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Travel in South Africa - from Matjiesfontein to Cape Town

Updated on May 7, 2016

Table Mountain - View from Bloubergstrand

Picture: Courtesy to Rina Dique
Picture: Courtesy to Rina Dique

South Africa - right at the bottom of Africa

South Africa - the little dark-blue area at the bottom of Africa
South Africa - the little dark-blue area at the bottom of Africa | Source

A road trip from the North West Province to Cape Town, South Africa

We find ourselves at Matjiesfontein, only three hours away from Cape Town. Shall we spend the night in the beguiling Lord Milner Hotel, or shall we hit the road and be in time to see the sun set on the Atlantic Ocean?

The reader will only comprehend our hesitation when they go back to the beginning of our journey, from where we have left the North West Province at Orkney, our travelling through the vast flats of the Orange Free State and then, refreshed after a good night’s rest in the once splendid Springfontein Hotel, our trip through the semi-desert called the Great Karoo. Read all about the first phase of our tour HERE.

Matjiesfontein - Lord Milner Hotel

Matjiesfontein - Lord Milner Hotel
Matjiesfontein - Lord Milner Hotel | Source

Touws River

Source

From Matjiesfontein to Touwsrivier

Of course, the ocean is like a magnet, encouraging many to do the road trip of fifteen and a half hours from Klerksdorp to Cape Town in one session.

Fifty minutes later we pass Touws_River, a small, sleepy railway town hosting only about 7000 people. Here we reach the end of the Karoo and the beginning of the beautiful, mountainous Western Cape and its Mediterranean climate.

Part of a large anticline in the Cape_Fold_Belt, the Hex River Mountains is the second highest mountain range in the Western Cape province, with peaks up to 2,249 metres (7,379 feet). During winter (July/August) these mountains are covered with snow. However, it is October and we are at the beginning of summer. The valleys are paradises filled with deciduous fruit trees - cherries, peaches, olives, and grapes. The flats are covered with the Cape Province's very unique vegetation, called Fynbos (Fine Bush), which forms part of the Cape Floral Kingdom (Capensis) - one of ONLY six floristic kingdoms in the world. Read more about fynbos HERE.

From Touwsrivier to Worcester

Click thumbnail to view full-size
TouwsrivierTouwsrivier - Touws River At Touwsrivier South Africa - N1 Between Touwsrivier and De Doorns - Beginning of the Hex River Mountains South Africa - N1 Between Touwsrivier and De Doorns - Beginning of the Hex River Mountains South Africa - N1 Between Touwsrivier and De Doorns - Hex River Valley South Africa - N1 at De Doorns - Hex River Valley South Africa - N1 at De Doorns - Hex River Valley Township at De Doorns, Western Cape
Touwsrivier
Touwsrivier | Source
Touwsrivier - Touws River
Touwsrivier - Touws River | Source
At Touwsrivier
At Touwsrivier | Source
South Africa - N1 Between Touwsrivier and De Doorns - Beginning of the Hex River Mountains
South Africa - N1 Between Touwsrivier and De Doorns - Beginning of the Hex River Mountains | Source
South Africa - N1 Between Touwsrivier and De Doorns - Beginning of the Hex River Mountains
South Africa - N1 Between Touwsrivier and De Doorns - Beginning of the Hex River Mountains | Source
South Africa - N1 Between Touwsrivier and De Doorns - Hex River Valley
South Africa - N1 Between Touwsrivier and De Doorns - Hex River Valley | Source
South Africa - N1 at De Doorns - Hex River Valley
South Africa - N1 at De Doorns - Hex River Valley | Source
South Africa - N1 at De Doorns - Hex River Valley
South Africa - N1 at De Doorns - Hex River Valley | Source
Township at De Doorns, Western Cape
Township at De Doorns, Western Cape | Source

