This leg of our journey was definitely the toughest. 24 hours after leaving Patong, with 17 hours in the air via Doha and Sophia throwing up 8 times, we arrived in Cape Town having gone back 5 hours in time!
We were so happy to get into our hire car and even happier once we arrived in Camps Bay to a great little family AirBNB bungalow overlooking the sea and with Cape Towns 12 Apostles watching over us.
We walked down to the beach to dip our toes in the freezing Atlantic, watch some beach volleyball and have lunch on the seafront. My nervousness at the safety of staying in South Africa was put at rest in this bubble of a resort, although reminders of the dangers are apparent on every building with alarms, armed response and grills as standard. Where there is such a divide between rich and poor as there is in this country it is of no surprise.
The landscape with Table Mountain and Lions Head as a backdrop to the city and the white sandy beaches make this a stunning spot, and we enjoyed the drive round to Houts Bay the following day to catch up with 'Savage' and his family. I'm not sure what the kids were expecting from this nickname, but we all had a wonderful 'Braii' and pool party with Simon (who Dave played rugby with regularly in Clapham Common), his wife Fi, their 3 children and some more of their charming friends.
They somehow convinced us to join them at a new gym called 'Switch' the following morning at 8.15am! So in the name of research we duly went along. It was a great start to the day and followed with a latte we felt like true Cape Towners.
The following day we took to the road again, traveling around Chapmans Peak which passes under rocks and along the coast to the South of the city and towards Cape Point.
Another ocean road with stunning vistas- I think we've ticked most of them off on this trip with California's Highway 1, Melbournes Great Ocean Road, New Zealand's Queen Charlottes Drive and now this!
We stopped at Boulder Beach to see the penguin colony and just about managed to hold on to our hats in the tremendous wind.
After too many tourists try to touch them and take home eggs (Really?) they are now protected by a walkway and you pay to go in which all contributes towards their conservation. You still feel pretty close to them.
After an ice cream we headed on to the southernmost tip of the country and the national park surrounding the Cape of Good Hope.
Here the baboons were great to watch safely from the inside of the car and we walked up to the lighthouse to see one of the most treacherous areas of sea where the Atlantic and Indian oceans meet. Just under 10,000 miles home!
I finally got a hair cut and colour that afternoon after 5 months and was embarrassed when even the hairdresser admitted it was way overdue! That evening we treated ourselves to dinner at The Codfather, Camps Bay's finest fish restaurant which was spot on. Food here is amazing and very reasonable in cost.
The following day we started early aiming to hike to the top of Lions Head.
With chains and ladders near the top it was going to be a challenge, and when Jake said his 'legs were tired' after 10 minutes we did question whether we'd all make it as it was already mid 20's in centigrade at 9am.
There's was no doubt Sophia our little mountain goat would get there, so she and Dave went on the difficult chain route while Jake and I took the longer less steep route.
Just short of the final peak Jake and I saw Dave and Sophia almost at the top and waved. Jake said he was ready to turn back, but after giving in to this I was so proud of him when he turned around and said. "No Mummy. I'm going to do it."
So we reached the top and sat there together on the hottest day of the year so far, very proud of ourselves and with very red cheeks!
We drank all 4 flasks of water and were daydreaming of jumping in a pool 3 hours after starting out when we finally reached our car. The water from the stall at the bottom tasted better than anything we could wish for.
After a quiet afternoon recovering and trying to stay cool, we ventured 5 minutes around the corner to Hussar Grill, one of Cape Towns finest steak restaurants and no. 1 in Camps Bay. We feasted on steak and sat next to Scotlands rugby 7's team, who were there for the tournament in Cape Town that weekend. Again it was unbelievable value and we left with full bellies and a doggie bag.
To Franschoek next and the start of the garden route. Just time to pack for what felt like the hundredth time!