Garden Coast

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November 5, 2008 - Wednesday - Port Elizabeth to Knysna

As we drive along the Garden Coast, we encounter many pretty spots. Jeffrey's Bay offers world class surfing, as does many of South Africa's beaches. Tsitsikamma National Park is our lunch stop. The shoreline is beautiful here as well, with sand and rock, and whales to see offshore. As the Brits in our group tell me, it could be the English south coast (or our shoreline off Victoria in Canada for that matter). Next stop is Face Adrenalin, the world's highest bungee jump off Africa's highest bridge (Bloukrans River Bridge). We watch as a woman jumps. It is a very long way down (216 metres), and she dangles there for quite awhile until they come down on a second line to pull her up. Next stop is Plettenberg Bay, which is an upscale town and residential area with a lovely long sandy beach, but it has a shanty town close-by west of town. Knysna town is also upscale, with nice shops and quaint malls just like home! We are staying in the Knysna Hollow Country Estate for the next two nights. It is quite deluxe, offering cottage style accommodation for everyone.

Plettenberg shoreline
Plettenberg shoreline
World's highest bungee jump off Stormsriver bridge
World's highest bungee jump off
Stormsriver bridge
World's highest bungee jump off Stormsriver bridge
World's highest bungee jump off
Stormsriver bridge
Whale watchers leave in zodiac boat from Tsitsikamma National Park
Whale watchers leave in zodiac boat from
Tsitsikamma National Park
Shoreline and sandy beach at Tsitsikamma National Park
Shoreline and sandy beach at
Tsitsikamma National Park
Tiny purple flowers growing in the rocks along the shoreline of Tsitsikamma National Park
Tiny purple flowers growing in the rocks
along the shoreline of Tsitsikamma National Park
Water-powered iron art in Woodmill Lane mall, Knysna
Water-powered iron art in
Woodmill Lane mall, Knysna
Red flowering tree on the grounds of Knysna Hollow Resort
Red flowering tree on the grounds of
Knysna Hollow Resort

November 6, 2008 - Thursday - Oudtshoorn

Our day trip today takes us inland to George, the main town in this Klein Karoo region. Our first stop is the Cango Caves, where we take the Standard Tour which only covers a fraction of what can be seen in the caves. The caves have dried out over the last few years because of lack of rain on the surface, however they are spectacular nonetheless. Next stop is Ostrich Show Farm near Oudtshoorn. A few of the lighter members of our group get to ride the ostriches.

We stop in a mall in Oudtshoorn for a lunch break, and are entertained by the barking buggy boy in the parking lot.  Yes, he barks like a dog...and seems to get a great thrill out of entertaining us while we wait for everyone to return to the bus from their various lunchtime activities.  Scary? no  Funny? certainly!

Rail bridge along the coast, enroute from Knysna to Oudtshoorn
Rail bridge along the coast, enroute from
Knysna to Oudtshoorn
George in the backgroud, with roads coming through the pass
George in the backgroud, with roads
coming through the pass
Secondary road through the pass
Secondary road through the pass
Farmland near Oudtshoorn
Farmland near Oudtshoorn
Farmland near Oudtshoorn
Farmland near Oudtshoorn
 
The Cango Caves

Map of the Cango Caves

Formations in the Cango Caves
Formations in the Cango Caves
Formations in the Cango Caves
Formations in the Cango Caves
Formations in the Cango Caves
Formations in the Cango Caves
The Ostrich farm near Oudtshoorn
Baby ostriches a few days old and their parents
Baby ostriches a few days old and
their parents
Baby ostriches a few days old and their parents
Baby ostriches a few days old and
their parents
Female ostrich
Female ostrich
Our guide Leon displaying an ostrich egg
Our guide Leon displaying an ostrich egg
Ostrich eggs
Ostrich eggs
Ostrich hatchlings in an incubator
Ostrich hatchlings in an incubator
"Feather palace" at the Ostrich farm
"Feather palace" at the Ostrich farm
Orange and yellow bushes at the Ostrich farm
Orange and yellow bushes at the
Ostrich farm
 

November 7, 2008 - Friday - Knysna to Cape Town

There is a torrential rain storm and strong winds all last night and this morning. The noise awoke me several times last night, since my cottage has a metal roof. First stop is the Bartolomeu Dias Museum in Mossel Bay, which is a maritime museum where the Portuguese explorers Vasco de Gama and Bartolomeu Dias are profiled. There is a full sized replica of Dias' caravel ship in the museum, which was sailed from Portugal to South Africa in 1988 to commemorate the 400th anniversary of exploration in this area by the Portuguese. After we have lunch in the farming and grape growing community of Swellendam, we drive through some beautiful Lowveld farming areas before driving through the 4km long Huguenot Tunnel on our way to Cape Town.  After exiting the tunnel, we are suddenly in the grape growing district of Paarl, which is well-known for their wines.

Photo of the Bartolobeu Dias 1988 replica underway
Photo of the Bartolobeu Dias 1988 replica underway
Bartolobeu Dias 1988 replica
Bartolobeu Dias 1988 replica
Compass, Bartolobeu Dias 1988 replica
Compass, Bartolobeu Dias 1988 replica
Poop deck, Bartolobeu Dias 1988 replica
Poop deck, Bartolobeu Dias 1988 replica

The Spice Trade map
Old Dutch colonial building in Swellendam
Old Dutch colonial building in Swellendam
Lowveld farming
Lowveld farming
Vineyard
Vineyard
Lowveld farming
Lowveld farming
Lowveld farming
Lowveld farming
Lowveld farmhouse
Lowveld farmhouse
Lowveld farming
Lowveld farming
Mountain pass
Mountain pass
 
Mountain pass, enroute Swellendam to Cape Town

North entrance to the Huguenot Tunnel

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