Archive for October, 2016

October 29, 2016

Hermanus, South Africa


Day 1:

Up and out the next morning, we drove to Hermanus via Swellendam, the third oldest town in RAS and home to a lot of Cape Dutch architecture.

We arrived in Hermanus in the late  afternoon and checked in to our digs for the next two nights at The Marine Hotel.  It’s worth nothing that The Marine has no street address, which made for some fun in the car. Around the time we thought we must have passed it, there it was. We stopped off for burgers at the waterfront Fusion Cafe and entered into an irreversible food coma and waddled about along the seaside’s Fernkloof Cliff Path before having dinner in the hotel and crashing.

Hermanus is famous for whale watching and is considered one of the best places in the world to see whales from the coast. Whales spotted: 0

Day 2: (our first full day)

The next day, we powered up on the mighty breakfast at The Marine and headed off to wander further along the Cliff Path discovering a scale model of the Solar System and lunching at a little spot called Dutchies before retracing our path back to the hotel. The hotel has an infinity pool which is in the ocean, which I’m sure is worth a visit, but it was way too cold out for that sort of thing.

After returning to the hotel, we had a bit of wine and had dinner at Burgundy.

Whales spotted: 0

We heard that very few whale had been seen all season, which is a bit worrying.

Day 3:

We started off our final morning with another mighty Marine breakfast, which like on prior days, included some amazing stewed fruits. They tasted like Christmas. I asked how they were made, and a few minutes later, a woman from the kitchen came out to give me the lowdown. If memory serves (as I am writing this 5 months after the fact), the recipe was roughly 2kg fruit, 1 kg sugar, and cinnamon sticks. I should have written in down, as I really appreciated it. We walked around a bit and went for obligatory pictures with a whale before saying goodbye to Hermanus.

Live Whales spotted: 0

We’ll just have to come back and try again!

October 26, 2016

Wilderness, South Africa


Our next stop was in Wilderness, where we stayed 3 nights.

Day 1: (just an evening)

We arrived around dinnertime at our next stop, The Mes Amis Guest House. We were feeling pretty tired, so instead of going out for dinner, we picked up a few things at the Spar in Wilderness and had a little picnic with our lovely oceanfront view.

During our picnic began the theme of many a photo on our trip: Adrian Doesn’t Like Nice Things. We had a relatively early night in preparation for the next day’s busy agenda.

Day 2:

After breakfast, we headed out for the day’s exciting stuff:

Our first stop was the Safari Ostrich Farm in Outshoorn because I really, really, really wanted to see the ostriches.

As a part of your ticket, you get an overview of ostrich farming and a tour of the farm that includes feeding of the ostriches and a chance to sit on or ride an ostrich.

Naturally, my equestrian streak leads me to want to ride other animals, so I was quite enthusiastic to ride an ostrich. Unfortunately, I was slightly over the weight limit, which lead to many self effacing jokes that should skip dessert/ eat only dust/ spontaneously do aerobics so I wouldn’t be too tubby to ride the ostrich. The good thing is that they actually had a scale and enforced the weight limit (60kg), to protect the animals. As I was within the limit for sitting on the ostrich, I gave that a go. It’s strange to sit on a bird and to feel the strength of the feathers beneath you. The necks is soft. Weird and wonderful, really.

After that we continued on our day of wild animals in Outshoorn with a visit to the Cango Wildlife Ranch and Conservation Centre, which is a short drive from the Ostrich Park. It’s worth noting that there are ostriches all over Outshoorn.

At the Cango Wildlife Ranch, we had an excellent tour. Our guide gave our group a great visit with facts and anecdotes in both English and German, which she had studied in school.

CWR raises money to protect animals, cheetahs in particular, and we decided to use our animal encounter ticket to pet some cheetahs.

We each got to visit with the cheetahs. I went first, then Adrian joined (when these pictures were taken of us together), and then Adrian had some solo cheetah time, whether he liked it or not! These guys are around 9 months old, of memory serves. Their fur is much more coarse than i expected, but the purring is so big!

Next up, we headed to the Cango Caves, which are come spectacular limestone caves first discovered in 1780. We opted for the standard tour, having arrived an hour before closing, and we were glad that we did. The more advanced tours involve climbing through tight spaces. Our guide told us a story about someone insisting on fitting through a tight gap and getting stuck, trapping the entire group down a leg of the caves, and it requiring 13 hours or so to get this person unstuck. Not fun.

After which we had a nice drive back to Wilderness, and had dinner at a local spot called The Girls, run by two local women. The food was superb, including these desserts.

Day 3:

As we’d accomplished all of the touristy stuff on the agenda, we opted for a less eventful final day in Wilderness.

