We’ve now driven more than 2000 kilometers here in ZA (Z is S in Africaans). So what’s it like? What’s our day like? we typically have one driving day interspersed with one or more explore days. The roads in ZA are generally excellent and in good repair but they use a three lane system (driving lanes plus common passing lane). We’ve also moved East from the mellow and oh so tidy Eastern Cape to the more “Jersy Like” Western Cape where drivers are much more aggressive. Combine this with driving on the left with your manual shift in your left hand and it takes some getting used to . So, is it worth it? YES. What an amazing country!
After our brief stop in the wine country town of Stellenbach, we drove south and East to the De Hoop (Africaans “DiWop”) – a major calving ground for the southern Right Whale, which was hunted nearly to extinction in the 18th century. We stayed in a Dutch-Africaans style cottage, waking up the next morning to Bontebuck – a beautiful black and white antelope endemic to the Eastern Cape – and Eland grazing outside our window.Next driving day took us to the Garden Route and Tsitsikamma National Park- think a subtropical Big Sur. Stunningly beautiful. We strayed in our own cottage right on the beach. Compliments of SAN Parks and their excellent infrastructure.
Next driving day took us to Addo Elephant National Park, a ZA conservation story. We Americans exterminated the buffalo because they competed with livestock and agriculture. imagine a herd of six ton pachyderms… The Western Cape Provence was down to a few hundred elephants by the 1920′ s when a group of ranchers hired a professional hunter to exterminate the rest. Sound familiar? Other locals objected when they were down to their last few dozen elephant and Addo Elephant Park was born. Addo is one of the best places on earth to observe the complex and fascinating elephant society and culture. We were lucky enough to sit and observe from a few feet away the interactions do over a hundred elephant comprising many matriarchal family groups at a waterhole, including the amazing rescue of a calf stuck in in the waterhole. Check out pics. We’re now on the Wild Coast of the Western Cape near the village of Port St. Johns. M ore to come!