Friday, September 30, 2011

Biking to the Flowers of Namaqualand, South Africa Part IV

On Friday morning we woke to a clear day but as it wasn't very sunny enough for flowers (although we saw swathes of them in fields as we drove along) our hosts decided we should drive to Lamberts Bay for lunch. We were also meeting up with friends we'd known on the diamond mines and not seen since leaving there in the mid-nineties.

Fields of rooibos around the Clanwilliam area

Hands-up who's ever before drunk rooibos  (pronounced Roy-bos) tea? Clanwilliam lies in a valley surrounded by the Cedarberg mountains. This is just one of the areas in the Western Cape where rooibos is grown. You can read more about this uniquely South African beverage here  . I love it for its health properties: it's caffeine free, contains very little tannin and is rich in antioxidants. It also tastes delicious straight up!
Lambert's Bay harbour

Lamberts Bay is a quaint fishing village on the West Coast of South Africa. It's also the home to the Cape Gannets of Bird Island. While we didn't visit Bird Island on this occasion (Catherine and Hilton objected violently on account of "Yech, that place smells!"), Grant and I did the tour in September 2006. I have dozens of photos of the gannets and other birds but cannot for the life of me find them in my archives. I will unearth them sometime and do a post on that trip.

A sunken yacht. No-one has claimed ownership

Isabellas Restaurant is a typical seaside restaurant from my youth. We met with our old Namibian friends, Ben and Francis Havenga, and the six of us had a wonderful time reminiscing  the good times on the diamond mines.
Even at an eatery with an abundance of seafood on its doorstep, so to speak, there was an option for me
When we emerged from Isabellas about three hours later, the harbour was shrouded in mist. Ideas kept swirling through my head with storylines about smugglers and trysts. Can you imagine! (BTW that is the breakwall in the far distance with which you reach Bird Island and the gannets )

My next post is about The Flowers proper. Although visiting the flowers of Namaqualand was a priority on our agenda, the trip leading up to it, and meeting with friends, especially at Lamberts Bay, was as important. However, be prepared for a profusion of colour, texture and wonder! (I'm not kidding, wait and see)


  1. Jo
    I really love being taken on these bike trips so I can see so much more of your country. A personal National Geographic.

  2. Great Shots Jo! Diamond Mines? How fun to explore!
    Happy weekend!

  3. Looks like a fabulous time: water, old friends, good food in a comfortable place, and some mist. My kind of day. I look forward to colourful flower posts. Perhaps you'll have some more information on the colourful orange flower in your post the other day. Enjoy your weekend.

  4. It has been so good reconnecting, Jo. I have fallen hopelessly behind with blogging. I am sorry to hear you haven't been well but hope you're on the mend. I have quite some catching up to do. Hopefully there will be an opportunity to do so this weekend. Loved your trip to L Bay! Can't wait to see your flowers! Big hug, Des xoxo

  5. That poor yacht! I wonder if anyone will every claim it.
    Lovely photo of the misty harbour, Jo.

  6. I have seen rooibos tea in stores, but I've never tasted it---I must try it! The photo of the tea at the website you linked to looks very much like regular tea. Lambert's Bay looks like a fun place to visit!


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