Maureen from the tourist office has a friend heading to Bredasdorp a little way inland from Cape Agulhas, and I’m told I’m welcome to join her. Bredasdorp’s fame lies in its Shipwreck Museum. In the entrance posters mark the number of ships that have hit the rocks along the South African coast over the years. There are hundreds. There are some amusing tales too, such as that of the French ship Le Souvenance coming from Sumatra. The french consul in Cape Town sent a representative to investigate. He wrote:
“Among the wreckage we found the body of a man, which, like a wild animal was covered from its feet to its head in hair, no longer than that of a cow”. He wrote back a week later explaining it was an orangutan.
Chatting to the owner of the corner shop reveals transport only to Elim and Cape Town, so I must hitch. I’ve learnt to choose the spot carefully. It must be on the outskirts of town, beyond any major road junctions, so that the majority of vehicles appearing are heading in the desired direction. There must be space for the vehicle to pull over. It should be on the flat or slight downhill, so its easy to stop and start, and there should preferably be a reason for the vehicle to be slowing: such as a wide bend.
All this means I walk a kilometre or two to the edge of town. I’m not waiting long before I’m offered a lift in the back of a closed bakkie to Swellendam. I sit on my bag, hoping I’m not snapping tent poles; sharing the space with great-smelling pies. From there, I jump back to the coast by catching a coach to Mossel Bay.
Its slow going; plenty of roadworks (and ostriches pretending to be low bushes). I’m left at the petrol station 8km from Mossel Bay itself. A quick scout around reveals minibus taxis filling up and heading in that direction.