Today's the day we say goodbye to my family after 10 weeks and move on to the next stage in our journey! We had to be at the Nomad Adventure office in central Cape Town for 8am and this meant getting up early to avoid the rush hour traffic. We left the farm at 6am but we were lucky, the early morning traffic was only just getting going and we managed to avoid most of it and arrived an hour early, time to drop off our bags and go for a Wimpy breakfast!
Anthony returned to Port Elisabeth straight after the J&B Met and Justin moved out 2 days ago to start a new job in Cape Town so only Dad and Annabel were there to see us off. Neither of them are too keen on goodbye's so after a quick hug and promises to not leave it 10 years next time they were gone.
Formalities over with in the office and the group introduced themselves to each other and we finally got going, an hour late as not everyone allowed for the rush hour traffic!
Our team consists of 4, Sonny the truck, the tour guide and driver Siziba (Siz-ee-ba) from Zimbabwe, the cook Vincent (aka Springbok) also from Zimbabwe and Thekla (Tek-la) from Cape Town who is to be our German translator for the trip as far as Victoria Falls. Unfortunately for her this is a bit pointless really as all the German's bar one on the trip can speak or understand perfectly good English but as she was volunteering and gets a free holiday I don't suppose she is complaining with the lack of work. Anyway it turns out that although she was born in South Africa, her family origins are German and this is her mother tongue so to speak. She has only been speaking English since about high school although she speaks better English than most English people I know (myself included). She can also speak fluent Afrikaans and a bit of Zulu. Not bad!
After leaving Cape Town the first stop was Table View to look back across the bay and take pictures of Table Mountain. Adam and I have been there several times before but have never taken pictures, it was typical that the weather was hazy and the mountain was wearing its table cloth (what they call the cloud that often covers the top). We also had an hour to grab snacks and water at the shopping mall there as Vincent still needed some fresh supplies.
An hour or so up the coast and we stopped for a second time to take in a local museum about the indigenous San people, their history, how they live now and the various plants they use for medicine and food. The area here is just scrub and the bushes grow in sand so at first glance they all look the same and very uninteresting. However, it was fascinating to discover there are hundreds of different plants, the San even claim that some can cure different cancers!
The San people themselves had very structured lives. The men hunt meat and taught the young boys how to do the same and the women collect herbs and vegetables and prepare the food. They also passed on their knowledge to the young girls.
I talk in the past tense because in the last hundred years or so the San people have had their land taken away from them by the Government and they are no longer allowed to hunt, punishment includes shooting! In the past the elders could live to their 80's or 90's but nowadays they do not live as long because they suffer from depression and boredom. They can no longer pass on their knowledge to their offspring which has always been of great importance to them.
The museum also teaches the San about the old ways and their history so that these things are not forgotten. The guide is one of the San but is well educated and speaks a number of languages. Other than the colour of his skin he looks nothing like the people from the photographs we were shown.
Lunch was a very nice pre-paid meal of quiche and salad in the museum restaurant. Moving on we had about a 4 hour drive to the Cederberg Mountains where we would camp for the first night. This is the same range of mountains we visited with Michelle a few days ago but much further north and closer to the Atlantic Ocean. I am told this is also a beautiful area with many scenic hikes but we do not have time and instead will only be staying the night and moving on early tomorrow morning.
First things first, we were all given a tent and shown how to put it up and take it down with military precision by Siziba. The tent itself was almost identical to the old army tent we stayed in over New Year and the thick canvas is ideal for this heavy use.
Vincent prepared a fantastic dinner of chicken stew and rice assisted by Thekla and then we all collapsed for the night exhausted.