When I finally was ready to kiss Cape Town goodbye, I received an email from Grant and Julie Guerin, an Australian couple riding two-up on a V-Strom that I’d met in Zacatecas, Mexico back in October 2005, they shipped their motorcycle from Buenos Aires a week after me. They connected with a local South African, Robin Hunt-Davis, who is cashing in his GS1200 for a GS650 Dakar like mine. Together with Grant, Jules, Robin and his wife Renda one night we finished a couple bottles of wine and a bbq while pouring over maps of Africa. Seems that Robin bought the Dakar with the idea of sometime next year shipping it to and spending several months in South America. It’s quite possible that Robin will join me when I ride north into Namibia.
As for Jules & Grant, I met them in Hermanus, after a majestic ride along the coast, a small hamlet on the west coast just a couple hours south of Cape Town known perhaps as the best place in the world for viewing whales. Over breakfast we were joined by my new friend West, his wife Celeste and their friend Shameel on a GS650 and watched two whales frolic in the bay from our breakfast table. Amazingly enough, I have attempted many times in life to view whales in various places, but until that day I had yet to see a whale outside an aquarium. To watch these enormous creatures throw themselves into the air seemingly turning and flopping back with such grace captivated me. Another whale seemed to have his head stuck in the mud as I couldn’t find any other explanation for how long he could wave his tail in the air splashing and flaying water as he played.
Wes took us on a nice ride through some easy gravel roads away from the coast through Botrivier toward the Cape Winelands to the Threewaterskloof Dam and over the mountains through the Franschhoek Pass and into the beautiful Franschhoek Valley, home to some of the best wineries on the Cape. Hanging for a few days while staying at the Otters Bend among pear and olive trees, I explored a handful of wineries including Boekenhautskloof, whose Chocolate Bloc rhone-style blend I sampled at the suggestion of Jonathan Steyn at Balthazar’s in Cape Town. Here I met winemaker and partner Marc Kant who in the week preceding my visit had been the recipient of three awards including winemaker of the year in South Africa.
Overall I find the South African drivers to be exponentially much more courteous than I’ve experienced in awhile, often pulling over onto the shoulder leaving me plenty of room to pass on the busy mountain roads. But as one local who disagrees with my assessment, assures me that the drivers here aren’t that good, blaming my reasoning for too much time in South America.