After four long flights (from Poland to Germany to South Africa) I arrived in warm and sunny Cape Town. It took nearly an hour for my bags to spill out onto the conveyor belt at the airport, but I grabbed them just as soon as they arrived and carried them out into the arrivals area where I saw a sun tanned man holding a white and orange “African Bikers” sign. This must be Steve, my tour guide!
I approached Steve and introduced myself. He informed me that I was the first to arrive and that I should go and get some food while I waited for the other tour participants to get their belongings and gather nearby.
A short while later I was introduced to Harry and Kirsten (from Merzig, Germany) and Sandra and Erwin (from Hamburg, Germany). Introductions were made in German and I did my best to keep up with the group, but it was obvious (to both myself and everyone there) that my German skills were lacking.
We walked our belongings out to the curb where our driver, Anthony (but we called him “Kim”), was waiting for us. Our gear was loaded into a white passenger van pulling a small trailer behind it and then we were driven from the airport to two different locations in the city where the final two participants of our 14-day bicycle tour across South Africa were picked up.
Together now for the very first time, our van of nine consisted of:
- Steve – our tour leader
- Kim – our driver
- Harry and Kirsten
- Erwin and Sandra
- Michi (from Vienna, Austria)
- Julia (from Eggenfelden, Germany)
- And myself.
We made a quick stop at the guesthouse where we would be staying in Cape Town, changed our clothes and then jumped back in the van. Kim then drove us up to the cable car, where we purchased round-trip tickets to the top of Table Mountain – the famous flat mountain that hovers above the city of Cape Town, South Africa.
The views from the top were incredible. In one direction you could see all of Cape Town. In the other direction you could see nothing but blue sea and green plants.
Our group split up at this time and I walked with Julie on some of the less traveled hiking paths. Along the way we got to know one another while stopping on occasion to take pictures and view the local wildlife – which included both birds and a strange little creature neither one of us has seen before. A creature known as a “Dassie.”
After an hour or so on Table Mountain, we rode the cable car back down to our waiting van. We were then dropped off once again at our guesthouse in the center of Cape Town and told that we had just a short amount of time to shower, rest and get ready before dinner.
A few hours later we were picked up at the guesthouse once again and driven across town to a local restaurant, where we ate together for the first time, shared stories and wondered what our first day of mountain biking in South Africa might be like.