From kingdom to coast

 

Road in to the mountains ,Free State

Road in to the mountains ,Free State

Crossing the border back in to South Africa was pretty straight forward. And so was the road South, literally. Best thing to do was to sip on your coffee whilst cranking up the tunes.

Graaf-Reinik Main Street

Graaf-Reinik Main Street

Graaf-Reinik is an old Heritage town, quite pretty. And pretty quiet. Many antique shops lined the Main Street, mixed with tourist shops and a museum, memories of the good old times. I got the impression that a lot of people were dreaming of the good old days.

Memorabilia from the past, Graaf-Reinik

Memorabilia from the past, Graaf-Reinik

Further south next morning, the road was almost as long and straightforward as the one crossing the Nullarbor in Australia. A few passes up and down with some good views, the landscape was really dry.

Rain clouds rolling in over Baaviankloof

Rain clouds rolling in over Baaviankloof

Dirk recommended to visit ‘Baaviankloof’, a National park set in a gorge. Baavian in old San language means baboon, similar to the German word ‘Pavian’. Some stormy clouds were rising in the distance, which gave an impressive perspective. The gorge itself started out as very narrow, colourful cliffs, passing thru dry river beds. It didn’t take long until I saw my first wild game… Probably not in the top 20, but a few tortoise crossed my path, using the road as their highway. Pretty cool I thought.

Tortoise at Baaviankloof

Tortoise at Baaviankloof

I got to the entrance of the National park, paid my fee, but wasn’t aware of how long, narrow and tricky this track was. Definitely not as bad as the track in Lesotho, but it sure had some challenging areas; going uphill and downhill on multiple passes. Fortunately, no car drove in opposite direction, passing on some of the stretches was simply impossible.

A narrow track through Baaviankloof

A narrow track through Baaviankloof

A few young ‘Kudu’ Antilope were off the track before I could take a photo. I did manage to get a few shots on two just standing there, smiling,thinking that I can’t see them. They are surprisingly  well camouflaged. I smiled and waved, smiled and waved to move on.

Smiling Kudu at Baaviankloof

Smiling Kudu at Baaviankloof

A ‘waterbuck’ and a few smaller antelopes were quickly off the road as well. They have leopards there as well,  but I wasn’t lucky enough to see any. I passed two campgrounds and got annoyed. The lady at the entrance gate didn’t mention, that camping was possible. That would have been fun, as I was running out of time and daylight was fading.

Driving these tracks, potholes, corrugation and shallow creek crossings aren’t fun to drive at night. I still had a few more km’s to go to get to Jeffery’s Bay.  I made it by 8 pm and had a few games of pool and chats with fellow travelers, most of them German.

Surfer statue at Jervis Bay

Surfer statue at Jervis Bay

Jervis Bay, or short J’bay, is the South African Mecca for surfers, similar to the Byron Bay Area. The whole town is set out for one thing; Super Tubes, the name of the famous surf beach.

Supertubes

Supertubes

Not today though. Strong offshore winds and a messy swell kept most surfers out of the water. I went for a walk on the beach, and came across a few penguins. Someone even put artificial ice blocks around them, to make it look real. How thoughtful.

Penguins in Jervis Bay

Penguins in Jervis Bay

All in all, it was nice to be back on the beach again, seeing some green trees in an unfenced hood. I stopped at the garage Café in the second house of the backpackers for a coffee.

Great coffee at ‘fifth wave cafe’

Great coffee at ‘fifth wave cafe’

This was the best Latte I had in quite some time. Barista and owner of ‘Fifth Wave’ coffee bar is ‘Ammo’. Passionate about coffee, good vibes and great conversations.

Fifth Wave Café owner Ammo doing his magic

Fifth Wave Café owner Ammo doing his magic

Still young, but with the desire and passion about coffee and life, he rents out the garage, decorated simply and stylish. Interesting conversations with a lot of thought.
Great to see happy and accepting people.

Fresh pastries at Harvest Café

Fresh pastries at Harvest Café

His coffee and my pastries would have complimented very well.

Close to perfect Croissants at Harvest Café, perfect addition to great coffee

Close to perfect Croissants at Harvest Café, perfect addition to great coffee

He’s moving to a new location on the main road,wishing him the bestest of luck for the future. Another night of chatting and playing pool, really nice vibe at the backpackers.

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