Day 270, Sunday 30 September 2012 – Trawal, South Africa
A very belated post, written five days later from some scribbled notes and photos and totally un-proof read as well.
I was up early, breakfast at 7:30 and packed up and ready to meet the truck and load up at 8:30 . Will our driver was also there to meet us, and we were picking up Ibron, our cook, at the supermarket up the road.
It was very cold, long pants, jackets and beanies were the order of the day and the polyprop stayed on until lunch time.
The truck is a Scania named Malakai and has seen a few years service on the over landing route. Africa in Focus only put a maximum of sixteen on their tours (unlike some who fit thirty!) though there are only twelve on this trip, so plenty of room. We have a side locker on the outside of the truck that Leonie and I are sharing and we have a smaller foot locker for cameras and laptops that also has a safe inside for each pair of seats. A-i-F take security seriously which is great. It took us a few days to work out how things best work with all the various lockers though. As I was one of the last on I ended up with one of the front seats, which have the least leg room – not bad though.
It was a very excited group that got on the truck ( we are not allowed to call it a bus) and we were on the road for 9:00 – on time!
The first stop was Table View, a small bay just out of central Cape Town over looking Table Mountain. The cloud on the top is called the table cloth by the locals.
The next stop was Bayside Mall and supermarket where we picked up a few last minute items and we were on the road for Highlanders wine farm our stop at the end of the day.
As we left Cape Town I noticed a large amount of hitchhikers on the road side from single men to small family groups, this was a feature outside all the towns we passed. It is a hard life in southern Africa. We were soon out into the rolling farm land hills and the atmosphere in the truck was excitable as we left civilisation behind.
We stopped for a roadside lunch at 1;00 and all stood around working out what the process was for assisting Ibron at lunch time and where everything lived in the vast kitchen store on the back of the truck.
Cleanliness is taken as seriously as security and we have to spray a detol solution on our hands everytime we get into the truck. At food times we have to have a soap wash, dettol wash and rince before touching the food.
We stop every couple of hours for a toilet and stretch break, Brett (out tour leader) wants to make sure everyone is drinking plenty of water so encourages lots of breaks so no-one stops drinking. Once we get up into Namibia the air is hot and dry and dehydration can be a real issue.
We arrived at Highlanders wine farm in Trawal late afternoon and had a lesson putting up the tents, which is pretty straightforward. They are four person tents though we only had two per tent, which was pretty comfortable.
Once tents were up and shorts put on as it had warmed up significantly we went up to the bar area for a wine tasting with Sparky the farm owner.
The three people in the middle were with another tour, couple of them were kiwi’s with really thick kiwi accents, funny.
The wines were Ok, I really liked the vermouth though and Leonie bought me a bottle for my birthday. I am going to have to say no-one makes a Shiraz like the Aussie’s though this one wasn’t too bad. I bought a bottle of the pinotage to drink with dinner.
After dinner a few of us chatted around an open fire and had a whisky or two, before heading off to the tents for some sleep. There were two other groups at the site, one filled with noisy young people, I was expecting for them to be partying into the night, but they were all tucked down before we were…
I am pretty sure it was the first time I was sleeping in a tent since my Europe trip in the 80’s!