An Unexpected Mountain Top Hot Spot

Trip Start Aug 11, 2009
Trip End Ongoing

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Flag of South Africa  , Western Cape,
Tuesday, November 10, 2009

At last! We've fled the endless din of taxi hooters and revving engines of Sea Point Cape Town and have come to land in an actual paradise so far removed from where we have been staying that it makes me wonder why we put ourselves through that kind of torment when this kind of beauty is just around the corner. We’re in Wilderness. Another appropriately named town as that’s about all you get around here. Besides a tiny town and a few up market guest houses, this place is dense bush, mountains, beaches, lakes and lagoons. Once again South Africa has pulled out all the stops and put on a cabaret of stunning natural beauty. The Wild Farm Backpackers is where we’re staying and I suggest you spend some time here yourself. Whether you want to achieve a state of Zen, just relax for a few days or, judging from the size of the sound system in the restaurant, party on down with people from all over the world, this is the place to be. It is situated on top of a very big hill and can be reached by one winding sand road.....about a twenty minute drive if you’re of a careful disposition, or five if you’re drunk. It offers the most spectacular view of the ocean to the East and the West. I haven’t seen that much ocean before without being on an actual beach. The North East view is of the lakes and lagoons and North and North West provides a mountainous vista that would make Hiedi homesick. The Backpacker itself is spread over the whole of the lush grassy dome that forms the top of the hill. There is a restaurant with a deck that looks down into the valley and over the ocean. There is also a kitchen/lounge building where you can cook (a massive vegetable garden is available to the health nuts free of charge), watch TV or play some pool. The accommodation is cool, cool as a backpacker gets, and the owner is one of the most laid back and friendly people I have ever met. We’ve spent four days here just drinking in the views, of which dolphin and whales (again) were a part, and just drinking. One night a huge bonfire was built in the giant braai area and we all just sat around it and chatted for hours. The conversationalists were Dutchmen, A Belgian and some Germans as well as a few Saffirs. Good times.

One other great attribute of this area that we discovered is the beach......not the water, not the sand, although they are both equally beautiful,.....try looking up. The Wilderness Paragliding Club have their landing zone on the beach. This means you can see them launch themselves off the towering mountains above you and watch them as they glide silently and languidly down, like some giant deformed tropical bird, onto the beach in front of you. It’s very peaceful to watch that kind of thing, it calms me.

It’s always tough to end a great holiday by being in a really great place. Wilderness is that place and I’m going to miss it a great deal but the road is calling ......and so are the car rental people, so we need to hit that relentless black river that snakes all the way back up to Johannesburg. Obviously I’ll let you know how that trip goes.
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