Garden route to the winelands...
Trip Start Mar 24, 2005
21Trip End Jun 23, 2005
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We went for a couple of quick walks as we headed through from Plettenburg Bay to Port Elizabeth - at Natures Valley & Storms river mouth. Both with stunning landscapes... also went to Jeffreys bay (bit of a surfing mecca), but as the sea appeared to be colder than Brighton in winter and the outside temperature wasn't the highest either, there wasn't a huge incentive to go swimming or (attempt) surfing !
As we'd been staying at pretty quiet places (its definately off season), we were heading to Port Elizabeth for the weekend to have a chance to socialise & meet a few more people... We were pleased to find that despite it having a reputation for being a fairly undesirable stop over, we thought it was a really interesting town..
We also spent a night at a slightly twilightzoneish hick town on the way to the wine route (called Cape St Francis)... There was only one pub & restaurant in town & no sign of any people at all when we arrived - apart from the half dozen or so in the bar who did a bit of a wild west style turn & stare when we walked in ! To make matters worse, the storm which caused loads of severe flooding in Cape Town arrived that night, so we had the most violent thunderstorm I've experienced for ages that evening whilst eating (particularly good) seafood on our own in the restaurant... The meal had also been preceeded by our room being invaded by literally hundreds of varied small bugs crawling over everything in the room - including us !! I wouldn't have been surprised if the locals turned out to be aliens waiting to take over the world ... Then again, my imagination is generally a bit too overactive at the best of times ! Unsurprisingly, we left town very early in the morning with a bit of a screech of tires (no, my driving hasn't improved), heading on up the coast & back to civilisation..
We went to Outshoorn, north of the coast where loads of farmers made millions in the ostrich boom at the end of the 1800's/early 1900's... Not my fave place in the world - it felt a bit too much like a load of circus style 'attractions' based around ostriches, which, while they're hardly the most attractive animals in the world, still probably don't deserve to be used to entertain tourists by getting them to poke & prod them, ride them ... Anyway, the Cango caves (the other main attraction in the area) were very good - I've not been in loads of caves & these were huge with interesting looking formations.
Then headed onto Robertson in the wine region... Had a great time here, staying in a backpackers run by a really cool couple who have done lots of travelling themselves & really generated a good atmosphere. We went on one of their recommended walks first thing, up to a local waterfall which was really stunning - although the clambering up loads of rocks & across the river wearing my reefs wasn't ideal ! The afternoon was spent in a significantly more chilled way - a wine tour of 4 different wineries in the area... Transport was fairly rustic, with us & another couple all sitting in the back of the backpacker owners ute, relaxing on loads of duvets & pillows in the sunshine (this was a week day as well, so I'm afraid to say that slightly smug thoughts about everyone at home at work did cross my mind) !