Greetings from Doha, Qatar. We write this post as we sit in transit on our way to England, home of Wimbledon, the Queen and the best tea in the world. We can’t wait to see our friends in London!
The last 5 days have been unexpected to say the least. It all started when a friend of Rene’s came up to as after church and offered to loan us her car for two days! With Rene’s car on the fritz and in the garage this was a huge blessing and an opprotunity to check out Cape Town’s surrounding beauty. So on Monday, June 23rd we set out to explore Cape Town, take the tram up Table Mountain and explore the beautiful coast line. After taking the wrong exit and running a few red lights (by accident) we made our way up the windy road to the Table Mountain cable car. With clouds covering the summit of Cape Town’s beautiful mountain backdrop, we decide to take the ride and hope that the clouds lift. The view of the city from the base is stunning; we don’t have much of an opinion of the summit. The clouds never lifted, so we walked around the misty, socked in trails for the next hour making the best of it. The hot coco (the best in Africa, according to the baristas) and the thrill of the cable car ascending and descending in to thick white cloud was all worth it.
We continued down the coastline and took in spectacular sites all ending at this fabulous and very smart restaurant. Crayfish and prawns are a specialty in Cape Town and its no wonder why after we tasted the sweet and succulent meat. MMmmm… forever in our memories.
Tuesday morning we get a knock on our door from Rene informing us that we need to drive to Cape Point “now” so we can return in time to roadtrip with Melisa, Bryna and Rene to Mt. Camdeboo Game Reserve about 8 hours away from Cape Town. Now there is excitement! We hopped in the car and drove south through quiet and cute costal towns and made our way to the Olympia Cafe (a reccomendation of Rene’s). This funky little spot in Kalk Bay offered up great coffee, incredible pastries and a filling breakfast.
As we continued on to Cape Point we kept our eyes open of Boulders Beach, famous for a African Penguin colony of 3,000. Walking down the elevated boardwalk we quickly spied these cute little creatures, dressed in fine tuxedos, waddling around the sand and under bushes. There is just something about penguins that make you smile. We snapped some pictures, soaked in the late morning sun and observed the hatchlings resting quietly by their mums before moving on.
Cape Point, part of South Africa’s National Parks system, feels like another world. Arid and wind swept, this area hosts many animals including Baboon and Zebra. With the cape as our goal we parked and hiked to a lookout that did not disapoint. The Cape of Good Hope, technically the second southern most point of Africa is well known for it trecherous waters and many ship wrecks. As we peered over the towering cliffs near the end of the point we watched as huge swells rolled in from the Atlantic. It sounded like a train as the waves rolled in, beating the vulnerable shores. Beautiful.
We hurried back to meet up with the girls and hit the road. We had BIG adventures ahead of us. It was so wonderful to see Melisa and Bryna and gain excitement in getting to know our local friends a bit better. After about 9 hours, we arrived at Camdeboo where we were met with exceptional service and lavish rooms – each to our own. Camdeboo is owned by Mrs. Orchards father and his wife. Another funny small world connection. After a glass of wine we went to bed expectant of the adventure ahead.
After breakfast in our robes, relaxing by the pool and some of the most amazing food we’ve ever had, Wednesday brought us a safari of Big Game proportions. Richard, one of the Managers of the property, took us out to see the animals. Giraffe, rhino, ostrich, kudu, springbok, etc. It was amazing. We never expected to find ourselves in the bush with this type of opportunity to see animals.
Thursday, we went out twice. The first venture was to track the cheetah who had recently had four cubs. We were close as we continued up in the mountains, but then began going in the opposite direction…much to our surprise is was due to the fact that Johan (our host) had arranged a Bush Brunch for us. WOW! Sitting out in the Africa Savannah eating breakfast. Absolutely spoiling. Later in the afternoon, we went off-roading to find the cheetah once more and were finally able to see her, though she would not show her face for long. After watching sunset and night had fallen, we headed down a different road to see if we could find some buffalo. To our surprise, we nearly ran in to all 5 rhinos in the middle of the road… in the dark. They were spooked and confused as were we. Four of them bunched together and faced us, while the other, who was separated came from behind. It was a bit nerve racking, knowing that these animals could flip our now seemingly small LandRover at any moment, but it was a thrill none of us would trade in.
They finally moved on and we continued down the road to find a buffalo in the garden of one of the property homes. He came down the hill to greet us full on as these are some of the most aggressive animals in the bush. We also saw the giraffe again as well as masses of kudu, a porcupine and the cutest little rodents by the name of springhare (imagine miniature kangaroo-rabbits). We ate springbok for dinner and then had a dance party with the house staff. The chef did the funniest robot we have ever seen. We were on our knees in laughter. We made some good friends.
Friday morning, Richard took us out again to see the male cheetah who had been caged up while they wait for another male to strengthen the genetic pool on the farm. Richard asked if anyone would like to get in the cage with him, so we did. Wasn’t a very friendly kitty, but we stood our ground and were very close to a very wild animal. A great breakfast and we’re on the road again where were laughed a lot, took a lot of poor photos through the windows and prayed for the discipleship school Rene will be putting on. It all ended at Silverhurst, another home of Mrs. Orchard’s Family, located in the winelands. Again, we have been spoiled. We relaxed, chatted and headed our way to the airport.
With tears, we left Cape Town. We’ll not soon forget the impression God had made on our hearts. We have much to digest. We think of you fondly! Thank you for your prayers as always. God listed to the one about animal encounters. Love to you!