Thursday, October 22, 2009

Cape Town

Today's route:  Seapoint to Noordhoek

The last two days in Cape Town have been wonderful, both in the enjoyment of this increadibly beautiful city and in the satisfaction of a tour well completed.

Yesterday, Wednesday, was a very windy day. The Kennedy's and us left the hotel early and drove north to Bleuberg, which provides the iconic view of Table Mountain across the bay. I have always wanted a photograph of the car from there and it was well worth the drive.

A sugested drive was around thge penninsula, but as windy as it was I decided to avoid the False Bay side and instead headed to Noordhoek along the eastern side. Through Sea Point and then onto Clifton - the beaches as magnificent as ever and then through Bantry Bay and along the most magnificent coastal road up past Llandudno and then down Suikerbosie into Hout Bay. All this was my regular cycling route when I liverd here for a few months so many years ago and it has not lost it's splendor.

Up and onto Chapman's Peak with its long climb is an incredible experience. Sheer cliffs alongside, the icy waves crashing onto the rocks below it is simply magnificent. Rounding the apex, the view back to Hout Bay is outstanding, then we begin the twists and turns of the descent into Noordhoek.

Once in Noordhoek, we were welcomed at Lord and Lady Laidlaw's estate - the most magnificent home and gardens I have ever visited. Spanning over 300 hectares, it is crafted with style and elegance and unlike many large houses it is clearly a home - both warm and intimate depsite it's size. The gardens are simly spectacular and defy adequate description that would do them any sort of justice. A wonderful lunch was catered with care by Christine and with excellence by their chef. It was one of the highlights of this tour.

Also at the luncheon Fredericke had an exhibition of her work - stunning paintings by one of South Africa's most talented artisits. We were fortunate to see them.

After lunch we returned to our hotel and a little later went out to Gordon Ramsey's restaurant Maze - the food was forgetable but the company was great.

Our last day, today, started with a visit to the Christian Barnard Museum which honors the world's first heart transplant - it was excellent. Then a loverly lunch with family (Eve and Gerald ress) and a friend Robyn Nuthall  and then a good afternoon with my brother Rod.

Our final tour banquet was held tonight - it was excellent and sad witht he realization that the tour is now over. Tomorrow we ship the cars, and ourselves, back to our many corners of th world.

I would like to thank John and Fredericke White and Stuart and Cindy Maxwell, our organisers and hosts, for the trip of a lifetime.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Franschoek to Cape Town

Today's route: Franschoek to Cape Town  76 miles

After almost three years of planning, and months of car preperation, today we drove the final leg into Cape Town, South Africa's Mother City. The tour is not quite over, as there are day trips still planned.

It was with somewhat mixed feelings that I left Franschoek this morning after breakfast on this final destination leg of the journey. Situated in the heart of wine country, the drive was marked by fields and fields of grape vines as far a sone could look.

Our first stop was at the Franschoek Mpotor Museum, a private collection of some of the finest and rarest cars in the world, housed in four large showrooms. Simply stunning and they even had a Curved Dash Oldesmobile like mine!

After having tea there, we drove to the Hartenberg Wine Estate for lunch, where we were joined by local RR owners. A great wine tasting and simple picnic lunch.

After lunch, a fairly short 50 km to Cape Town, our first view of Table Mountain coming from quite far out.

After so many kilometers, we arrived at the Waterfront Raddison -  a spendid hotel right on the water. The car had made it, and apparently so had I.

It was quite sad parking for the last time, although there are day trips planned.

An hour later we were off to Table Mountain - a magnificent view from the top. Never tires.

Cape Town as a lovely as ever.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Arniston to Franschoek

Todays route: Arniston to Franschoek  197 miles

The sunrise in Arneston was brilliant orange between the early clouds. The howling seaside wind dies soon after sunrise and it was another brilliant blue sky day.

We left Arniston soon after breakfast, with Gerald Davies driving the first 25 km for me - he had come down from Botswana to visit! After he left, we carried on our route through huge farms of wheat and cattle - the heat building as the morning aged.

