For a magic winter getaway the West Coast offers some fantastic days in winter. Lots of sunshine for top down driving even when it’s slightly fresh outside. The scenery is magnificent and it’s a great stretch upon which to open up the throttle.
We took the Jag F-type up the R27, the West Coast Cape Town – Namibia highway, earlier this week. It was an opportunity to get to grips with the beastie and we weren’t disappointed. In normal drive mode the Jag has all the power of the V6 supercharged engine lurking (279 kW), but it remains a docile beast, all elegance and grace. The heated seats and steering wheel keep you comfy as you are gripped in your pilot’s seat enjoying the sublime sound system. But when you flip it into sport mode with the merest nudge of the knuckles, you instantly feel the sinews stiffen as the dynamic suspension kicks in and the beast gets ready to leap. For the adventurous there is the further thrill of Race mode, enabled by a flick of a switch and the car seems to hunch and grip the road as if threatening it with some form of assault. The Ducati racing exhaust is enabled and as you accelerate into the straight line horizon, leaving the grain truck as a narrowing dot in your wake, the noise from behind you is ripping, it feels like surfing on thunder. If you are not careful you can even miss the arresting sight of Giraffe grazing peacefully in the nature reserves by the side of the road.
Arrival in Paternoster is like wandering into another time and place. Although it’s barely taken two hours to get to, the wildness of the West Coast makes this place feel remote in the extreme, especially in winter. Over the last few years it’s become a great destination for tourists and Capetonians wanting something just a little bit different. So be assured that while you are in the Wild West you can also repose in the lap of luxury. We stayed at the Strandloper, in one of their beautifully appointed ocean suites where a wood fire was lit for us and we enjoyed a glass of wine looking out onto the deserted beach.
The next day we decided to return to Cape Town via Franschhoek and the R45 is a great stretch of road. It takes you within a stone’s throw of Riebeek-Casteel, and then you skirt Paarl and into Stellenbosch and Franschhoek on the R44. A fantastic drive then lunch at any one of the world class wine farm restaurants. Although you’ve only been away 24 hours it feels like living the dream.
And for the last stretch back to the Mother City then the Jag does also have a wet weather mode, as the predator, replete, ambles gently home…