The sun rises and the world continues to turn, we’re still in the bubble of Cape Town and today promises no threat to the bubble beyond stretching its walls a little to peer slightly further afield. Three weeks, two boys, five countries and one car is the challenge in the near future but for now we’re just taking a few days to have a poke around this plush little patch to get in a little road tripping practice. Not before coffee of course, there’s set to be some pretty rough mornings coming up so with nice coffee in a beautiful little cafe on offer we’re not proud, not too proud at all.
We visited the end of the world in Tierra Del Fuego to peer into eternal nothingness, this time we’re perched on top of a steepling cliff that is anything but nothingness. In a small nook sheltered behind a rustic stonework wall we peer down into churning waters, jagged rocks and clouds rapidly forming from thin air only to stretch into a swirling ribbon from the ripping winds that drag them to nothing once more. The Atlantic and Indian Oceans meet at this precipitous headland named Cape Point. Cold and warm water mix to make a thick cocktail of aquatic life in one of the worlds oceanic food baskets. But that’s ever so far below, now we’re in an eagles eyrie atop the world.
Circling a decommissioned lighthouse we make our way over a narrow blade of rock about 100m from the violent churn of frothy water and rock far below and towards the new lighthouse. A view back up the shoreline of the Western Cape sees the sharp rising cliffs launching straight up from the water in tones of blue that slowly disappear to white at each passing headland. Many places in the world are beautiful but remarkably few feel truly wild; this is one such place. Looking out over the ocean it’s impossible not to imagine those first sailors battered by the fiercest of oceans feeling the rage of the roaring forties for the first time. They must have felt oblivion on the other side but still they went, no wonder the next headland west is called the Cape of Good Hope, hope is all they would have had to cling to.
From a perch of fairytale voyage we venture back up the winding road of the Western Cape peninsular, past baboons slowing traffic none the less, this is normal right? Apparently they’re quite little bastards and very good at getting car doors open so it’s up windows and lock the doors kids. They are pretty cool though, it seems that the wilds of this region aren’t entirely confined to the sea at all.
It is a road trip after all and our next stop is Stellenbosch, the site of the prestigious and world famous Stellenbosch University and South Africa’s best known wine region. Stopping in Simonstown for a coffee and two loaded bags of biltong we’re set for this road trip African style. The two bags of the dried beef and Ostrich cost a whopping five bucks AUD and they’re delicious, perfect for a road trip. We tell ourselves that they’re a high protein snack; we’re only partially lying. Our little white roller-skate of a hire car bundles along the highway like a lawnmower running too fast, the sea breeze of fresh kelp fills the air from the shores of False bay on this journey into wherever.
Our trip to posh wine gorgeousness takes us past Khayelitsha township, a massive sprawling mecca of corrugated iron and spindly power lines hovering over semi orderly rows of shanty homes. There’s six million people in this area that seems no bigger than a suburb, a city crammed into a gelato tub. After passing through the so nearby posh suburbs of electrified fences and high walls I’m struggling to determine who’s being kept out and who’s being locked in; and of where. But maybe it’s just a little too obvious. There’s a big sticky topic here and it’s hard to feel confident of a comment from a second day tourist pedestal, so I won’t. Yet.
So much history is crammed into a space of time too short here; tumultuous, colourful, hopeful and horrific in the squeeze of a single heartbeat. Pulling up to our posh BnB and taking a meal of gourmet burger and grilled chook in a trendy sidewalk pub we’re still in the bubble but the view within is more than it seems like a single bubble could be. Social bubbles are usually refined homogenous class cliques, but not in Africa it seems. A range of societal designations exist in this one bubble, I struggle to imagine what the other side of this cloistered world might look like. Africa is meant to be a land of great diversity; if this window into a bubble is any hint I am struggling to see how an entire world of diversity could fit into South Africa alone, let alone this continent. The head spins, the world gets bigger and still we chase an ever expanding view that we will never reach, nor do I think we want to.