24 February 2013 – Meeting the Community

eventAccording to geocaching.com, an Event Cache is a gathering of local geocachers or geocaching organizations to discuss geocaching.  The Event Cache page specifies a time for the event and provides coordinates to its location.  After the event, the cache is archived.

194 Breakfast, Ducks and Castles#194 BREAKFAST, DUCKS AND CASTLES (GC45NFH)
Driftwood Cafe in Parklands, South Africa

S33°48.880 E18°30.116

Finally, our first Event Cache and a chance to meet the hiders and the seekers, legends and the infamous, the sneaky and the challenging…

So, we called up the Chappies and had ourselves booked for a table.  All enjoyed a pleasant breakfast arranged by ipodmusicman, before setting off on a day of caching in and around Parklands and Blouberg.

Visit Breakfast, Ducks and Castles at www.geocaching.com


23 February 2013 – En Route to a Braai

193 Bellville N1 - R300#193 BELLVILLE N1 – R300 (GC3BRG2)
Eversdal in Bellville, South Africa

S33°52.231 E18°39.991

This was our first Mystery Cache ever attempted AND solved; took us a while, though to go grab it.

We were on our way to Deb and the Dolphin for a long-overdue braai, so took the opportunity for a quick detour to log this one.

Visit Bellville N1 – R300 at www.geocaching.com

17 February 2013 – Quack Quack

192 Donald Duck#192 DONALD DUCK
Heldervue in Somerset West, South Africa

S34°03.518 E18°48.889

This aptly named cache is located next to a small, urban dam frequented by a large variety of spur-winged geese (wilde makoue), white quacker ducks, cape shovellers, mallards and several other feathered friends.

Visit Donald Duck at www.geocaching.com

16 February 2013 – Bad Luck in the Mother City

We all know that most caching trips have the occasional, almost obligatory DNF (or Did Not Find); such is life.  But then you get the odd day where the winds are against you, the sun is in your eyes, your GPS is all over the place and the Cache Fates simply throw you an empty hand…  This was such a day!

Our first failed attempt was located on the incomplete overpass located alongside the N2 inbound.  Two  approaches via the N2 failed to give us a safe spot to access it and resulted in several red-faced, fuming fellow motorists being confounded by the Sugar-mobile travelling at 20km/h in the right-hand lane with their right indicator on…

From here we moved on – maybe a bit ambitious, by eye-balling our first Letterbox Hybrid Cache.  Letterboxing is yet another form of treasure hunting using clues instead of coordinates, and we wanted to grab our first one located in the Golden Acre Mall in Cape Town.  Unfortunately, inexperience, being pressed for time and thousands of muggles, vendors, flower sellers, and other dodgy looking characters prevented us from really giving this one a go.

Our third botched attempt was a mystery cache about SA sailing legend, Bertie Reed.  The coordinates took us to the roof of the breakwater parking garage in the V&A Waterfront.  Unfortunately, this area was cordoned off for some private party function…

Orange Street in Cape Town, South Africa

S33°55.884 E18°24.802

The Mount Nelson, our saving grace; we finally found one next to this iconic pink hotel.

The Mount Nelson opened on 6 March 1899 and was built to emulate London’s finest and was the first South African hotel to offer both hot and cold running water.  It was named The Mount Nelson in honour of Admiral Lord Nelson, who died at the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805, and because of its proximity to Table Mountain.

It functioned as a British headquarters during the Anglo-Boer War (1899-1902) and housed the likes of Lords Roberts, Kitchener and Buller, as well as a young, up-and-coming war correspondent named Winston Churchill…

The hotel was painted its iconic pink by Aldo Renato, the second manager in celebration of the end of the First World War.  Pink hotels were popular throughout Europe for the next few decades, and so it was that Mount Nelson Hotel retained her blush and is still known as “Cape Town’s famous pink hotel”.

The current entrance gate (also known as the Prince of Wales Gate) and its palm-lined driveway were constructed in preparation for a visit by the Prince of Wales to the hotel in 1925.

Visit Mount Nelson Hotel at www.geocaching.com

10 February 2013 – Wedding Weekend Road Trip Part 3

We ended our weekend road trip with some urban micro-caching in Stellenbosch.  As explained in one of our previous blogs, urban caching is more often about the ingenuity of the container and hide than about the scenery.  However, urban caching in scenic Stellenbosch is one of the few exceptions to the rule – brilliant containers (most of them compliments of Hesamati) in an urban setting of oak-lined avenues, lush riverbank gardens and historic buildings and streets…

182 Simonsrust#182 SIMONSRUST (GC3JNGX)
Simonswyk in Stellenbosch, South Africa

S33°55.591 E18°52.629

This was a traditional magnetic nano hidden amongst a grouping of public postboxes.

Visit Simonsrust at www.geocaching.com


183 Stellenbosch Views#183 STELLENBOSCH VIEWS (GC3C1R3)
Unie Park in Stellenbosch, South Africa

S33°55.780 E18°53.243

Number two for the day was a cleverly disguised micro hidden in a small, urban park…

Visit Stellenbosch Views at www.geocaching.com

184 001 - Tree Graveyard#184 001 – TREE GRAVEYARD (GC441QW)
Botmaskop in Stellenbosch, South Africa

S33°55.725 E18°53.559

We found this beautiful specimen of Argiope australis (one of the garden orb-web spiders) with its brightly coloured, scalloped abdomen and banded legs quite close to the cache and had to take very special care not to disturb this master weaver nor her webbed masterpiece…

Visit Tree Graveyard at www.geocaching.com

185 Eersterivier#185 EERSTERIVIER (GC1NB99)
Karindal in Stellenbosch, South Africa

S33°56.336 E18°53.215

This well disguised micro was hidden in Brümmer Park – a lush, riverside park situating along the Eersterivier.

