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  • Day77

    Journey to Cape Point and Gansbaai

    February 9 in South Africa ⋅ ☀️ 20 °C

    I got up early after a very disrupted night with little sleep. I had a light breakfast in the communal kitchen, packed away my things, complained at reception about our inconsiderate room mates, and boarded the truck for the next leg of our journey to Gansbaai. Lauren came onto the truck to say her final goodbyes to everyone ahead of her departure from Africa later that evening. It felt very strange on the truck with so many of our fellow travellers having now left the trip and only seven of us remaing: myself, Irish Brian, Kristin, Phil, Bro and Grant. There was also a new arrival for the South African section of our journey, Graham. We did now have lots more space on the truck to sit and move around but I preferred it when there were more fellow travellers. We headed out of Cape Town with the cloud covered Table Mountain slowly receding. We drove along a lovely coastal road with many sandy beaches and coastal resorts, through Fish Hoek where Phil, Bro, Lauren and I had had fish and chips the day before. We passed through Simonstown and on to the Boulders Beach Penguin visitor centre which Lauren and I had passed the previous day to view penguins. This time Oasis Overland paid for us to go in the visitors centre and we walked down a wooden walkway with information boards to the beach where there were a large number of penguins all carrying out their daily lives. You could see bonded pairs of Penguins preening each other, female penguins sat on eggs in their small, scraped out burrows, and male penguins delivering nest material that they had often stolen from nearby unattended nests. It was fascinating to see so many penguins carrying out their behaviours and I had a bit of a reverie reflecting on the immensity of life on this planet and how each small animal carries out its behaviour and life tasks to make its small contribution to the great web of life and very likely this same process is happening on countless other planets across the universe. I pondered what my next contribution to the life of this planet could be. At one point a seagull flew down to take an unattended penguin egg and dropped it on nearby rocks to smash the egg and make its contents available to eat. The sometimes seemingly cruel cycle of life was encapsulated in this moment. There were also young tree hyrax feeding on berries in a nearby tree. All too soon, after an hour viewing the penguins, it was time to return to the truck. We continued down the stunning coastline to our next destination at Cape Point. This is the most South Westerly point in Africa and we took photos by the large wooden sign there. Big rolling waves pounded the coast there as a few fur seals basked on the rocks. This is part of a national park and surprisingly there were several ostrich sat in the bushes with just their long thin necks and small heads sticking up. We also saw a few eland nearby. We next drove up into the mountain overlooking Cape Poimt which is topped with the second oldest lighthouse in Africa which was built to warn ships rounding the treacherous coastline of the Cape of Good Hope. We climbed up the well built path up to the lighthouse with spectacular views of the coastline, cliffs and white foaming seas way below. We walked back down to the cafe to buy rolls for lunch and were surprised by a marauding baboon intent on sending people running and stealing their lunch. He came towards Krustin and Bro who made a run for it. I and Phil stayed still and I put my roll behind my back. The baboon moved on to find another victim and got his roll which he then proceeded to eat nonchalantly on a wall.
    We next drove along very beautiful coastline with bright blue seas, big rolling, white frothing waves, and mile after mile of sandy beaches. We drove inland for a while but then back to the coast and onto what is known as the 'Garden Route' which is a spectacularly beautiful coastline with large mountains rising up from the sea. This was some of the most impressive coastline I had ever seen. We then headed more inland over moonscape like mountains of loose grey rocks. We continued along a main road through more mountains until a large 'Gansbaai' sign posted across the bottom of a mountain announced our arrival at our campsite which was right by the sea adjoining a small industrial harbour that was also once an old fishing port from the 1i800s. We pitched our tents and walked up into the small provincial town where we had a nice Italian meal. I had a very tasty lasagne which I hadn't eaten in years washed down with a lovely bottle of Shiraz red wine which I shared with fellow traveller, Kristin. There was a strong offshore wind at Gansbai and the evening was quite cool. A short shower of light rain began to fall as we returned to our tents. I was feeling quite inebriated from the red wine and let the wonderful sound of the rolling waves lull me quickly into sleep.
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