Finally collected the car , after a day sorting it out and re-arranging things. Peter and Fiona’s friends were lovely ,coming to say good-bye and thanks so much to Pat and Anfred for the bottles of wine….they should keep us going for a minute !
Many thanks too, to Peter& Fiona for putting up with us for so long,we had such fun and they made us so welcome right from the start.
With the Landy ready to go and sounding 100% better than when we had arrived in Cape- Town,we said our sad farewells to Peter and Andrew(sorry to get you out of bed Andrew) and set off for Mossel bay, to visit Arno and Elize. As we’d already been along the coastal road,we took a different route. We had planned to go to Cango Caves but due to a road closure,decided to carry on to Mossel bay. Arno and Elize have been following our blog from the beginning and although well- travelled themselves, were looking for advice on The West Coast Route. We finally found them at their stunning flat overlooking the bay. A lovely couple,who once again treated us to some wonderful South African hospitality with a huge Braai. We exchanged many travelling tales,hearing about all the places they’ve visited in the past. I’m not sure that we were of much help,but we might have given them some useful info on West Africa, which not many people tackle!
Having been fed an enormous breakfast the next day,we set off once more, along The Garden Route via Knysna and Plettenberg Bay ,spending the following night at Tsitsikamma ,a beautiful indigenous Cape forest region, but with campers everywhere, due to South African holidays. (We’ve been spoilt in the past)
After some exploring,the rain set in, so the best bet was to keep on driving. Carried on up The Garden Route and along The Sunshine Coast, despite no sun, stopping off at JeffreysBay,a surfing beach,but there was no surf either !
Had a night just outside Port Alfred ,a beautiful peaceful camp called “Mansfield” with a resident Giraffe.
Travelled “The Transkei”-steep hills and valleys, up to 2,500 metres,very cold and overcast, but not that surprising really. We were intrigued by all the colourful little houses and shacks,well spaced out and very neat. Beautiful countryside but so many lunatic drivers on this stretch of road and far too much road-kill, dogs,goats, cows and Donkeys, seemed to litter the roads, really horrible.
By-passed East London , ending up at Port St Johns, a nice typical African town,very noisy though,but we spent the night beside a very fast flowing river, got eaten alive by midges,had the oil changed in the Landy (which seems to be performing well,dare I say it!)
Spent two days in The Oribi Gorge Nature Reserve, couldn’t camp at the wild camp as currently flooded,but other site was just fine,on a small lake. Fantastic rock faces ,waterfalls and mind blowing drops off the roadside!
Made a brief visit to Durban, The Bluff and Brighton Beach,where Michael hung out for a while in his youth. Needless to say he didn’t recognise anything- apart from the beach ……. enough said!
Camped in Amatigulu Nature Reserve,on the North Coast, a bit Blair Witchy and spooky for my liking, wasn’t too happy about the large red ants and spiders either, we are talking sub- tropical rain forest,therefore very dense and dark. Was my fault really, I should never have directed him that way!
Camped in Isimangaliso Wetland Park, a world heritage site for a while, in respect of wildlife and South African campers! Extensive settlements and one group beneath a tennis court sized insulated tarp, several chambers at last count( we can’t help but spy) with large indoor and outdoor entertaining areas, i.e. beer drinking dens. Not to mention four foot Christmas tree with flashing lights. Across” the crescen”t,was another settlement, anchored on the biggest caravan you’ve ever seen. Highlights here were the extensive fitted kitchen and topping it all, a full size whirligig,rotary clothes dryer bigger than yours at home! I think they look at us in horror and possibly pity at our lack of gadgets!
Went into the reserve and having visited the beach and played in the huge waves,we returned to camp ,spotting three Black Rhino 100 yards away,causing great excitement.
Visited Imfolozi Game Reserve, known for it’s large numbers of Rhino and were fortunate enough to see two Black and five White (one of Michaels”interesting” facts is that we have now seen 0.5% of The World Black Rhino Population having seen seven.)
We also spotted a Lion- like rock about four metres away, that was a infact a lion -a rather large male Lion, staring right at us ,on a bank at eye level. Very exciting, though the trouble was he was too hot and wouldn’t pose for the camera!!
Other beasts spotted, but no less interesting was a Terrapin, a Water Monitor (two ft long lizard) and Three Lions up a tree (can you spot them in the photo? if not you would probably be dead as they were only 40 m away) plus another lying next to the road but with his back turned much to the phatographers dislike!. theres one lion hanging out on the right hand side eyeing up a warthog family, another at the bottom of the leaves in line with the trunk if you blow up the picture you should see it. the third is a tail hanging down on the left
Should also say we saw so many animals here, that we’ve already mentioned in other blogs,far more than expected for this time of year, or in fact any time of the year, a beautiful Reserve, definitely worth a visit.
Off to Ithala Game Park for Christmas in North Zululand. Would like to wish you all A VERY MERRY CHRISTMAS AND A HAPPY NEW YEAR!
Will update blog in the new year, after the girls have visited xxxx