The barren desert landscape of Namibia slowly changed to green vineyards and mountain passes as we travelled deeper into South Africa. At Clanwilliam we turned off the tar onto a horribly corrugated road (I thought we done with this sort of thing) and headed for the beautiful Cederberg Wilderness Area where we took a leisurely stroll up to a nearby waterfall. The waterfall was beautiful, and refreshingly ice cold, so we spent a lovely few hours swimming, sunbathing and photographing the not too camera-shy frogs that lived under the waterfall. It was great to be out of the desert, and somewhere lush again.
From Cederberg we headed to Montagu to meet our friends Stuart and Camila who had come to SA for a holiday, timed perfectly with the last 2 weeks of our trip. We seriously blew the budget over those two weeks as it is impossible to be around Camila and Stu without taking to drink! I am of course referring to their infectious enthusiasm for fine wines, enormous quantities of cheese and making the most of everything - it was a joy to explore the area with them. We spent a wonderful week seeing whales breaching the waves in De Hoop Nature Reserve, taking coastal walks in Hermanus, photographing the wild horses in Kogelberg Nature reserve and tasting wine in Franschoek.
On our last morning in Franschoek we went through the well practised routine of packing the truck, doing the daily checks and recording mileage one last time before setting off for Cape Town. It was only then, as Table Mountain towered above us that we really started to realise what we had achieved, and with a big hoot we finally entered Cape Town at 2pm on 18th October, 266 days after leaving London.
We had made arrangements for Brenda to be shipped home in a 20 foot by 7 foot container. The only small problem was that Brenda with all her attachments and raised suspension was just a couple of inches too tall for the container. We worked out that she would fit if we took the roof tent off but weren't sure what to do with it. Randomly a local driving past us on the street stopped for a chat and told us that roof tents go like hot-cakes on Gumtree in Cape Town. Somewhat sceptically with just 24hrs to go before loading, we wrote an advert. Amazingly a man turned up at 10pm the same day and handed us a large wad of cash for our tent. This despite the fact that it smells of 9 months of sweat, has one window missing and bares the scars of us frequently forgetting the height of the vehicle when driving under low entrance ways!
It was quite emotional to finally drive Brenda into the container - one of many that were being shunted around like Lego bricks by enormous trucks with cranes mounted on them. It was a very tight fit and quite a challenge to drive her in over the 6 inch vertical lip without shooting straight into the back wall! We can only pray that she makes it back in one piece.
Finally on the morning of 23rd Oct we woke up on the last day of the trip. It was hard to imagine that it was all about to end, but as the saying goes all good things must come to an end… With that thought in our heads we set off the airport and home….