had passed a turn-off to an old mill on the way to the Horseshoe
and as we still had not had enough, we went back to explore the
old mill. It was built in 1821 and it now has a curator that stems
from that era I'm sure. Norman is a very well spoken, very interesting
and very informative Ben Dekker type of character. He showed us
around and explained what he was doing, what he had already fixed
and what and how he intended fixing next and so on. He has only
been there a short while and he has obviously done quite a bit
in that time. I wish him the very best of luck and I hope he continues
with the exuberance and enthusiasm for many years to come. I also
hope that his hard work and dedication doesn't go unnoticed and
that he is rewarded for what he is doing there.
is a genuine old "His Masters Voice" type of wind-up
gramophone there which he says he restored. Well, he wound it
up, stuck in a needle, which looked like a Std. 8 math’s
set compass point and we were serenaded to the sounds of Bing
Crosby in an 1821 mill.
won't go into who built and what was milled there etc., I'll leave
that to Norman to tell you when you visit there yourself. I don't
want to spoil it all for him. After the long climb back up the
valley to the car we went to see the very quaint Anglican Church,
also in Bathurst.
a few must-do's in Bathurst, most of which I have already mentioned,
but one thing you must not miss is a visit the biggest pineapple
in the world. Just because it's there, not for any other reason.
It's like the Toposcope. It means nothing to anyone, but imagine
telling someone you were in Bathurst and they say did you see
the Toposcope and you don't know what they're talking about. Or
the Coelacanth Brewery in Port Alfie or the big tree in Knysna
forest. So it's best to go and see these things. Because someone
might just ask you.
loosing track of what day it was, but it was the next day that
we said goodbye to Cecile and headed for PE. I got waylaid again
and ended up on another dirt road which went right through a game
park and through the little settlement of Paterson and eventually
we found the Addo Elephant Park.
to be a very worthwhile detour (as most of my detours are) and
the elephants were magnificent. Six or seven of them passed within
a foot of the car, some around the front and some around the back,
big and small ones all around us and if the windows had been open
we would have been able to touch them.
You see I
had done just what my Grandpa had done in the Kruger National
Park in 1959 or ‘60, I can't quite remember the year. He
parked in the elephant’s path and so did I. I don't think
either of us did it intentionally but it created an unbelievable
experience which one doesn't often get in a lifetime. I think
my Gran and Verine were very close to wetting themselves.
We saw quite
a few more around the park including one very proud male and then
about sixty or seventy odd at the main watering hole. Quite a
sight. We then took a relatively straight detour-less road to
PE and then I remembered what day it was because everyone in the
hotel lobby was talking about the cricket that we lost. It was
Sunday and we had played the Aussies right here in PE. We strolled
around and went to the waterfront and casino and I must say that
the PE waterfront is very impressive. They have really done a
nice job and it's very friendly and inviting.
I had read
about the Van Staden's River mouth in an old book and wanted to
know more about it and whether there was accommodation etc. before
driving all the way down there, but no-one in PE's tourist and
info centers know anything about what's at the river mouth. There
was only one thing to do and that was to go down there ourselves,
but not without a little detour to Cape Recife nature reserve
and lighthouse and a very pleasant drive around the lesser used
road behind PE along the coast.
Well the people
of PE don't know what they've got just around the corner. Van
Staden's River mouth is stunning. Beautiful beaches, massive sand
dunes, a river and a run-down resort complex which looks as though
it hasn't been properly used for years. We were there during the
week and it was very quiet. They did say that the restaurant and
pub do open on weekends so they must get fairly busy over weekends,
but just down the road at Storm's River mouth it is buzzing with
people. The place is huge with camp sites, chalets and rondavels
and it could become a second Hartenbos with a little effort and
some marketing. We enjoyed our stay there and I will definitely
visit there again.
we decided to go to Storm's River mouth in the Tsitsikamma Nature
Reserve. After phoning to book our accommodation there we hit
the road. On the way out of the valley we took a little detour
and drove through Blue Horizon Bay. Stunning views, stunning houses
and stunning prices I'm sure.
had been calling me for many years and this time we turned right
in Humansdorp instead of the beaten track which turns left for
Jeffery's Bay. Oyster Bay is a tiny little village on the coast
and luckily it is quite a long drive on gravel to get there otherwise
it would soon become another over commercialized J/Bay or Cape
St Francis. It is beautiful just the way it is and I hope that
when I visit there again, it is still just a tiny little village.
