Although we had slept well enough, we were all up before 7. We phoned the tyre man’s mobile phone to see if they were open. Yes, we are now, but we’re not sure for how long – come quickly! Which we did! And got our tyre!
Breakfast was waiting when Cliff and I got back. It didn’t take long to complete our packing and quickly settle our bill and by 8:30 we were off. We reached the N2 without incident, but saw the result of yesterday’s riot along the way. Once on the N2 we pulled off at the first opportunity to fill the petrol tank. We now had enough fuel to reach Cape Town if need be, and could get there later today if we wanted to. Later on we learned that Swellendam had been again cut off from the rest of the world, when demonstrators took over the town at 9:00, when the courts opened to deal with those arrested during the previous day’s riots.
We reminded ourselves that we were on a plant trip and still had locations to look at.
In broad terms we were aiming to go to Cabo das Agulhas, “Cape of Needles”, a rocky headland in the Western Cape. It is the geographic southern tip of Africa and the official dividing point between the Atlantic and Indian Oceans although the actual division between the ocean currents is a different matter. The point where the Agulhas current meets the Benguela current fluctuates seasonally between Cape Agulhas and Cape Point. It is the cold Benguela current from the south pole that gives rise to the Namibian fog desert that was my main motive to come on this trip – to see the fog dependent flora of South Africa.
We had turned off the N2 and headed south, driving through agriculturally developed lands – huge fields of grain and stopped (S2825) near some cottages to inspect the side of road cutting. We were supposed to find Haworthia maraisii here, a taxon that was previously included under magnifica, until Bruce Bayer separated it, now calling it “mirabilis“. Breuer uses the name schuldtiana. It matters not, we could not find it, suspecting that it grew on the other side of the fence. Given of the tensions caused by the situation in near by Swellendam, we did not want to cross the fence. I photographed Aloe ferox, Anacampseros lanceolata ssp nebrownii, Cotyledon sp, Euphorbia sp., Gasteria carinata and lichen, so it was far from a wasted stop.
Next we headed through the low rolling hills – we might have been in the UK if it had not been for the odd ostrich in the fields – to our next Haworthia stop. We drove past the coordinates to investigate and decide which of the two farm houses we should call at to ask permission. Of course we picked the wrong one, but the lady of the house was very helpful and jumped in the car with us to introduce us to her neighbour and help us to obtain permission. This was readily granted and the farmer jumped in his car to drive us to the best access point and even opened up the fence so that we could drive most of the way up the hill towards where the plants were. Very nice – thank you very much!
And that was it as far as plants were concerned today – we now slipped into tourist mode to go as far south as we could go on the African continent.
We spent the night at a nice comfortable hotel in Bredasdorp. Although I never lived in the town of Breda in the Netherlands, when we moved to England in 1967, both sets of grand parents lived there. On a near by cemetery lie the remains of the grandparents, my parents, an auntie and an elder sister who died soon after birth – Breda is a last link with my ancestory. As a result, all these people ran through my memory while we were in the village (dorp) that carries the name in South Africa.