Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Gansbaai & other places

SirLoweryPass 2

O and me went on a mini road trip. We finally managed to get out of Cape Town! Its been...
hmm... just too long. We drove to Hermanus and Gansbaai, and stopped in many interesting places along the way. I love driving around South Africa its such a vast and ever changing landscape. While I definitely prefer the train in Switzerland, or Europe- here the car is just fine- maybe because the train system doesn't compare to the Swiss one, it only connects major cities. And I find the off road places most interesting. In fact every time I do go into the country, I think we should have a 4x4 so we could do the proper off road thing... until I am back in the mother city- and am wishing our car would be smaller and drink less juice.
There are two possible routes to go to Hermanus, one is along the coast, the other over Sir Lowry Pass through the Overberg. I prefer the second, which most people find odd. The first seems much more scenic- but it's much longer, and I love driving through the mountains... (remember I am from Heidiland after all). But to be honest I always stop in Howhoek, its on the flank of the Green Mountains, and has one of the nicest farm stalls in the Overberg- they have a lovely coffee shop that serves fantastic coffee.
 OK, yes I  get my first coffee fix of the trip. It's ideal, because one has driven for an hour and everybody is ready for some nice coffee and a snack. But also it is really beautiful around the Green Mountains. This time we sat outside on their stoep (veranda) and were surrounded by the freshly opened Roses and Jasmin, the air was drenched in their scent and we enjoyed the view of the green pastures.

Houw Hoek Green Mountains

As always we made plans to come back one day, go hiking in the mountains and maybe stay the night in a farmhouse and just stay here rather than only stopping for a coffee.
Just as we were entering Hermanus- our initial chosen destination- O said he wants to go a bit further towards the Vlei, so we did- well he was driving so I had no choice- the landscape changes and once one passes the Vlei, so does the vegetation- suddenly it looks very similar to the Westcoast, much more rugged from winds and storms, the rich greens fade and lots of hues of silver and grey take over. Since we at the end of spring there were not that many flowers seemingly competing for attention- but there were still many sudden bursts of bright pinks, yellows and orange along the way.


Then O decided we should go to Gansbaai. Which I thought to be absurd! There is nothing there trust me, I kept on insisting. He told me he wanted to know what the hype about the place is all about, so we went ( he was driving after all)

Harbour Gansbai
I told you so,was my response to his amazement about the sleepy fishing village, that does on first glimpse not offer anything to the visitor. 
We did go to the beach and have a little walk there, and honestly I have to say it is nice. 

DSCN2572 Gaansbaai
The reason though, that this village has a sudden influx of tourists and everybody speaks about it, is that one can go Shark diving here. It has one of the densest populations of Great Whites in the world here. And have you ever seen the photos of jumping Great Whites? Well, they are most likely taken off Gansbaai. And that's the exact reason why I don't like it. O was shocked to hear I would never dive with the Sharks, I am sure he was really pleased too. He has a real phobia for sharks. Why would I? They bait them so that a well paying tourist can sit in a steel cage underwater and take some holiday snaps! The result of this venture is that we have had much more shark attacks in the Western Cape ( I am speaking about at least 5-10more!) 
To be fair- one can also go out on a boat an see the Whales from up close, not baited, and that's something I wouldn't mind doing one day... and with the fish stock being scooped up by giant boats off the South African waters, the small fisherman, who can  compete with them,  need a new source of income... 
We didn't see Whales so we went back towards Hermanus, stopping over in Stanford, which we think is one of the nicest Towns in the area. (But for some funny reason I never took any photos)
I think this is enough for now.
I will tell you about Hermanus, Elgin and returning home later....

1 comment:

Deborah Mannella said...

What a wonderful report - we also visited Gaansbai and didn't find it attractive at all...;-)


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