Table Mountain has never looked more beautiful! Seeing it was significant because it meant I would soon be heading north on the last stretch of my journey. It came into view as I rounded the last bend at Yzerfontein. The site sparked a spontaneous outburst of shouts, song and dance. The lady on her afternoon jog probably though I was a complete nutter. She might not be wrong.
Some of the scenic highlights of this stretch of my trip included the Berg River at Velddrif, a spectacular sunset at Shelley Point, the postcard-worthy Langebaan lagoon, the pristine Groot Paternoster reserve, Jacobsbaai at spring low tide, being the only person on 16 Mile Beach – which is literally 16 miles long and back-flipping dolphins near Yzerfontein.
On the West coast I walked past many local kids playing about on the beaches, but my favourite group were on a serious fishing expedition just before St Helena Bay. Four of them huddled onto a tyre tube armed with a fishing net and two paddles. Well, one paddle and one plastic cricket bat. A safety line was tied around the tube and held by two kids on the rocks. A scout accompanied them on a surfboard.
“Uncle, jammer ons het nog nie enige vis vir Uncle.” the one apologised. “Uncle kan nie deur die fabriek loop nie. Uncle moet om stap.” another explained. “Uncle moet lekker stap!” yet another shouted as I trekked on. These kids gave me a bit of extra voema for the last push of the day.
Inspiration can come from the most unlikely of places. I was asked to share my story at the Paternoster Sefaood Festival. It was here, amidst the smell of seafood, giant crayfish, quirky curios, drunk locals and mediocre afrikaans country music that I met an old-timer Paternoster local known as “Wet Willy”. Late in the day he took a break from his Bone Crusher beer and said, with a tear in his eye, that I had inspired him. He then inspired me with a little piece of wisdom, “If you can’t be the tree at least be a bit of the grass. But be the best of whatever you are.”
Moving off the beach and into the fynbos brought about another factor. I was attacked by hordes of fierce, relentless, blood-thirsty, flesh-eating monsters. I came up with many colourful names for these horrible horse-flies.
After walking nearly 900 km, Blouberg was the first recognisable place I had seen since I left Cape Town nearly two months prior. I was so happy to finally have reached Cape Town.
As if I wasn’t walking enough, on one of my “rest days” I hiked from Silvermine and down to Muizenberg with the Pride of Table Mountain kids, lead by Sharon McCallum. Typically, the boys were trying to outdo each other. So much so that even I was struggling to keep up with them. Under guidance from the Wilderness Foundation, the Pride Project aims to enrich kids with an appreciation for nature and wildlife by taking them out of the townships and into conservation areas where they learn about their surroundings. It was at this young age that my love for nature and the outdoors was also instilled. In my view there is no better time to learn.
With new shoes, new underwear, a new t-shirt, new trekking-pole tips and a new pedometer (because I drowned my others), I am ready to tackle the next phase and am keen to get out of Cape Town; the rush of the city is starting to frustrate me.
Am I becoming a loner vagabond?
But I quite like the sound of that.
Day 40-84 summary: 797 614 steps, 546.5 km
Total: 1 581 490 steps, 1104.6 km