We woke up buried under a thick blanket on a chilly morning. South Africa’s days are piping hot, but its nights are soft and pleasant. After an overly-generous breakfast from our B&B host (is 4 eggs really necessary?) we bid goodbye to Swellendam with reticence. There was just one more day “on the road” before a 6-night stay in Cape Town.
A person can drive highway N2 from Port Elizabeth to Cape Town without a single deviation. We had grown used to not needing much help from our GPS, but this morning we took a detour south to a town called Hermanus where you can whale-watch from land. The landscape en route to Hermanus was bright and open, flooded with corn-colored farms and the occasional truck filled with sheep.
Hermanus is a pleasant and nostalgic beach town. It’s full of tiny shops and ocean-side cafes along with a long and winding boardwalk for water viewing. We wandered along the cliffy edge, feeling away and peaceful. All at once there was an uproar followed by a rapid clicking of iPhone cameras. A whale had peaked its nose out from the deep blue water and garnered the attention of two dozen tourists. We spent the next half an hour watching as it leapt in and out of the ocean like a dancer performing for a dedicated crowd. I couldn’t believe how easy it was to see whales from shore.
I enjoyed our last moments on the road before we flung ourselves back into city mania. We rolled into Cape Town and traded our rental car for a frighteningly cheap Uber and went to explore the V&A Waterfront as the sun got low in the sky. The waterfront is in all the guidebooks; and as expected, it’s frighteningly touristy. Never-the-less, it’s a pretty area to stroll around in a city where few “stroll” at night (not unlike most SA cities). Shops surround a sprawling indoor food market and waterside restaurants with views of houses tucked into a hillside. The mussels at Den Anker were awesome.