After visiting the beautiful Karoo desert, we decided to begin the last part of our road trip in South Africa. We went to the west coast in the “Western Province” to visit different cities we really wanted to see.
We first went to Reibeek-Kasteel (say “rebek-kasteel”) a tiny town of 1 140 inhabitants. We went to our couch surfer Matthew who welcomed us in his beautiful house with his family. We had a delicious meal and his son showed us the city the next day. A nice little stay, mainly for relaxing and using the wifi to publish our articles and download new movies!
Then we went to Ceres, a city known for its beautiful lands, stunning valleys and snow-capped mountains in winter. It is named after the Roman goddess of fertility and we understand why, with its amazing fruits valleys and the famous juice brand “Ceres”.
We did two nights camping in a cherry farm! Our tent was not far from the cherry trees, in the middle of the mountains: we were only with the Tata and the nature. While the sun was going down, we quickly realized that the night would not be easy, it was very very cold! Noe tried to cut some wood to warm us up but everything was wet. So we put all our sweaters on, grabbed a pair of socks, caps and scarves.
At night, we could admire the incredible stars, the constellations were dancing for us, a magical moment, we never had seen a sky as illuminated and colorful. After this moment of sweetness and wonderment, we quickly went to bed.
The next day we walked around the city to have WiFi to prepare the next stop on the west coast. We also bought wood to keep us warm in the mountains at night!
The afternoon was sport time for one and drawing for the other, with the view on the mountains and music for the sunset. We cut some wood, did a successful Braai with a perfect fire, we spent our last night in the mountains with 9 degrees of freshness.
We took the road to reach the coast and its beautiful beaches. We chose a campsite which was on the beach, on the Tietiesbaai bay, (translate: « the boobs bay », yes, you understand right, maybe an old nudist beach…? Apparently, the name was given for Jacques Titius, a French colonial trader from the west coast). It’s very popular during the holiday season. We were eager to be there, enjoy the beach and have diner under the stars… But we were unlucky: At our arrival we saw big grumpy clouds. We quickly set up the tent under a soft rain and then run into the car to wait for the rain to stop. Several Uno games and two biscuits boxes. Wouhou! So much fun at Tietiesbaai. After more than one hour, the rain calmed down and we were able to leave the home. No more rain but we were freezing out there. Once again, we put on our survival gear and prepare the campfire to warm us up. Compared to the over experimented campers, we were quite miserable to watch. With our little car, our little tent and… Us, on the ground with our 5 sweaters, stuck to the fire. They had their big caravan, a luxury terrace, a barbecue and all the equipment needed to stay all the month.
We quickly ate the small meal and went to bed. When suddenly, deluge! Our small accommodation was caught by gusty winds, the rain poured violently on the tent. The storm lasted all night with its 8 degrees. What a wonderful evening at the beach!
Woke up with a little rain but luckily the clouds ran away and we had a wonderful day. We enjoyed the white sand beach and its turquoise sea. Then, we went for a walk in the next village of Paternoster, with its small white and blue houses. We felt like in Greece.
We continued to chase the west coast to Langebaan (that means “Long Road”). A seaside town, famous as a kite surf spot, we were very happy to be there. In our road trip project, we also wanted to do Woofing, which consist of working (usually on a farm) in exchange to an accommodation. We were very excited to have this new experience. We enjoyed an afternoon at the beach and then discover our one-week woofing.
After one-hour driving, we realized that the woofing is no longer in Langebaan but in “Hopefield”, a small village of 6,000 inhabitants, inland … On our arrival in front the woofers house (woofers: workers of a woofing): disenchantment. A small house like a container, in the middle of … Nowhere. The three other woofers from Germany welcomed us, escorted by a ox, a cow and a calf, but also with five dogs. Entering in the house, we could admire the kitchen- dining-living room. On the right, a dead rat waiting under the table to be throw out. Next to the couch, a cage with twenty chicks; on the kitchen, two cats, one in the sink and the other one licking the bread. Okay, lets continue with our room, one of the dogs welcomed us with a little pee on the bed, we discovered the broken window and that electricity does not work in our room. Now, the bathroom, the shower does not work, it is a garden hose that comes from outside, with cold and unclean water. Also, the toilets don’t work, for the needs, big or small, we had to go outside, dig a hole in the sand and we do our little (or big) business. Woah, that was a big slap in the face.
We sat on the “terrace” with our new friends to discuss. We were all very annoyed by this situation. One of them was there for one week and could not handle it anymore, the other two had arrived the day before and we wondered how they would stay one month here. Wait, we are not asking for a luxury house, but, just a clean place with sanitary in good state, it’s normal, isn’t it? The thing is that we’ve tried to clean up everything but the house was already in a bad state and during the week, the daughter of the owners was also living with the woofers (sleeping on the unclean couch…), so there were some rules and habits that we had to abide to (example: give food to the cats on the table).
The everyday planning was to work on the farm in the morning and have free afternoons, from Monday to Saturday. As it was a Saturday night, we decided to go in a bar in the city, get to know each other and had a good time. We had pizzas, drank beers and danced to the rhythm of the local DJ. This little party allowed us to fall asleep without thinking too much about the condition of the house.
Awakened at 6am by the eighteen flies that were flying in the room and freezing cold because of our broken window, we got ready to go to the farm. We met the owners who are very nice, but their house is just as the woofers house: many flies in the kitchen, cats that nap everywhere or hens wandering in the room. They generously offer us a homemade brunch and a short horse-riding class. We had a good time and we understood that if the workers’ house is in bad condition, it’s not deliberately. They just do not see the harm in not having showers and toilets, having mouse and let woofers live in a untidy house…
We spent the afternoon in Langebaan, at Shark’s Bay, Noe fully enjoyed the kite surf spot while Angie read a book while tanning on the beach. We came back home and had dinner with the woofers. On the dining table where the chicks were eating too. Card games and go to the wonderful bed. On Monday morning we worked on the farm, it was a great experience. We cut wood under 35 degrees, prepared food for horses or organize a fence, we really enjoyed this working morning on the farm but no showers at home was quite hard. After three days in this place where we had to dig a hole outside as toilets, where we could not take showers and where we have to sleep with the animals and the flies, it was hard to imagine that we should stay another week. The family was very hospitable and kind, but we had already reached our limits. So, we explained that we had to go back to Cape Town for personal needs. We did not want to hurt them by saying that this house was unbearable and we preferred to withdraw.
And here we go! From this unusual accommodation, we declared the end of our road trip! We returned to Cape Town to take a hot and clean shower, sleep in a healthy bed, without animals, ate real dishes on a table without chicks. Despite the house, we had a good time with the woofers and owners and we are so happy to have experienced Woofing.
We were so grateful for the trip we made with its difficulties and wonders. We spent a week in the beautiful city before taking our plane and go home to our families for the December holidays.