Augrabies Falls NP – Cape Town

Orange River Valley

We chug comfortably along the Orange to Augrabies Falls National Park. The valley is lush green thanks to the irrigation systems. Vines are grown here and dried into grapes and raisins. In Keimoes we stop to look at one of the old irrigation wheels where children are playing happily. Later, we visit the Pienk Pad barn with the cheerful, photogenic employees of the drying plant next door.

Grapes and workers in a drying plant

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At the irrigation wheel in Keimoes

The Pienk Pad Stall

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Augrabies Falls National Park

It’s hot – and oppressive. Due to the persistent drought, very little water flows through the waterfall that the Orange River forms here.

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The drive through the hinterland is fascinating. Barren lunar landscapes and the impressive canyon. Only a few visitors. The bright flowers delight us. We would like to stay a little longer, because giraffes and zebras live further inland … but time is pressing and we have to get back to Cape Town.

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Bird Island

The route via Kakamas – Calvinia – Vanrhynsdorp is lonely and easy to ride. That open sky again. At the Van Rhyns Pass, our view sweeps far across the desert-like Knersveld. We drive along the Cedar Mountains to the west coast, to Lamberts Bay.

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Bird Island is another highlight. We can watch the gannets for hours. However, we don’t like to unpack the 400 mm lens – we simply come back to take aerial photos.

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Cape Town

The four of us are at the end of the journey. We stroll through the city center, but without much enthusiasm. It is more of a “chopping off”. Someone also grabs our companions’ bags. Unpleasant – we have to watch out like “prisoners”.

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We almost miss the “Groote Kerk”. It is already closed. But an organ tuner from Europe grants us entry. Photography is usually prohibited inside the church, but now, without an official tour, we take advantage of the opportunity. The “Groote Kerk” belongs to the “Nederduitsen Gereformerde Kerk” and, built in 1841, is the first and oldest church in Cape Town.

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Parliament and parks of the “Company’s Gardens”

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The Waterfront is a secure shopping and nightlife district on the old harbor. Large shopping malls, museums, restaurants, grocery stores … and in a bakery next to the penny-farthing we finally get European bread again! We can’t escape the atmosphere here. We love the street musicians.

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Signal Hill

Ernie has the glorious idea of spending the sunset on Signal Hill and taking the evening pick. In his mind’s eye, he sees an empty parking lot at the top of Signal Hill. Certainly a good idea. Yes, the idea is really good – we are now one great experience richer. Once we turn off towards Signal Hill, there are hardly any vehicles coming towards us. We feel encouraged. One or two more bends, then we’re at the top – oh shock – there’s already a whole column of vehicles parked in the downhill direction. Between the ditch and the stationary cars, we only just make it through by centimeters. We just manage to find a spot at the top of the parking lot, which is packed with vehicles following behind us. Now it’s dusk Ernie – half of Cape Town takes the traditional sundowner up here and the sunset is something of a ritual, especially today, as it’s Friday and the weekend is about to begin.

Someone thinks that the picture with the sunset won’t work out and gets excited – this is Africa, not Europe. We take it in our stride and enjoy the experience of being part of the community. The atmosphere is festive, not noisy. There is a great sense of relaxation on the scene.

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After sunset, the traffic and parking chaos is slow to clear up. It is already dark when we drive back to the campsite. One last highlight, Cape Town in a sea of lights.

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