Room with a view

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Camp shot from a few days ago overlooking the Atlantic in Simons town

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Would you believe…

It’s been two months – but we are finally leaving Cape Town! Our first big driving day since Outdshoorn will hopefully see us make it to Calvinia, a lazy 5.5 hrs drive north east from Cape Town. From there we are exactly half way to our final stop in South Africa – Uppington, before crossing into Southern Botswana. Visa issues should see us make it (hopefully) into Namibia by mid-next week, which will make it 2 countries in under a week.. if everything goes to plan.

Since leaving our home at Ashanti in down town Cape Town, we have been doing dry runs (and one very wet run) of all of our camping gear in the Cape region. We made it to Cape Agulhas, the very most southern point of all Africa and also the meeting point of the Indian and Atlantic Oceans. Cold, wet, and windy, our first night in the wild was predictably miserable, almost as a warning from the gods that we were foolish to leave.

Gravitating at Cape Agulhas!

We packed up in the rain, had soggy fish and chips for breakfast, and headed straight for Simon’s Town and Cape Point. The stark contrast of the natural beauty of the Cape Point national park was a great reminder why ‘travel’ is always worth the effort.

Looking over the Atlantic Ocean from Cape Point

With a final stop in Stellenbosch’s wine region to binge on fine food and fabulous wines, and of course, the mandatory reunion with our friends at JB Auto repairs for a final thumbs up, we are now heading off. Now fully equipped with a quasi-fridge, our camp is working like clock work which means..

We’re finally unstoppable!!!!!

Until next time!

– Eugene

6 Weeks in Cape Town: at a glance

Sunset on top of Lion’s Head

Capetokathmandu.com has been eerily quiet over the past 6 weeks. Don’t worry. We are still alive. Proof comes from the picture above.

I am sorry to report we are still in Cape Town. We have no epic stories about honey badger encounters nor have we tested the theory that elephants are attracted to Citrus fruit.

I can show you pictures of us on Table Mountain, at V&A Waterfront, or other Cape Town landmarks but that is not representative of our 6 weeks in Cape Town. The following quotes and pictures are better indicators of our time in Cape Town.

“When are you leaving?” ~Jason, the barman at Ashanti

“Next week” ~Alpheus

“That’s what you’ve said everyday for the past month” ~Jason

Jason with his girlfriend Angela

“Can you please extend our room?” ~Alpheus, bi-weekly at Ashanti reception

“Our car is finally ready tomorrow!!!” ~Alpheus, proclaimed enthusiastically at Ashanti every few days for the past 6 weeks.

“Why are you taking pictures like you are planning to leave” ~Cal

At the Ashanti reception with Cal, Lisa, and Dan (left to right)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I’m convinced the staff at Ashanti Lodge thinks I’m just squatting indefinitely in Cape Town. Besides my words we have presented no evidence our trip actually exists. We have outstayed Chiara, one of the interns at Ashanti and we are desperately trying to beat Isabel, the other Ashanti intern, out of town.

“We’re unstoppable”

“Last trip to (JB/R&D), YEAAAHHHHH BUDDY!”

“We’re finally ready to leave Cape Town”

“We don’t need to go to another mechanic until Cairo”

“Why didn’t we buy the Land Cruiser?”

~Eugene, everytime we do anything car related for the last 6 weeks. As soon as these phrases were uttered, something else breaks and off we go again to JB Auto or R&D Offroad.

Christine rolls eyes…

“UUUGGHHHH!!! DON’T SAY THAT”

“Hi Gran, can you come pick us up at (JB/R&D” ~ Us

“Again?” ~ Gran, our beloved cab driver

“Last laundry day!” ~ Us, every Sunday for the past 6 weeks

“We’re never going to be here…

…for the next Formula 1 Grand Prix” ~ Eugene, we’ve been here for 4

…for the next Equinox at Fiction” ~Alpheus, we’ve been here for 6

…for Earthdance” ~Alpheus, from Early September

…for the next outdoor Trance party” ~ Alpheus, after Earthdance, 2 more has come and gone

…for Lady Gaga” ~US, she is touring through Cape Town early December.

In other news…

Checkers, the grocery store down the street from us, began remodelling a week into our stay. It now looks completely different on the inside.

This restaurant – closed down 2 weeks into our stay for a major renovation – is once again open for business.

Christine’s favourite Frozen Yogurt place. She just filled up her 2nd Buy-9-Get-1-Free loyalty card.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I know I’ve said this many many times before, but this really has the be the last time I’m going to say this: “We’re leaving Friday.”

P.S. New poll is up, please vote how far you think we’ll make it on our overland trip!

Follow my odyssey on twitter @AlpheusChan

And we’re.. Still in Cape Town!

After our third week in Cape Town, we met the return of the Purple People Eater with a great deal of fanfare. Having spent the last week at JB Auto’s receiving no less than the car equivalent of open heart surgery (installing a new cylinder head), the tantalising notion that we might finally be able to start heading to Namibia on the 2nd leg of our adventure was finally becoming real.

As I put my foot on the accelerator leaving the JB garage for the 3rd time in as many

The Graveyard – busted cylinder head, gaskets, seals – the works

weeks, I was convinced this was going to be the case. The Purple People Eater was flying. The old man had grown wings.

The power was now instant; no longer would I worry about nursing the car over 3,000 revs, or that we would overheat on the way home. We would finally be able tackle hills above pedestrian speeds. The JB team discovered that no amount of bush fundi experience could replace the need for genuine fitting parts. Thanks to our Tanzanian legacy, everywhere they looked, ‘that’ll do’ nuts, bolts, gaskets, and seals, were holding our lifeline together.

But now we were good to go. Our engine was now good for ‘at least’ another 100,000 to 200,000km.

Heart surgery on the PPE

We were unstoppable! Or, so we thought. The very next day we turned up at R&D 4×4, a highly regarded South African 4×4 outfitter who would be helping fit our roof rack, roof tent, and awning that we had received as hand-me-downs from Laurence L and ‘Derf the Camel.’ Anticipating a day job, we decided to hang out at R&D for the day to watch the mechanics at work. In order to provide stability to the PPE with the added weight on the roof, we were planning to fit airbags to the rear suspension to keep our tail off the ground. As I was describing to Christine how it all worked, R&D’s Johan turned up to say that we wouldn’t be taking the car home that night after all. Or leaving Cape Town any time soon. One of our rear coils had snapped (1st one in 9 years, apparently) and we would need a new set shipped in from Johannesburg.

Four days later we returned to R&D to a warming sight: the PPE fully equipped for overland travel, with roof tent, awning, capacity for extra water, diesel, and cooking gas installed and ready to go!

Overlander Christine and the Purple People Eater ready to go!

Glowing with pride, I received the keys back to our beloved – only to be told that our front shocks would need a final trip to Johannesburg for servicing before we would be able to leave. As we wait another week (the PPE is due back this Thursday – a month and a week after arriving in Cape Town) we are also having a power inverter installed under the passenger seat that converts the DC 12V voltage from the car into AC power that can charge our laptops. With our fingers crossed, this should mean we are able to keep in touch from deep in the African savannah.

But here we are – still in Cape Town – eagerly waiting to escape our purgatory. But with our planned departure date (mid next week) now in sight…

We will be unstoppable!

… Or so we hope.

Until then!

– Eugene