Uruguay 7: Cabo Polonia to Atlantida then on to Cape Town


We left Fortaleza de Santa Teresa after two relaxing days and idled down the coast exploring the seaside villages. Finally we reached La Paloma where we camped at Wladimir Turiansky Camping, ablutions were not the best – nevertheless it was close to the sea and not overrun by visitors.

Jetzt war es an der Zeit, gemütlich die Küstenorte Uruguay’s abzufahren. Dabei stiessen wir auf interessante Örtchen – so wie Cabo Polonia. Seelisch bereiteten wir uns auf unsere Rückkehr nach Südafrika vor.

A sojurn to Cabo Polonia, we thought, would be a welcome change from self driving. This village behind many dunes was not accessible by vehicle – this is where hippies and surfers found a refuge at the time. Today it has become slightly more accessible and a 4×4 truck shuttle service took us there where we enjoyed the day wandering around and photographing and relaxing. Maybe staying one night is a better idea – it seemed a laid back town with a vibe and many backpackers flock to it. Take your swimming costumes.

On our journey towards Punta del Este we took a turn into the town Faro Jose Ignacio – a quaint village with art galleries and modern villas, we did not spot a camping site –maybe too upmarket for trekkers like us. In San Rafael, we decided to camp at El Placer – a cut above the rest with all amenities and well organised. Getting there we passed two extraordinary bridges – one was like a ring with the road separating, the other like a wave.


While we were in the La Barra area, we used the opportunity to visit the Museo del Mar and right next door the Insectario that is part of it (entrance fee covers both). Both are collections of large proportion and extremely interesting and definitely worth a visit. Exhibits also include historical information about the coastal towns.


While visiting the Insectario we realised, that we should have looked more for interesting insects in South America – mind boggling shapes and colours abound.

Next camping in Punta Ballena was ok, our last night in the roof tent for the remainder of our journey. The following day we arrived at our school friends Jürgen and Gisa Hecker, who reside in Punta Ballena for part of the year and with whom we explored Punta del Este and its fish market and the surrounding sights worth visiting. This included the Casapueblo hotel Carlos Paéz Vilaró (previously his studio and house) which is popular at sunset where he reads his poem dedicated to the sun (posthum).

We sampled the fresh seafood of the area by shopping for fish on the quay at Punta del Este.

While staying at Punta Ballena Uwe and Almut, with whom we had prepared and shipped the vehicles originally, also arrived, having completed their second leg in South America. This resulted in an impromptu Namibian reunion with Hagen and Mechthild Stahr, who have settled in Uruguay as farmers for several years as well as Wolfgang “Kücki” Kühhirt and wife Ines who were on holiday from Namibia, where they own the lodge at Rostock Ritz in a beautiful part of the Namib desert ( stop there if ever you get to Namibia –a stunning place).


The time passed quickly while we had fun in Punta Ballena. Soon we had to depart to Atlantida, where we would leave our vehicle with Burkhard and Anke Schleicher, the Namibian farmers that we had visited while en-route to Paraguay. They had relocated closer to the coast and now offer a safe haven for bikes of overlanders and would look after our vehicles. After two days of cleaning and preparation for our return in six months to proceed with our second leg into Pantanal in Brasil and Southern Patagonia, we had to say farewell and we flew back from Montevideo via São Paulo and Johannesburg to Cape Town, where we landed safely on 31st March 2017.

Watch this space in September 2017 – our journey will continue into the breath taking region of Southern Patagonia. While we shall have to dress up warmly for the harsh climate and glaciers, you will be able to continue the journey with us from the comfort of your armchairs.

This post covers 14th -31st March 2017

Author: Dieter

A passionate traveller and photographer with an urge to share the beauty of our planet.

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