You’ll drive north for a while, out of Cape Town and around Table Bay to Blouberg, preferably at the friendly purr of an old Volkswagen Kombi. Parking there by the seaside as a hot afternoon reluctantly turns into dusk, you might be shocked – almost literally – by the incredible wind sweeping the coastline into your eyes and ears. As for Marie and I, a powerful southeaster, as nasty as they come, made our walk down the beach infinitely easier than the walk back up.
But you’ll stop, first, and stare at the mad ocean and beyond. Waves will be crashing onto the rocks at your feet or surfing gracefully into mile after mile of sandy beach towards the inside of the bay. The air will be filled with a familiar blend of sand and salt and your sunglasses will almost instantly be covered by a fine misty layer. The camera will shudder at the touch of the corrosive mix but could not be left holstered.
Because you see, right in front of you, across a lot of ocean, will stand a dark silhouette softly backlit by the drowning sun – no other than the mighty Table Mountain, with Cape Town’s lights already shimmering at its foot. It’s a stunning view, you know, a postcard classic, a shutter trigger, an instigator of sighs…
The light might not be perfect, a low cloud layer suddenly obscuring your horizon on the sun’s declining path. Given the wind’s unrelenting assault, you might even opt to have your picnic inside the car, staring at the magnificent view between two bites of snoek paté, a glass of red wine in your hand and your guide’s.
But be patient. Light is a funny, fleeting thing. It easily shies away, like a seahorse slowly turning its back to the lens, and yet I’ve seen it so many times born again from its ashes at the last minute, just before a final curtain falls on that day and the world flips over to the dark side.
That’s what happened to us. In many ways.
I wish you the same!