As a tour guide in Cape Town I get to visit the Cape of Good Hope very often, sometimes several times in one week. I never get bored of it and after months of not going there I felt deprived. That is the National Park I missed most of all during lockdown. Even more frustrating is that it’s not far from where I live. I didn’t want to go there until they had opened the entire park so I waited until all sections were declared open. No one could explain why one or two roads might be less safe than others or why hiking was not permitted – we’re talking of a 7700 hectare park with very few people around – it doesn’t get any safer or more socially distant than that.
Anyway, as soon as it was fully open, Sheila and I shot off like bats out of hell to take advantage of this most wonderful and beloved place. We drove up and down all the side roads, enjoyed a picnic with barely a soul around and for once no baboons came to steal from us, and took many happy photos. We were especially grateful that there was no wind because when it blows down there, it blows – it’s the windiest place in South Africa.
The joy of having the park to ourselves was a double-edged sword : no crowds means no work and no income. It’s a horrible situation to be in – on the one hand I love the peace and quiet of having roads and places to ourselves, but at the same time it’s decimated my industry. I was quite emotional to see the empty parking lot which is usually full of coaches and smaller tourism vehicles.
Towards the end of October I ran away from home. The day started off very badly with the bank threatening to take my touring minibus because I had fallen behind on payments. They were refusing to discuss this with me – all calls and emails requesting a meeting were ignored, then one day they simply demanded it. I pointed out this was not permitted without going through a process and they temporarily backed off, but I knew I was in trouble.
I decided to run away. I grabbed Vida off we went, heading for a beautiful beach that I have been meaning to take her to. There are not many beaches here we can let dogs run free but Scarborough beach, next to the Cape of Good Hope on the opposite side of the peninsula to where I live, is one of them. We even stopped at a little restaurant in Scarborough where I shared a burger and fries with her. (She’s on diet now because someone on Facebook pointed out that lockdown had not been kind to her waistline either – she’s a bit of a Facebook sensation so I am grateful for her fans’ attention.).
It was a fabulous day and we didn’t want to come home, but we did, and I started toying with an idea of how to prevent the bank from taking my minibus, see below after photos.
Pics above: no coaches in parking lot; no diners on restaurant terrace, no tour guides gossiping in front of snake sign. This is NOT how I know these sights!
Pics above: The most south-western tip of Africa, ostriches courting dance and two locals being tourists.
Scarborough beach: Vida in her element and lots of space for running and walking safely!
The tourism industry is still stuck in Covid-19 limbo and I’ve set up a fundraising campaign to try save my business from being destroyed by my bank. Here is the link and I thank you in advance for any contribution.