Capetonians are very much in denial about when spring really begins in the Western Cape. A long time ago, spring would begin in September and herald in warmer weather, fresh flowers and new life. Our two days in Jacobsbaai proved that this is not always the case.
Only an hour and half from Cape Town, we headed up the West Coast in sunny, chilly conditions to stay in a holiday home of family in Gonnemanskraal in Jacobsbaai. Passing deserted farm stalls and empty Engen service stations, we cut in through Langebaan in search of braai supplies such as garlic loaf, sausage and lamb chops at the Pick n Pay. Laguna Mall was all but dead in this off season, and shop attendants sat bored, eagerly awaiting customers.
Armed with supplies for two days, we headed past the Saldanha Steel factory which resembled Mordor from Lord of the Rings, green and brown farmlands and towards the turbulent coast. Typical of winters along the West Coast, the waters frothed and raged against the giant rocks and they thrashed so violently that we first saw the waves before the actual town.
If it weren’t for the tiny bursts of yellow colour amongst the dry, low bushes, we would have been none the wiser as to which season it was. We reached the white washed seaside houses just before the sun started descending into the wild Atlantic Ocean. Running down through the path between the fynbos, we stood on the wet sand, jumped up onto a boulder and watched as the sun’s disappearance sent shoots of pink, red and light purple between the grey clouds.
The only way to keep the chill away was to stay huddled beneath a blanket or beside the fire. Winter was yet to relinquish its grip on this little West Coast dorp and luckily we came fully prepared with hoodies, track pants and thermal underwear. We played tennis in the afternoon sun and ran until we almost forgot about the icy wind cutting through our layers and into our ears.
At night, the guys pulled the plastic covers down to shield themselves from the strong winds as they braaied our meats. I wrote inside whilst my cousin knitted and awaited our scrumptious meal. It was not long before a storm broke out, sending sheets of rain which kept me awake and caused the shutters to bang continuously as the ocean continued its relentless battle.
Once more the sun came out in the morning, shining down over the birds in the birdfeeder, the tortoises amongst the purple flowers and thick fynbos. Spring was definitely on the way, but it certainly didn’t seem to be here yet. In the meantime, winter along the west coast seemed reluctant to leave. But what a place and time to enjoy the raw, wild and natural beauty of this region.