This morning we departed Cape Town on our adventure safari. The group is not what I expected. For the first leg of the safari there are only 4 of us and 3 guides! The tour company decided to divide our group out from a larger one. We may meet up with the others later at another point along the trip.
The other members of the group – Stewart, Linda, and Maria – are good company, and we’re getting to know each other. Stewart and Linda are Canadian living in Toronto. Maria is from Bulgaria, now living in Düsseldorf, Germany.
We will pick up new members at different legs of the safari. Stewart and Linda stop in Victoria Falls. Maria continues to Nairobi, and so far I am the only one going through to visit the mountain gorillas in Uganda. For the first several weeks, it’s just the four of us until we reach Zimbabwe where the safari vehicle and crew change.
Our excellent crew consists of three fantastic Africans – Boyd (our leader), Norman, and Nsoni (pronounced Ghani). Boyd and Norman told us their African names – hard to remember and pronounce, but I’m working on it.
All three of our guides are from Zimbabwe and each one provided political history on Zimbabwe and the long reign of Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe. None of them think the same about the situation or Mugabe. Boyd reminded us it is forbidden to speak badly of Mugabe in Zimbabwe. Those who do are subject to imprisonment.
Cape Town to Cederberg
As we made our way through Cape Town we stopped in Table View to purchase supplies and say farewell to Table Mountain and Robben Island – both shrouded in early morning fog. After about four hours we arrived at our lodging in Cederberg and had late lunch.
The spectacular Cederberg Mountains are known for their rugged terrain, dramatic rock formations, and San Rock Art. The mountains are named after the endangered Clanwilliam Cedar – Widdringtonia Cedarbergensis.
Cederberg Nature Reserve is near the town of Clanwilliam. It’s a beautiful hiking area, but today it was too hot for a long trek. One popular moderate hike is to Wolfberg Arch. Maltese Cross, Tafelberg, Sneeuberg, Sneeukop, and Krakadouw peak are tough, eight plus hour hikes enjoyed by expert hikers and local mountaineers during cooler weather.
There are less strenuous hikes to Maalgat Pool and Stadsaal Caves. Cederberg has fascinating history. It’s a shame we didn’t have more time to spend exploring the area. It’s a long trip, and we need to pace ourselves. It would be difficult to see everything.
In the evening we enjoyed wine tasting at Orange River Cellars, a local vineyard. Followed by dinner and a briefing of our itinerary for tomorrow – a long day on the road to reach Namibia. So far, the safari is tame, but as beautiful as imagined. With fewer people, we get quality time with the guides who have much to share.