After stocking up on supplies in Springbok the following morning and a visit to the Springbok Lodge and Restaurant (which Nico had compelled us to visit before we left) we headed over the Messelpad Pass towards the coast. We passed a prison a long time derelict, on the way. Apparently Italian prisoners (POW’s I think) had been shipped to the coast and then had to march inland to this prison to build the pass. Pretty hard and hot work.
The next day we passed through Hondeklipbaai. It was really quite cold in the sea mist, such a change from a few kilometres inland, as we explored the twisted and rusted wreck of the Aristea. The coastline is still very desolate but not nearly as inhospitable as the Namibian coast.
It seems that the main industry in the area is diamond mining. There are many private mines all around the area and we think that these boats are the sea floor hoovering boats (not really their technical term). I did not really expect them to be so small.
We carried on zigzagging down the Western Cape as we drove inland to the Cedarberg area. After the arid Northern Cape it was so refreshing. We found a lovely campsite frequented by families from Cape Town. It was very busy on the day we arrived (Saturday) with lots of families, but there was a lot of space for us all and we had a lovely grassy spot in the shade. The campsite had a dammed off swimming hole in the creek, the water was wonderful.
The flora must have been wonderful earlier in the year. There were protea bushes everywhere and such a variety of fynbos. Sadly, most of the cedar forest has been destroyed by fires and there is not much evidence that it is regenerating in any hurry.
The next day we took a beautiful walk up to a waterfall. On reaching our destination we just sat for ages, eating Sparkles (a treat from Ianthe) and chilling out by the rushing water. By the time we descended back down to the campsite it was almost empty- most of the families had gone home.
We are now back on the coast at Stompneusbaai watching the shags and seagulls. Yesterday I found a pool in the low tide just stashed full of shoals of really small fish. It was fascinating watching them move around and change direction en-masse with the odd fish jumping. There were a couple of seagulls around but I almost expected to see a cat on rock sticking its paw in the water, just like a gold fish bowl. When I went back this morning to take a photo, they were all gone. So I took a really cold, and short, swim in the sea instead.