Mountains between Worcester and Cape Town, South Africa

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Mountains between Worcester and Cape Town, South Africa © Marie Coetser MaritzMountains between Worcester and Cape Town, South Africa © Marie Coetser MaritzMountains between Worcester and Cape Town, South Africa © Marie Coetser MaritzMountains between Worcester and Cape Town, South Africa © Marie Coetser MaritzMountains between Worcester and Cape Town, South Africa © Marie Coetser MaritzMountains between Worcester and Cape Town, South Africa © Marie Coetser MaritzMountains between Worcester and Cape Town, South Africa © Marie Coetser Maritz
Mountains between Worcester and Cape Town, South Africa © Marie Coetser Maritz
Mountains between Worcester and Cape Town, South Africa © Marie Coetser Maritz
Mountains between Worcester and Cape Town, South Africa © Marie Coetser Maritz
Mountains between Worcester and Cape Town, South Africa © Marie Coetser Maritz
Mountains between Worcester and Cape Town, South Africa © Marie Coetser Maritz
Mountains between Worcester and Cape Town, South Africa © Marie Coetser Maritz
Mountains between Worcester and Cape Town, South Africa © Marie Coetser Maritz
Mountains between Worcester and Cape Town, South Africa © Marie Coetser Maritz
Mountains between Worcester and Cape Town, South Africa © Marie Coetser Maritz
Mountains between Worcester and Cape Town, South Africa © Marie Coetser Maritz
Mountains between Worcester and Cape Town, South Africa © Marie Coetser Maritz
Mountains between Worcester and Cape Town, South Africa © Marie Coetser Maritz
Mountains between Worcester and Cape Town, South Africa © Marie Coetser Maritz
Mountains between Worcester and Cape Town, South Africa © Marie Coetser Maritz

Fynbos (Fine Bush)

Click thumbnail to view full-size
ProteaFynbos - Speldekussing - Suikerbos - Sugar Bush ProteaKing Protea - South Africa's National Flower King Protea - South Africa's National Flower Fynbos - Erica South Africa - Capensis - Fine Bush - Fynbos South Africa - Capensis - Fine Bush - Sugar Bush - Speldekussing - Suikerbossie South Africa - Capensis - Fine Bush - Fynbos - King Protea South Africa - Capensis - Fine Bush - - Speldekussing - Pincushion South Africa - Capensis - Fine Bush - Fynbos South Africa - Capensis - Fine Bush - Fynbos South Africa - Cape Baboon loves the seed and roots of fynbos  South Africa - Capensis - Fine Bush - Fynbos South Africa - Capensis - Fine Bush at Cape Point
Protea
Protea | Source
Fynbos - Speldekussing - Suikerbos - Sugar Bush
Fynbos - Speldekussing - Suikerbos - Sugar Bush | Source
Protea
Protea | Source
King Protea - South Africa's National Flower
King Protea - South Africa's National Flower | Source
Source
King Protea - South Africa's National Flower
King Protea - South Africa's National Flower | Source
Fynbos - Erica
Fynbos - Erica | Source
South Africa - Capensis - Fine Bush - Fynbos
South Africa - Capensis - Fine Bush - Fynbos | Source
South Africa - Capensis - Fine Bush - Sugar Bush - Speldekussing - Suikerbossie
South Africa - Capensis - Fine Bush - Sugar Bush - Speldekussing - Suikerbossie | Source
South Africa - Capensis - Fine Bush - Fynbos - King Protea
South Africa - Capensis - Fine Bush - Fynbos - King Protea | Source
South Africa - Capensis - Fine Bush - - Speldekussing - Pincushion
South Africa - Capensis - Fine Bush - - Speldekussing - Pincushion | Source
South Africa - Capensis - Fine Bush - Fynbos
South Africa - Capensis - Fine Bush - Fynbos | Source
South Africa - Capensis - Fine Bush - Fynbos
South Africa - Capensis - Fine Bush - Fynbos | Source
South Africa - Cape Baboon loves the seed and roots of fynbos
South Africa - Cape Baboon loves the seed and roots of fynbos | Source
South Africa - Capensis - Fine Bush - Fynbos
South Africa - Capensis - Fine Bush - Fynbos | Source
South Africa - Capensis - Fine Bush at Cape Point
South Africa - Capensis - Fine Bush at Cape Point | Source

