Stewball’s First Friend in South Africa

May 1, 2014: The rally hasn’t even started and I’m already behind. So much has happened. The only negative was the long trip over. No matter how good-and only the second leg from London to Cape Town was good- two overnights on airlines is not fun or relaxing. We arrived tired and jet-lagged. But that is behind us.

013We didn’t know what to expect from Cape Town but no location can be better than this. It is a clean, safe, spectacular city. I cannot recommend it enough. The Cape Grace hotel is on the harbor,(that’s it in the foreground)  which is both commercial and recreational. We are a two-minute walk away from the waterfront with lots of excellent dining and shopping. Three mountains frame the backdrop, the most famous one, accessed by cable car, is Table Mountain. You can see why.  From our window which opens onto a balcony, I watch this little seal frolic in the harbor each morning. 009

We haven’t had a lot  of time to sight-see and now wish we had come earlier or planned to stay longer. We did take the ferry out to Robben Island which over the years was used as a leper colony, military base, and insane asylum but is most notable for its recent history as the place where Mandela, among many other political prisoners, was held for 18 of the 27 years he was incarcerated during the years of repressive Apartheid rule. It was a moving experience made more so by a grey, foggy day.037

009There are no prisoners now and the only colony is a colony of penguins, so I got my first “wild life” photo.

Back to Stewball. We expected to pick him up at the port yesterday afternoon but when we walked out of the hotel a fellow rallier told us someone had just driven up to the hotel in our car. Yup. Seems Stewball and two other cars had arrived early and were ready to go so one of the guys handling customs, who loves Beetles, drove him over for us! He is running well and is in just a good a condition as when Ed drove him into the container in Georgia.

007And today he made his first friend. For some months now I have been corresponding with Dan Enslin from Cape Town who also owns a more recent air-cooled VW. I think he said 1976. So this afternoon we met face to face. After a brief tour of all the cars, Dan led us to a petrol station and we filled with leaded-gas. Stewball loves this option and is now quite happy with a full belly.

Tonight we have our send-off banquet which is guaranteed to be lively-make that rowdy-affair. We are pleased that so many of our friends from the Trans-American rally are here. Here we are with Marco and Claudia from Switzerland.118

We are a bit anxious, I must admit. Driving on the right side of the road in morning traffic. I am sure we will be better at the close of day 1.

Tomorrow the adventure starts in earnest.

More from the road,

Janet, Ed and Stewball



About ejhowle23

Authors and adventurers, participated in the World Race 2011, an automobile rally from New York to Paris, crossing three continents and 14,000 land miles. Following much the same route as the setting for our debut novel, The Long Road to Paris. This blog describes our own adventures and challenges. And now you can follow our Bahamas sailing adventure that provides the setting for our second novel, Night Watch. Our rally, the African Safari Challenge, crossed five countries in South Africa in May 2014 and in 2015 we participated in the second Trans-American rally this time from Nova Scotia to San Francisco. Spring of 2016 we travelled 28 days around Australia with friends from previous rallies and in the fall participated in our most exhausting rally through Argentina, Chili and Peru- the Rally of the Incas. We were awarded the Against All Odds award. We're still not sure if this was for us or our car. Stewball never broke down and we hardly did. We will soon take on Iceland as a self-drive tour and in the fall of 2017 we will participate in the Odyssey Italia and then back to Africa for a do-over (almost) of the Africa Safari Challenge.
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1 Response to Stewball’s First Friend in South Africa

  1. TBC says:

    I was having trouble logging in to, thus the delay in my comments. Really enjoyed this, and the two VWs are so cute side by side.

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