I have completed one tour, and have made my way to Durban on the coast to meet my next one. Saturday was a day off and I was SO HAPPY to get a pedicure, run some errands, do some shopping, and by the grace of God I found sushi as well! I met the new group that night at a little orientation meeting. We all got to know each other a bit over ‘bunny chow’ (chicken curry in a bread bowl).
Day 2: Durban to Port St Johns
The next day we set off to Port St. Johns. As we drove we passed hill after hill, covered in colourful houses. It was adorable. At some point this morning, I got my first glimpse at the Indian Ocean; it also started to rain. As we drove along we were winding around hills. We were banking right (Driving in the left lane) and a pickup truck was trying to round the turn, but as he was going to fast for the curve AND the rain, he continued straight, smashing right into us. I was reading my book, and from the corner of my eye say a vehicle way to close to us, then heard a crash, and felt a jolt. First thing, I looked to see what hit us and saw the truck coming to a stop about 100 feet away. Two boys (maybe 16 years old) hopped out of the bed of the truck where they were hauling a bunch of sheet metal.
Next everyone in our van was asking to make sure everyone was ok. A couple people bumped their heads, but we were all fine. We got out to look at the damage. The right side of the van was all scraped, including the wheel well, leaving the tire rim dented.
Our guide made some phone calls, while we waited around. Several trucks of people came to help the family in the pickup truck. Turns out they weren’t insured. After about 45 minutes we were able to go, after only changing the tire. It was only about 20 kilometers until we reached camp.
To be honest, this camp left something to be desired. We pitched tents on the bank of a river, but where we were our view was blocked by 9 foot tall reeds. We could walk over to get a view, but the water was brown and the view wasn’t the best. We had a braii (barbeque) for dinner which is always fun!
As soon as everyone went to bed however, it started to rain. Along the edges of the tent and the windows, water started to get in. I was trying to keep a good attitude but I was miserable!
DAY 3: Port St. Johns to Chintsa
We packed up in the morning and headed for Chintsa further down the coast. I slept a lot of the morning since I didn’t sleep much last night. We arrived around 1:30pm and I was glad we had the option to upgrade at this location! I was so over camping, very hot, and very tired! Praise the Lord, they had a beautiful mini suite available with a view of the ocean. I was in heaven! I spent the afternoon lounging on the balcony, reading, journaling, taking in the view.
Just before sunset I walked down to the beach. I had this idea that it would be so cute to walk down barefoot but that was kind of painful. Nonetheless, the ocean is incredible. This was my first time to the Indian Ocean. I headed back to my room before joining my group at the campsite for dinner.
DAY 4: Chintsa to Addo Elephant National Park
Today we drove to Addo Elephant National Park. After a stop at a mall, we continued on but the drive shaft on the van (on the wheel that got hit) broke and we were stuck. Luckily we were still close to the mall so we walked back and waited for a replacement. We ended up getting a van, but it couldn’t tow our trailer (with all of our bags and tents and food) so we packed an overnight bag, and went to a guesthouse instead of the campsite. (which was fine by me!)
DAY 5: Addo to Tsitsikamma
The next morning most of us woke up early to go on a game drove in the park. After only about twenty minutes we saw two male lions walking by us! We followed them until they disappeared and then continued on. It was drizzling, which the animals actually prefer so we saw some zebras, kudu, warthogs, buffalo, and surprisingly only a few elephants! We met the rest of the group at the entrance, had breakfast, and went in using our own vehicle to spot some more animals.
From there we drove to Tsitsikamma National Park leaving the Wild Coast and entering the Garden Route! The plan was to meet Moya (our driver) there with the fixed van. We arrived at about 3:30pm and were told the new truck (that would take us the rest of the way, with all the tents, and kitchen equipment) would arrive at 6pm and Moya would arrive at around 8pm. Even though none of us really had hiking shoes or clothes, we went on a short trail as to not waste the afternoon! Our campsite is right on the ocean and is really beautiful.
Unfortunately, Moya broke down AGAIN so the new plan was for the truck to go to Moya, get all of our stuff and bring everything to camp. ETA 11pm. We went to the restaurant for dinner and bummed around there until 11pm, when we heard he would be later than expected. The restaurant closed at midnight, so we walked back to camp and laid out looking at the stars, waiting. We could see and hear the ocean and there were so many stars. It was really pretty (except it was cold and we were exhausted!) finally, Moya arrived with the big truck (its huge!) and all of our stuff at 12:40am. We quickly put up our tents and were out!
DAY 6: Tsitsikamma
We all slept in and had the day to do what we wanted. I hiked over to the suspension bridge at the mouth of Storms River. It looked beautiful! I had been told that the bridge was closed, and as I walked up, there was a guard at the bridge and a ‘closed’ sign. There were other staff walking on the bridge towards us, then the guard took the sign down! It had been closed for seven weeks and reopened just as I arrived. I was one of the first people to walk in it in quite a while, which I thought was exciting and nerve wracking!
I hung around there for a while, then went back to the shop to write and mail some postcards before going back to camp for lunch. Most of the group opted to go zip lining in the afternoon. I wasn’t particularly interested so I took a nap, then walked back up to the shop for some food. The entire group went to bed early!
DAY 7: Tsitsikamma to Knysna
This morning, we took our time getting ready and packing up the new truck. We watched and laughed as a family of baboons crept in to the open window of a cabin nearby, and came out with handfuls of food! Our driver Moya ran over to close the window from the outside, but we looked back a while later and they had opened it again! I was sitting, waiting for breakfast and was shocked and amazed to see a school of dolphins swim by along the rocks! Then again a few minutes later, and AGAIN right before we left! They have likely been swimming by all along but we didn’t notice them. Incredible!
We drove about an hour to Face Adrenalin to bungee jump! 6/14 in our group decided to do the jump (not including me!) It’s the highest bridge bungee in the world. Even though I didn’t jump, it was fun to watch those in my group jump! We ate breakfast there, watched them all jump, and had lunch there as well!
Our camp was right on the lagoon which was very pretty!
DAY 8: Kynsna to Outdshoorn
This morning, we drove to watch the sunrise over The Heads, where the land juts out at the ocean and has the opening to the lagoon. It was really beautiful.
From there we drove inland toward Outdshoorn. We stopped at the cutest little farmers market for breakfast! I easily could have spent the whole morning there! They had amazing little shops, crafts, fresh food!
From there, we went to Cango Caves and were able to take a tour. Its incredible how vast old the caves are! On the same street, we stopped at an ostrich farm where I got to kiss one, and feed them from over my shoulder. It was really cool (and a bit scary) to be able to interact with them so much! Some girls in my group even rode on them but I drew the line!
I decided to camp instead of upgrade because it was my last night. We had a braai for dinner (ostrich steak naturally!) I wasn’t a fan, and the next morning, we were on our way to Cape Town!