“Escape” from Cape Town, South Africa to La Estancia de Cafayate • Part 1
Updated: Dec 29, 2020
Kevin and Antoinette Radford are “born and bred” South Africans who visited La Estancia de Cafayate in 2018 and again in 2019, fell in love with it and are now in the process of finalizing the purchase of two homesites, where they will build and reside permanently. They have been locked down in South Africa under one of the most stringent quarantines in the world. As soon as they were able to “escape”, November 06, 2020, they left for the freest, closest, and most secure spot to await entry to
Argentina. From Panama, they are writing to share with us their adventures while they wait to be able to complete their journey to Cafayate.!
Us, 4th December, in Panama, ready for the next leg of our journey.
Terri: How did you hear originally about La Estancia de Cafayate and what led you to make your first visit?
Being a follower of Doug Casey’s writings for over decade, we were inclined towards the concept of La Estancia, and especially the freedom loving, like-minded community it promoted.
In late 2018, we began to take steps to and to build more living / residency options and flexibility into our lives. In 2018, we visited Argentina, Belize, Singapore. Upon returning to South Africa, it didn’t take long to assess everything and decide that La Estancia de Cafayate ticked all the boxes for us.
La Estancia de Cafayate
Terri: What were the factors that lead you to purchase the 2 homesites and decide to make a permanent move to LEC?
We were privileged to have been born in and to have lived in SA for 50 + years as Europeans of English, Dutch and French descent. We were spoiled with the beauty of the country and had all the luxuries of a first world economy, but we both also personally experienced violent crimes (as many in SA do) and witnessed the degradation of infrastructure over a period of 25 years, all at the hands of an incompetent and corrupt government. South Africa was and is also very isolated from the rest of the world re global opportunities and growth.
Our requirements for a second home were safety,community, minimal interference from government, maximum independence/freedom, a base from which we can pursue world-wide opportunities of a financial, personal and progressive nature.
Drakensberg dining. SA - not unlike LEC style
Terri: Your decision to move was prior to the world crisis we are still in and the lockdown affected your original timeline. During the time preparing to leave South Africa, what were your thoughts about the coming journey and move to Argentina?
We planned to fly out on the 1st of April 2020 (needing 4 flights to get to Salta), but the lockdown in SA started towards the end of March…
During this time we realized with finality that we’d over-stayed our welcome as citizens of European-origin in South Africa, hence realized that we need to completely pack-up our life in SA and to make La Estancia our only home for now.
This was a difficult decision to make, especially to leave family and friends behind. The process to sort out our assets/business in such a way as to be able to manage it from a distance was a tall order, but we managed that and also sold off all of our household contents during the lock-down period of April 2020 – Oct 2020.
We were then ready to start our new lives with 2 bags each, but Argentina’s borders were still closed to foreigners. The international borders of SA opened during October 2020 and we decided to make use of the window of opportunity to leave SA, but where-to? Panama’s had just opened up and that seemed to be a reliable pitstop, and much closer to our intended destination!
Sunset from our SA Cape town home in Gordons Bay, overlooking False bay
Terri: Did you leave any family members in South Africa?
We left Mother, many sisters, brothers and children behind, which is the sad part of our journey. Just like many other European families in SA, whose family members started leaving SA from 25 years ago, and are currently residing in different places all over the world, some of our close family members are also living elsewhere i.e. US, Greece, Bali and UK.
Terri: Please share with us some of your personal experiences of your lock down in South Africa. And some of your plans and preparations to leave South Africa permanently.
The lock down in SA was one of the most stringent in the world. It started towards the end of March 2020 on Level 5. To take steps to build more living / residency options.
You were only allowed to leave your home to go to work (with a permit) or to a grocery store (with a slip in your hands as proof afterwards).
No other necessities were available (shopping closed off), no walking/exercising outside your home, no cigarettes or alcohol for sale.
We are used to running every day, so to avoid detection, we got up early every morning while it was still dark and everybody was still sleeping, and ran up and down in front of our home in the street. We alternated that with running a figure of 8 course over our grass and driveway. The path that was left behind through the grass, was evidence of being like a trapped an animal in a cage.
There was an under-ground water leak at our home, which we were not able to detect for months as the officials were in lock down and actual water readings were not taken for months. When we eventually became aware of it, we could not fix it ourselves as we needed pipe and all the hardware shops were closed and plumbers were not allowed to work.
We also ran out of wine and had to sip on some brandy, that was a gift from years back. We are used to exceptionally good wines in SA and are very happy to move to a place with equally or even better, unique wines.
The lock down levels slowly decreased to level 1 during Oct 2020, that was when we finalized our plans to leave South Africa, together with managing to collect my passport they had processed and held since April!
We had sold all our household goods and moved into a temporary rental for 3 months until we left.
The unexpected lock-down extended our plans to leave by 7 months (although it feels more like 1 year). In hindsight it was better to dismantle and pack-up our whole life in stages as it made the detachment process easier and ultimately better.
Part of our running track at home during lockdown!
Terri: And how about Part 1 of your Escape route and actual journey to Panama.
The journey from Cape Town to Panama (via Dubai, Sao Paulo) was not without hiccups like most travels.
2 Kevin paragliding off Signal Hill - Cape Town
It was a process over time to get down to 2 bags each with all of our belongings packed, some hand tools making the final selection. The last leg of our 3 days connection flight was from Brazil to Panama at 4 am. We were side-lined and our boarding passes were held back. We were not sure what was going on because of the language barriers. After everybody boarded, we were called to follow a staff member. It turns out that the detector/scanner had picked up some metal in one of our bags (the tools) and they needed to open up the bag in front of us in the luggage conveyer back room, for our explanation. They were happy with what they saw, but we nearly missed our flight, and we were the culprits, delaying take-off for everybody! We had the same problem with the same bag at luggage collections in Panama.
To avoid unnecessary hassles, we did our homework thoroughly around the Covid19 rules and followed them as required, having ourselves tested at the last minute in South Africa for the test to be valid when we reach Panama (as also confirmed by our Emirates bookings). When we landed in Panama, two Covid19 teams, dressed in theater outfits were waiting for us. The information given to us i.e. 72 hours window of the test being valid was not what they had as their reference. We were not prepared to go down a possible rabbit hole with retesting etc. and after 15 minutes of discussions, us explaining the impossibility of showing a test within 48 hours after travelling for 2.5 days and no proof on paper from their side of the 48 hour rule, they gave up and welcomed us into Panama.
To be continued: Life in Panana as a pit stop on the way to Cafayate!
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