Our tea stop was in the seaside town of Hermanus at a private home. On arrival, it seemed the entire town was there to meet us, applauding as we entered and followed by a speech by the mayor. The home, contemporary in design, was built onto the rocks overlooking the huge expanse of beach. Every window framed a stunning view. The tea and snacks were wonderful, but the day was stolen by the multiple pods of whales visible fron the deck - mother's and calves.

After tea we headed for Franschoek. Soon enough the multiplicity of vineyards appeared as we were entering the very heart of the Cape wine industry. Field after field of vine.

The final climb up the Franschoek Pass was lovely, and the view as we crested stunning.

After descending the very twisty and steep downhill, we checked into the magnificent hotel - we have our own villa - and then promptly went into the vlllage for a kingclip lunch and some shopping.

Franschoek is a very pretty town - green leaves and white Cape architecture everywhere.

A relaxed afternoon and nice dinner tonight.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Oudtshoorn to Arniston

Today's route: Oudtshoorn to Arniston 204 miles

Today was a magnificent day - fantastic weather and a route that could only be dreamed for.

We left Oudtshoorn soon after breakfast, the crisp morning air buffeting around us in the opne car. The Klein Karoo's emptyness soom gave way to a mountain pass that was not very high, but also wound it's way through rock formations and over a river. The tea stop was at a very nice B&B and they certainly outdid themselves in all the baked goods - served in their back verandah garden under the purple canopy of a blossoming Jacaranda tree.

From tea we pressed on south, and soon enough the Karoo was replaced with endless farmlands of the southern Cape - gentle rolling hills surrounded by wheatfields.

Arniston is a fishing village at the tip of Africa - stark while houses in the Cape style that overlook the absolutely turqiose water of the Indian Ocean against stark white beaches. We pulled into the Arniston Hotel and parked on their front lawn - the ocean providing a magnificent backdrop to Bill Kennedy's panoramic picture.

After lunch (calamari, fish and carrot cake!), by now almost 4 pm, we jumped back into the car and set off for another 50 km (100 km round trip) to Cape Agulus - the southern most tip of the huge African continant, Arriving there, we found a stunning coastline and soon made our way to the very tip of Africa - where the Indian and Atlantic Ocean's meet in a swirl of turbulent vortices. A terrific feeling standing there - with the car to one side - definately one of those life moments.

Arrving back at the hotel just in time for dinner we managed to see the last of the sunset.

This was one of the best days on the tour. Perhaps they all are.

Saturday, October 17, 2009


Today's route: Rest day Oudshoorn

Today was a rest day, although there was a suggested drive to Prince Albert fro lunch followed by a climb over the Swartberg Pass.

As I had a lot of car work to do - relap some valves - I started early but pretty soon it became obvious to me that I would miss the drive, I chose to do the car work as it is more important to get it right now rather than risk a problem later.

So, Bill and I spent most of the day doing valve work in the hot sun. But, when we were finished, we did takr a drive up the Swartberg Pass to see the magnificent scenery - husge vistas of farmland abbutting the concoluted cliff faces of the Outeniqwa mountains. Quite magnificent.

Dinner was at the hotel - not bad - with a birthday song for Joan.

Short day - back on the road tomorrow.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Knysna to Outdshoorn

Today's route: Knysna to Outshoorn 74 miles

After an early breakfast we left Knysna along the N2 headed towards George. Although we had no schedules or suggested stop there, we did want to visit the transport museum. So, the coastal road to George is splendid, particularly as it passes through Wilderness -a long expanse of stunning beach.

The museum in George is very good - lots of steam engines and old railway carriages - the ones I remember taking from Johannesburg to cape Town!

Leaving George we headed inland, climbing the long and steep pass to cross the Outeniqwa mountains - a fantastic view from the top over the town and the ocean. The mountain range itself is impressive - I cannot imagine an ox wagon crossing, but know it waa done.

Once we crested the mountain, the scenery changed dramtically as the Klein Karoo stretched below us. Huge opne areas of scrub, with valleys green with farming.

Before long, we had evidence that Outdshorn was close - the ostrich farms with which this town is synonemous. After checking into the hotel, we had a lovely braai lunch then left to explore the Safari Ostrich Farm - I was last there about 30 years ago! These are strange birds, but it was a lot of fun!

