Charley Boorman Log- Day 5

June 13, 2012

In which Charley explores the southern most point.

Grootbos has horses we can ride down to Walker Beach, which the nature reserve overlooks. We were going to explore the caves down there anyway, but to do it on horseback through the surf gives us another little moment of magic.

The caves offer a stunning view of the bay, but their importance is more than just aesthetic. As with so much of Africa, remains of some of the earliest humans have been found here. I suppose that even then, people valued beach-front property!

With our morning’s explorations completed, it’s time to mount the bikes and really stretch our legs for the first time on this journey. We’re making for George, around 350km from where we spent the night. Our route takes us past Cape Agulhas, officially the southernmost point of the African continent. The last time I was here it was with Ewan, marking the end of our epic journey for Long Way Down. By that time we’d accumulated a huge crew of followers and supporters and the car park here was full of bikes and other vehicles. Today, it’s just Russ, myself and the small crew I’m making this journey with. I take a moment to reminisce as I look out across the sea and over the horizon, Antarctica.

Cape Agulhas is the meeting point of the Southern Atlantic and Indian Oceans. The mixing currents and temperatures make the sea here notoriously rough, and there’s been a badly needed lighthouse on the cape for over one hundred and fifty years. These days, there’s a cafe inside the building and we grab some lunch. While we eat, we notice they’re playing a background CD of the worst music ever made. If I were to choose a soundtrack worthy of the majesty of the tip of Africa, it probably wouldn’t be a pan pipes version of “Love Lift Us Up Where We Belong”. *

We continue along the coast on the bikes. Out destination is far away enough to see us pushing through dusk and into the night. It being winter in the Southern Hemisphere, the temperature drops rapidly as then sun goes down. The worst part of a night ride is always the last 20 minutes. As much as I love riding, the home stretch inevitably becomes a chore at the wrong time of year and I’m cold to the bone when we finally pull up for the night.

* I like to think it was still a duet, but with them BOTH playing pan pipes”.

Check back for more and we’ll see you on the road.