Clem Sunter

Ode to the Deep South

2010-11-24 13:30

It all starts at the end of the M3 when you turn left. It is the ultimate trip into the land of alternative people in alternative clothes leading alternative lives. I am talking about the Deep South which starts at Muizenberg on the east and meanders around to Noordhoek on the west at the bottom-most tip of Africa.

Muizenberg is still a warren of little streets, but the doubtful trades in doubtful substances and people in other doubtful professions are declining as the place becomes increasingly gentrified. It has the finest putt-putt miniature golf course in the land as well as the largest number of surfers in search of the perfect wave.

On to St James past the revived Labia restaurant, which takes you back to old-fashioned civility, and then the multi-coloured swimming cabins on the beach by the pool reminding you of Victorian ladies in their less-than-revealing costumes. Into Kalk Bay where students get motherless on schooners of ale, the fishermen offer you snoek at every turn and the cafes have the loyalest clientele in the world.

Around the corner appears Fish Hoek where somebody said that if you put a roof over it, it would qualify as an old-age home. It has the best beach for walking the dog with the cheery owners carrying little plastic bags to pick up the doo-doo. It boasts AP Jones, my favourite shop because it provides underwear for broad elderly behinds. The cat walk, hurray, has been resurrected.

Then following the railway line to Glencairn with its magnificent valley and on to the last British colony in Africa, Simon’s Town where the hero is a dog called Just Nuisance, all the hotels and pubs have something to do with Nelson and Trafalgar and the best fish-and-chip shop in the whole of the continent called the Salty Sea Dog resides on the quay.

On to Miller’s Point past the braying penguins where you can stop for lunch at the Black Marlin. And then, of course, that beautiful road to Cape Point with all its shipwrecks and walks. The colourful pottery we used to buy at Redhill alongside those magnificent animal statues; and then across to Scarborough where the residents are in a constant struggle with baboons.

Misty Cliffs which are always misty followed by the Outer Kom, the greatest surfing experience bar none. Kommetjie Lighthouse, the car park bristling with the surfing cult and then the walk across Noordhoek Beach with all the beautiful young ladies on their horses looking at you down their nostrils as though you were a crab.

The last stop is Noordhoek with all its oaks and English fields and a wonderful resort called Monkey Valley. Then you climb up the road around Chapman’s Peak and the Deep South is gone. It is appropriate that the toll gate to the commuterland of Hout Bay is on the other side, where the pieces of real estate ascend into space as you approach Bantry Bay.

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