After numerous lonely solo scavaging treks my daughter Gretchen and I joined a group tour with Kotie Retief, Gerhard Marx, Harry Mays, Mary Stone, and Dr. Hayashi for ten days in the Eastern and Western Cape in late September 2002. Botanical guide for the trip was Gerhard Marx, devoted student of the succulents of the area. Gerhard lived in Grahamstown for many years and has studied the succulent flora of the Eastern Cape and the Little Karoo extensively, and has a passion for the area.
Wednesday 25 September we departed New Britain Connecticut (Bradley Hartford) for Atlanta and Capetown. Flight to Cape Town left Atlanta 3 hours late. Felt like a nursery room with kids whining the whole time. One poor woman with 3 in diapers all by herself. Seats too close, closer than before. On Demand Video is an improvement. Relatively painless flight, slept maybe 5 hours of the 14 despite the kids and the folks behind me banging my seat every time they got up.
Drove up to the Table Mountain cableway, too crowded, so Gretchen and I drove around to Camps Bay and then back to Sea Point. A relaxing first day. Winchester Mansions under construction ? noisy during the day, lovely rooms. Sushi for lunch at Victoria & Alfred Waterfront, Italian at Hildebrands for dinner. Went to see the seals sleeping on the docks.
Friday, slept late, slept well. Foggy morning drive to Cape Point. (Friends Kobus was on vacation to Rictersveld, and Bruce was in Kwazulu Natal). We saw penguin at Boulders in Simonstown. Then at Cape of Good Hope we saw baboon, collected sponges, but didn’t see any marine mammals except a seal carcass. Later that night we had a nice fish dinner at Cape Town Fish Market at the Victoria and Alfred Mall.
Saturday 28 September flew from Capetown to Port Elizabeth
Flight to Port Elizabeth was uneventful, weather overcast. Drove to Gamtoos River and found Haworthia on the cliffs near the bridge – long thin toothed things. Drove on to Gamtoosriviermond; rustic, quiet, wonder why it’s not more developed. Drove RT102 and RT75 back to PE through Uitenhage, had lunch, then took a hike in the Baakens River Valley to see the cymbiformis.
Got to Lemon Tree Lane Guest House around 3:30. Harry Mays arrived at 5:30. Return the car at 6:45 and then to dinner with the group for the first time. Surprise, Dr. Hiashi joined the trip in place of Kanoh Kazumi.