As part of the #WeOpenAfrica campaign, I recently got to road trip around Limpopo with a few of South Africa’s top travel bloggers. Here’s a little glimpse into one of my absolute favourite experiences of the entire journey.
This has been a pretty good year for road tripping – first, exploring the West Coast with Guillaume in June, then going to Addo with Mom in August and now, in just 3 sleeps’ time, I’ll be heading off on an epic adventure up north with Open Africa.
Forming part of the #WeOpenAfrica campaign, this 5-day trip will take us from Johannesburg to Limpopo and back again, with some magical stops along the way.
While the whole itinerary has me doing little happy dances, there are five things I’m especially excited about:
Last Sunday, Guillaume had some time off work for the first time in ages, so we decided to take a casual drive up the R27 and check out the flowers in the West Coast National Park.
Well, let me tell you, a Sunday in September on the West Coast is CHAOS. We arrived at the park’s gate somewhere around 10am, only to find at least 30 cars already queuing to get in (by the time we left a couple of hours later, a new line extended about 200m down the highway). Luckily the wait wasn’t too long, but naturally, we found ourselves constantly stuck in some sort of traffic.
As I mentioned the other day, my mom and I recently spent a week in the Addo Elephant National Park, just to take a little break from our busy lives.
While we have this long-standing dream of doing the Camino de Santiago together (which I know we will eventually get round to), time and finances haven’t really allowed (just yet), but we both felt like taking a bit of much-needed time out, so decided to do a more manageable local trip instead.
Both avid bush-lovers, we knew we wanted to go somewhere a little wild, but also didn’t want to spend too very many hours on travel… which made Addo the obvious and perfect choice.
Hey Sea Point,
You sure do know how to throw a spectacular sunset. Here’s just a little note to say thank you.
At the beginning of August, my mom and I took a little trip up the coast just to get away for a bit and spend some time together. She had recently wrapped up five intense years of political work as a ward councillor in the Overstrand municipality and I was on the brink of starting a brand new job after a few months of trying to make ends meet as a freelancer (more about all of this another time).
In short, we both needed a little breather before stepping into something new.
After stocking up on a few groceries, visiting Strassbergers leather shoe shop and popping in at the Rooibos Tea Factory in Clanwilliam, we headed on into the mountains.
Even though it was a couple of degrees colder here, the skies above were clear. So, we agreed to do the camping thing once again.
It’s a strange compulsion we Capetonians have – this need to conquer Lion’s Head. Not once. Not twice. But as many times as we possibly can.
At the crack of dawn. As dusk settles over the city. By the light of the full moon.
There’s a mountain in the middle of the city and we shall climb it. We shall climb it till our feet would follow the path even if our eyes were blindfolded. And we shall Instagram every attempt and share our pics on Facebook too.
I guess it says a lot about our need to reconnect with nature, but when you’re battling crowds just to get a view… it kind of defeats the purpose.
So, how about taking a route less travelled next time?
Here are two I can highly recommend:
On the short (and possibly illegal) drive from Elands to Lamberts Bay, we encountered several cars heavy-laden with surfboards and saw a few stoked-looking bodyboarders changing into and out of wetsuits at Doringbaai.
This spelled only good things for Lamberts, which made Guillaume step a little more firmly on the accelerator.
True as bob, popular surf spot Yo Yos was pumping: 3 – 4ft lines marched into the bay, with a stiff, yet gentle offshore wind combing the perfect a-frame peaks. Surfers whooped as they carved up the playful walls, the sun slowly setting behind them, leaving streaks of incandescent pink, orange, purple and blue in its wake. (This beautiful description courtesy of Guillaume).
We witnessed all of this from the neighbouring municipal camspite, where we were pitching our tent for the next two or three (we hadn’t quite decided yet) nights. Guillaume had gallantly sacrificed his surf to help set up the camp in the last bit of light.
After a warm and cosy night at Die Opstal in Paternoster, we packed the bakkie once more and set off bright and early towards Lamberts Bay.
With only 150km to cover, we decided to take it super slow and stop ever so often along the way. Instead of tracing our way back along the R399 via Vredenburg, Guillaume took us on a scenic back road adventure through St. Helena Bay, where the prevalence of Lucky Star branding suggested that this must be the tuna and sardine canning capital of the West Coast.
The chilly morning skies were clear and blue, forming a striking contrast with the rolling green farmlands unfurling to the left and right.