Missing Photos and bonus video

These photos somehow missed going with their correct posts:

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16 April: Tom retired director and documentary now author

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22 Apr: Thunderstorm camp

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Apr 25: Tallis getting the beer for the next Bush Camp

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Apr 28: Truck loaded up ready for another day on the road

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Apr 28: Namib Desert. Peter and Elaine Cox

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Apr 28: Crossing the line out of the tropics

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May 9: The mosaic bathroom in Garies

This is a video put together by another person on the trip, and is a good cross section of the trip

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21 to 22 May: Leaving Dubai and arriving in NZ

The pick up from the hotel to the airport arrived on time and there was hardly any traffic so we got to the airport with plenty of time.

Unfortunately we struck a very unpleasant lady at check in. First she told us the bike boxes were over size and they couldn’t go on the plane! We tried to tell her they had come on Emirates from South Africa to here, but she wasn’t interested.

Finally she got her supervisor to come over, he was like “What’s the problem, they are fine”. Then despite me requesting at the start that she deal with our bookings separately, as I was going to NZ and Brett was stopping in Sydney, she ignored me and luckily we picked up that she had checked my bike to Sydney and Brett’s to NZ.

Then despite it being on the booking she refused to allow Brett his extra 12 kilos luggage allowance that he gets through being silver status with Qantas, which is a partner airline. So Brett had to pay for 12 kilos of excess baggage.

Lastly, despite asking for an aisle seat on the Sydney to Wellington flight, she allocated me a middle seat at the very back of the plane where the seats don’t recline. Thankfully the plane on that leg was not full so I was able to move to an aisle seat, and I had already booked and paid for an aisle seat on the Dubai to Sydney leg.

Usual horrors of long haul flying that seems endless, and instantly forgotten the moment you get off a plane.

As always the sadness of another holiday being over is mitigated by the joy of seeing family and friends.

Thanks to Rachel and Nic for the travel booking and the invaluable advice on the best place for a safari and other tips of where to visit.

Thanks to Ollie the bike mechanic for getting my bike into shape (and thanks in advance for the work now required).

Thanks for the comments on the blog and other messages of encouragement.

And last but not least, to my ever patient daughter and blog editor Kelly.

Until the next time.

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20 May: lazy day in Dubai

After getting to bed at about 4 am we slept in until 9:30 am, then off to have breakfast before it stopped at 10 am. The WIFI was not working in the room and when we went to reception it turned out we were not entered into the hotel system at all! Finally we got room keys and WIFI. Staying here feels like hard work.

We spent the day relaxing – swimming, catching up with emails and blogs. I didn’t leave the hotel apart from to go swimming in the sea, plus I went swimming in the hotel pool.

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Brett had a quick taxi trip to get some more tape to wrap around the bike boxes, as we noticed when they came off the plane that they were starting to split in a few spots.

We had a very nice dinner upstairs in the hotels roof restaurant. A nice gin and tonic to start, then a lovely ceviche, then spicy tacos, with a bottle of Tempranillo wine. Very warm there today, 55 degrees. Hard to imagine we are heading home into winter.

We had an early night as have an early pick up at 6:30am tomorrow.

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19 May: Bye bye Africa, back to Dubai

Lucky Brett rung the reception at 6:30 re wanting the bike boxes early – as they were actually storing them at another hotel! We also rung the transport firm to check they were expecting 2 bikes in boxes, which they were. The shuttle turned up with a trailer which was the perfect size for two bike boxes.

When we were leaving the hotel I was walking along the corridor and I turned quickly to ask Brett something, and stood on my tip toes on my right leg – and managed to pull or tear my calf muscle so I am now limping.

We got to the airport with heaps of time to check in . I was overall under the weight limit but had to take 2 kg out of my checked baggage and put it into carry on. Doesn’t seem to make good sense to me, as it is in the same plane! Initially Brett was told he was 12.5 kg over, but after a bit of discussion they agreed to accept his Qantas allowance.

