Saturday, April 21, 2012

And the road back north, home with a leaking radiator

Order and quiet in Vishoek valley
Time, passing in a blur: False Bay at night
Sunset: Klein Karoo

The time in Cape Town passed in a blur. The Cruiser needed some tender loving care, and at last I found someone who cares, and has the level of professional integrity that I require. We may consider moving to Cape Town just for that! Three people checking each other's work! The radiator people were less helpful. Taking it out would take one, maybe two days, but then, if they could not repair it, they would require four working days to build a new one. I alone had taken it out and replaced in twice in one day, so I felt that I should rather keep filling from a can and hope for the best.

Church, near Calitzdorp
Then we headed north, taking it slowlythrough the famous Route 62, along the Klein Karoo valley between the mountains, and carrying the rain with us to Calitzdorp, but arriving too late to visit our favourite cellars. The radiator needed no water!

Mountain road
North into the Karoo
The next day was new territory for us, and we tracked along the old Voortrekker road, always between the mountains. The last rain of summer followed us as we traveled through places where my ancestors struggled to live as nomads, and the small towns we passed through had the air of tamed wilderness. 

We were beginning to see the first signs of winter approaching: leaves turning yellow, snow on the Sneeuberge, and the air had a bite in it. 

The night we passed in Graaf Reinet, one of the towns that had declared an independent Republic after the French Revolution. Next morning the radiator needed a liter of water.

Rain on the mountains near De Rust
Graaf Reinet
Then we set off again, on the last day of the Easter weekend, and we felt the anxiety of the migrating holiday makers. For a few short kilometers, near Colesberg, we joined the mad rush on the N1, but we cheated, and took a deviation on a gravel road, nowhere as good as the Namibian ones, on to Smithfield.

Autumn colours in the Free State
A pleasant if cold night was followed by a rather rude surprise. It needed three liters of water to fill the radiator! We crept through the great emptiness of the eastern Free State with one eye on the thermometer, and stopped at The Cabin outside Lady Brand, added a liter to the radiator, and went on.

Nearing the Rand it became clear that we would hit Johannesburg at the height of the peak traffic, so confirmed that we would visit Hester and Lawrence in Meyerton until the worst was over.

Stormy weather on the way
The radiator was really dripping when it had cooled down, and we resumed our journey with apprehension. Passing the airport at Kempton Park the temperature gauge started creeping upwards, and I stopped at the Engen to the sound of boiling water. From there we made it home, but by the next morning the water was flowing out as fast as you pour it in. So off to see if Mr Toyota in Japan can get me a new one. Yes, he can start making one immediately, and will send it by the first ship.

And so ends another safari. Interesting, new friends made, new places seen, new memories to cherish.
Autumn in the Free State

Cuddling under the hillside against the coming winter

The migration route. 

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Cape Town!

The long road south from Springbok

From Springbok we wended our way down to Clanwilliam, Citrusdal, and on to Cape Town.

Old world comfort
It was great to be able to come from the harsh highlands and desert of the Richtersveld, down into the Olifantsrivier valley, and into the richer, more fertile area around Citrusdal, on to the wide wheat fields around Mooreesburg, and then the winelands leading up to Cape Town.

Clanwilliam: frontier architecture
Imagine farming here, all on your own!
We enjoyed reminiscing about Van Riebeeck's explorers who passed this way looking for the fabulous wealth of Monomotapa, and the lives of the first farmers to settle here.

Beauty in a harsh land
Could this be our new offroad vehicle?
Needs some work, though!
We spent a couple of days chilling out in the warm waters of The Baths and then another few days doing the sights in Cape Town before putting our visitors on the plane back to Mauritius. Shahnaz has some diving to do, to get her soul wet again before we follow the Great Trek back to Pretoria.

And we had our share of problems too: the old radiator problem resurfaced! Jan Otto in Citrusdal found some Locktite for me, and that stopped the leak, but she is still loosing water at a worrying rate. In Cape Town I tried to have the problem fixed, even temporarily, but that seems to be difficult. So we will tackle the way home in 'safari mode' with a 5 liter can in hand!

Mountin patterns

Storm over the wheat fields

Table Mountain, at last!

Penguins and people at Simonstown