road to Cape Town. Here were wide open spaces with fields of barley, corn and majestic mountains in the distance.
Finally we reached Sir Lowry's Pass which is a winding road high up that is like an entryway to Cape Town. With still a long way to travel into the city, the traffic intensified.
I made a costly error by turning a few hundred metres short of the off-ramp that led to a freeway which would have taken us near to our accommodation. This caused us to get stuck in traffic for over an hour before we arrived at the village of Fish Hoek, Cape Town.
The Sea at Wilderness on the Way
I was tired, having not had enough sleep the night before, nine hours had transpired since leaving that morning - in this state of fatigue I almost backed into a pole outside where we stayed. After booking in we found the accommodation to be comfortable and cosy, with an attractive garden outside.
So here we finally were at our holiday destination, Fish Hoek, one of a number of small seaside villages that stretch from Muizenberg to Simonstown on the one side of the Cape peninsula.
After settling in we looked for somewhere to have supper and found a small Italian restaurant where the owner was Italian. When my friend ordered a rock shandy to drink they didn't seem to have this available so after some friendly banter she settled on a coca cola.
My Friend in the Garden at the place we Stayed
The next day we did some exploring, stopping at a few places to view the scenery. Some of the beaches in Cape Town have these huge boulders which create protection from the wind and make for cosy places to tan and swim – one such beach is called Boulders Beach where penguins roam freely.
The following day we drove into the city (this time on the freeway) but missed the turn-off to the waterfront where we were going. This resulted in some frustration until I finally found the entrance to the massive parking areas.
After breakfasting at a place with a great view we walked around outside and took photo's. It's really nice there with the many boats in the harbour and the majestic Table Mountain in the background.
Stalls offer boat cruises, some of which go to Robben Island, the nearby island in the sea where Nelson Mandela was incarcerated for many years before being released and then going on to becoming an iconic president of South Africa for one term.
Waterfront with Table Mountain
The day was hot, we ventured on past Seapoint, Clifton beach, Camps Bay - the view was stunning, until we arrived at Hout Bay, a good place to stop for a rest. From the photos I took here you can see the beach is expansive; it also has a quaint harbour with fishing boats.
From Hout Bay there is a scenic road called Chapman's Peak that one can take – it winds around the peninsula, just be careful of baboons here though. We went a different way through the Constantia area which is lined with trees, many of them oaks.
Having a swim but Interrupted
Saturday was going to be our last day in Cape Town, not wanting to drive a lot again as we'd done previously, we went to the local beach at Fish Hoek. I had a swim and wanted to swim again but the sudden loud sound of a siren signalled the spotting of sharks in the sea. Everyone in the water had to get out until the scare was over.
The beach at Fish Hoek
Wrapping up we saw Kalk Bay, yet another fishing village close to our accommodation as well as Muizenberg a popular beach for surfers, bathers and kite surfers.
Such a lot to see and do, perhaps if there's a next time we'll go for two or three weeks to Cape Town, also known as the Mother City. I wrote a more detailed article about it on my other Hubpages account where my user name is: 'Dave Lynch' and the title is: 'About Cape Town, South Africa'.
Seeing the 'Big Tree' again
On the return journey our stopover was at the Storms River village where we went to a nearby forest to see the 'Big Tree' which has been growing for approximately 800 years. I'd seen it as a child remembering only that there was an access road to it back then, whereas now there's a wooden pathway leading to it, which adds to the charm of walking through the surrounding trees and foliage to get to view it.
Apart from a few tense moments in heavy traffic, I enjoyed revisiting Cape Town and the journey there and back. I've hardly scratched the surface of what one can do in the area, such as visiting wine farms, hiking, viewing museums and art galleries, - one needs a longer stay there to do all that and more.
The 'Big Tree'
Map of the Cape Peninsula
© 2017 David Edward Lynch