A few kilometers down from the Stanford house, on a very narrow sandy track through dry vegetation, we found an isolated section of the Walker Bay Nature Reserve. The beach was endless and clean, framed by high sand dunes and cold, turquoise ocean. A solitary Cape fur seal came surfing down the breaking waves and soon was gone.

On our way in, we had turned left and bypassed a small gate; we realized on our way back that we should have paid a small entry fee. The guard just waved at us in a friendly fashion as we were driving away.

So the next day when we came upon a different section of the reserve on a drive south, we paid our dues – greeted this time by a guard who, while still friendly, made the big mistake of joking about Marie’s deep sand driving skills. How could he have known that she had aced many a much trickier path in Namibia and Lesotho, and that our super-Landcruiser, Mogashagasha (spelling unsure – it’s Selina’s Sesotho nickname for the car and means ‘She who goes over everything‘) eats sand for breakfast and mud for dinner without flinching. But he was forgiven because his was still the most amazing playground. Just pure sand and pristine waters, et ce, à perte de vue.

Marie on a Walker Bay Nature Reserve sand dune