We had a meal at the airport before getting on the plane. The plane was not full, so Brett and I had 3 seats. The plane ride was uneventful, 9 hours to Dubai.

Pleased to be having a break in Dubai and don’t have to get straight onto the 12 hour flight to Sydney.

It took ages to get the bike boxes, then we found we were waiting in the wrong place. Once we got the boxes we then had to check into “left luggage” then make our way to the travel company Arabian Nights, who were taking us out to our hotel in the Palms. The Palms is a man made area of reclaimed land in the shape of a palm, and each frond has houses and hotels with mostly direct beach access.

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Photo credit: Wikipedia

It was 2:30am by the time we arrived at Aloft hotel, and we were told there was a problem with our booking. If we checked in now we would have to check out at 2:30 am tomorrow. We explained a number of times that we had a 48 hour booking, and we were not being picked up until 6:30am.

Eventually it got sorted out, then the room key card was broken! We eventually got to our room and ordered room service, which took about 45 minutes to arrive. The person who delivered it was very insistent that it was paid on the spot, not put on the bill. Luckily I had got some cash at the airport.

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Departure day in Cape Town, final chance to offload some stuff

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18 May: Back to Cape Town, visit to Robben Island

Today we left just after breakfast to get back to Cape Town and check in at the hotel before our trip to Robben Island. We were booked on the ferry at 1pm. Luckily our room was ready when we got to the hotel.

We caught the ferry to Robben Island, which is 6.9 k from Cape Town.

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Back in Cape Town and ferry out to Robben Island

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Cape Town and Table Mountain which constantly taunted the prisoners on Robben Island.

In 1846 Robben Island was a Leper Colony, from 1961 to 1991 it was a maximum security prison for enemies of apartheid. In 1997, 3 years after the end of apartheid, it was shut down as a prison.

Nelson Mandela was a prisoner here for 18 years from 1964 to 1982. The cell that he slept in had a light bulb burning 24 hours a day, and he could walk the length of his room in 3 places. There was no bed to sleep on – it was a mat on the floor, and the toilet was a bucket.

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Robben Island Prison

We had a tour around the Island and an ex-political prisoner was there giving a talk about his experiences. Overall it was a pretty sobering tale, but one where hope was never lost and where the inmates had many years to talk and debate about how South Africa should be governed for the benefit of all its citizens.

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Robben Island Prison

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Robben Island Prison

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Robben Island Prison

After Robben Island we stopped at a Belgium restaurant. I had Fish soup plus pate. The soup was quite nice but the pate was more like a terrine than a pate that I am used to, and I didn’t really like it.

Back to the hotel to go through my gear one more time to see if there is anything else I don’t need, to try and get under the weight allowance.

Then an early night to make up for expected lack of sleep on the 9 hour plane ride to Dubai tomorrow.

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Back into Cape Town from Robben Island.

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17 May: Day Two in Stellenbosch

Today we have another Wine tour. This one is a hop on hop off bus where you can go to up to five vineyards. It’s a beautiful day, lovely day to be doing a vineyard tour.

The first stop was Simonsig where we had a bubbles tasting. Then Delheim Estate where we taste some very nice Chenin Blanc, then an amazing picnic lunch at Warricks vineyard with pate, crusty bread, cheese, salad, cheese cake, fruit and rose.

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1st stop on the Hop on Hop off wine tour

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Simonsig Estate

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2nd Stop Delheim

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Delheim tasting rooms

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Delheim Estate

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Warwick Estate

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Warwick picnic

 

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Warwick picnic

Then off to Remhoogte vineyard where we met a group from Scotland who are celebrating a 40th, previously they have done turning 40 celebration trips to Las Vegas and Prague.

Then the last vineyard of the day – L’avenir, which is next to a very nice lake. It was very nice relaxing in a bean bag by the lake watching the water flow past.

