Taking a week out of your life to do this is definitely one of your good ideas. You’ll spend two days in Springbok and then drive down to Paternoster. Fancy two nights on the beach? No, not rolled up on your towel but in a delightful guest house. Next stop, Cape Town. The Mother City of South Africa.
|Price||from US$ 539 pps|
|Highlights||Cape Town, Namaqualand and Northern Cape, West Coast|
Road trip time. Yes! Pack your tunes. Choose your companions wisely. If you discover someone is a mistake, be sure your smartphone is topped up with playlists. Hopefully you’ll be bopping along in sweet harmony as you leave Namibia and head on down to Cape Town.
This trip begins at Fish River Canyon in Namibia. And what a canyon. She’s only gone and been crowned the largest in Africa. Stunning. And second only in size to America's grand one. Formed about 500 million years ago the Fish River has carved out over 160 kilometres of rock. Which is jolly good work. But today isn’t about Fish River, it’s about Springbok. Not the antelope, the town. And you’re about to change countries.
On the way: Say goodbye to Fish River Canyon and hello to a 200km drive to Springbok. It should take you 2 to 3 hours. Now, there is a school of thought that if you're going on a road trip, you should revert to a simpler time when people relied on maps to get around. Ignore that school of thought. Drive down to the border, cross it and head into South Africa. Bear in mind immigration can take some time. Yawn. Pack sweets and a crossword. All ok? Good, you’re in. Head on to Daisy Country Lodge which is only an hour’s drive from here and 7 minutes outside of Springbok. It’s your home for the next two nights.
When you're there: Springbok is the largest town in the Namaqualand area in the Northern Cape. This is flower land. If such a thing exists. Come spring the abundance of joy from the spewing bulbs knows no bounds and has made this area world famous. A gardener’s delight. An artist’s palette of colour. Your granny’s taste in home furnishings. Vibrant, vivid, vital. Many are rare succulents, unique indigenous plants with a rich history. Many, like the drought resistant kokerboom have adapted to survive.
Springbok experiences low levels of air humidity, limited soil moisture and hot sunshine throughout the year. And almost half of the plant species here aren’t found anywhere else in the world.
Daisy Country Lodge overlooks the koppies and valleys in this semi desert area. A farm environment, you can walk, cycle or horse ride freely in the valleys. Or just chill in the swimming pool. You’ll be staying on a bed and breakfast basis.Standard Accommodation
Today you’re off to the seaside. Paternoster is one of the oldest fishing villages on the west coast of South Africa. And fishermen still go out almost daily. Their boats are rather gorgeous too. Which is unexpected. But they are. All primary colours. Red, yellow, blue, green. Their homes? Those white washed cottages. Right there. Life here revolves around the deep blue. The landscape may be harsh but it sure is beautiful. Check out the sand dunes. This is home for the next two days.
Paternoster is one of the oldest fishing villages on the West Coast of South Africa. It is situated 15 km north-west of Vredenburg and 145 km north of Cape Town, at Cape Columbine between Saldanha Bay and St Helena Bay.
On the way: So you’re driving south. 500km which will take about 5-6 hours. Your base is on the beach. A guest house called Paternoster Dunes. It’s a bed and breakfast and you can have dinner in one of the restaurants in the village. Go for the fish. Crayfish. It would be rude not to.
When you're there: When you wake, step outside, barefoot and just walk on the sands outside. Could there be a better start to a day?
Being one of the few surviving, traditional fishing villages, Paternoster is different from the rest of the Cape West Coast. Small-scale angling and crayfish netting is the primary economic activity and accounts for much of the charm.
As you wander along the beach you may spot dolphins, seals, penguins. And whales. too. You can thank the Benguela current for that. And there’s a group of southern right whales which come here for their summer hols. They prefer it to the Southern Ocean. Don’t blame them. Paternoster is famed for excellent fish and chips. Make sure the whale in the queue doesn’t scoff the lot.
Just 3km west of the village is the Columbine Nature Reserve. It’s a small reserve established to conserve the indigenous sandveld fynbos. You can picnic or braai and bird watching is good. Over 225 species, a mix of both land and sea birds. White sand dunes, pink shores of granite boulders, beaches tinted blue by oyster shells. This place is all about colour. No wonder the fishermen got the paints out and pimped their boats.
Talking of colour the fields around Paternoster break into colour from late July to September, but by far the best floral display is here in the reserve. White, yellow, orange, purple. Spring flowers. Blooming.
There are lots of good hiking trails and kayaking trips can be arranged.
The Columbine lighthouse is also worth a visit. It’s between Paternoster and the reserve. Built in 1936, it’s the first lighthouse visible to ships from Europe rounding Africa. Tours run Monday-Friday.
Hungry? Definitely dinner time. Head back to Paternoster. Luckily this village forms part of the West Coast Way’s Foodie Route. Excellent, excellent news.Standard Accommodation
Today you wave goodbye to village life. You’re city bound. Cape Town. South Africa’s rugged coastal city. Framed by the mighty Table Mountain. You will be staying for 2 nights at Floreal House in the historic Oranjezicht part of town. A bright white building with wooden framed windows. And the vista? Table Mountain, the harbour and Table Bay. You can’t say fairer than that.
On the way: It’s not a long drive, it will take 1-2 hours to go from Paternoster to Cape Town. 100km.
When you're there: You really should visit Cape Town. At least once in your life. You can’t overstate the case either. The mountains in your face, the ocean right there. White sand, huge granite boulders, vine covered valleys. The food. The drink. The urban edge. Artists, musicians, galleries, museums. And history. Boy oh boy, the history.
For a township tour, we recommend you book a guided trip. You can go with a private guide and even by bicycle.
Table Mountain’s gotta be in your top five list. Go in the morning. You could walk up and cable car down. It’s a relatively easy two to three hour hike along Platteklip Gorge. This is the oldest and most direct route up the front face of the mountain. Stare at the world below and plan your next stop.
The island? Good choice. It’s Robben island. The place where Nelson Mandela was imprisoned for 18 of the 27 years he was locked up.
There are so many places to visit: the V&A Waterfront, Green Market Square, Long Street, District Six Museum, Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens, Pan African Market.
Go on a drive and loop around the peninsula to take it all in. Visit the Cape Point National Park. The Cape Town lighthouse is there too and it’s the southwesterly point of Africa.
Head down to the beach. Camps Bay is a popular spot and definitely go looking for the penguins at Boulders Beach. They’re an endangered colony of African penguins and they are ludicrously adorable.
There are world class restaurants to visit when it’s dinner time. Have a great evening exploring the city after dark and then head to Floreal House. You’ll be staying on a bed and breakfast basis. You could always eat lunch there too. Meals are served all day by the swimming pool in the gardens.Standard Accommodation
That’s your week done. Drive to Cape Town Airport, drop off your car (not included) and check in for your flight home.
|2||Standard||Low Season||US$ 539 pps|
|2||Standard||High Season||US$ 583 pps|
Itinerary Type: Sample
Country: South Africa
Highlights: Cape Town, Cape Winelands
Itinerary Type: Sample
Highlights: Kalahari, Sossusvlei, Swakopmund, Windhoek
Itinerary Type: Sample
Highlights: Etosha, Waterberg, Windhoek
This was a "bucket list" trip for us. It could not have been better. HIGHLY recommend you ask for Bianca.