Worcester

Worcester is the largest town in the Western Cape's interior region and known as the capital of the Breede Rivier Valley. Mountains upon mountains actually delimit the entire district. Since before 1700 the area was known as the Breede River Valley. It was a hunter's paradise and the main source of income, with licenses issued by the Dutch East India Company, was elephant tusks. Those days the area was inhabited by the San people (hunter/gatherers) and the Khoi people (livestock farmers). However, by 1713 the San and Khoi people were almost extinct due to the smallpox virus that was introduced to them by the European settlers. From 1860 onwards, due to the input of German settlers, orchards and vineyards reduced livestock farming. Today this area – the Breede River Valley - is the largest wine producing region in South Africa. The first Black Africans, employed as cheap labour, arrived in 1945, at the end of the First World War.

Languages spoken in Worcester today are Afrikaans (73.1%), Xhosa (19.1%), English (3.7%), Sotho (1.7%), Other (2.4%). Read more about Worcester HERE.

Worcester, South Africa

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Worcester Dam Worcester - Dutch Reformed church Worcester, South Africa At Worcester botanical gardens
Worcester Dam
Worcester Dam | Source
Worcester - Dutch Reformed church
Worcester - Dutch Reformed church | Source
Worcester, South Africa
Worcester, South Africa | Source
At Worcester botanical gardens
At Worcester botanical gardens | Source

From Worcester to Cape Town

Another one and a half hour from Worcester to Cape Town!
Another one and a half hour from Worcester to Cape Town! | Source

From Worcester to Cape Town

Our decision to rush to Cape Town instead of having a good night’s rest at Matjiesfontein now takes its toll.

It is dusky by the time we drive through Paarl (Pearl), though we can clearly see the majestic Pearl Mountain (Paarl Rock), edged against the sky. This is the second largest granite outcrop in the world - geological bubbles that originated millions of years ago in the boiling lower crust of the earth.

After Cape Town and Stellenbosch, Paarl is the third oldest town (or rather European settlement) in South Africa, officially ‘claimed’ in 1687 when Governor Simon van der Stel gave title to the first colonial farms to "free burghers" in the area. Today it is the largest town in the region called the Cape Winelands.

It was here, at the Victor Verster Correctional Centre, renamed as Drakenstein Correctional Centre, where Nelson Mandela ended his 27 years imprisonment on February 11, 1990. Read Nelson Mandela’s biography HERE.

A monument for the Afrikaans language is also here, officially opened on October 10, 1975 to commemorate the day when Afrikaans was declared one of South Africa’s official languages separated from Dutch on 5 May 1925. Read more about the Afrikaans language HERE.

In this town is also a small archive - The Drakenstein Heemkring - run and funded entirely by a group of dedicated volunteers. Read more about their doings HERE.

Read more about Paarl HERE.


Paarl, Stellenbosh, Strand

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Paarl Rock at Paarl, South Africa Paarl Rock, South Africa Nelson Mandela's monument at the Drakenstein Correctional Centre, Paarl, South Africa Afrikaans Language Monument at Paarl (Wikimedia) Drakenstein Heemkring
Paarl Rock at Paarl, South Africa
Paarl Rock at Paarl, South Africa | Source
Paarl Rock, South Africa
Paarl Rock, South Africa | Source
Nelson Mandela's monument at the Drakenstein Correctional Centre, Paarl, South Africa
Nelson Mandela's monument at the Drakenstein Correctional Centre, Paarl, South Africa
Afrikaans Language Monument at Paarl (Wikimedia)
Afrikaans Language Monument at Paarl (Wikimedia) | Source
Drakenstein Heemkring
Drakenstein Heemkring | Source
Source

Stellenbosch

Thirty minutes after Paarl, when we drive through Stellenbosch, it was dark. But two days later we will get an opportunity to visit this second oldest town in South Africa. (More about Stellenbosch to be published in another hub)

Then, on the horizon, we see Table Mountain, glowing like a beacon among the stars.


