It’s just over two weeks since we arrived in Cape Town, ready to begin our long ride home. We’ve covered some 1,400 kilometres and are now further away than when we set off. That’s because, after a little detour to the Cederberg Wilderness Area, we have ridden to Agulhas, the southernmost point on the African continent, where the Indian and Atlantic oceans meet.

But I’m getting ahead of myself – here’s the low-down on the ride up to the Cederberg mountains…

Leaving Cape Town behind us
Leaving Cape Town behind us

The first day’s ride out of Cape Town, we rode north through the West Coast National Park, where we were treated with some game viewing – ostriches, gemsbok, haartebeest, plenty of birdlife. But best of all were the close encounters on the gravel road. First there was the tortoise…

Helen and the Tortoise
Helen and the Tortoise

And then there was the Cape Cobra… I was in front when I saw this pale sandy-coloured snake slithering across the dirt road. I quickly pointed at it as I turned my head back, hoping that Jimmy had seen it too, when suddenly it dawned on me that I should do my best to avoid it. I imagined accidentally running it over and it getting caught up in the wheel and biting my leg… Quick – Brake! As I slowed, the snake stopped, raised it’s head to me in that classic cobra way, and fortunately, as I made an avoiding swerve to the left, it turned it’s head away from me and continued on it’s crossing of the road. Sadly, we weren’t quick enough to capture a photo. My heart got just a little shock.

Saldhana was overrun, being the last weekend of the holidays. Unfortunately, we arrived too late to buy a couple of beers to cool off after a hot day. We continued up the coast to Lambert’s Bay, and then headed towards the Cederberg. I convinced Jimmy we should take a detour on dirt roads, so ended our second day, not only hot and sweaty but incredibly dusty.

To Vredendal
To Vredendal
Some welcome shade
Some welcome shade

Again, we emerged from the dust into town too late to buy a beer to cool off. Next day we rode ‘directly’ on dirt roads to Clanwilliam, passing by the Bulshoek Dam.

Shade by Bulshoek Dam
Shade by Bulshoek Dam

It was damn hot – wind-blowing-like-a-hair-dryer-hot. We went straight to the campsite by the dam in town. It was only once at the entrance that I realised I had been here before – How could I have forgotten?! My description of ‘It’s OK – not that great’ was meant to mean, ‘Well, if you really can’t go any further in this heat then this will suffice as a place to sleep, but actually it’s pretty crap’, but Jimmy interpreted this as ‘It’s great’. I think we need to work on our Scottish-English translations.

At reception, we asked where we could get a beer. ‘The shops are shut now; it’s Sunday’ was the response. The panic-stricken look on my face prompted the receptionist to add ‘You could try asking the man selling ice by the ablutions block though’. Sure enough, ice-man, who was doing roaring trade on this sweltering +45C day, could help. He’d run out of beer, but would go and get some more. I gave him some rand and hoped I see some beers.

Yeah, those ice-cold beers, which we’d waited three days for, tasted so good!