Day 1: Cape Town – Garden Route Game Lodge or
Attempted car theft and a game drive
Monday morning in Cape Town: bags were packed and we – my mum, godmother and me – were all set for our little road trip along the well-known Garden Route. As we were approaching my car everything still seemed as usual but when we tried to open the boot the key couldn’t be turned. Still unsuspecting, I opened the driver’s door and saw countless loose cables sticking out the steering wheel as well as the big lock lying twisted on the ground. Slowly I started to realise that some bastard must have been trying to steal my car last night..fortunately not successful! The first question that arose was: why on earth my car? I mean it’s probably one of the least attractive cars driving around in town. Actually just two weeks ago a safari truck hit my car, leaving behind a big dent. So why?! Anyways, I was lucky since my glove box broke just 2 days before the attempted theft so that I had to take all of my CD’s as well as the radio out. Therefore, the swag only consisted of a blanket, sunscreen and jump leads..too bad!
But what now? There was no way we possibly could drive with the damaged car. So I called my car hirer to ask for advice. Helpful as always, he directly came over and had a look at it. He confirmed that it would not be possible to drive like this and since fixing takes time we wouldn’t be able to leave for the Garden Route in time. We were all really upset about this incident and worried that we wouldn’t make it to our first accommodation anymore. The one I was looking forward to the most. The one where we would go on an evening game drive. The one with a pool. Life sometimes really isn’t fair. Or maybe it is? My car hirer, who is with no doubt one of the friendliest people I’ve ever met, suggested that we could take his personal family car instead. So 1.5h later we were sitting in a comfortable Opel Zafira with air conditioning and power assisted steering (and yes, I had to look up this word).
Since we were already very late for our game drive at 5pm I had to drive with my foot down to the floor. Just in time we arrived at the Garden Route Game Lodge, located in Albertinia. When we drove into the parkway, the other guests were already sitting in the provided 4×4 safari vehicles and awaiting us more or less eagerly. We directly had to get on there as well before we embarked on our game drive with a very attractive ranger. For 2.5 hours we drove around the game reserve and had various wildlife sightings, including rhinos, elephants, lions, zebras, hippos, ostriches and giraffes.
Day 2: Garden Route Game Lode – Sedgefield or
Afrovibe and a midnight excursion to the beach
The next morning we had to get up early for our game drive at 7am. With sleepy eyes and cameras in our hand we were chauffeured through the game reserve to enjoy the beautiful animal sightings once again. The Garden Route Game Lodge usually has the Big Five roaming around but unfortunately we were not lucky to see leopards since these animal are not always present at the game reserve due to the fact that they easily can climb over the bordering fences. The other Big Five game animals are the lion, rhino, buffalo and elephant. They are known as the five most dangerous animals to hunt in Africa on foot, with the buffalo being the most dangerous one.
Later, after a savoury breakfast, we also visited the Reptile Centre where we were even able to hold one of the snakes. After I waved goodbye to my new friend Mr. Snake we went to the Cheetah Centre. We all were delighted to see these beautiful animals. The cheetahs are currently being relased into “the wild” and therefore the centre will be closed in the near future. The rest of the afternoon was at leisure at the pool.
In the late afternoon we hit the road to Sedgefield where we would stay at the Afrovibe Adventure and Backpacker Hostel. It’s a nice hostel directly located at the beach with a bar and restaurant right next door. After we went for a midnight excursion to the beach and enjoyed listening to the splashing waves, we fell exhausted into our beds.
Day 3: Sedgefield – Tsitsikamma or
Rolled up sidewalks
After some relaxing and sunbathing at the beach we had to leave for our next destination: Tsitsikamma, also called “The Garden of the Garden Route”. For the following two nights we would stay at the Tube ‘n Axe Backpackers Lodge, located in Storms River Village. It’s a nice accommodation with a big backyard, fireplace and hammocks between the trees. Our neighbours next door were a young married couple; she was from Poland and he from Alaska. When I asked how they met, they told us that he was giving her a lift when she was hitchhiking through Alaska. I mean how awesome is that? Later that evening when we left for dinner, we discovered that unfortunately the sidewalks in Storms River Village are rolled up at night. So this night we had to go to bed hungry since by 9pm all restaurants and shops were closed already.
Day 4: Tsitsikamma or
Horseback riding and a picnic
On our fourth day we went horseback riding through the forests of Tsitsikamma. I would love to say that it only seemed like yesterday when I was last sitting on a horse’s back..but it didn’t. I wasn’t already the best equestrian 10 years ago but guess who was the leader with the fastest horse and riding all the way in the front? Yes, me of course. When walking and trotting everything was fine but when we started galloping off it was a thrilling mixture of excitement, fun and fear of falling down and having all four horses knocking me down. But luckily we all survived and were rewarded with a wonderful picnic consisting of wine, cheese, crackers, chocolate and more.
Day 5: Tsitsikamma National Park – Klein Karoo or
Kayaking, a dead shark and an angry eel
The next morning we all woke up with a terrible muscle ache, almost unable to move at all. So what could be better than going kayaking on this beautiful day? The 2-3 hour Kayaking and Lilo Adventure seemed like a great opportunity to enjoy the stunning beauty of Tsitsikamma, characterised by high mountains, lush forests and a rough costline. After arrival we had to squeeze into our wetsuits and hike/ climb to the Storms River Gorge where our kayaks were waiting for us. We got in and it turned out that my mum and I weren’t much talented in steering the kayak, constantly we were bumping into the rocks on our right- and left-hand side. When our guide saw this, he had compassion for us and knoted our kayak to his which made it easier for us and probably also for the rest of the group. While paddling through the gorge he told us about the sharks deep beneath us… which is always great to know, especially when you are scared of almost all wild animals anyway! Only a few minutes later we’ve seen one of those creatures floating on the water surface – luckily only a small and more importantly, a dead shark. The remaining time we spent with paddling on our little lilos, cliff jumping and swimming until one of our group members got bitten by “something” and had to get back as soon as possible. After this incidence I also didn’t feel like exploring the underwater world any longer and was glad when we paddled back and finally were on land again. When we came back it turned out that the girl, who had to leave earlier, apparently got bitten by an eel.
After our exhausting excursion we headed towards Oudtshoorn, also called “The ostrich capital of the world” in the heart of the Klein Karoo. Late in the evening, after a 5h drive, we arrived at our accommodation, called Amber Lagoon, which was quite far-off the city and only accessible by a bumpy gravel road. After a mouth-watering dinner we went into our tent, listened to the sounds of the animals around us, gazed at the beautiful starry sky and soon fell asleep…
Day 6: Klein Karoo/ Oudtshoorn/ Calitzdorp or
A day in paradise and ostrich…so much ostrich!
Today would have been the last day of our road trip but instead we decided to stay one more night at the Amber Lagoon which is with no doubt one of the most unique and beautiful accommodations I ever stayed at. Since the three of us directly fell in love with this place, I will write a separate blog post about this little paradise. All I can say is that we had a great day and spent most of the time relaxing at the pool and discovering the wonderful property and its flora and fauna. As already mentioned before, Oudtshoorn is referred to as the “ostrich capital”, so no surprise that we had ostrich eggs and pancakes for breakfast, ostrich goulash for dinner and visited an ostrich farm…
Day 7: Klein Karoo – Cape Town or
Route 62 and breakfast at Ronnie’s Sex Shop
Time to go back home…