Garden Route Antics

Day 1: Jeffreys Bay

After a very teary goodbye to our Kwantu family we were on the way to Jeffrey’s Bay, surfer’s paradise of South Africa and home to about 10 billabong shops. Our hostel was called Island Vibe and is just how you imagine it, a tonne of dreadlocked hippies walking around barefoot, hammocks and alcohol flowing all day. If you’ve read my post about Halloween in South Africa you probably already have a good image of this place in your head. The hostel is in the perfect location, a top a small cliff right next to the sea, with a little walkway taking you right down to the hot sandy beach.  We had a choice between a beach horse ride or a surfing lesson, we all agreed on the latter. Turns out I’m not so great at surfing, I think I stood up once, but it was such a laugh and a real workout. We ate dinner at Nina’s, the most amazing restaurant, they serve so many different kinds of food and it’s all delicious. We obviously didn’t get tucked up in bed without a few games of beer pong, the bar at Island Vibe has a great atmosphere, you’ll find yourself barefoot and braided before the end of the evening.

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Day 2: Tsitsikamma

The real fun begins. We drove for around an hour when we found ourselves in the most beautiful woodland, thick deep green trees as tall as skyscrapers lining the road. Tsitsikamma offers plenty of optional activities today, zip lining, monkey forest, tree top challenges, water activities, canyoning, kloofing (?) and a huge variety of hikes. But first of all, how about the world’s highest bridge bungee jump? 216m straight of Bloukrans bridge. It was amazinggggg, I actually did a whole blog post on it so of you wanna read that click this link. After that it was time for the less intense, but really fun canopy tour. This meant we zip lined from tree to tree. Some were really fast and it was hard to catch your balance on the next ledge. This was enjoyable as we got to learn about the forest itself, the different trees and birds that resided there. Our hostel was called Tube ‘n’ Axe and was gorgeous, it had a huge fire pit were we all sat before some intense games of (no surprise) beer pong, England vs Germany, losers had to jump in the pool. We lost.

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Day 3: Tsitsikamma/ Knysna

How else to cure a hangover than some black water tubing? Incase you don’t know what tubing is it primarily involves surfing down a river in a dingy with the occasional rapid that sucks you down, I’m really not sure how it is considered safe, but I guess that’s not hard in South Africa. Especially since you sign your life over before undertaking any activity. I was kind of hesitant, I was feeling a little nervous, probably after my near death experience with white water rafting in Switzerland. But, I mean of course I ended up doing it, it was actually really cool, cruising along, and the views were just phenomenal. Once we’d dried off we headed for the centre of the national park, there was an optional hike but us lazy lot settled for a relaxing lunch, embracing the spectacular view that surrounded us, the bluest water and green cliffs that surrounded us. Our day just got even better as we headed for Knysna, a lovely seaside town were we took an evening boat ride, strawberry daiquiri in hand. Really not so bad for a November evening.

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Day 4: Oudtshoorn

First stop, a necessity for any chocolate lovers, La Chocolaterie Rococo, this place is just a dream and happened to be next door to our hostel. Anyway, then straight onto Congo Wildlife Reserve, where I got to do something so crazy I didn’t even know it existed. I went crocodile cage diving! Literally I stood in this tiny metal cage and was lowered by a crane kinda thing into a pool of crocs, it was so cool they swam right up to me baring their teeth, so evil looking. Our next activity was visiting the famous ostrich farm, I opted out of riding one but it was painfully funny watching my friends have a go. Our last trip of this busy day was to the Congo Caves, it was soooo scary and not for any claustrophobics (although it said for no asthmatics and I managed.)  We had to squeeze through tiny spaces in the rocks such as ‘devils chimney’ and ‘the letterbox,’ (my poor larger busted friend got completely stuck trying to slide through this one, definitely a friend yeah.) We then returned to the hostel for a lovely evening, savannah ciders and a delicious BBQ. We even had ostrich burgers although they were a tiny bit undercooked and you know, pretty bloody.

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Day 5: Cape Town

The drive to Cape Town is probably the most beautiful I’ve ever been on, Jeff actually banned us from sleeping, despite the early 5am start. We drove through the mountains for six hours maybe, and then we were there, in Cape Town, the most amazing city, lodged between the sea and the mountains, more famously Table Mountain. We took the cable car up this flat headed mountain into a blizzard of rain and fog or what many people call ‘the table cloth.’ Luckily as we moved round the mountain it wasn’t half as bad and we witnessed the best views you could imagine. A curved blue coastal line, robben island and tall white buildings which made up Cape Town. I may have sustained a minor injury whilst being careless but that’s another story. For dinner we ate at a really cool Cuban Restaurant, Buena Vista. I would recommend the amarula and dom pedro, signature South African drink which tasted more like a dessert but still manages to get you tipsy! It was time to check out the clubs of Cape Town, which was such a laugh, we drank about 10 shots each (I’m not even exaggerating) and danced the night away.

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Day 6: Cape Town

An early start meant we had the chance to head out to Cape Peninsula and Simon’s town. We didn’t really have time to venture to Cape Point, one thing I must return back to Cape Town for. However, we did get to cross one thing off my bucket list, Boulders Bay. Boulders Bay is a small beach that is home to the ever-so adorable African penguin. There is absolutely tonnes of them, so cute waddling around. There is a walkway provided so tourists cannot disturb their natural habitat. It was such a good experience. We spent some time at the waterfront, shopping and eating fresh fish, Cape Town fish is absolutely delicious, before taking a boat to Robben Island. This island has been home to the outcasts of South Africa for centuries from lepers, to the mentally ill and more recently political opposition such as Nelson Mandela who spent 18 years in the prison on this island. The tour starts with an hours bus tour of the island and then an hour guided tour of the prison, led my ex guards an ex-prisoners themselves. For our evening meal we ate at the most amazing restaurant called Mama Africa. Everything is African themed, from the décor to the entertainment and of course the food. It’s a set menu full of mbatata and vetkoek. This way you get to try a bit of everything and it’s definitely food that’s a little out of the ordinary. This was the perfect end to and an amazing trip and I’d say you just have to visit this cool little place.

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Day 7: Home Time

Emotional isn’t even the word, as I waited for my taxi to take me the airport I had to make some of the hardest goodbyes, the two people who’d been with me for the entire six weeks, Harriet and Annie. My 48 hours in Cape Town just was not long enough, I’d say you need at least a week to truly experience it. But at least I got to see some of it and now I have the taste to return.

I’m gonna link where I booked this trip right here 🙂

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