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Wed Jan 10 2018: South Africa Road Trip: First Official Day

We're off!

Still waiting for some gear that we bought online to arrive, but our week-long AirBnB reservation in Claremont is up and we don't really want to stick around Cape Town any longer.

Time to take our new setup out for a spin.


We go back to our familiar haunting grounds - Muizenberg Beach

Actually, since we are on a bike trip, we take the high road on Muizenberg Mountain. We stop at the trailhead to Bailey's Kloof, a popular hike to get a view of the coastline below. Not going hiking though, this is a motorcycle trip now!!! I only mention this because I think "kloof" is a funny word. We see it everywhere, Tamboerskloof, Kloof Nek Road. It means "valley" in Afrikaans.

I think it sounds like a portmanteau of "Clumsy Goof". You big, dumb Kloof!


Looking down on where we body surfed a couple of weeks ago

The view from above

We ride back down to the coast and into the town of Fish Hoek where we stop to grab some lunch

After lunch, we walk around the marina

Because all our gear is new, we still don't have an established system for what we take with us when we leave the bikes - what stays on the bike, how we lock everything up. I'm a bit wary about theft, so I unzip my tankbag and bring it with me, but it's kind of a nuisance having to carry it around. I think I'll leave it on the bike from now on.

You know how some guys have to carry their wive's purse when they go shopping? Well Neda carries my tank bag when I take pictures! Haha!

And yes, I do sometimes carry Neda's purse when we go shopping...


When we got back, there was a couple checking out Neda's bike

They were fellow motorcyclists and they were riding two-up on a R1200GS. It seems like 70% of motorcycles in Cape Town are R1200GSes! They love the big boxer twins in that city!

The woman was interested in Neda's F650GS because she wanted a seat height that was low enough for her. So we invited her to sit on it to try it out. Even with the factory-lowered suspension, she was still on her tippy-toes, but she said it was a lot better than stock.

The motorcycle guy told us about some good roads further east of Cape Town. He was talking really fast, and I didn't quite understand his thick Afrikaans accent, but I tried to write down all the roads and towns he suggested we ride through.

Later on, I looked through my notes. Neda asked me about this one town that I had jotted down: Nice-Na. Cool name, but I couldn't find it on the map. Nice-Na.


We continue riding south down the coast. I radio Neda, "The view is Nice-Na!

I know the South Africans say "lekker" down here, but everytime I hear that, I think of brandy, gin, rum, vodka... Nice-Na has officially made it into our everyday vocabulary. Just like when we were in Germany, the word of the week was Ausfahrt.

That one, for obvious reasons...


Our first night camping in Africa!

We found a campground right on the coast!

Initially we were a bit wary about camping because we're still pretty close to the big city, and we're worried about the security. This campsite has a high fence and a gate with a security guard. I guess that's the reality of camping around here.

It's so windy! Neda has to wear her bandana because her hair is whipping her face and getting into her eyes. Ever try to co-ordinate pitching a brand-new tent that you've never set up before, with someone else in high winds? Good way to end a marriage.

Lots of swearing and name calling: "Hold that side down, you big dumb Kloof!". Not very Nice-Nah at all...


After we get our tent site set up, we stroll down to Frank's Beach, just across the road

Proof that I was there

School in South Africa has let out for the summer, so there's lots of people at the beaches. We continue walking north along the shoreline, and 15 minutes later we hit Boulders Beach.


Boulders Beach is home to a penguin colony. There are *A LOT* of penguins here

This penguin colony is a prime example of the clash between human society and the animal kingdom, and how the two species are encroaching on each other's territories.


Here you have some innocent beach goers, minding their own business, enjoying the sun and sand
and then some nosy penguin invades their private space

Something should really be done to protect tourists and holidaymakers (that's what they call vacationers in South Africa). Maybe some kind of sanctuary where human beings can go without being molested by animals...

If they really wanted to, they could set up a viewing area, so these curious penguins can watch human beings without interfering with their everyday life.


These are African penguins, so cute in their little tuxedos

All joking aside, these penguins were labelled an endangered species at one point in time. Over-fishing, habitat destruction and pollution decimated the population. In 1910, there were over a million and a half African Penguins. In 1982, only two breeding pairs remained. Incredible work was done to grow the colony at Boulders Beach back up to around 3,000 birds today.


January is when the juvenile penguins start shedding. The beach is covered with their feathers! "Help! I'm moulting!"

Very windy

Some of the penguins hide in the bushes to get out of the sun

Some of them hide in the bushes for other reasons. #penguinporn #nsfw

We spent the afternoon watching the penguins and then headed back to our campsite for dinner.

Walked through Simon's Town Country Club golf course

This is Gear v2.0!

There have been many changes we've wanted to make to our set up over the last half-decade of travel. But because we didn't want to spend money replacing stuff we already had, we never did upgrade. So having all our stuff stolen was a good excuse to put together a wishlist of everything we've learned so far.

We've always wanted a table. Most of the time, our stuff is strewn all over our motorcycle seats, pannier tops, on nearby rocks, etc. We found a foldable table that rolls up into the size of one of the table legs. We *love* our new table and how compact it is!

We also bought these lightweight Helinox chairs. Everyone knows about Helinox chairs, but if you don't, they roll up into a tiny, lightweight package. Probably the best motorcycle camping chair ever, IMO.


Our tent is a Nemo Losi 3P tent

We really loved our old Mountain Hardwear tent. I tried to find the same one, but they don't make that model anymore.

So we got this Nemo Losi 3P tent. It's not as tall as the Mountain Hardwear Hammerhead 3P tent, but in our old tent, you could only really stand up in the middle and then the sides sloped down quite rapidly, like a teepee.

With the Nemo, there are braces that pull the tent sides out, so you actually have more of a vertical wall thus more interior space. We like that.

It also comes with this "stuff shelf", they call it a Gear Loft, that clips to the inside of the roof. There, you can stash headlamps, towels, etc without having them cluttering up the floor or in a sidepocket somewhere.

Another Nice-Nah accessory is what they call a "pawprint". Different from the footprint, which sits outside and underneath the tent, the Pawprint is an internal floor liner that clips to the corners of the tent that you can remove and shake out, and also stick in the machine washer once in a while so you can keep the interior floor of the tent cleaner.


Cooking is very, very important to Neda

We used to have a JetBoil, which was very compact, everything fit into the size of a large coffee mug. But we quickly realized that unless you want to eat one-pot, liquid-based meals all the time, you have to sacrifice a bit on space.

So this is our lux item - two pot/one frying pan set. They do fold up a little bit, but they are still much larger than the old JetBoil. Waaaay Nice-Na for doing real cooking though.

We also got a little cooking stove with a footprint that expands. The problem with the JetBoil is that the footprint was so narrow and the cup was so tall, it was not very sturdy at all. Neda calls it the Leaning Tower of JetBoil...

We really hated that JetBoil.

Also, bowls and plates that collapse into flat frisbees, and lots of utensils. Foldable spatula, foldable spoons, knives and forks!

We used to have sporks. Glad those got stolen. Fails as a fork. Fails as a spoon. What a useless utensil...


Dinner's done, downloaded the pictures, time to crawl into the tent and type up some blog posts!

Well that's it! Our first day on the road in South Africa. Didn't get very far, but at least we got to try out all our new gear.

Next mission: to find this mythical Nice-Nah place!

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