I used to think the Cape of Good Hope was the southernmost point of Africa. I may have been taught that in school, or I possibly misheard. I now know that Cape Agulhas, 158 miles (255 kilometers) away, is the actual southern tip of Africa where the Atlantic and Indian Oceans meet.
This plaque set in stone marks the spot where the two oceans meet at the tip of the continent.
Nearby, off the coast at Cape Agulhas, is the wreck of the Meisho Maru, a Japanese fishing vessel that ran aground during a storm in 1982.
This coastal lagoon and Atlantic seashore park reminded me of home, even though it’s about 10,000 miles from home (the West Coast that is). It seemed to me like a typical park we might have in the U.S. where you could rent a kayak or go swimming in the ocean.
Colorful kayaks are lined up for rent beside the saltwater marsh.
The lifeguard stand and waterfront are deserted because it is not yet summer. The view of a distant cape is one that you always see in South Africa with its curving coastline and mountains meeting the sea.
Not far outside the coastal city of Cape Town, the countryside changes to mountains, valleys, pastures and farmland.
Plentiful rain keeps the meadows and mountainsides green.
Deep valleys trail off toward the horizon.
Vineyards at the base of a mountain range produce a good crop for wine-making.
Fall is time for harvesting canola.
Rolling hills are adaptable to pasture and farming.
Cape Town is surrounded by ocean views and mountain peaks of all shapes and sizes.
In this panorama taken from the summit of flat-topped Table Mountain, you can see a lot: from left to right are Lion’s Head rising above the Atlantic Ocean, Signal Hill, Cape Town Harbor, and Devil’s Peak. In the distance is Robben Island, where Nelson Mandela was held as a political prisoner for 18 years.
A nearby seaside suburb, Camps Bay, is nestled against the Twelve Apostles, part of the Table Mountain complex.
From the beach at Bloubergstrand, north of the city on Table Bay, a distant view of the Table Mountain complex dominates the horizon .
We flew over the Namib desert (Namibia) in a small craft, just the two of us and the pilot, a young woman who knew the area well.
Here we are flying over the area of dead trees in a clay pan featured in yesterday’s post.
We continued to fly west over patterns of desert ridges towards the Atlantic.
These dead trees in the Namib Desert area of Namibia are not petrified, but are believed to be 600-700 years old. Scorched by the sun, they stand in a clay pan and remain undecayed because of the hot, dry climate.
Nearby is a broad vista of the clay and sand terrain.
The dunes of Sossusvlei, Namibia are national treasures reaching over 1,000 feet tall. But even though they have all been named (or numbered), they are not static landmarks. Desert winds are always working to alter the dunes’ dramatic shapes and form ripples of sand on the desert floor.
Trees that have found water deep underground cast their shadows on the hot sands of the Namib Desert.
Rocks and dunes rise from the desert floor. Small rivulets in the sand are traces of past rains and ridges on the dunes are reminders of the desert winds.
On a highway leading from the Namibian capital, Windhoek, to the Namib desert, we stopped at an isolated, iconic settlement aptly named Solitaire. It reminded me of the roadhouses off the beaten track in Australia. Food, gasoline, and gift items are sold. The settlement is somewhat of a memorial to the first owner, now deceased, who kept his used cars and trucks and left them all over the property. Apparently, this same owner created the best apple pie in the world. That’s what our guide (and a sign over the door) told us.