We had a nice walk on the beach. (Adrian didn’t like it – too nice!) We stopped off for a lunch of fish goujons and a greek salad at the Salinas Cafe, and then had another walk along the beach back home. (n.b. seemingly everywhere we ate in South Africa had a Greek Salad on the menu, and it was always excellent. The feta was so much better than anywhere else I’ve had it. I was ambivalent about Greek Salad until this trip.)

The lady who runs Mes Amis highly recommended a local restaurant called Serendipity, which was a surprise find, as we hadn’t expected to find such fancy food in Wilderness. Run by a charming couple, she’s the chef and he’s the sommelier and hunter, the food was innovative and really, off the charts. The meal started with a cocktail outside with a lovely view and was followed by a tasting menu.

After which, we happily called it a night. Hermanus, tomorrow!

October 24, 2016

Plettenberg Bay, South Africa


We flew from London to Joburg and Joburg to Port Elizabeth, before picking up our rental car and heading to Plett.

A useful mistake of mine: I accidentally booked business class flights for our leg to Port Elizabeth. They were no more expensive than the tickets from CPH-JNB later in the trip, and I bought them on Expedia. I didn’t realise this until I picked up our tickets in JNB. Anyway, what this meant was that we could use the lounge and shower before hopping on another flights and having a drive ahead of us.

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Petting the domestic A320.

It seems all rental cars on the Garden Route are either white or  gold, and ours was no exception.

Driving along the route is on a 2 lane road, and people pull up on to the shoulder to let passing drivers past. The passing driver will generally flash their hazards after they pass to communicate a Thank You. It’s nice.

We arrived in Plett in the evening around dinnertime, despite a rather exciting road closure that lead us off  our preferred path. Google saved us in the end!

We checked in around dinnertime at The Robberg Beach Lodge, a recommendation from Nina and Darren.

The view is lovely, and we could see dolphins and a whale from the inside window as we enjoyed a welcoming glass of wine in the front room of the lodge.

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Then, we found a charming room awaited us before a nice dinner at The Lodge. After many hours travelling, it was good to just settle in.

The next day, we went on a long walk on the beach into the town of Plettenberg Bag. Plett is famous for its beautiful beach, and it did not disappoint.

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It was lovely.

We had nicely deep fried lunch at the The Deck at The Lookout where both opted for a combo platter of goujons and calamari in the sunshine.

and after a walk back along the beach, we packed up and headed for Wilderness.

October 21, 2016

South Africa 2016: The Game Plan


All good trips require a spreadsheet, so here we go:

Date Day Travel Sleeps
22-Oct Sa Depart 2005 LHR VS0601 Plane
23-Oct Su Arrive JNB 0755
JNB B- PLZ 1225-1400 SAA417
Drive to Plettenberg Bay – Hertz
The Robberg Beach Lodge
Address: 89 Beachyhead Dr, Plettenberg Bay, 6600
Phone:+27 44 533 0369
24-Oct M Drive to Wilderness Mes Amis Guest House
Address: Buxton Cl, Wilderness, 6560
Phone: +27 44 877 1928
25-Oct T
26-Oct W
27-Oct R Drive to Hermanus (3.5h) The Marine Hotel
Address: Hermanus, South Africa
Phone:+27 28 313 1000
28-Oct F
29-Oct Sa Drive to Cape Town The Cellars
Address: 93 Brommersvlei Rd, Constantia Heights, Cape Town, 7806
Phone: +27 21 794 2137
30-Oct Su
31-Oct M
01-Nov T CPT-JNB  0850- 1045 SAA316
JNB-HDS 1215-1320 SAA1227
Ngala Tented Camp
Address: andBeyond Ngala Private Game Reserve, Timbavati, 1380
Phone:+27 11 809 4300
02-Nov W
03-Nov R
04-Nov F HDS-JNB 1200-1300 SAA1226
Depart JNB 2130 VS0602
Plane
05-Nov Sa Land LHR 630a
October 18, 2016

Another Swing at Resuscitation


In July 2015, I posted a brief note on how I missed keeping this blog, particularly about my trips, as they’ve proven a helpful reference to share and a nice way to revisit my holidays.

16 months later, I’m finally back to it, having drafted some notes on recently holidays. It’s a bit like a muscle, I suppose. It feels hard to do when you’re out of practice. For example, I’m not the sort of person who takes pictures of everything, but when you want to document it later, it’s really handy to do so.

Anyway, onward and upward, time to get back into practice. I’ve backdated this and entries around the trips in 2016 because I think it’s easier to see things reported when they happened, even if I didn’t write it up at the time.