From Cape Town, the N1 stretches out after Touws River into dry scrub. Trucks ply the routes and the small towns are not quaint – Merweville features little more than a bottle store and a railway siding.
The land is harsh, sheep dot the veld and houses stand resolutely alone among windmills and gum trees. But as we near the Eastern Cape the landscape subtly shifts, and low-lying hills rise out of the arid flatness.
The Cape Town seaside suburb of St James is an anachronism, left over from Cape Town’s colonial past. It reposes elegantly on the False Bay coast, like high tea on a silver service, between the arty, fishing-based community of Kalk Bay and Muizenberg’s cosmopolitan mix of pensioners, surfers and Nigerians.
Arundel, a classic St James holiday house tucked away on the mountainside, offers travellers a gracious refuge from the bustle of holidaying in Cape Town.