Cape Town 11- 21/03
We had lots of business to cater for: passport pages running out and a bike in need of spare parts. We payed a visit to the Romanina Consulate and the welcome was beyond any expectations. The Consul, Mr. Silviu Rogobete, made substantial efforts to offer us the best solution to be able to continue our tour of Africa, while his wife kindly entertained us with cake and quick bites. We may not have many diplomatic missions in Africa, but the ones we visited are top notch. Thank you, Silviu!
Thanks to a tip from Charl, a fellow Capetonian advrider, we arrived at Trac Mac, a friendly and well appointed service and fitting centre. Remember our enigmatic clutch slip that has been bugging us since Windhoek. Well, the synthetic Bel Ray 20W50 was the culprit (thanks to the questionable customer service of Yamaha Windhoeak): I switched back to Motul 5100 10W40 and the clutch works. After a quick assessment we also concluded that unfortunately the chain we fitted in Lubumbashi (DRC) must be changed, after only 6000 km: already 2 (two!) security clips had fallen off and again there was a lot of wear around the connection link was damaged. This time I went for a riveted connection link with a DID X-Ring. Time to change sprockets (after only 10k, because I had to fit them with an old chain in Matadi and because most of this mileage was off road) and brake pads also.
The rest of the week we chilled. We had fun playing a game that we used to wrongfully dismiss for being commercial and stupid: Guitar Hero and Rock Band. Especially for Iulia’s b-day.
And hanged out with Charl and Carla at the legendary Blue Peter and a farmers’ market, sampling local olives, olive oil, wine and biltong. The evening we braid and finally stayed over their chic crib, decorated in French country style. They are talented, sporty and ridiculously attractive people. Charl is an entrepreneur and Carla recently started a photography venture, have a look here: link facebook
After 10 days we moved to a ‘surf house’ in Table View, which is exactly what the name says: a house where the kitchen, living room and toilets are shared spaces, whilst several rooms and garden cottages are rented out to long term vacationers. This was ‘Endless Summer’: a place located in a very quiet residential area, 200 meters from the beach with the best view of the iconic mountain. The locals have a cool name for the daily show of cloudscapes creeping on top of the flat rock: Table Cloth.
The business relies on word of mouth to attract the aficionados of some of the coolest water sports around. People from the Netherlands, Norway, France, Switzerland and the UK are flocking here in summer to surf, SUP, kite surf and windsurf. They stay anywhere between a couple of weeks to season-long terms, spending their holidays in the cold crisp waves, or enjoying other cool stuff that Cape Town and South Africa have to offer. Safaris, game drives, cage diving with great white sharks, seal snorkeling or diving, paragliding, skydiving, bungee jumping. Or wine tasting, hiking trips, or clubbing on Long Street, where party buses arrive loaded with old and young sardined together high on booze and imported weed. BTW, the dudes who appear to be selling clothing hangers at junctions, are actually in a different kind of business.
It’s all good fun, but it comes at a substantial cost, way beyond our budget. We felt apprehensive about moving in this fun hub, fearing that the temptation would be too big, that we would get sucked into it. But the price of fun kept us at bay. Regrets that we couldn’t enjoy the opportunity to discover some fantastic sports aside, we had to remember we were on a mission to overland. Already we had arrived there with our budget in shambles, butchered by systematic visa problems, DHL fees and enormous import duties for parts. And for the last 5 weeks we had been struggling to cope with the high costs of living in Namibia and South Africa, while still trying to enjoy some of the good stuff available.
We ended up staying longer: the magic flowed, we enjoyed cooking, relaxing in a real bed, reading books, updating our CVs and scouting for jobs in SA or elsewhere, thinking about the future and how we can solve our immediate financial problems. The long, tapering breath of Friday braai fire became a catalyst for sharing stories and making friends.
Sheree, the godmother of this joint
And how did we feel to be the first people to travel by motorbike from Bucharest to Cape Town? Well, it didn’t feel like quite an achievement. Last June it was too vast to grasp, now it was too full of memories to summarize in a few words. The innumerable hours of riding, the peaceful nights wild camping, the freedom, the fragrant dawns, the breakdowns, the weeks of living and sharing everything with the French family, it all needs time and space to sunk in, to become real. I guess we felt pleased with ourselves. Whatever would happen next, we knew now something that should have been evident before we even begun to plan this journey, something that we should all know: we can do anything we truly want to do.