2nd to 5th August

Saturday 02 August

Finally, we can rest! After 9 days of pedalling! The house is very comfortable, and the bed is just wonderful. The weather is cloudy and rather cold, it’s still winter here. We go to an organic market this morning. They sell all kinds of food, from burger to cheese, cakes, vegetable smoothies, ! They also give classes about gardening, making compost and so on. An interesting young initiative!

In the afternoon, the weather has not improved, so we go to an indoor climbing wall. Timon and Elodie live in an opulent neighbourhood of Capetown, close to everything. Capetown is the first city in Africa I feel I could live in nicely.

Sunday 03 August

We get up with excitation to go to the Table Mountain. But it is full of clouds. And Lion’s Head, the other landmark of Capetown, is also totally blocked. So we wait a little, with the hope that the weather improves, but it doesn’t.

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Table Mountain and Lion’s Head, but two days later, when we finally saw them…

Instead, our hosts bring us to a handicraft market in Hout Bay. The ambience is very nice, with a band singing live (at lunch time!), and most important, we can eat there! We try gemsbock, a kind of antelope, and a milk-cake typical from South Africa.

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Then, we go wine-tasting in the domain of Glen Constantia. It’s a huge estate inside the city of Capetown. We try the wine along with some local cheese and charcuterie.

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After a rest at home, Timon and Elodie bring us to a bar where some young artists do a stand up show for a few minutes each. We catch maybe half of the jokes, due to the accent and the culture we don’t know. But it’s really nice. One of the main source of inspiration is the relations between black and white people.

Monday 04 August

It’s already our last day in Capetown, and we’ll go to Cape of Good Hope. Despite the bad weather, this city has a lot of charm. And for sure, it deserves a longer visit. We leave at sunrise, by bike! to the trainstation. Like this, we can skip the city and its suburbs, to start directly from Simon’s town. The rain starts to fall as we mount on the bikes. Next to Simon’s town, there is a beach, called Boulders Beach, that hosts a colony of African penguin.

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Of the 18 existing species of penguin, the African penguin (spheniscus demersus) is the only one that breeds in Africa, and it is endemic to southern Africa. Even though they look clumsy on land, the penguins are perfectly adapted to the sea: their wings shrank to become flippers, their bones stopped from being filled with air, they can reach the speed of 20km/h swimming, and the depth of 500m for the Emperor! The African penguin is much smaller than the famous Emperor (3-5kg compared to 20-40kg). They used to be called Jackass penguin because of their donkey-like braying.

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We see hundreds of penguins on this beach, not disturbed at all by all the tourists coming to observe them.

Afterwards, we continue on the peninsula (which is 70km long!). This is a national park, so we have to pay an entrance fee! welcome to the tourism industry. After a dozen of kilometres on a desolated land, like the edge of the world, we arrive to the famous tip of Cape of Good Hope.

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When Bartolomeu Diaz discovered it in 1488, he called it Cape of Storms! and in fact, he was the first to die in a shipwreck exactly here in 1500! It is the south-westernmost point of Africa (but not the southernmost, which is Cape Agulhas). The weather is cold, humid, with some showers. There is a great deal of tourists (Chinese, European, Brazilian, !). On the rocks, several seals laze around. And some baboons please the tourists, by stealing food, until they are chased by the rangers armed with slingshot.

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Can you spot the ostrich?

The return is much more complicated, since we have strong rain and front wind.

Tuesday 05 August

Today, we take the bus. We have put our bikes in boxes (in fact, we arranged a bigger box so that we don’t have to dismount everything), as asked by the bus company, Intercape.

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Aren’t the boxes just perfect?

Timon drives us to the bus station. The bus leaves at 10. Let’s go for 24h on the road! The service is very nice, comfortable seats, panoramic view. On TV, they put “family-friendly” movies or cartoons (but most importantly, they are “Christian-friendly”). And between each movie, you have to endure 20 minutes of catechism from a cow-boy.

We pass the Namibian border in the evening. They are dubious about the quantity of luggage we have, one bike and a huge duffel-bag per person. So they inspect more in details the bags. But no problem. We have a good night, the first time both of us sleep well in a night bus.

Here come the penguins: