wine tasting, whales, off road adventures and hostel perfection...
(The map should be zoomed in...but my blog is not behaving itself - you'll have to zoom in yourselves!)
This is going to be a mamouth entry - sorry!!!!
We got up early to leave Cape Town to start our road trip adventure heading towards the famous wine region of Stellenbosch. Driving inland a bit was amazing - the scenery changed so quickly - it wasnt long before we were in amongst the hills and vineyards.
We got to our hostel - 'The Stumble Inn' (!!), and left to go on our organised wine tour. Went to 4 vineyards, learning a bit about the process of making wine and how to taste it at the first, and then concentrating on the actual tasting at the others...with some cheese tasting too.
Had a fab time - the views and vineyards were just STUNNING...the wine wasn't bad either! Met some lovely people too and ended up buy some things on the tour to have a cheese and wine party together back at the hostel in the evening.
Today we headed to Hermanus which is a famous land-based whale watching spot...we got there, went for a bit of a walk and...didn't spot any whales - Bugger! Luckily we were given a tip about another little spot where we might be able to see some, so we carried on to there. It was this tiny little spot, as we pulled up in the car we straight away saw about 6 whales. We sat there for aaages looking at them and having our packed lunch!
Eventually we tore ourselves away to head to our next sport - Cape Agulhas which is the most southern point of Africa where two oceans meet. Here we had the choice of driving about half an hour back in the direction we came to join a big main road that would take us there the long way...or go on a 'secondary road' which looked like it would get us there a bit quicker.
We went for option B and ended up on a dirt/grit/rocky road which took us into the middle of NO WHERE. I cant stress how in the middle of nowhere we were - we were inland and surrounded by fields and fields of nothing - beating up our poor picanto with the grittiest rocky road ever, in 30+ heat. All of this would have been a fun adventure if it wasnt for the fact that half way between nothing and more nothing and nowhere near our destination...our petrol light came on!!!
As the driver i was trying to hold it together while Anna had a (small?!) panic - but i think both of us were absolutely..erm...scared (parents reading!). We saw a random car and asked how far it was till the nearest petrol station - the guy helpfully didnt really speak english but we worked out he said about 50k! So we stuck the picanto extreme into 5th gear and prayed very quietly...along the most nervous drive of my life, i managed to run over a snake and kill a bird (all his friends flew away but he took off to join them too late and paid the price)....so i was squealing like you wouldn't believe!!
Anyway - our heroic picanto somehow made it - i swear i've never breathed a bigger sigh of relief, we practically hugged the petrol man! All of this to get to a spot which turned out to be a big let down...there was a plaque saying 'This the most southerly point of africa'!!! Whop!! Ahhh well, it makes a good dramatic story!
We then hopped in the car again to drive inland to a place called Swellendon. We could enjoy the drive this time and loved the surroundings and wonderful sunset.
Arrived at our hostel (erm...our room was a shed with 5 bunkbeds in!) in time to a bbq (braai!).
An easy day today after yesterdays dramas! Went for a morning hike up to see some little waterfalls which took a few hours then drove to our next stop - Knysna, via a stop at Mossel Bay for lunch and a bit of beach time.
Had a guided tour to the Knysna heads - a really narrow entrance from the sea to a lagoon which Knysna town surrounds. We then went for another hike - which started out as rather rubbish due to some bad signposts (we ended back where we started after about half an hour!) but then after a false start, ended up to be an amazing hike down through forrest which out of nowhere opened up into a private beach where we had lunch. It took us about 2 hours to get down but we took the 'alternate route' back which was essentially directly up the steep cliff - it took us about 20 minutes but was SO steep!
We then drove to our next stop in storms river and arrived at hostel perfection - the most idyllic spot EVER! Hammocks, star gazing, beautiful rooms and wonderful hosts who did our washing!
This morning we went tubing which is basically sitting in a big rubber ring and floating along rivers! Wasnt quite how we expected as the water was low, so there was a lot of walking with our tube and very little current so we had to power ourselves along. There were a few big jumps people did though...i did one little one but was too scared to do the others!
After getting back to the hostel, we were supposed to leave and drive to our next stop, but we loved the place SO much, we decided to stay another night and enjoy a relaxing afternoon (complete with jacuzzi with the water heated over a big fire!)
Drove to Jeffreys bay to try and do a spot of sunbathing but it was too windy so we treated ourselves to a big breakfast there before carrying on to Port Elizabeth. Once we got there we went for a walk to a shopping/restaurant area, then went to a pub and had a bit of an impromptu night out.
Today we went to Addo Elephant park - a huge safari sport which you can drive around in your own car. It was amazing! Lots of driving seeing nothing, but then you suddenly stumble across loads of elephants/warthogs/zebra/buffalo!
At one point we found a herd of about 15 elephants hidden in the bush, and one by one they started crossing in front of us to the other side. One HUGE elephant walked SO close to the car. We paniced and wound our windows up so fast! Caught it on video - but with a background sound of Anna and i panicking 'Oh my god...oh my god!!' getting higher and higher as it got closer and closer!
Got up early to spend an exciting day at airports! Flew from Port Elizabeth to Joburg and spent 9 hours at Joburg waiting for our flight to Perth....YAWN! But chatted to a few people and ate some cake!