Africa trips

Wellington to Port Alfred - March 2006 - Peter Taylor


The lovely little town of Patensie was a wonderful sight and the Gamtoos valley was really spectacular and then it was past PE and on to Port Alfred. I arrived there at about 7.00pm after 913kms.

The next day we tried to find Thomas Bain's Nature Reserve, but the map was wrong and all we found was an elephant park with some buck!

We didn't see any elephant.

We explored Grahamstown, the Cathedral and lots of churches in the City of Saints and then headed for the highlight of the day - Bathurst! What a magical little town.

First we stopped and looked around at the Agricultural Museum and I am sure that the old wooden harvester at the museum is the same old harvester that was at a farm stall outside Swellendam where the big baboon statue is. Then we drove up the hill to the Toposcope and had a look around there before heading down to the centre of town. We strolled around, took a few pictures, looked at the curious and pottery and at last, off to The Pig & Whistle.

I wanted a picture of myself under the "No thirst like Bathurst" sign and asked Verine to take a picture. A chap sitting at the bar with his wife offered to take a picture of the two of us together. At least he didn't expect a tip like the guy in Key West. We started chatting and a friendship was quickly formed. It started getting cloudy and cooling down so a fire was lit and out came the Port.

Cecile was phoned and told to get here immediately after work and the kuier continued. Dave had to go to Grahamstown to pick up another Dave and Celeste went home and we went back to Port Alfred to have a late supper at Guido's, but not before we were invited to Dave and Celeste's for a braai the next day and to watch our cricketers thump the Aussies and to listen to some good music, as Dave put it.

That was then Friday and Cecile had to work, so we explored a bit more of Port Alfie for a while and drove back to Bathurst to Dave's place and did just what we were invited to do except we had a few toots as well. Cecile joined us there after work and we went back to Port Alfie again after a lovely time but again not before they invited us to see the Horseshoe and Waters Meeting the next morning with some Champagne. How could we refuse???

Saturday and Cecile was off to work again and we were off to Bathurst again. The Bottle Store was closed but Dave went and had it opened and we were off with the bubbly, a few beers and some snacks.

The Horseshoe is a natural bend in the Kowie River that looks a bit like a horseshoe of course and then you drive down a very steep gravel road to a lovely picnic spot at Waters Meeting.

This is where we cracked the Champagne and beers but this is actually also where the salt water from the ocean and the fresh water from the river meet at a drift which is roughly 25kms as the river flows I believe. After going back up to Dave's we said our goodbyes and promised to meet again sometime.

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Report by Peter Taylor