The Road To Cape Town.
Miles since last update: 3800 Miles (6115 Kilometres)
So I made it to Cape Town. The 1st (unofficial) leg of Dargle to Dargle went very well indeed. In January, when my car was damaged in the storm, a fellow Alfa Romeo fan from PE, Greig Smith, said that I ought to come town to Cape Town for the Cape Alfa Romeo Club’s 50th anniversary. At the time I thought I’d be long gone by then and couldn’t make it. However, thanks to the lengthy repairs to my battered car, by the time it was back on the road the event was right around the corner. And so, with very little prior preparation, I packed bags, and my tools and hit the road.
On day one I rolled down the driveway on a sunny sunday morning aiming for Kokstad. The roads of Southern Kwa-Zulu Natal were long and winding, and mostly deserted. And the views were fantastic. I crossed into the Eastern Cape and its epic landscapes. In the heart of the Eastern Cape I took a wrong turn and arrived in a town called Indwe. The streets were crowded and dusty. I filled up with fuel and moved on as the day was slipping away from me, and I had a few hours left before I could rest. I passed through an old colonial town that seemed almost abandoned. Dordrecht seemed to have more boarded up buildings than anything else, and on a Sunday afternoon it could be a ghost town. Only the beautiful cathedral seemed to cared for. 70km After Dordrecht I rejoined the road that I had lost and was on the way to some friends of my parents for a good night’s rest. I arrived at The Purdon’s farm well after dark to dinner and bed. I had been on the road for 13 hours and was exhausted.
After a good night’s rest and a hot breakfast, Chris and Sally waved me down the drive. Day two would be an easy drive to Port Elizabeth where I’d meet up with Greig Smith for the run to Cape Town. I stopped for fuel in Grahamstown. On a monday morning in the Easter holidays this town seemed abandoned too. The infamous boozers’ capital of the southern hemisphere was just a sleepy colonial town for the day. I joined the N2, which was a nice change from the narrow bumpy roads of KZN and rural Eastern Cape, but it was pretty dull going all the way to Port Elizabeth.
I spent the afternoon in Greig’s garage fiddling with various Alfas. In the morning we set off good and early, with dreams of pancakes and coffee to keep us going in the cold. As we left the city and hit the open road Greig pulled his Giulietta Spider over to the side of the road and handed over the keys, “Would you like to swap cars for a bit?” Um, yes. Yes I would. The Giulietta was fantastic. It was quick and nimble and it felt so stable. No wonder this is one of the iconic historic roadsters. Over breakfast we picked up another Giulietta for our convoy, a 1300 Ti. We turned inland and headed for Cape Town through the Karoo. The heat was tremendous. At one point we stopped in a canyon at the end of the Hius River Pass to change a fuel filter. The heat radiated out of the walls around us, and baboons stalked us and barked from the top of the canyon. I was longing to see the ocean, I felt as if I’d never see green grass or water again.
After a late lunch we rejoined the N2 near Swellingdam, a welcome sight after the heat of the Karoo. I arrived in Cape town late in the evening, and was welcomed by a party of old friends at Jerry’s Burger Bar in Observatory. I still hadn’t seen the ocean, I was disorientated in the dark. I was tired, and sunburned, but I had made it to the Cape, and most importantly the car had made it. I was suddenly sure of my little blue Alfa, which now felt like a proper car, no longer a collection of parts. I had proven that the car could run all day, in the heat and the cold. I was that much closer to driving Dargle to Dargle.
Here is the full gallery of the photographs from my trip to Cape Town: Gallery: Cape Town.