27th July to 1st August

Sunday 27 July

We leave the house one hour after sunrise! It took us a long time to get prepared. There is still a strong head wind, and the sky is threatening today. The road is very hilly, we go down to sea level when we pass a village, then rise up again to 250m! We pass the city of Knysna, so infamous for the French football fans. In the World Cup 2010, the French football team had its hotel on the heights of this city. This competition was a total rout for the French, who even went on strike, refusing training one day.

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We will sleep in George tonight. We see a city totally flat, far from the sea, boring and ugly. Fortunately, the hostel we find is super nice. Very well decorated, cosy. We feel like in an old luxurious house.

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Monday 28 July

We get up at 5h30, to be ready to leave at sunrise. We manage to take our breakfast and prepare ourselves quickly and we leave ten minutes before sunrise. The whole morning, the weather is grey, cloudy. But at least, there is no front wind to fight. We want to reach tonight the town of Riversdale, that is at 135km. The other option was a village at 100km, but with very little accommodation. So we have to hurry and shorten the breaks. We soon have to take again the big road N2.

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In the afternoon, the weather becomes sunnier, and there is even some back wind. We feel like flying on the road. The landscape around us is made of green hills, with some trees, some colza crops, and cattle or sheep. It looks very much like my beloved “DrĂ´me des Collines” in France. Thanks to the great conditions, we arrive at Riversdale two hours in advance on the Sun!

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The hostel we had searched in the town is fully booked. They indicate us the Royal Hotel, nearby. It’s expensive, not so nice, but none of us wants to sleep in a tent tonight. There is no internet nor computer, the room stinks with cigarette smell, you cannot take shower (only a bath). Here too, we feel we are in an old hotel, with old-fashioned decoration and staff, a little like in the movie The Shining.

Tuesday 29 July

We get up like yesterday, and leave at sunrise. Outside, it’s cold and wet. Misty all around us. It takes half an hour for the Sun to get through. But then, the landscape is wonderful, unreal.

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Alongside the road, there are colza fields, and some cattle or sheep. Or ostriches. These birds are very funny, with a huge neck, a stupid face, and very curious. We laugh a lot seeing the forest of necks moving while we present food, or just kneel down in the herbs.

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But we cannot stay here too much, the destination is still far. In the afternoon, we have some front wind, making us doubt we can arrive before sunset. So we are again in a race against the Sun.

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We want to arrive in Stormsvlei, where lives our couchsurfer of the night, Elke. In fact, the village is only a few houses, and we have to follow a gravel road, through some farms, to arrive to her house. The place is huge, it’s an old house, with several fireplaces. Elke cooked for us a wonderful dinner: chicken with many vegetables in the oven. And a homemade bread! She is also an adventurer. She left Germany at 18 for Namibia, then South Africa, where she recycles rubbish to create artistic lampshades. She has also gone from Capetown to Quelimane in Mozambique entirely by walking a few years ago!

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With all the kilometres we do these days, the nights, although short, are a benediction for our muscles.

Wednesday 30 July

As we have breakfast, it’s still quite dark outside. Elke hears her chickens singing weirdly. She rushes outside to see what’s happening, just to discover one chicken slaughtered. But the murderer is still here: it’s an African Wild Cat. It is the same size as a cat, brown. But when escaping, it is like flying. It jumps easily 1m high, runs very fast! the dog of Elke lost it within seconds. So there’ll be chicken for tonight. We leave the house way after sunrise, but still in the winter mist. It’s very cold and wet. Today is a soft day, only 80km till Stanford. On the way, we find a wonderful biltong shop. Biltong is the Afrikaans name for the dried meat they make. There is beef, ostrich, kudu, in form of dry sausage, dry steak, small pieces, with spices, smoked, with chutney, ! So we take a lot of different types to try.

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The road is still hilly. But finally, we leave the N2, to take a smaller road, more in the south. We don’t go directly to Capetown, but prefer to take more beautiful roads on the coast.

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Tonight, we’ll sleep in Stanford, just as we reach the coast. But when we arrive there, one hour before sunset, there is no accommodation at decent price. We are told to go 25km further, on the coast, at Hermanus. This time, it is a real time trial! Full of adrenaline, we cover the distance in one hour, to arrive just as the sky becomes really dark. We find a backpackers to spend the night.

Thursday 31 July

We sleep late this morning. Get up at 7h30! Today is a short day along the coast. We will go only till Betty’s Bay, some 50km ahead. There is a backpackers over there, and we are not sure we can find one further on. We take our time on the bike. It’s a pity the weather is cloudy, it would be so much more beautiful with Sun!

We stop for lunch in Kleinmonde, just before Betty’s Bay, and enjoy a fish and chips. It’s quite fat, but good. We are sitting on a bench, looking at the ocean waves breaking on the rocks. There is so much strength over there!

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In Betty’s Bay, we find easily the backpackers’. There is no one but the manager. We wpend the rest of the afternoon writing postcards. Unfortunately, the water is down in the whole village, so we cannot shower today.

Friday 01 August

We get up at 5h30, to leave at sunrise. There are about 100km till Capetown, but we have been warned that Capetown’s townships are particularly dangerous so we don’t want to take any risk crossing them at dusk or at night.

We follow the indented coastline, sometimes climbing a little to have a better views. The Sun is fighting the clouds, and some of its rays start to pass through the shading, bringing colours to this end-of-the-world like scenery. But we’re not alone on the road. A herd of baboons is on its territory. They walk by the road, vandalizing the poor shrubs that dared to show a flower. These monkeys have learnt to open the doors of the cars, to steal food. Fortunately, they are not aggressive that early in the morning.

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Since we joined the coastline, two days ago, we are on the so-called “Cape Whale Road” because the whales come nearby in winter. And effectively, as we start seeing the high buildings of Capetown, in the mist far away, four whales are playing in the bay, showing successively the tip of the head, the tail, their body! So huge! And so peaceful! I want to take my swimming suit and join them.

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We have a quick fish and chips for lunch. As we arrive in the townships, the definition of city changes. No more verticality. All the houses are on a square base, with only one floor, a roof in sheet metal or plastic cover, and many people in the street looking at us, puzzled. Except for the main road, nothing is tarred, and the rubbish give colours to the road sides. The style of driving also becomes more Indian. We don’t see any white person here! After 15km in this environment (trust me, it’s long), we arrive to the centre of Capetown.

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We easily find our way to Timon and Elodie’s house. They are a Dutch-French couple, who travelled six months across the USA on a tandem. Here is their website: http://usaon2wheels.wordpress.com/

The video of these days: