At the border, entering the "country" of Transnistria. Photo taken December 8, 2016.
Where are Kevin and Ruth right now? Tiraspol, Transnistria...the country that doesn't exist.

Where are they going next? Northern Moldova. Arrive December 11th.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Our first South Africa road trip!

Technically, our second. But the short 70 km (44 mile) drive from Cape Town to Leoni's beach house doesn't count!

So yesterday, we had to drive from Leoni's beach house on the western shore, all the way to the town of Hermanus which is on the southern shore. The most direct route would have been to go back through Cape Town.

But we wanted to take the scenic route!

We said goodbye to Leoni and her friend Nettie at around 9:30am.

Kevin, Nettie, Ruth, Leoni, and Angie.

This picture was actually taken on Saturday the 11th. Angie was another couchsurfer from Germany who left that day.

Thanks for having us Leoni. Enjoy your trip to Toronto, and hopefully we'll see Nettie again in February!

So, as we're driving out the road from the nature reserve, we spot something wriggling it's way across the road...

Yikes. He was about three feet (one meter) long. 

I tried looking up what kind of snake he was, but there are over 130 varieties of snakes in South Africa. Very few are poisonous, but the ones that are, are very poisonous!

Lots of farmland along the way, but also lots of grapes and vineyards.

We continued on through the towns of Darling and Malmesbury. Didn't stop there, but continued on to Paarl. This is a bigger city than we thought it would have been, with 190,000 people. It's in a valley in the wine region, and it's quite pretty. From the valley, we saw a monument on a hill and found our way up there to see what it was.

Turns out that it was the monument to the Afrikaans language. We paid the R20 ($2.15) each entry fee and drove to the almost empty parking lot near the top.

Nice view from all directions.

The monument itself, with Kevin on the steps.

There is a visitor center with information about the Afrikaans language. It started back in the 1600's as a version of Dutch, mixed with some of the local languages. It's still very similar to Dutch, and they share approximately 85% of the same words. 

Looking back at the city of Paarl from the Afrikaans language monument.

We had a little picnic at the top of the monument and then continued on our way through the valley. It's a beautiful area, and our next stop was the town of Franschhoek. This town was settled by the Huguenot French back in the 1700's. It's a gorgeous area, however we found it too be a little too "posh" for us. Lots of little cafes and restaurants. But still, worth a walk around.

There's a monument to the Huguenot French, built in 1945.

The church, is so pretty.

And the interior, with the wooden roof beams is beautiful!

From Franschhoek, you have to drive through a mountain pass. Given the beauty of the area, we were really looking forward to this and we weren't disappointed!  We found ourselves pulling over every few hundred meters to take another picture or two!




The road ahead!

At the top of the pass, looking back at the town of Franschhoek.

Arrived at Hermanus, South Africa late afternoon. We called our couchsurfing host Celeste (we can, because we have a cell phone now!) but there was no answer so we stopped and picked up some groceries. After that, we found the house and called again. This time, Celeste answered and had her husband Greg open the gate for us. We spent the evening getting acquainted, but we went to bed fairly early because we had to get up at 5:30am to go....cage diving with the Great White Sharks!!!

Yesterday's drive, 236 kms (147 miles).



24 comments:

  1. from pic appears to be non poisonous snake, sleek head. Very interesting about the Afrikaans language being based on Dutch.. as usual gorgeous pics.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You are correct Donna, it is a mole snake which is not poisonous.

      Delete
  2. wow--- what great views! no wonder you wanted the scenic route instead of going down through Cape Town.. good call!

    ~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*
    Karen and Steve
    (Blog) RVing: The USA Is Our Big Backyard
    http://kareninthewoods-kareninthewoods.blogspot.com
    ~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The Cape Town route was probably scenic as well but much, much busier. We were very happy with this route for many reasons.

      Delete
  3. The pictures are beautiful as usual.

    ReplyDelete
  4. I loved that drive and the mountain passes are Awesome. Hermanus is a really fun town to explore. I found the whale museum very interesting.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. We love the mountain passes too. Hermanus is a very picturesque town and we almost went in the Whale museum today but instead we hiked the contour/elephant path and then came back via the cliff path and we were very happy with our choice.

      Delete
  5. Another lovely post with fabulous photos, thank you for taking the trouble :)

    I am not an expert so don't take any chances...the snake looks to me like a Mole Snake and, if so, is relatively good-tempered and does not have any venom. But if you are uncertain then ALL snakes should be left well alone and treated with respect.

    BTW Snakes are not poisonous, though some of them are venomous :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Our couchsurfing host concurs with you, it is a mole snake and makes a great pet apparently. It can give you a nasty bite but it's venom isn't poisonous.

      Delete
    2. A lot of people here catch and keep snakes as pets but it is illegal to keep any indigenous animal without a permit.

      Poisonous and venomous are not the same thing ;)

      Delete
    3. Just been reading up on the two, to get a better understanding. It seems to be a common mistake between the two. Thanks for letting us know.

      Delete
  6. So glad you chose the scenic route. Loved the drive and the photos.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you Contessa and we are glad that we took that route too, even if it was a little longer in distance.

      Delete
  7. Are you sure that was a snake and not a "road gator"? Wow, it sure was big!!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yep, it was a pretty big mole snake and they are supposed to make great pets. Would you like us to bring you back one? ;-)

      Delete
  8. Really gorgeous pictures. What a lovely trip. I would never guess your header picture is from Africa. Just goes to show my serious lack of education. thanks for your help.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you Sherry. Don't worry about your lack of education, we have had a number of times already where we asked each other if we were really in Africa!

      Delete
  9. What a nice landscape, great pictures.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Beautiful photos, Kevin. I'd suggest Afrikaans is like the Creole / Cajun French spoken in Louisiana. I'm working on my French but I still have trouble understanding what I hear here!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The Afrikaans language is very interesting and has taken years to develop. I think that it is interesting that Africans can understand the Dutch language without speaking it and that the Dutch can more or less understand the Afrikaans language without ever having spoken it.

      Delete
  11. What an amazing country ride. Very beautiful area.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. We are looking forward to more of this wonderful scenery.

      Delete

We love hearing from you! Please take the time to leave a comment...