South Africa

South Africa

Thanks to the help of Hannie and Karl, the border crossing was easy. We received a 3 month visa and not even our luggage was given up. In Port Nolloth we had to say goodbye to our great hosts. Thank you Hannie and Karl for all your help!

Due to the heat and the strong wind blowing in midsummer, we decided not to drive to the Cederberg. Instead, we followed the advice of Riaan, a friend of Hannie and Karl, who knows the area along the west coast very well. He could show us ways that are not marked on any map. Some sections were quite sandy, but we could drive through the main roads.

The hospitality of the (white) South Africans is really impressive. On the second day Susan and Eugene invited us to dinner and offered us two nights at the campsite. You recognize the coast with two mountain bikes and a four-wheel drive vehicle including trailer. In the next few days we were allowed to take our luggage with us. In the evening we had some exciting talks and learned a lot about life in South Africa.

The area here belongs to Namaqualand. Namaqualand is very popular with local and international tourists during early spring (August / September) when this normally dry area is covered with a kaleidoscope of paint for a short time during flowering. As a region, it has one of the highest percentages of Afrikaans speakers worldwide, with over 95% of the population speaking the Afrikaans language. The original Khoekhoe language of the Nama people with their complicated system of clicking sounds remains in remote areas.

Our biggest enemy on the west coast was the headwind. During the day he became a real storm. But as usual said: headwind shapes the character! Slowly the landscape changed. More and more agricultural land could be seen. One of the biggest export goods is the wine. The South African wine has a history from 1659 with Constantia, a vineyard near Cape Town. Since the end of apartheid, many producers have been working to create more "international" wine styles that can thrive on the world market. Flying winemakers from France, Spain and California have given South Africa new techniques and styles.

From Doringbaai we followed the railway road to Saldanha. The Sishen Saldanha railway line is an 861-kilometer heavy-duty railway line. It connects iron ore mines near Sishen in the North Cape with the harbor in Saldanha Bay in the Western Cape. It is mainly used to transport iron. The length of the train is really impressive. These trains have 8 locomotives and 342 wagons with a total mass of 41,400 tons and a length of 3,780 meters (12,400 ft). They are the longest series trains in the world.

A big problem in South Africa is safety. Mostly we had to stay in guesthouses. Virtually every property is fenced and surrounded by high walls. They feel like in a high security prison. Nobody trusts the other. From Saldanha we drove through West Coast National Park to Darling until we finally reached our final destination in Durbanville. There we visited Ansie and her family. We met her at the New Year celebration in Swakopmund. They spoiled us with a delicious braai (Afrikaans for barbecuing or grilling). On the last day they transported all our luggage to Cape Town. The white South Africans, along with the Sudanese, are the most hospitable people I have met in Africa (not even a black or colored South African has invited us)!

Of course, a bike ride to the Cape of Good Hope is a must. The first modern rounding of the Cape by the Portuguese explorer Bartolomeu Dias in 1488 was a milestone in the Portuguese attempts to establish direct trade relations with the Far East (although Herodotus mentioned a claim that the Phoenicians had already made). The Cape of Good Hope is the legendary home of The Flying Dutchman.

Cape Town and the surrounding area I really liked. Originally I wanted to cycle around Loch Africa. Now I've been on the continent for almost two years and here in Cape Town would have been exactly half. But I can no longer stand the eternal monotony and the people of Africa. For too long, I do not feel well and therefore I have decided to draw a conclusion under this chapter. On the other hand, I do not want to fly home and finish my journey. So I had to put together a new plan.

I was very happy about the visit of my family. I have not seen my sister for almost two years. Tania left after a few days and flew back to Switzerland. The sightseeing buses we really liked. With them, you can visit virtually all the major attractions around Cape Town. Cape Town is on the banks of Table Bay and was first developed by the Dutch East India Company as a sacrificial station for Dutch ships to East Africa, India and the Far East. The arrival of Jan van Riebeeck on April 6, 1652 founded the first permanent European settlement in South Africa. Of course, a visit to Table Mountain should not be missed. In November 2011, Table Mountain was named one of the new seven wonders.

I also met some friends that I met while traveling through Africa. Some of them live here in Cape Town. Most are optimistic about the future, which surprised me a lot. Jacob Zuma, the incumbent president, has long been a reason for the great humiliation of the population. Several charges of corruption and rape have already been brought against him.

We could stay in a couple of caravans on the roof of the Grand Daddy Hotel ( Exactly the right place to end my time in Africa. My bike has a new problem for some time: The pinion gear makes pretty funny sounds. In consultation with the bike shop Leuthold, we have decided to replace the gearbox. A big thank you to the fast and competent handling of all involved! It was not easy for me to leave my family. I spent the last day in Africa with Tommy and Wesley. They showed me the beautiful city of Stellenbosch. The next day I took the MyCiti bus to the airport. Now I know how my journey will continue.

South Africa is a land of contrasts for me. At this point, I would like to thank everyone who has spoiled us with their hospitality. Baie Baie thanks! In my opinion, safety is one of the biggest problems here in South Africa. A policy that the ANC (African National Congress) has pursued since the end of apartheid with its BBBEE (Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment) program is the wrong approach. This divides the population even more. Hopefully there will be a change soon. This country has so much potential. At the airport, I remembered a quote from Jimi Hendrix:

"When the power of love overcomes the love of power, the world will know peace."