Chapman's Peak

Chapman's Peak is down on theTable Cape peninsular, and so the road south bypassed the city area. Then it was a big climb up the mountain, with stunning views down over the city on the few occasions it felt safe to take my eyes off the winding road.

Taking the turnoff towards the camping ground, this is what I was confronted with - a sign to be careful of Western leopard Toads crossing the road. Apparently during mating season, volunteers come to this area to help the toads across the road, as they are an endangered species, and so many of them are killed each year by cars.

Soon I arrived at the Chapman's Peak Caravan Farm, where I was amazed at these red turkey gobblers. I'd never seen red ones before. Two red gobblers and one female. This is an interesting park, which I would recommend to all bikers. Very relaxed and country-fied. There are turkeys, ducks, geese, guinea fowls, Egyptian geese, chooks, various species of ibis - all wandering around free. There are also cattle and horses, and the numerous farm dogs, as well as avaries of assorted pretty birds.

I checked in and took an onsite caravan, which was only slightly dearer than putting the tent up, and as I just knew I'd be comfortable and relaxed here, I would inevitably stay longer than planned - which I did! And it rained, too, so I didn't have to pack up a wet tent.

I'd noticed a yellow BMW R1150GS parked in the garage as I was checking in, which belonged to Chris, the male half of the owners. Just makes it all the better for bikers to stay here, with a biker owner. And there were three or four bikers resident in the park, too.

I was visited a couple of times by a cheeky little squirrel, who came in as far as the caravan step before I shoofed him away. I can well imagine the awful mess and damage a frightened little squirrel could make inside the van if I was chasing him to get him to go outside again! But he was quite tame, not worried that I was sitting right at the door, watching him advance to the van step. A nice plump squirrel he was, too, with a very bushy tail.

There was no internet at the park, but I soon found it at the local Wimpy, at the shopping centre about 3km away. So Wimpy became my "second home" for the time I was there, to the extent that I became a "regular".

I'd been in contact with Riel Smit, a local Iron Butt rider, by email and we agreed to meet up for dinner on the Friday evening, as Riel was off to Brussels on the Saturday for business. It was then that I found that Tracks4Africa, the GPS mapping software I was using, wasn't all that complete when it came to streets in Cape Town. No way would it even find Kudu Street. so I looked it up on Google Maps and memorised the route to get into the vicinity.

As I turned off the freeway and pulled over to ring Riel, a car pulled in right behind me. I was a bit wary as the young guy came racing up to me, until he asked if he could talk for a while about travelling by bike. After a brief chat, I asked him if he knew where Kudu St was. He didn't, so he whipped out his iPhone and found it, then offered to lead me there. As it happened, it was less than a km away, fortunately. Yet another good turn done by a biker.

So after finally meeting Riel in person, then meeting his wife, Jeannette, we all set off in the car for a lovely dinner at a local restaurant. It was good to sit and have a conversation with like minded people. It had been quite a time since I'd had a "bike" chat with someone.

I rode back to Chapman's Peak over the mountain in the misty rain in the dark, but made it safely.

The bike needed a new rear tyre urgently, as it was almost down to canvas, so on the Monday I rode in to Suzuki South in Wynberg (after another struggle with Tracks4Africa!) and made an appointment to get the tyre on (Michelin Anakee, as they didn't have a Metzler Tourance, and couldn't get one in a short time) and a service done the next day. The guys were most helpful and friendly, and quickly did the work the next day, while I went for a wander up the street - in the rain - to a fabric shop I'd spotted while looking for Suzuki the day before! But again I was good, and didn't buy anything, although they had some lovely fabrics. That's one thing bikes are good for - there is not a lot of room to carry impulse shopping!!!!! And the postage rates to Australia were exhorbitant, as well, yet another good reason not to shop.

I was invited to a braai (BBQ) by one of the residents, Natalie, who now works for Chris and his wife at the park. There were various other people there, Natalie's friends from within the peninsular area. So we had a good night, although it rained and we all had to squeeze into Natalie's small van for most of the evening.

Back at the van, I finally packed up and made ready to leave the next day, to finally reach Cape Agulhas, the most southerly point to which one can ride in Africa. The final extreme!

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