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L’avenir

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L’avenir

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4th vineyard Remhoogte

We had dinner at the Stellenbosch Hotel. Outside was a group of singers, and I was included in the group. Given my inability to hold a tune I just hummed and clapped my hands.

We shared a very nice Leaping leopard chennin blanc (had this previously in Arusha). I had a very nice lamb curry and deconstructed lemon meringue pie.

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Dinner at the Stellenbosch Kitchen

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Dinner at the Stellenbosch Kitchen

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Dinner at the Stellenbosch Kitchen

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16 May: Day One in Stellenbosch

Today we are doing a wine tour by bike which a bit like a busman’s holiday. The company is called Bikes ‘n’ Wines and our guide is called Ethan. As well as doing these tours Ethan is also doing a tourism guide course to give him more options for employment. Tourism is a big industry here, the taxi driver Colin who dropped us off is doing a sommelier course.

Riding a mountain biking is a big adjustment from a cyclo cross bike, especially how hard and sudden the front brakes stop you, plus riding without cleats. Also mentally convincing myself I could ride this bike on the terrain because it was made for this stuff, such as through sand, uphill, and over jumps and bumps.

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Amongst the vineyards

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Ride n’ Wines

We went to 4 vineyards
1. Neethlingshof, which was fantastic we had a wine and food match
2. Dewal wine
3. Skilpadvlei, where we had wine and a cheese platter
4. Lovane, where we had wine and a chocolate platter

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Ride n’ wine through the Stellenbosch vineyards. 1st off: Neethlingshof Estate est. 1680

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Neethlingshof Estate

The wines were Chenin Blanc, Pinotage (a cross between a Pinot and a cinsaut), plus a mixture of other red and whites. It was a very pleasant way to spend the day but would have been challenging doing the ride without a reasonable amount of bike experience and fitness.

We had dinner at a place called the Fat Butcher. We had a nice Shiraz. I had lamb rump chargrilled rare to medium (had to be returned once as it was medium to well done). Brett had a steak called the Collins which was flambéed in Cointreau.

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15 May: Cape Town to Stellenbosch

Yesterday we had put all our washing into the front desk. Instead of it being a price per bag as per usual, it was per item. When I filled out the form I assumed it was in South African money.

We were woken up about 6:15am by loud banging on the door. It was the laundry – all the riding shirts and other shirts were on individual hangers, and the socks, undies, riding pants etc were all in gift wrapped boxes tied up with ribbon!  When we went to pay the bill we discovered the cost was actually in USD and our washing cost $250 USD. No wonder it was gift wrapped.

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Early morning delivery of the laundry 🧺

Today we are heading to the wine region called Stellenbosch via Cape of Good Hope which has a lighthouse and was very important for shipping.

At the Cape we climbed up to the Lighthouse and then went to the restaurant for lunch.

I  had line fish as a main and an entree of four fresh oysters, each with a different topping
1. Strawberry, basil and balsamic
2. Pickled ginger, coriander, chili and sesame
3. Burnt pineapple and pickled melon
4. Apple, lemon and fennel

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Oysters for lunch at Cape Point

On the way back we stopped at St James beach and saw the Iconic Boat/bathing sheds, plus we stopped and saw the penguins. On the way to Stellenbosch we went past a huge Shanty town, home to over a million people. It went on forever.

Then up to Stellenbosch to the Oude Werf Hotel. The hotel is built on the site of the first church in South Africa and the hotel is the longest running Inn in South Africa.

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Staying 3 nights at the Ouse Werf Hotel in Stellenbosch

Stellenbosch is like Martinborough but on bigger scale – there are 160 vineyards and numerous restaurants.

We had dinner at the hotel. Brett had a trio made up of
1. beef boboties – a traditional meal mince with turmeric, rice, raisins and tomatoes
2. chicken, mushroom and leek pie
3. ox tail stew 

I had the beef burger, and we shared Creme brûlée’s for dessert.