Tafelberg (Table Mountain)

Table Mountain’s level plateau of approximately 3 kilometres (2 miles) long and up to 1,087 metres (3,566 ft) high, has made it a most significant landmark since the Portuguese navigator, Bartholomeu Dias, discovered the feasible sea route from Europe to India via the south of Africa in 1488. The first European to land in Table Bay was António de Saldanha in 1503. He named the mountain Taboa do Cabo (Table of the Cape).

The ‘table’ is the northern end of a sandstone mountain range that forms the ‘spine’ of the Cape Peninsula. (Driving all the way to the southern point (Cape Point) and back, is on our agenda for tomorrow. We’ll drive down on the east side of the ‘spine’ and back on the west side.)

Table Mountain is often covered by orographic clouds, formed when a south-easterly wind goes up the mountain's slopes into colder air. The moisture then condenses to form the so-called "tablecloth" of cloud.

All its peaks and cliffs in the Table Mountain range have distinct names. Read more about them at Table_Mountain, Devil’s Peak, Signal_Hill (also known as Lion’s Rump, Lion_Head, Chapman's_Peak, and, in particularly, at another paradise in the world.

Table Mountain, Cape Town - Random Pictures

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Table Mountain, South Africa Table Mountain, South Africa Table Mountain, South Africa Table Mountain, South Africa Table Mountain, South Africa Table Mountain, South Africa - Devil's Peak on the right Table Mountain is often covered by orographic cloudsTable Mountain, South Africa - View from Nlaauwbergstrand. Devil's Peak on the right Table Mountain, South AfricaTable Mountain - View from the Bo-Kaao Devil's Peak - University of Cape Town's Upper Campus on its slopesTable Mountain Range - the 'spine' of the Cape Peninsula Table Mountain Range - the 'spine' of the Cape Peninsula Part of the lower Table Mountain range, South Africa  - The Twelve ApostlesPart of the lower Table Mountain range, South Africa Part of the lower Table Mountain range, South Africa
Source
Table Mountain, South Africa
Table Mountain, South Africa | Source
Table Mountain, South Africa
Table Mountain, South Africa | Source
Table Mountain, South Africa
Table Mountain, South Africa | Source
Table Mountain, South Africa
Table Mountain, South Africa | Source
Table Mountain, South Africa
Table Mountain, South Africa | Source
Table Mountain, South Africa - Devil's Peak on the right
Table Mountain, South Africa - Devil's Peak on the right | Source
Table Mountain is often covered by orographic clouds
Table Mountain is often covered by orographic clouds | Source
Table Mountain, South Africa - View from Nlaauwbergstrand. Devil's Peak on the right
Table Mountain, South Africa - View from Nlaauwbergstrand. Devil's Peak on the right | Source
Table Mountain, South Africa
Table Mountain, South Africa | Source
Table Mountain - View from the Bo-Kaao
Table Mountain - View from the Bo-Kaao | Source
Devil's Peak - University of Cape Town's Upper Campus on its slopes
Devil's Peak - University of Cape Town's Upper Campus on its slopes | Source
Table Mountain Range - the 'spine' of the Cape Peninsula
Table Mountain Range - the 'spine' of the Cape Peninsula | Source
Table Mountain Range - the 'spine' of the Cape Peninsula
Table Mountain Range - the 'spine' of the Cape Peninsula | Source
Part of the lower Table Mountain range, South Africa  - The Twelve Apostles
Part of the lower Table Mountain range, South Africa - The Twelve Apostles | Source
Part of the lower Table Mountain range, South Africa
Part of the lower Table Mountain range, South Africa | Source
Part of the lower Table Mountain range, South Africa
Part of the lower Table Mountain range, South Africa | Source

The next phase of our tour....

After a good night's rest we plan to go on a wine tasting spree....

Click on the link and read about our tour of the Cape Winelands -

A-picture-tour-of-Stellenbosch and a wine route....


Beach at Strand
Beach at Strand | Source

© 2014 Martie Coetser

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