In the West Coast National Park, slowing down is a requirement: here, tortoises have right of way and within a 10-kilometre radius we saw 28 of them. We walked along a boardwalk over the lagoon to a bird hide at the end. Inside, we opened the windows and let ourselves soak up heaven on Earth. The breeze was perfect and we had a wonderful view over the water and surrounding hills. We stared at the ripples on the surface of the water. After a long silence, we looked at each other knowing there was no better way of bringing this road trip to an end.
We made it to Lourensford with 20 minutes to spare before it closed – only to learn that the chocolate and wine pairings are temporarily on hold. Elana saw the gloom on our faces and lined up a row of glasses for an impromptu pairing: MCC with Turkish delight, white wine with dark mint chocolate and a Lourensford liqueur. She wasn’t in a rush to lock up – and said she wouldn’t charge us. Her warmth and hospitality embraced us, without her knowing we were journalists. At the end of an eventful day, Elana was a highlight.
First we had to negotiate another nerve-wrecking road: Bainskloof Pass (and its large troupe of baboons). Leo spent most of it leaning away from his passenger door, averting his eyes – sheer drops are not his thing. The drive was stunning and quite astonishing in places. We reached Tweede Tol after 3pm, walked down to the riverside and finally relaxed – and ate! Shadows were already starting to fall, so we swam while there was still sunshine on the water. It was ice-cold and totally exhilarating (our shrieks could be heard for miles), the highlight of the day. We had to resign ourselves to the fact that we would not make it to the alpacas, nor would we get those churros...
LOURENSFORD AND THE HELDERBERG MOUNTAINS
RIVERSIDE AT TWEEDE TOL
THE BIRD HIDE NEAR GEELBEK VISITORS CENTRE
WEST COAST WILD FLOWERS