Dinner tonight was a buffet at the hotel - very nice.

Thursday, October 15, 2009


Today's route: Rest day Knysna

Today was an extremely lazy day. Somewhat overcast but not cold at all.

First up at 11 am was a meeting with local classic car enthusiasts at the Knysna Yacht Club. They brought their cars - most MG's, and we looked at theirs and they looked at ours. It was good fun. Following this we walked around the stores at the waterfront and had a nice, light seafood lunch.

Most people went shopping or relaxed / napped at Belvedere Manor until 5.30 pm, when we boarded minibuses to take us back to the harbor for a sunset dinner cruise. Nice "paddle" boat and a good dinner. Qute relaxing and back at the hotel by 8.45 pm.

Tomorrow, back on the road.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Knysna to the Heads and Wilderness

Today's route: Knysna to the Heads and Wilderness approx 70 miles

Today was a rest day at the Belvedere Manor - the wonderful hotel we are staying in at Knysna,

After an outdoor breakfast,we set out for the Heads - the two huge outcrops that form the entrance from the Indian Ocean to the Knysna lagoon. We drove up and up to reach the Visitor Lookoput point. The view is stunning - the town of Knysna, the harbor and lagoon and of course the pocean and hazard filled coastline. It's a great drive up and a slightly nerve racking drive down in an old car!

After a quick stop in town to look around, we headed out to Wilderness for lunch. Karl, a dairy farmer and mechanic is travelling with us on the tour to take care of cars that need it, and has a wonde4rful farm in Wilderness, about 50 km from Knysna. The drive is lovely - ocean on one side and mountains and lakes on the other.

Karl and his wife Tilly had prepared a fantastic lunch of salads and braai'd meat, breads and desert - great food at a very relaxed and beautiful location. We sat in the garden at their house on the farm, surrounded by fields of cows - some of whom calved while we we there. Also the first time I had tried fresh - straight from the cow milk - unpateurised. Delicious.

After arriving back at the hotel this evening, some minor car work and then another braai'd dinner - boerewors, lamb, chicken etc. And pudding.

Weather has ben great for a few days - sunny and hot.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Port Elizabeth to Knysna

Today's route: Port Elizabeth to Knysna 205 miles

Today began a route that will encompass some of the most magnificent scenery in South Africa - the fames Garden Route. It would have begun better had I filled up with petrol on the way into Port Elizabeth yesterday and not run out a block from the garage, but no matter!

Leaving PE we travelled along the coastal road west for a while through farmland and small villages clinging to the coastal cliffs to Humansdorp, past Jeffrey's Bay and finally entering the Tsitsikama Forrest where the trees grow tall and lush on wither side of the road. As we were amongst the last to leave PE, we soon came accross some of the others travelling a little slower than us and it is always fun to travel for a while in convoy.

Turning into Storm's River Mouth we wound along a steep decline along the cliffs towards the crushing foam below - the rocks that have wrecked so many ships majestic and threatening as ever. We parked at the tea room - all the cars drawing much attention. Looking out over the rocks, water and cliffs brought back many memories from times spent there in our Varsity years - it looks very much the same (larger tea room though).

From Storm's River Mouth, we continued on the N2, crested a hill after about 50 km and found Plettenberg Bay stretched out far below us. Even from that distance the growth in Plett was readily apparent. I turned into Plett, filled up with petrol again and carried on along the main road.

Plett is very built up now with new houses, condo's, a school and many businesses - however it is easy to recognise the skeleton upon which it is built. Lunch was at a fantastic restuarant overlooking Lookoout beach - an incredible view. Kingklip at last! The sun was shining well at that time and it was really terrific.

After lunch we deviated from the route to look at Plett a little. The main road takes a sharp downhill towards the ocean, and rounding a corner we saw the Beacon Isle Hotel - unchanged. I drove up, and as when I was here in my 20's, they would not let me in! Howver, the view of Robberg Beach from the hotel was stunning. Plett is still a magnificent place despite the growth.

From Plett we covered 36 km to Knysna to the Belveder Manor - a loverly hotel of cottages - we have a two story house. We sat around and chatted unbtil dinner - forgetable food at best.