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AFRICA - DAY TEN AND ELEVEN - Port Elizabeth to Knysna

Previous Blogs: Day 1 Pretoria | Day 4 Dinokeng | Day 5 New Years | Day 6+7 Umdloti | Day 8 - DumaZulu | Day 9 Hluhluwe | Day 10+11 PE to Knysna | Day 12 Ostrich Farm | Day 13 Hermanus | Day 14 Hout Bay | Day 15 Cape Point | Day 16 Table Mountain | Day 17+18 Namib Desert | Day 19 Sossusvlei | Day 20+21 To Swakopmund | Day 22 Cape Cross | Day 23 Luderitz | Day 24 Walvis Bay | Day 26 To Windhoek | Day 27 Katatura | Day 28+29 Zambezi | Day 30 The Falls | Day 31 Chobe | Day 32+33 Going Home

Click photos for a larger image...

For those of you who think Africa is just about bush and wild animals, I have a pleasant surprise for you! For the next 7 days we will be traversing the "Garden Route" a coastal road along the Southern Part of South Africa starting in Port Elizabeth and ending in Cape Town.  This area is rich with farms, vineyards, surf towns, beautiful beaches, and'll experience it with us as we go....


We flew from Durban to Port Elizabeth with South African Airways in a 50 seater Bombadier 200 twin jet. Flight was about an hour and a half. First time in one of those aircraft, pretty comfortable with free snacks and beer.

On arrival in Port Elizabeth, Hertz was not as kind to us this time, we got a Ford Fiesta micro car. Being a one way rental they probably gave us the crappiest car in fleet just to get rid of it on a one way to Cape Town!

I was a Hertz station manager in South Africa a million years ago and that's exactly what I would have done!


Our first stop was Jefferies Bay, fondly known as JBay. This is a famous surfing spot and if you ever saw that 60's surfing movie "Endless Summer" this is the beach where they finally found the perfect wave in the end.


We spent the night in St. Francis Bay at a very

comfortable B & B right opposite the beach. A very sleepy, quiet, quaint seaside town.  A good night's rest for all without the hustle and bustle of JBay!

The beach right in front of the hotel.

A big boating community, notice no anchors they just drive up on the beach.  Our clients do that - we charge them for a new bottom job!!


This is a canal community just like in Florida,

and one of only a few in the entire country.


Note the the boat house attached to the house! 

It not just on the Cottee River!


When it was time to eat we planned to go to one of the several waterfront restaurants.

The Inn Keeper had warned us that we would need reservations when we checked so we started calling. TOO LATE!

This is  a popular destination for South African tourists and we are in peak season! Every restaurant in town was fully booked!

So we had to order pizza, it was the only other thing available!  Other than Wendy's stashed crackers and peanuts from the flights, we decided that her emergency food can wait. (Knowing us we WILL have a story about Wendy hoarding airplane goodies - it WILL come in handy!!)

Pizza is cheap, only $5 for a large!  Who knew they would be THAT LARGE!  It made for a great leftover picnic lunch at the beach today.

Below is a picture of St. Francis Bay itself.

Next morning we stopped by the St Francis Light House (above).


The drive is absolutely beautiful with forests

and mountains in the distance.

Along the way we saw a lot of wind farms


Driving in South Africa is pretty easy even though it's on the other side of the road. SA drivers (with the exception of the black taxis) are courteous and polite. The national roads are only two lanes but have wide shoulders. If you want to overtake another car he will pull to the left and drive on the shoulder so you can come past without going into on coming traffic. You will then hit your hazard lights twice to say "thank-you" and he will hit his headlights once to say "My pleasure". Quite civilized and something the US might consider.

Next stop was at the Storms River bridge, one of a series of bridges over very deep gorges. Once of these bridges is the worlds highest bungy jump bridge (709 feet)  - Called Bloukrans (pronounced Blow Krahns)

No road trip is complete without a stop at a biltong shop!

Wendy's Note: Mine is WAAAAY better!!!!!!!

Next stop was at Storms River mouth. It's in the Tsitsikama Nature reserve. There is a swinging bridge over the river mouth.


Bloody hell I'm gonna die!

But we certainly earned that beer when we got back to the bottom!


What we did not realize is that the trip included a mile long board walk that was more steps than it was board walk. Not for the feint hearted!

Especially when Wendy's mom is 70 years old and only has ONE lung!

But we made it!!

Wendy's Note: My MOM IS FRIGGIN BAD ASS!!!!

Overall a challenge to all of us but definitely worth the trip. 

Yes - We drank beer out of tin cups!! 

Incidentally beers in restaurants even in peak season are about $2 each.

Next stop was Plettenberg Bay (known locally as "Plett") a beach town where my sister and I spent a lot of time as kids as our Grandfather managed a farm nearby back in the 60s and 70s. For me this trip is memory lane, sorry!

After that 30 minutes later we checked into our bed and breakfast in the town of Knysna, which is the only lake district in the country. This is the view from our cottage. It's kinda like being in a treehouse. We climb 3 flights of stairs and the entire forest is is all around us!  Very cool!


Knysna experienced devastating wildfires only 6 months ago. Coupled with the most severe winter winds and drought the area has seen in over 100 years, there were just no words for the loss of life and livelihood of this area.

The fire line LITERALLY stopped at our InnKeeper's wrought iron gate.  Within a few short blocks, over 10 houses were completely engulfed.  Already, the Knysna forests are exhibiting undergrowth renewal and the "Garden Route" shall be the amazing and gorgeous drive it's always been known for.


And finally...




How many people can you fit in the back of a bakkie? (South African word for Pickup truck!)






Just when you thought it was safe to go back in the water!




WARNING! People are being cut in half up ahead!






Found in a South African public restroom: "For effective FINAL bum relief"??

... I don't even want to know what that dispenser is for!!!!

The part I like is "Use immediately on FINAL wipe". WTF??? What happens if you use it before the "final wipe"?

You have to do it over? What if it burns? What if you have to go again? Do you get a do over? I have SO MANY questions!!!

Is this a new thing?  What happens if I don't get this for my house?  OMG!!!!

I'm officially at a loss of words.



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