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Drive to Cape Point Lt.Ho

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Cape of Good Hope viewed from the Cape Point Lt.Ho.

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14 May: Day Two in Cape Town

The site where our hotel is located used to be a prison and some of the bricks in the dining room are original from when it was a prison.

Today we have to get up early as we are being picked up between 730 and 7:45 for a City Tour – we have a tour of Table Mountain and the city. Plus it is Brett’s birthday.

We are lucky as today is not foggy or windy. At times you cannot get up to Table Mountain for 1-2 days at a time due to wind, and then other days you can’t see anything due to the fog.

There were 7 other people in total in our group. We spent two hours at Table Mountain which is part of the mountain range that Cape Town sits below. Table Mountain and the other mountains are older than the Himalayas.

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Cable car to the top of Table Mountain

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View over Cape Town waterfront from on top of Table Mountain. Robben Island out in the distance.

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Table Mountain

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Table Mountain

We then went into the city to the common gardens where vegetables were grown for the early ships and then to an old area of housing fill of brightly coloured housing. At the common gardens there were lots of squirrels plus people trying to sell paintings, carved animals and pens, plus people carrying bags to collect your trash for a donation.

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Cape Town. Bo-Kap

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Bo-Kap

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Bo-Kap

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VOC Company Garden

We went to the Slave Museum which was quite challenging to think humans can treat other humans like they did. Harrowing tales of how men, women and children were treated and their total lack of rights.

After the tour we went to the waterfront for lunch. After lunch we looked around and bumped into a number of TDA tour riders, and then caught up with emails etc. Then we went out for Brett’s birthday dinner.

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Serious business: Birthday lunch!

We had booked to go to Kloof Kitchen, it was really nice . Of course we ran into other TDA riders there (Fredrick and his girlfriend, Lorraine, Romy and Boulder).

The food at Kloof Kitchen was great, we had soup, baked camembert, lamb, steak, and a cheese board. Yum.

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Morning tour coffee spot

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VOC Company Garden

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VOC Company Garden

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Cape Town City Centre

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Cape Town City Centre

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VOC Company Garden beneath Table Mountain

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V & A Waterfront

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Cape Town Fish Market

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V & A Waterfront

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V & A Waterfront

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V & A Waterfront

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V & A Waterfront

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13 May: Day One in Cape Town

Awake of course I was at 6 am even though I don’t need to be. We are moving hotels today to the Portswood, right by the wharf district in Cape Town.

I finished packing and then went down to breakfast, another round of goodbyes to various riders.

When we were waiting for the van to take us to the new hotel Carl and Fritz turned up with a new Dougy that they had found at the Chinese market. We found Lulu and took photos of her and Dougy 2.

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The Wildcats with Dougy

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LuLu overjoyed to get Dougy back

Once we had checked in and sorted out getting the bike boxes stored it was time to meet up with Barry Mahon who works at CCDHB and is currently holidaying in Cape Town. Barry and his wife Sue come from Cape Town. Barry took us on a tour around Cape Town – up to look outs, to the beach, to the university and to a very nice cafe.

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Trip around Cape Town beaches and bays

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Hout Bay

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Barry and Kaye on Kommetjie Beach

We got to see a number of places we wouldn’t have otherwise. At the beach was a sign advising people to walk in groups of 4 or more and not to resist if you are robbed! A bit daunting.

There are self-employed parking attendants at most car parks who work for tips. They point out parks and look after your car while you are gone. In a city with 30% unemployment, and no benefits if you are under 65 and single, then people have to make a living any way they can.

Barry and Sue are about to head off on holiday to Botswana to a number of places we have ridden through. Barry dropped us off at 7pm at the Wharf and we went to a pub called Mitchell’s for dinner. I had a Mexican burger which was one of the nicest burgers I have ever had.

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End of the bike ride, time to be a real tourist. Shift from Lagoon Beach into the Portswood Hotel

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Coastal road Hout Bay

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Kommetjie Beach

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Cape Town University

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