Charley Boorman Log- Days 44+45

July 30, 2012

In which Charley investigates a local bike collection, and plays football with Manchester United for Unicef.

Port Nolloth was our westernmost frontier and now we’re on the home straight, travelling down the west coast to Cape Town, where we started all those weeks ago, but before we reach the end I’ve got a little treat in store.

In the small, beautiful, sleepy town of Nieuwoudtville is the greatest collection of motorbikes I’ve ever seen. Protea Motors, run by the wonderful Tinis, looks like the unassuming petrol station it is from the outside, but once you get through the front door, you find a dark, hangar-like garage filled from floor to roof with hundreds of classic motorcycles in various states of repair, from early models that aren’t much more than bicycles with engines attached through to icons of the 70’s and 80’s. Tinis tells me he sells the bikes internationally but he strikes me as a true collector that could never really be parted from the bulk of his collection.

I spend many hours talking over the history of the bikes and even getting to ride a few of the special models he has working and is kind enough to have wheeled out for me. Needless to say, I was like a kid in a sweet shop.

But as we prepare to leave the town we stumble upon another hidden treasure. Marius Spangenberg, the friendly local butcher is making some fresh Biltong (the classic South African dried meat) and, bravely battling through his stutter, he’s kind enough to talk me through the process. After that, we can’t resist leaving the shop without armfulls of Biltong and his delicious dried bacon.
We’re sorry to leave Nieuwoudtville behind, but the end of our journey is calling. We spend the night at the Papsuilsfontein Cottages. In a remote and beautiful stretch of country, the area is famous for the multicolour explosion of wild flowers that appear once each year. We’re slightly too early to see them, but the Cottages receive us with a warm welcome and by the light of gas lamps, candles and the open fire, we cook the meal the owner has kindly prepared for us talk about our adventures to date.

IMG_1879Today sees us brushing the outskirts of Cape Town, drawing ever closer to our final destination. We mark our arrival with an incredible lunch at the historic, homely Meerlust Winery. Trisk the owner and his family make us very welcome and we eat delicious soup, drink amazing wines and pet his beautiful dogs. I could happily have spent the whole day there in that warm, happy place but we have an important appointment elsewhere.

Manchester United are in the city as part of their charitable contribution to UNICEF. Today, they’re running a training session for kids from the Townships and it’s great to see the smiles they bring to the faces of these underprivileged children. I join in and of course, get thoroughly beaten by the children and their boundless energy.

We end the day at he luxurious Asara Wine Estate and Hotel, who are kind enough to be looking after us on this stretch of the journey. The weather has deteriorated the closer we got to Cape Town and we arrive in darkness and heavy rain. The pleasant surroundings more than make up for it though, and it turns out I’m in for a surprise come morning…

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