Published: March 27th 2009March 27th 2009
Motor Cycles from the Motor Cycle Convention in front of our Backpacker
For my "Spring break," actually called mid-semester holiday, 4 other girls and I went on a road trip on what is called the Garden Route. Basically it is a drive along the Southern Coast of South Africa that has a lot of activities and nice towns to stay at along the way. We rented a car; it was a Toyota Yaris and it was actually a little too nice looking so we were really afraid we would somehow damage it. It was a nice car and it got really good gas mileage, so it worked out well. It was a really fun trip and we kind of just planned it as we went and decided what we wanted to do and where we wanted to stay. We slept at backpackers (hostels) which tended to very nice and very affordable.
We left on Friday in the late afternoon and headed for Mossel Bay which is about a 5 hour drive. We hit a lot of traffic and also had some slow going through some construction so it took a little longer than expected. It ended up being 10:30 when we got to the backpacker so we basically just went to bed
when we got there. In the morning we walked around Mossel Bay and did a little bit of shopping and went to the beach. We went for a swim in the Indian Ocean! It was a great morning for the beach and then we walked back to our car and got ready to move on to our next stop. The only negative thing about Mossel Bay was they were having their annual motorcycle convention, so there were motorcylces everywhere!
On Saturday afternoon we drove from Mossel Bay to Oudtshoorn, which is more inland. It is the ostrich capital of the world. When we got to our backpacker we settled in and then went out to dinner. Then we went back to the backpacker and hung out. The next morning (Sunday) we went to Cango Caves, and did the adventure tour which involved crawling and climbing through some small tunnels. It was a lot of fun and it was interesting seeing the cave and learning about it. One thing I thought was very interesting is that they used to have concerts in one of the big open areas near the cave entrance, It was like a natural concert hall with
really good acoustics. They had to stop doing that because of vandalism and safety issues though. After the going to the cave, we went to an ostrich farm because we were in the ostrich capital of the world after all. We took a tour of the farm, and learned a lot about ostriches. One ostrich egg is equivalent to about 24 chicken eggs, and you can stand on the eggs with out breaking them! We also got to ride ostriches which still seems like a very odd thing to do. I hope the ostriches don't mind being ridden.
Our next destination was Storms River which turned out to be no more than a tiny village with dirt roads. It was at a good location for doing some adventurous activities in the Tsitsikamma Forest. On Monday morning we went on a canopy tour, which was ziplining through the tops of the trees in the forest. It was really fun. After that we headed to the world highest commercial bungee jump: bloukrans bungy. Jess, Brittany and I bungee jumped; it was sooo scary, but really cool. Surprisingly the bouncing is not bad. and it doesn't jerk you around as much as
I thought it would. The worst part for me was when you are hanging there upside for a little until a guy comes down to bring you back up to the bridge. I don't think I would've been able to get myself to jump off the bridge without the little push the guys that work their gave me. I'm glad I did it but I don't think I would do it again. I have a dvd of it but I don't think I'll be able to show that to anyone at home until I get home.
The next place we went was Port Elizabeth. Once again we arrived there in the evening so we found the backpacker and then wanted dinner. We decided to stay there for two nights because we wanted a whole day to go to Addo Elephant National Park and there were also a few other things we wanted to do. The woman at the backpacker offered us a rate of 50 rand a night so we took it not realizing that the woman was crazy. The crazy old woman told us where we should go eat and we agreed to go there because we didn't
know where to go and usually if someone recommends a place its good. Then she said she was going to have her son walk us there and we were like ok that's kinda weird but it'll be nice to have someone show us the way, and we were expecting maybe a teenage son to come out of the house to walk us. But no, her son was at least 30 with long greasy hair and he looked pretty sleazy, and him and his friend walk out of the house smoking a joint. The crazy old woman had to have been able to smell it; it was really obvious but she didn't say anything. Honestly I would've felt a lot better walking to the restaurant without him and his friend, but they did get us there. The restaurant wasn't even good. I don't know why she wanted us to go there. By this time we were getting pretty skeptical of Port Elizabeth. There was almost no one out and about, and it seemed like all the people we did see were really weird.
After dinner we tried to go to a movie theater that was across the street from our
house, but the last movie started at 8:00 and it was after 8:00, not to mention there were only two movies playing and they didn't look very good. Luckily we ended up finding this awesome little cafe in the building where the movie theater was. We got some really good dessert at the cafe and started to talking to our waiter and the manager. The waiter was a young guy from Zimbabwe named Gerald that had come to South Africa to escape the awful conditions in Zimbabwe, and the Manager was an old white Afrikaaner man who was like a really cool Grandfather. It was really interesting talking to them and we really liked the cafe so we decided to go there for dinner the next night. They also told us that the reason Port Elizabeth seemed so deserted was because it was right before pay day so no one had any money left to spend.
On Tuesday we went to Addo Elephant National Park. It was about an hour drive or so from Port Elizabeth, and we just drove around ourselves in the Park rather than paying for a guided tour. We saw lots and lots of elephants,
a lot of wart hogs and kudus, some zebras, ostriches, a red hartebeest, a bushbuck, a few interesting birds, and a couple leopard tortoises. I loved seeing the elephants play in the water and interact with each other. They are so fun to watch, they would play in the water just like human children. It was really cool. After that we went back to the cafe for dinner and Gerald had off work so he ate dinner with us, and then he went to the board walk with us and we hung out there for awhile.
On Wednesday we had to start heading back to Cape Town, but first we went to Sea View Lion Park which is near Port Elizabeth. We went there because you can hold baby lions, but we didn't know it was also a little nature reserve with giraffes and zebras, and some kind of gazelle type animals, so that was an added bonus. The animals come right up to your car so we got to see the giraffes and zebras really close up. They also had some tigers and lions but they were in pens, so it was just sad to see them locked
such awkward birds
up like that. We also got to play with lion cubs and pet them and hold them. They were about 3 months old and they were sooo cute!
We then set off on our drive to Montagu in the Wine Lands with a stop at Monkey Land on the way. Monkey Land is a primate sanctuary. They take you on tour walking around and spotting all different kinds of monkeys. It's amazing how human like monkeys are. We got lunch at a cafe there after our tour and the monkeys are constantly trying to sneak over to where people are eating. There was someone working there whose job was to squirt the monkeys with water to try to keep them from stealing food. He couldn't keep up with the monkeys though and one stole Jess's chocolate bar and ran off with it. It was pretty funny.
We spent most of the day driving to Montagu which is about 2 hours from Cape Town because we wanted to get most of the driving out of the way. We stayed at a backpacker where you actually sleep in a barn. It wasn't like a dirty barn full of animals it
Don't know what he was doing at the Ostrich Farm
had been made nicer inside and the horse stalls each had 2 beds in them. It was actually pretty cool. Thursday morning we walked around Montagu and went to a cafe for breakfast and did a little bit of shopping. We then went to a couple wine farms and did some wine tasting. I didn't like the wine very much. We then drove back to Cape Town. It's nice to be home, but at the same time I don't feel like going back to class on Monday.
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