Route 62 through the Klein Karoo

Cape Town —> Paarl —> Villiersdorp —> Montagu —> Warmwaterberg —> Calitzdorp —> Wilderness —> Sedgefield

Leaving Cape Town with a 50km/hr cross-wind was enough to make Olivia wonder “why are we cycling away from the airport?” Every time a truck passed, it would block the wind for a moment, and then vacuum you back into the road. Add that to a sudden-onset knee pain and she was starting to question the purpose of continuing our journey. After 100km like this, we asked a table-grape farmer where the nearest campsite was. He gave us directions, but ended up jumping on his quad bike and catching up with us to offer his own home! We ended up spending a wonderful night chatting with Willem, learning about local agriculture and our mutual love of travel and cycling. He even treated us to a pizza dinner! The very following night we met another fellow cyclist, recently back from a tour in SE Asia. Tania offered to let us camp on her educational farm, empty due to the school holidays. We spent the evening walking around the farm, meeting a sassy eland, a camel, alpacas, llama, goats, springbok, zebra, peacock, rabbits, tortoise, and a very dominant ostrich that tried to spit at Olivia when she got too close to his lady. These experiences very much reminded us of the reason we continue to travel – we keep meeting the most amazing people who continue to teach us new things.

Renewed by our half-day of cycling and rest at the farm, we managed to cycle 120km the next day. That even included stopping at farmstalls and even a wine tasting at Rietvallei Estate (though we’ve decided that even sharing one tasting between the two of us is not a very good idea if we still have more mileage to cover). We couldn’t get over how many vineyards, orchards, valleys and mountains there are in this area. As we continued onto route 62 the scenery transformed into the semidesert plateau of the karoo. Highlights included: milkshakes and food at Diesel and Creme in Barrydale, hot springs pools in Warmwaterberg, camping at a retired train station in Calitzdorp and eating ostrich meat and ostrich egg for the first time.

After a week on the bikes, we made it back to the coast and to our Warmshowers hosts in Sedgefield. George and Sue graciously welcomed us to share Christmas with them, and have made us feel right at home. The South African hospitality continues to amaze us! We look forward to exploring more of the ‘garden route’, so named for the lush vegetation and countless rivers running into the ocean, and making our way to the surfing destination Jeffrey’s Bay. That will be the end of the road for us – it’s finally time for us to make our way back to Ireland to be with family. Flights are booked Jan 15th – until then we’ll have to soak up as much sun and surf as possible!

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