Stellenbosch and the end of the overland tour

We had three nights in South Africa before the overland tour ended in Cape Town. The first night was spent amongst beautiful vineyards at a pretty campsite which was a precursor to our following two nights spent in South Africa’s top wine region, Stellenbosch.

On arrival we snuck away from the group and had a nice lunch in a stylish cafe, which felt like a real treat after eating on our lap in campsites. The town was also filled with pretty whitewashed colonial buildings and churches. We wandered the streets, visiting some restored houses set in time through the ages, and snapped away.

That evening we went out alone (again!) for dinner and enjoyed steak, octopus salad, hake and mussels and roast cauliflower. All washed down with rose, dessert wine, coffee and a pannacotta. It was delicious and a bargain at just £39 in a cool bistro.

The next day we went wine tasting with some of the group. I was really excited about doing this on a tour as it meant we didn’t have to worry about transport and would hopefully learn a bit about wine. (In 2010 we did it in the Barossa Valley in Australia on bikes)

Our guide was great and I remember learning some interesting stuff early in the day but after about 20 tastings, I can no longer recall it. Nevertheless, it was a fun day including lots of drunken singing in the van in between stops.

Cheese and wine tasting – a perfect match

Wine tasting group

Back in Stellenbosch we joined the rest of the group for dinner and a fun night out with lots of dancing and shots, ending three weeks on the road with 28 other people.

We were a bit nervous about doing a tour but we loved it. Here are some of the things we loved and some of the things we didn’t:

We loved:

  • not having to make constant decisions (like we normally do)
  • not having to organise anything
  • eating home-cooked food, especially Nash’s (the tour leader’s) grilled chicken (better than Nando’s!)
  • being able to see a part of Africa that you can’t see without self-driving (as little or no public transport)
  • being in a fun group, and meeting some really nice people
  • drinking every night!
  • the amazing campsite settings, really scenic and mostly with bars and pools
  • camping; the tent was really good and comfortable so we slept really well every night (even when we had to get up at 5am)

We didn’t love:

  • most of the group had been on the truck for 50 days already so they were a bit jaded by some of the stops (some even slept through the safari drives in Etosha) and there was some building tension as the days went on which eventually erupted on a drunken night out 
  • some people were annoying! 
  • not much interaction with locals as all the organisation was taken care of
  • didn’t get much of a sense of the culture, apart from a few dance performances but these are obviously put on for the tourists

And some snaps of tour life:

Wee stop – boys on one side, girls on the other
Cooking on the camp fire
Lunch stop
Hand washing
On the truck
Our tent
Scenic campsite
BBQ
The group

But overall it worked out surprisingly well – we really enjoyed it and would definitely do it again.

Next stop: road trip from Cape Town to Johannesburg

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