Saturday, 11 February 2012

Day 459 – 465 South Africa 05/02/2012 - 11/02/2012, Cape Town – Norfolk, UK. Sightseeing, packing our gear, a final farewell and a chilly homecoming!

Big Blue Backpackers excelled themselves this morning on our checking out day. The guy on reception could clearly see we were still carrying our luggage down the stairs, when he rudely demanded that he would need our room key back. I am trying to find some redeeming feature of staying there, but none spring readily to mind. It fortunately hasn't soured our Cape Town experience too much, mainly because we managed to be out all day!

Without even a goodbye from the hostel staff, we set off towards the V&A waterfront to take another photo. This time, with a cloud-free sky, we were able get a picture of us, the bikes and Table Mountain in all its glory.


Task completed, we went for a celebratory coffee and then headed off towards Rondebosch. Being Sunday, the traffic was light and aside from the traffic lights all being against us, we made it trouble free to Ron and Jo's house.

It has been lovely to finish our time in South Africa staying with another great family. Ron and Jo's son Matthew has been visiting from America and he has kindly ran us around the sights of Cape Town.

Of the sights, we have visited the Kirstenbosch botanical gardens, Groot Constantia and Steenberg wine estates and eventually when the weather finally cleared, Table Mountain. The cable car may be something of a rip-off, but it did save Debbie's limbs and the views from the top were spectacular.

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Thanks to our guide Matthew, we walked to Maclear's Beacon, the highest point, and had an enjoyable stroll through the interesting flora. To anyone planning on going to Table Mountain, follow the advice that we were given: if the weather is clear, drop everything and go up. In our last six days in Cape Town there was only one clear day on the mountain, which was thankfully the day we went up.

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Despite it being an awkward time to have visitors, as Ron and Jo's daughter was having a baby, we have been made to feel very welcome. We have enjoyed lovely meals and great hospitality. Running us around to get boxes for the bikes and then helpfully taking us to the airport when it was time to leave, has left us needing to offer our heartfelt thanks. Also we mustn't forget congratulations on the birth of your grandson Brett.

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As is often the case, our last few days went very quickly, but we managed to catch up once more with George and Alice. It was sad that we didn't get to spend more time with them, but there is always another time. We certainly have plenty of reasons to come back to what has proven to be a fascinating and often beautiful country.

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The end of what has been an epic journey soon came around and it was off to the airport. A two hour flight to Johannesburg on Kulula, the airline with a sense of humour, was followed by a lengthy wait at the airport.


Finally a ten hour flight with Virgin Atlantic has brought us and our bikes home to a very cold England. The 30°C temperature change is going to take some getting used to!

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