[My apologies for quite a delay in uploading the second part of our magic flower carpet journey].
The return journey southwards brought us to Algeria – not the country in North Africa, but a conservation area in the imposing Cederberg Mountains. Cosy cottage with fireplace, deep in the folds of the mountain, a bubbling stream and birds the only sounds. Wildflowers in abundance.
Yet more flowers at the annual Clanwilliam Wildflower Show, displayed in the old Dutch Reformed church building dating from 1864.
We also did a rooibos (red bush) tea tasting, which was highly instructive. This town is the centre of Rooibos, exporting the herbal tea around the world. The name Rooibos and numerous variations (like ‘rooibosch’) designating products of the Aspalathus linearis plant are protected by law.
Onwards to Vanrhynsdorp (again) we drove and up the impressive Vanrhynspass to Nieuwoudtville where the flowers still hid their beauty due to the cloudy weather. Unless you like being fleeced, steer clear of this town during the flower season – or at least the coffee shop cum Information Office: its prices were shockingly high, by any standard.
Let’s rather go for another wine tasting! Combine that with an olive tasting and you have a winner at Kloovenburg Wine Estate. The date 1704 graces the lovely cellar building’s gable. And what a friendly and expert guide we had in Willie Liebenberg.
A short run to the west brought us to Paternoster on the Atlantic coast, a quaint old fishing village now somewhat spoiled by overdevelopment and expensive faux fisherman’s cottages built by the wealthy Cape Town set.
And then the magic happens: the West Coast National Park unfurled the vibrant carpet of hues and colours. At every turn in the road, every kilometre travelled, a rich tapestry was revealed under a blue sky flecked with fleecy cloud.
There were insects and birds – and even a deadly puffadder viper in the road.
This called for celebration; another wine tasting! This time at Fairview near Paarl, but it lacked the sparkle of our previous experiences. Oh well, then get some cheese for which the estate is renowned.
Top it off with a light lunch at Spice Route estate next door and coffee in the historic town of Stellenbosch.
It got dark as we headed towards the coastal villages strung around False Bay, specifically Fish Hoek. A lovely cottage aptly called Sea View and a most helpful manager, who directed us to a takeaway fish & chips outlet selling fantastic fresh fish. “This village here is called Fish Hoek – for that very reason,” he said.
Seven days and almost 3 500 kilometres. A magic ride, thanks to our daughter who planned it all to the minutest degree. And my travel companion wife of many years. Let’s do it again!
- Flying the magic flower carpet – Part 1
- The Last Kaiser