The Edge of Africa: South Africa

I lived in Chicago for 8 years. I love Chicago and the anonymity that a big city allows. But there are only so many times the “Hey Miss Universe” line will work on me before Mr. Friendly Homeless Guy gets nothing but words I would never say in front of my grandma. I’d eaten enough deep-dish pizza to clog my future children’s arteries. I was tired of being squeezed out the back end of the bus on frigid winter days. Change was necessary.

With very little effort my husband talked me into selling everything we own to move to Africa. Sounded good at the time. We plunked down in the tiny village of Noordhoek in South Africa and lived in a small shack in a horse paddock. In a horse paddock. We had to keep the door closed because “Ginger” had a non-mutual fascination with our neurotic Chihuahua, The Doon.

There, we discovered Chapman’s Peak Drive, as have thousands of other tourists over the years. But we know something they don’t know. The famous, cliff-side drive is closed during the winter-spring months (April-December) because of “falling boulders.”

You walk up the steep road and step easily around the closed sign. You continue walking up the, winding, deserted, breathtaking road, every once in a while stopping to sit on a bench. Or a wall. Or a rock. From there you can watch the sun setting over one of the most beautiful natural beaches in South Africa. Trails lead up and down the mountain. Some have old steps, some are wooden-planked paths snaking through the trees down to the beach. Who uses these? Nobody.

You want to experience something very few people have? Pack a picnic and go sit on the edge of Africa for an evening. There are no cars here. No monitoring guards. It’s a sleepy, quiet place that you’ll never get over.

By: Heather Gauthier