Without a doubt a hidden gem and well-deserved of a favourite point!

Visit Eersterivier at www.geocaching.com

186 Doc Craven & Bliksem#186 DOC CRAVEN & BLIKSEM (GC2N1V3)
Near Coetzenburg in Stellenbosch, South Africa

S33°56.293 E18°52.349

Number five was a cleverly disguised, Hesamati-mechanics cache near the statue of Matie rugby patriarch and SA rugby legend, Dr Daniël Hartman Craven, or as he is more famously known, Doc Craven.

Visit Doc Craven & Bliksem at www.geocaching.com

187 Hesamati is 1#187 HESAMATI IS 1 (GC1YG6C)
Along the Eerste River in Stellenbosch, South Africa

S33°56.368 E18°51.893

This was another cleverly disguised Hesamati cache hidden on a bridge across the Eerste River…

Visit Hesamati is 1 at www.geocaching.com


188 Stellenbosch TB Lodge#188 STELLENBOSCH TB LODGE (GC2X329)
Verbatim Book Shop in Stellenbosch, South Africa

S33°56.320 E18°51.670

This very intellectual hide is hidden within a popular book shop in Dorp Street – just a pity it did not house any travellers for us to log…

Visit Stellenbosch TB Lodge at www.geocaching.com

189 The Town That Never Sleeps#189 THE TOWN THAT NEVER SLEEPS (GC39Q7R)
Die Boord in Stellenbosch, South Africa

S33°56.901 E18°50.933

This was a quick park-and-grab in a small, urban park in Die Boord…

Visit The Town That Never Sleeps at www.geocaching.com


190 Duiker Crescent#190 DUIKER CRESCENT (GC45NFR)
Sandbaai, South Africa

S34°25.569 E19°11.634

Our last cache for the day was an unexpected bonus – a brand new, just published cache up for First To Find (FTF) honours right in our home town!

It was a bit of a rush to get there in time, but “Found it!” and a second FTF to the Suikerbossies!

Visit Duiker Crescent at www.geocaching.com

9 February 2013 – Wedding Weekend Road Trip Part 2

180 Lady Loch#180 LADY LOCH (GC3RZ1N)
Lady Loch Bridge over the Berg River in Wellington, South Africa

S33°37.775 E18°58.596

As the wedding only started at 5’o’clock, we had ample time to go grab some caches in the rain…

In 1853 Lady Loch, a wooden bridge named after the Governor’s wife, was constructed for access across the Berg River between Cape Town and Paarl.  In 1910 it was replaced with a steel bridge which became the first steel bridge to be built in South Africa and is still in use today.

Visit Lady Lock at www.geocaching.com

181 Liquor Gives the Clergyman the Bends#181 LIQUOR GIVES THE CLERGYMAN THE BENDS (GC1W58C)
Brandewyndraai in Bainskloof Pass near Wellington, South Africa

S33°38.522 E19°05.308

During an early May morning in 1915, workers from the farm Welvanpas were fetching water to drink and to bath from the little stream coming down through Bainskloof, when they realised there was something wrong with the water – it tasted of brandy…!  And suddenly the morning chore of fetching water, became a morning rush to fill every container available.

Back then, Bainskloof was still a dirt road and was often used by travellers coming from Worcester.  This specific morning, a driver was on his way with a ox-drawn wagon loaded with raisins and brandy.  The luckless driver was sampling his load all along the treacherous route and ended up going over the edge at one of the final sharp bends – known today as Brandewyndraai (or Brandy Bend).  The driver and his oxen were unhurt, but most of the barrels broke, spilling more than a single into the little stream…

Visit Liquor Give the Clergyman the Bends at www.geocaching.com

8 February 2013 – Wedding Weekend Road Trip Part 1

We were invited to Wellington for the wedding of one of Brunette Suikerbossie’s best friends… and why not grab a view caches along the way?

We left Friday afternoon – a bit later than expected, thanks to the incompetence of the medico-legal justice system, but none the less we were finally off and had just enough time to grab a few on our way…

177 C##177 C# (GC44N6W)
Die Boord in Stellenbosch, South Africa

S33°56.651 E18°51.103

This little micro hidden in a park in Stellenbosch was part of a puzzle cache that featured quite a clever bit of wordplay, definitions and fun with numbers.

Visit C# at www.geocaching.com

178 Le Present View#178 LE PRESENT VIEW (GC4507E)
Deux Frères along R44 near Stellenbosch, South Africa

S33°52.844 E18°50.858

This was a quick roadside cache at the gate of Deux Frères, a small, boutique vineyard situated on the foothills of the Simonsberg Mountains run by the brothers Retief and Stephan du Toit.

Visit Le Present View at www.geocaching.com

179 The Most Jealous of Them All#179 THE MOST JEALOUS OF THEM ALL (GC1YRKJ)
Groenberg near Wellington, South Africa

S33°37.279 E19°00.187

This was our first EarthCache.  An EarthCache is not a traditional container hidden at some GPS location, it rather is a special geological location or formation that cachers can visit to learn about a unique geoscience feature of our planet.

In order to log an EarthCache as found, cachers need to answer certain questions related to the geological feature, as well as supply specific photographic evidence as requested by the cache owner.

This cache explains the lush vegetation covering Wellington’s Groenberg, in contrast to the stark sandstone appearance of the Limiet range right behind it.  The reason for this is the fact that the Limiet Mountains are capped by hard sandstone rock.  Sandstone does not erode easily and therefore leaves only a poor thin layer of soil not favoured by vegetation.  Groenberg mainly consists of Malmesbury Formation, composed of shale and other soft rock types that weathers into a rich, dark soil ideal for vegetation to grow in.

Visit The Most Jealous of Them All at www.geocaching.com