Wednesday, 1 February 2012

Day 455 South Africa 01/02/2012, Simon's Town – Cape Point – Simon's Town 31.21miles/50.57km, 2hr58minutes, Av10.4mph.

Minus our luggage, we set off just before 8am to ride to Cape Point. We had both had a good night's sleep and were feeling good about the day. Riding into a gentle headwind, we wound our way along the coast and up to the national park entrance; passing plenty of 'beware of the baboons' signs along the way. By the time we reached the entrance gate we had encountered all of two baboons. Now don't get me wrong, I don't want to be riding up a hill screaming, with an irate troop of baboons hanging off my bike; but having been warned about their presence, I expected to see a few more!

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Having had no baboon related 'you've been framed' moments, we paid our entrance fee, a rather steep 85 rand each (£7), and set off up yet another hill. Riding through the beautiful national park we had another baboon encounter. Two adult females, carrying their very sweet and somewhat funny offspring, brought our baboon quota to six. Shortly afterwards we arrived at the car park, which helpfully had cycle parking.

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With our bicycles secured, we walked up the hill to the lighthouse and a view of Cape Point. The point itself is very dramatically set, with waves crashing against its rugged steep sides. The lighthouse and surrounding area, came as a bit of a disappointment though. The lighthouse, stone walls and large boulder were completely covered in graffiti, which didn't add to our experience and the footpath signposting is pretty terrible. There is no doubt that the view is worthwhile, but our Cape Agulhas experience was much better.

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Back at the car park it seemed that the restaurant and snack bar were suffering from the same mismanagement that had allowed the lighthouse to become so run down. The snack bar was closed for stock taking until 10:30am, but still looked closed at 11am and the restaurant had no water and so couldn't even make a cup of coffee. At the very least you would have expected to be able to buy an albeit overpriced drink, while you visited one of the cape's famous landmarks.

If it wasn't for the fact that we could hardly ride all this way without visiting, I would say that it isn't worth the effort. Luckily we arrived before all of the tour parties, or the trip may have been even more disappointing. In the end it was the ride that turned out to be the best bit.

After an enjoyable 50km round trip, we were back in Simon's Town in time for lunch. Having spotted it yesterday, we stopped for a drink at the wholly unexpected Tibetan café, where I had a cup of butter tea (not rancid yak butter though). Debs opted for the less adventurous option of filter coffee and chocolate cake. That said, as it was a vegan café the cake was pretty adventurous!

After picking up a few snacks for the journey tomorrow we headed back to the hostel. Dinner in a restaurant later this evening rounded off another good day.

Unbelievably tomorrow is our last full cycling day as we finally ride into Cape Town. At the moment it feels very strange to think that we have just about made it to our final destination. Perhaps tomorrow our achievements will sink in, but for now we will just concentrate on arriving unscathed!

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