We had last nights left over braai and a cold beer on the beach
for lunch and then headed west for Tsitsikamma.
the mandatory Paul Sauer Bridge Curio Shop stop, we turned left
to the most beautiful place in the whole wide world, Storm's River
mouth. When we booked we were told that the log cabins that we
stayed in before were fully booked but they had Forest Huts available.
They sleep two but you have to share amenities with the other
Forest Hut dwellers. That didn't bother us, besides it was Forest
Hut or nothing. When we got to our Hut, I was totally bowled over.
It is the most inviting cabin that I have ever seen. It is a little
log cabin with two single beds, a table and two bench seats, some
cutlery and crockery and a stoep to die for with a braai hanging
over the railing. It has nothing - no water, no stove, no outside
light, no toilet but Verine and I fell in love with it immediately.
OK, we were spoilt. We had No. 1. It has the best of both worlds.
It is in the forest but the stoep has the most amazing view of
the sea with a bubbling brook right alongside the cabin. Absolutely
the most desirable spot on earth.
we were there the jetty was undergoing repairs so the Spirit of
Tsitsikamma (a rubber duck with tourist type bench seats) was
not running. This time the suspension bridge was undergoing a
full refurbish so our timing was perfect. I was very excited about
going up the creek, because that was the only thing that we hadn’t
done on our last visit. We had plenty of time left before the
last trip so we dawdled around and then took the fairly strenuous
900m walk along the boardwalk through the coastal forest to the
jetty only to discover that we were ten minutes late. I was not
impressed, so I had to hurry back to the bar for a cold beer so
that I could get over the moment.
to have supper in the restaurant that night so we didn’t
have to prepare for a braai and this gave us some time to wonder
around the place and catch up on what we had missed the last time.
If you stay in the forest huts you share the ablution block with
campers and caravaners and what a treat this is for people who
are supposed to be roughing it. Besides the usual abluting section
there is a washing section (for clothes), a washing up section
(for dishes), a fully equipped launderette, a fridge and a freezer.
These are all things we’ve seen before but it’s still
a pleasant surprise when you discover such well appointed amenities,
but what I have never seen before is their “Port-a-potty”
cubicle. A special walled section with a big stainless steel funnel
and a tap with a length of hose for spraying out your potty. I
was amazed. Over on the other side was the other part of the shared
amenities, the camp kitchen. Again very nicely appointed with
all the necessary appliances and an urn on the boil all the time.
We liked it
here so much that we decided to stay for another night in paradise.
We did the booking thing, but were told that No. 1 was already
booked, so we chose No. 5. The people who had stayed there the
night before were from Oyster Bay!
I was thrilled
to eventually go up the creek in the Spirit of Tsitsikamma and
it was worth the wait. The gorge is spectacular with high cliffs
on both side and a narrow passage to navigate through.
We had a lovely
day strolling around, eating, drinking, swimming and tanning.
When the day was done we had a super braai on the stoep of our
forest hut and helped it down with a few thirst quenches.
The next morning
we were on our way again. We had intended stopping over in Knysna
and also going to visit Denny Williams in the Wilderness, but
the weather had taken a turn for the worse and the “stop
– go” road works had wasted so much time that we decided
to head on home. Our last stop was a lekker lunch on the deck
at Groot Brak Rivier and then it was straight home.
distance was 2347 kms with a fuel consumption of 7.7 liters /
100 km for the round trip.