Published: December 15th 2006December 12th 2006
Scott Writes: After returning from the Kruger to Nelspruit
we gave back our rent-a-car and opted for a 7 day hop-on hop-off pass on the tourist Baz Bus which would eventually drop us off in Port Elizabeth
(PE) in around 7 days funnily enough. Now whoever came up with the Baz Bus is now making a fortune out of 'tourists' and smelly backpackers who do not want to take the local buses. It is twice as expensive and it takes twice as long as the local buses plus its not even that comfortable. Still though, it is packed everyday with people moving up and down the coast, go figure that. Well, 7 days in this transit van of a bus was quite enough. It would of driven us crazy if we had to do any more on it, purely for the reason that there is not any fun in it or any anxiety to it, like wondering, if you've missed your stop and have your bags fallen of the roof yet. Basically it's too easy, removed from the country and dull but we were travelling too far in too short a time to risk braking down for hours - as we
It's all over but we have had a great time.
experienced with our last 'normal' bus. So had to put up.
Durban and wickets
Moving along, we arrived in Durban
late and planned to move on the next day to PE
but found out that there was a One Day International Cricket
game between SA and India the following day in the city. I really wanted to go and twisted Kat's arm to extend our travel plans with visions of sitting in the sun, drinking sundowners and watching strapping 'young'
men thrash around their Willow's all day. With that hurdle overcome, we contemplated our next problem, which was we didn't have any tickets and the game was sold out...Hmmm.
After spending the night in a shed at the Hippo Hide backpackers, we hedged our bets and ventured into town in search of 'black market' tickets at the ground. We split up at the gate and after five mins Kat was hauling me over as she had found a 'seller'. We paid a hugely inflated price but it still only cost ten pounds (the tout made a whooping 4 pounds profit
) and we were in. It was hot, the beers were flowing and the game was great. After
about half an hour Kat started to get into it and was waving our 4
signs about at every chance. The game finished poorly as India were a bit poo but we were a little under the influence by then so it didn't really matter. A great day was had by all.
The last of the long bus journeys - nice one!
An early start the next day to catch the Baz Bus to PE 15 hours away. After a day at the cricket and mouths like Gandhi’s flip-flops we were not very excited about spending the entire day on the bus, but the means justifies the end so we sat there and watched the world go by. We passed through the Wild Coast
and the Transkei
area which used to be the homeland for the Majority within the apartheid era. The government wanted to move the Majority out of the cities and into their own area without much means of infrastructure or work. However because of that crazy decision, now there is a huge part of the coast line which is almost untouched and hasn't been developed upon ever and the area is stunningly beautiful and
Not quite monster waves but i'm standing so who cares.
has some of the most breathtaking sections of coastline in the world and they know it. Now some development has started and the big hotel chains are queuing up to get a piece of it - but are thankfully restricted by current legislation. Anyway, we arrived at the backpackers in PE at around 11pm pleased to have completed our last long bus ride and could wave goodbye to the 'Boring Baz Bus'.
After having a little look at PE, sorting out another car, (this time a 1.4 VW Citi Chico which looks like a 1985 Golf with interior to match, a free 'upgrade' from our original agreement of a Fiat Palio) we were off to the Addo National Elephant Park
for a bit more game viewing. After a few hours we were back on the road and off to Jeffery's Bay
, the home of the legendary surfing 'supertubes' and the Billabong Pro contest held every July.
We set up camp in a 10 bed dorm at the Island Vibe backpackers
which is set on the hill at the southern end of the main beach giving us stupendous views of the bay below and the sets rolling
J-Bay Surfing 3
Look at Kat go!!! She is Rad!
in. This place was totally surftastic, crammed with full on surf dudes and dudettes with 'rad' hand signs being flashed around all over the place. The gnarliness of the car park was
as there were no fewer than four VW beetles, all with boards on the racks when we rocked up. Not shy to get involved in the surfing and the hand signs but dragging our feet with the lingo we hired the big 7"6 beginner boards, donned our rash vets which hadn't seen the light of day for some time and hits the waves. There was no doubt about it we were poor at the start but by the end where catching and standing on a few waves/white-water.
No time to lose
We left J-Bay on a high and headed for the Garden Route
which is a very popular section of the coast for domestic tourists and back packers a like. We spent time in Plettenburg bay
watching dolphins surf the waves from our beach house, walked to the 'heads' and had a meal in a proper restaurant (First time in 11 Months!) in Knysna
, Canoed and walked to a waterfall in Wilderness
and visited the spectacular
Tsitsikamma National Park
Biking in the Knysna Forest
There was a huge up hill section of this track so we are pleased to make it to the top.
by the ocean, walking the rugged path for 3.5 hours to a waterfall and back. (We have been pretty busy!) We also spent one night in Buffalo Bay
where we did a bit of body boarding until Kat got the full force of one wave, she broke the board in two and then the wave bounced her head along the bottom for a couple of moments before she emerged rather dishevelled. She said that the last thing she heard was me shouting
. She then confessed to have rather stayed on the beach and read a magazine but didn't want to miss out.
The Garden Route
had been fun but hadn't really been full of surfing as planned, so we decided to high-tail it back to J-bay
and this time we got lucky and stayed in their beach house away from the main building and the very loud bar. Now we had two weeks left and turned into 'holiday mode' for a few days. We surfed in the day (had a lesson too), cooked on the Braai in the evenings and sunk afew beers. It was totally 'off the wall' and I hated to
The Otter Trail 4
Loving every minute!
leave that place after having such a great time. We even took the car down to the 'Supers' a few times to watch how the really good surfers do it.
Their eye is bigger than their brain
As we had doubled back we had a long journey to Oudtshoorn
where we planned to cycle the downhill Swartsberg pass
and as this area is Ostrich country
, to visit a farm too. We hired bikes but got transported to the 1583 meter high mountain pass. It was a really horrid day and by the time we reached the summit we were in heavy cloud. It was raining, extremely windy, we had summer clothes on and 54km in front off us. Gulp! After admitting that we were fools and had riden enough in the elements to make our hands turn purple, we were wondering if this was actually Africa at all! However, as we made our way down it warmed up, stopped raining and we were dry when we reached the bottom.
On our way back we passed an Ostrich Show Farm
where we went on a tour. The highlights were definitely feeding the crazy birds while they tried to peck
Kat at "Die Top" of the track, in a cloud and bloody frezzing.
your head and also riding on them. It was the most surreal experience and Kat actually did very well and stayed on a long time. I on the other hand was not such a dab hand and after being let loose I fell off in a 'you've been framed'
style motion and also took out the Ostrich in the process. I entered into the arena 'at my own risk' and came out with a few grazes.
We still have the Wine Region, Great White Shark Cage Diving and Cape Town to look forward before we head off home so it is all go to the end.
There are more photos below