Miata Road Trip Africa: Cape Town, South Africa

Pardon the delay in writing about my amazing experience with the Western Cape Miata Club on my day-trip to Cape Town last November, but better late than never. I had the privilege to hang out with some incredible people and wanted to share the experience with friends and fellow Miata enthusiasts.

I went to South Africa for the first time this November 2019 to volunteer for an iconic endurance race re-launch the Kyalami 9 hour. Unfortunately for me Kyalami is on the outskirts of Johannesburg which is nowhere near the ocean and my absolute goal was to see where the two oceans (Atlantic and Indian) meet at the southern tip of Africa. I started researching stuff to do knowing the trip would be very short and came across the Western Cape Miatas web site… which I promptly bombarded with questions to see if anything could be organized for my visit… lucky for me they were planning a monthly gathering for that date anyway and even more lucky I was actually able to join in thanks to some incredibly generous club members. Thank you so much Keith for letting me join the event. And even bigger thank you to Hennie for generously fetching me from the airport driving me to my hotel and even paying for my lunch which was a bit of a shock since I attempted to bribe myself into this meetup by promising to pay whomever would help me by buying lunch and fueling up their car. Shame on me for not following through, but again super major thanks for Hennie and everyone else for the warm welcome!

I’m not going to blab on for much longer and just share the pix below. As mentioned before Hennie offered to pick me up from the airport as soon as my flight from Joburg landed in Cape Town. I had left my luggage at the hotel in Johannesburg so was traveling light. Just brought along a change of clothes for one night and a bunch of Mazda swag I collected over the years from volunteering Motorsport events back when Mazda used to give swag to owners at IMSA races… Team Joest put a kabash on that.

I have to say this is the first time ever that I’ve been picked up from the airport in a Miata. Not sure why that hit me as something very special but it did… I probably wouldn’t have attempted this ever before because even my carry on is larger than what most Miata trunks would accommodate but this was a perfect storm of things going right. 🙂

So the plan was to go for a little cruise in the hills north of Cape Town but as we joined the two other guys from the club waiting for us, one car had sprung a leak so out of precaution we headed directly to the lunch venue, a beautiful vineyard / winery restaurant called Hillcrest.

Shortly after the rest of the club had filed in after their spirited drive. And I went out to take some pictures of the cars outside. Boy is the Miata a popular vehicle in South Africa and what an amazing following it has in the Western Cape region. Afterall they got the perfect weather for owning a convertible, and beautiful coastal roads to take one out on amazing and scenic drives.

The meal was delicious. As a general observation and as anyone and everyone would brag in South Africa their cuisine is outstanding especially meet products! I really enjoyed my fancy burger and chips.

The initial plan to get me to the hotel after this quick meet & greet was to go in the NA Miata as the owner lived near Sea Point where I was staying but since the car had sprung a leak Hennie decided to take me back himself even though it was out of the way for him. Thanks again Hennie! It was a really pleasant ride for this tourist sightseeing around Cape Town out of the passenger seat of a Miata on the first time visit to the Western Cape. Thanks to the Miata club for allowing me this opportunity to experience a part of their community. I felt really blessed!

I had not noticed this before around Pretoria and Johannesburg outskirts but in Cape Town the road signs are both in English and in Afrikaans. And generally speaking the road layout and signs resemble so much of Australia one could easily fool himself they were in Australia. Amazing how much in common the Commonwealth countries have. I’m a sucker for everything United Kingdom, it’s a wonder we ended up in the US as I think I would potentially enjoy the benefits of being a British citizen more, especially when it comes to living and working in Commonwealth countries: Canada, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, etc. But once again I’m rambling off topic. Suffice to say my day trip to Cape Town to meet the Western Cape Miata club owners was a huge succes! Thank you again to all that helped me make this happen.

One more rambling comment… I definitely want to visit Cape Town again and have a do-over. You see leading up to this trip, the Kyalami 9 hour race finished late, so by the time I got to my hotel near the airport and settled in it was around 2AM. I set my alarm for 5AM thinking I have to get to the airport super early, but that was unnecessary. I ended up waiting for ages for my 8AM flight. I should have slept in. Arriving Cape Town on 3 hour sleep and tired from the race weekend, I really took it easy and relaxed, which means I didn’t spend much time exploring this beautiful town. Before flying back the next day I followed advice of my hotel staff and left for the airport way early. In addition the flight was delayed so I spent more time at the airport than I did exploring the city it feels. I never got a chance to go visit Muizenberg Beach which was my plan to do so. Everyone was warning me how dangerous and unreliable the local public transport system was and unfortunately I listened instead of soldiering on as I normally would. I definitely want another crack at this in the future.

All was not lost however, I did get a chance to go to another famous beach after taking the Hop On Hop Off bus around Table Mountain. I got a chance to sample some delicious Fish & Chips at Camps Bay, and didn’t even realize there was an NC Miata PRHT I took a selfie with until I uploaded the picture to facebook. Lovely place! I want to go back there sooo bad…