There to Here – Southern Africa Travels & a Circumnavigation

 Our southern Africa travels included South Africa, Swaziland, Lesotho and Namibia.

Our southern Africa travels included South Africa, Swaziland, Lesotho and Namibia.

After the Indian Ocean passage, we were ready for some land time. Marcie had some family commitments back in the States over the holiday season while David remained with Nine of Cups. Shortly after the New Year, she returned and we began enjoying all that southern Africa had to offer. Think game parks, tiny, unique countries seldom visited … and more game parks. Though we’d visited South Africa back in 2007, this part of southern Africa was all new to us and we sought to take advantage of land adventures.

Game parks were definitely at the top of our list. We couldn’t get enough of them. Initially, we took several short forays between boat chores and then later enjoyed a longer trip to explore several parks, Swaziland and the pièce de résistance, famed Kruger National Park. There was something new to see and experience at every turn in the road. Each park was unique in its own way. The various cultures were fascinating. The local people were friendly. The change from on-board life was satisfying and welcome. And yes, we were lucky enough to spot the Big Five.

Brennan and Hannah visited in February and were keen to visit Lesotho. Talk about a tiny, landlocked, country that was all “up”. We traveled with them for several days, climbed the treacherous Sani Pass in a Range Rover, enjoyed learning about the Basotho culture and had a beer at the alleged highest pub in Africa. All too soon, they departed, the boat chores were caught up for the time being and we waited with anticipation for a weather window to head down South Africa’s Wild Coast.

 Highest pub in Africa

Highest pub in Africa

The east South Africa's Wild Coast lived up to its name. With the Agulhas Current providing a mighty push, we managed our fastest passage ever 214 nm in 24 hours and found ourselves anchored in the Buffalo River in East London catching our breaths.

 Compared to the huge car carriers tied up at the docks, Nine of Cups looked very small anchored in the Buffalo River in East London.

Compared to the huge car carriers tied up at the docks, Nine of Cups looked very small anchored in the Buffalo River in East London.

 Another weather window had us anchored off Port Elizabeth at  Bird Island . What a view!

Another weather window had us anchored off Port Elizabeth at Bird Island. What a view!

 Mosselbaai was awesome!

Mosselbaai was awesome!

The highlight of our ports of call was Mosselbaai , a delightful, friendly, small city that was ideal to explore on foot and had lots to see and do, foremost of which was the Dias Museum.

 A full size replica of Bartolomew Dias' caravel on display at the Dias Museum

A full size replica of Bartolomew Dias' caravel on display at the Dias Museum

We rounded Cape Agulhas and found ourselves back in the Atlantic Ocean, making headway with a modicum of difficulty, to Simon’s Town. We wanted a chance to visit with the local inhabitants ... a friendly colony of African penguins (aka jackass penguins because of their bray) that have situated themselves at Boulders Beach and seem oblivious to the thousands of tourists that gather around to watch them. We spent our Easter Sunday with penguins instead of bunnies.

 Penguins preening at Boulders Beach.  Watch a video here!

Penguins preening at Boulders Beach. Watch a video here!

We left Simon’s Town on a calm, sunny morning and rounded the Cape of Good Hope, the last of the Five Great Southern Capes and made our way to Cape Town. As we toasted Neptune, the wind began to freshen until the earlier calm of the day was just a memory. They don’t call it “windy” Cape Town for nuthin’.

 Rounding the last of the Five Great Southern Capes

Rounding the last of the Five Great Southern Capes

We caught sight of Table Mountain and our spirits were high. Docking at the Royal Cape Yacht Club was quite a celebratory occasion for us. It marked the “tying of the knot” for our world circumnavigation. We tidied up, uncorked the champagne and made plans for the coming weeks in Cape Town ... the Mother City, the Tavern of the Seas.

 Cups safely tied up at the Royal Cape Yacht Club with Table Mountain as the backdrop ...  a circumnavigation of the world completed! Hooray!

Cups safely tied up at the Royal Cape Yacht Club with Table Mountain as the backdrop ...  a circumnavigation of the world completed! Hooray!

Join us next week as we enjoy Cape Town, a few road trips then head north to Namibia.