Arniston is a ‘close’ 209km from Cape Town. Eight of us set off on a Sunday which means minimal traffic, and everyone felt light hearted and free as-a-bird soaring in the skies! Our first stop was a roadside garage just before Sir Lowry’s Pass. First off it was extremely sad to see how the fires had ravaged this beautiful mountain pass and the surrounding area. We know of a few properties that were burnt to the ground with the devastating fire that had hit the area – one being Mary-Ann Shearer and her husband who had built a thriving business and school which was taken away from them in a flash when the wind changed direction!
We met a South African tour guide (biker) and his client who were traveling through South Africa – they had started in Johannesburg and were on their way through Cape Town, and then up the West Coast – his client, a lady from Germany who had previously done tours with this same man and it was so interesting to chat to them!
Lunch was in Hermanus at ‘Just Pure’ – and what a lovely lunch we had! A great time to sit and chat and get to know each other (as we were a group who barely knew one another!) Hermanus was ‘buzzing’ as, after all, it is Whale Season and it was decided to rather push on to Arniston – a wise decision as the wind was “pumping’ and parking was at a premium!
On our arrival in Arniston we were met by Barbara, the guest relations manager who offered us a cold drink or glass of wine before we were given the keys to our rooms and information about the hotel. We all settled in and unpacked – then met for dinner in the dining room a while later.
Monday morning and there was reports of heavy rain on Tuesday, so days were swapped around! We changed our Tuesday pl to Monday. This meant that at least we could visit L’Agulhas in relatively dry conditions.
We met our guide for the morning – Willie Meyer at the L’Agulhas lighthouse where our tour began in the museum. An interesting museum with a photographic display of many of the lighthouses of the world! After this we headed down to the actual point where the Indian Ocean meets the Atlantic Ocean! (Even though as Willie told us there are many arguments about this point)! Interesting to see all the cormorants flying in flocks from Left to Right – Willie said they’d been doing this for days!
After this we got back into the coach and stopped to look at a wreck off the coast, the Meisho Maru, which ran aground in November 1982– and then another stop, where we walked along to view the fish traps. Unfortunately, the tide was too high (to view them at their best, one should go at very low tide)!!
Willie had, with the help of Derick Burger, organised the remote for the gate at the Agulhas National Park – where we were able to view one of their 2-bedroom accommodation units! Fabulous, with awesome views from all these units.
Lunch was at Pot Pourri, a delightful coffee shop in L’Agulhas. Amazing how fresh air makes you hungry and very soon we were all eating (again?!) & laughing (again!!??)
Back at the hotel there was time to take a rest or read your book for a short while before we headed out to dinner at Wanda’s restaurant in Kassiesbaai. Wanda caters and cooks’ delicious food (the fish is caught by her husband). Must say we had the restaurant to ourselves and it was a very pleasant evening all together with an added dose of laughter!
Tuesday morning and rain was in the air – welcomed by anyone living in the Western Cape – oh my goodness we are going through a serious drought situation in this area. Most people do not complain about rain or getting caught in a few-drops!
We visited Kapula Candles and the Lifestyle Centre (not much bought here at all!) and then headed to the Bredasdorp Square and “Eat. Sleep. Shop” – Yes, some shopping was done (again); “Girls what do you think of this – will be absolutely perfect for my entrance hall”; Yes, we ate (again) and Yes we laughed our way through an hour or so in Bredasdorp! Magic time indeed!! Then we did a church visit – “Drive-past” – until consensus was let’s go back to Arniston! The Shipwreck museum was given a wide berth due to popular vote!
We had an appointment to visit Mien and her lovely coffee shop in Kassiesbaai for scones. When we arrived, she had a lovely fire burning; fresh ‘light-as-can-be’ scones with cream and jam, accompanied by piping hot coffee and tea…….an enjoyable afternoon with Linda teaching Mien how to ‘market-her-product’ – she sells local craft made in Kassiesbaai.
Dinner on Tuesday was back at the Arniston Hotel – disappointingly we were told we would be in the main dining room – more comfortable chairs (but this didn’t happen as whoever was responsible ‘forgot’ our request)!! An enjoyable dinner followed by a good sleep – life-is-good!
Wednesday dawned and we headed to Elim a distance of 58km away. On arrival we were told a German tour group was arriving in 10 minutes and we could join their tour of Elim. When they arrived, their tour guide refused our group to join their tour – so small minded but at the end of the day, he did us a favour – as everything must be translated and it would have been a long-winded process!
In contrast we could wander at leisure through the museum and then we head out of Elim to Zoetendal a fabulous stop! Christine met us and introduced us to Philip Vivier who proved to be such an ambassador for the entire area. He gave us news of things in the pipeline – farmers are introducing, Buffalo / Hippo / and their intention is to eventually open a game farm. In fact, right now one can do a game drive – but only on a Saturday!
We all shared the most delicious cold meat and cheese platter – decadent and delicious! A fabulous lunch (and YES, we were eating again!)
We then headed back to the hotel where, as an apology for not being able to sit in their dining room, they made us all scones and tea/coffee (YES, we did eat again!) Where oh where do we find the space to imbibe like this?
Dinner tonight was at the Blue-Sky Guest House where Adrian and Jill Penny have converted a house into a great guest house. I’m sure, many overseas travellers to the area will be very comfortably accommodated here. Adrian employs a chef – Andrew – and the food was fabulous! Tomato soup followed by a choice of Musselcracker fish or Beef fillet with a Bearnaise sauce – really decadent! This was followed up by a delicious tiramisu! No-one could say they were hungry after this tour – for sure!!
It was a fabulous way to end our Arniston tour – we got to meet some of the tourists staying there – a young couple from Reunion Islands / some Scandianavians! – a great evening.
Thursday morning and we were all packed and out of the hotel, as scheduled by 09h00. Wow what time keepers – great to be with a group like his!
We ambled home stopping in at the Van Brekel Stoor / Dassiesfontein and finally arriving at our lunch desination – Houw Hoek farmstall by 12h30. More shopping ; more eating ; (yes, and ‘Carol, we are not even hungry’!!). We were back at the airport holding bay by just on 2.30pm which meant we could get home earlyish!