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Another View of the South African Coastline: Overberg Tour

King Protea, South Africa's National Flower

King Protea, South Africa’s National Flower

Today Darren took me on his Overberg Tour which leaves Cape Town and then follows the spectacular South African coast (Route 44) for almost 200 kilometers.  From May to October this is prime whale watching terrain for Southern Right Whales but sadly for me there are no whales to be seen now.  They are all off galavanting in Antarctica.

Call me crude for mentioning it but Southern Right whales are notable for having the largest testicles of any animal on Earth; each weighing 500 kg (1,100 lb).  That would be some jock strap.  I’m only trying to help you in your next game of Trivial Pursuit.

The coastline is again amazing.  It seems unfair for South Africa to hog all this beauty for itself while other places are so desperate for just a little bit.

We stopped in the Harold Porter Botanical Gardens, situated in a lovely spot between the sea and the mountains, where we took a short walk.  For those so inclined,  there are longer nature trails in the gardens that lead to waterfalls and forests but that wasn’t in the cards for us today.  Almost all the plants and flowers in the gardens were new to me, including the gigantic King Protea, the National Flower of South Africa, which is divine but also looks like it could eat you.  Nature never ceases to amaze me with her creativity.

We continued on stopping occasionally in tiny towns along the way.  The vibe in these sleepy towns is similar to towns on the California coastline.  Many Capetonians have vacation homes along this route.  Craggy, crumbly, ancient mountains beside the road remind me of the mountains in Crete.  Trees bloom fabulously with vivid red flowers.  Locals wait beside the road for a ride to the next town.

Hermanus, South Africa

Hermanus, South Africa

We stopped for lunch in Hermanus, the mecca for whale watching, where loads of inky-green kelp glistens in deep blue water.  Hermanus was originally called Hermanuspietersfontein but the postal service said (or tried to say) “Hermanuspietersfontein, your name is too long.”  And the town said “We will shorten it.”  And there you go.

When whales are around, Hermanus has a professional Whale Crier that announces whale sightings with a horn.  He wasn’t around today because as I mentioned all the whales are hanging out in Antarctica with their big testicles.

Finally, we stopped in another small town, Stanford, and visited the Birken Head Brewery which offers craft beer which is the new big thing in South Africa.  We tried the Birkenhead Honey Blond Ale and enjoyed it with an equally delicious view of the Kleinriver Mountains.

We then returned to Cape Town which took a little under two hours.  With different light, the views on the return were different but just as stellar.  Lovely day!

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