On our trip to Mozambique last year, we’d travelled up the eastern coastline, passing through a very beautiful part of our country not that familiar to us. We’d been to the Wild Coast fairly often, but always on our way to somewhere else. We promised ourselves that we would make it a destination oneday, instead of a part of a route.
We got the opportunity when we were approached by an Irish couple that had sold their Gordon’s Bay holiday home and wanted to return for a two month stay. Our home was already booked for the summer season and we could only offer them our flat where we lived. It would mean that we would have to go away in our Twiga Penthouse! Wonderful to be forced to go on holiday!
As coincidence would have it, a contact from Mike Faure, a musician friend living permanently in Chicago finalised our decission. Mike and Ronelle were coming South Africa to catch up with friends and family. We were delighted to be included on their list of friends!
Part of their visit included the Addo National Park. We decided to meet them there where we could spend quality time with them while enjoying the Addo too. We were lucky to get a booking in the Main camp where they were staying even though it was almost two months away. Campsites in Sanparks are so difficult to get these days. Not long ago it was not necessary to book when camping. The planning of our trip started in earnest…. realising that we also had special friends in various parts of the country that we’d love to see. A slow journey, including a few favourite campsites on the way was to be our plan.
I must thank Shane for adding a new exciting aspect…..Geocaching! More later……..
After welcoming and settling in our new tenants we finally set off late in the day. On reaching Swellendam we decided to stay at the municipal campsite where we’d been before. As it was late we weren’t made that welcome and were also surprised at their new rates! Not everything changes fortunately! The camp is set in a beautifully forested area with plenty of greenery and good ablutions, so I shouldn’t complain. Our planned destination had been de Hoop Nature Reserve.
The next day we gave that a miss as it was too close, and continued to Jongensfontein. We hadn’t been there for many years. The resort had grown into a small town with plenty of holiday homes on the slopes with sea views and also along the coast. Even though it was late in the season, the campsite was almost completely full, something we’d see a lot more of in the next few weeks. We set up camp and went for a walk along the coast….
The beach at Jongensfontein with fishtraps visible
Dassies were not disturbed by my presence
After supper I checked the Geocache app on my phone and found a cache about a kilometre from our camp. There was also interesting historical information about Jongensfontein on the site. When the first boer settlers arrived, Strandloopers were already living there because of a spring providing them with ample fresh water. Hence the name Jongensfontein. I’d have to search for the cache in the morning! While Solveig was still asleep I was off on my seach. It took awhile but I persevered and was finally rewarded. Thank you Shane!
A plaque at the location of the first geocache I found and the tin it was concealed in.
Our next stopover was at Woodbourne in Knysna near to the Heads. We’d arranged our first visit with Glynn and Margie van Straaten in their new home. They had lost their previous home along with everything else in the Knysna fire.
Cheers! Glynn, Margie,Warren and myself enjoying a wonderful reunion
We spent a few more days in Knysna visiting markets and looking for caches. Found one at the railway turntable at the waterfront. We met a couple of overlanders at Woodbourne and had a lovely time exchanging stories with them.
Woodbourne including the de Ruyters Nissan camper
Barbara and Henry de Ruyters, overlanders from Stellenbosch. They’d recently successfully travelled to Ethiopia.
Photo collage; Scarab market
Not too far to our next stop, Forever Resort Plettenberg Bay on the banks of the Keurbooms River.
Forever Resort, Plettenberg Bay
While here we visited Carol and David and ” inspected” the new house David had just completed. Needless to say, it passed with flying colours. In keeping to our mission of reuniting with friends, we visited Estelle and Andre and thanked them for all the wonderful Mozambique destiations and information they had shared with us.
On our way once again we stayed in Jeffreys Bay as usual. I found a few more caches while we enjoyed long walks on the beach. We dropped in at van Staadens River mouth to have a look at the campsite there. It was also almost full with the good sites taken. There were a few left on uneven ground not worth the asking price. So we carried on to Pine Lodge Resort in Summerstrand near the Nelson Mandela University.
We had a few days left before meeting ex Clout guitarist, Sandy Robbie, who had arranged tickets for the Abba Tribute at the Opera House. Sandy had resettled in Port Elizabeth and still played for a number of bands and shows.
Sandy Robbbie at the Abba Tribute Show
It gave us the opportunity to explore the area including the Cape Recife Nature Park where we visited the impressive SANCCOB Seabird Rehabilitation Centre.
A Gannet chatting to the penguins at SANCCOB
We made contact with Sky at the Nelson Mandela University and arranged to see him when it wouldn’t interfere with his studies. He joined us at PineLodge for a meal and a very emotional contact. The highlight of our PE Stay!
A special contact with Sky
We took the signposted turnoff to the Addo Park (R335) which must be the most disgusting road in South Africa. It borders on Motherwell. The road is double carriage and has a 60Kph speed limit for what seems like at least 10 kms. (to make sure tourists don’t miss the filth and decay on the way). What an impression this must leave with visitors to the Addo! Why can’t the official entrance to the park be shifted to Colchester at the southern entrance? A far more scenic route and more possible game sightings immediately.
And what about the Nelson Mandela Bay Metro? How can they expect people to live in Motherwell? Clean Up!!
Fortunately the Addo Park is clean, well run and what you’d expect to find. Hopefully the experience will erase memories of the journey there.
Mike and Ronelle Faure with friends at our campsite in Addo
Once again we had a great time renewing friendships and making new friends. What a wonderful trip this was turning out to be. We’ve said this before; it’s people that make our travels so special!
Caught in my reverse camera!
On a game drive in Addo we saw a number of elephants but not many other animals. We also enjoyed meeting other campers in the extremely full campsite. Including a local couple that were staying there until a campsite became available in the Mountain Zebra National Park near Cradock. They’d been waiting 10 days!
There are two reasons for National Park campsite being so full lately.
1. Pensioner discounts and the fact that so many pensioners are renting out their homes for income while travelling. This applies to all other good caravan parks as well.
2. Accommodation has become expensive in the Parks. Camping and Caravaning is so much more affordable than Rondawels and chalets.
After a Pie stop at Nanaga and catching up with Lisa Nettleton of Molo Mini in Port Alfred, Yellowsands, near East London, was our next night stop.
Our usual choice of sites overlooking the lagoon were occupied so we chose one overlooking the sea with a stunning view next to a well kitted MobiLodge, the owners we found out, were from Strand.
It was far less sheltered from the afternoon wind though. We’d experienced a lot more cold and rainy weather this trip. Not the type of summer we usually encountered, we hoped for better weather from here on!
We were treated to a lovely breakfast with John and Lynn Rich at Lavender Blue Market nearby. They are also travellers of note! Except they fly! We love catching up with them and hearing of their travel experiences too. Our Wild coast trip was turning into something much more meaningful. We’ve enjoyed the way it’s changed. By making no plans or schedules there can be no disappointments.
So keeping up with our new style of travel we headed for Morgan Bay next. Hilton and Kerry lived there, we hoped to find them home! When we booked in, the receptionist said she knew that Kerry and Hilton were in town and that Hilton was building a house just up the road. Everybody living in a small town knows all the local news!
Morgan Bay beach in front of the hotel
Our campsite at the Inchara lagoon.
This friendly wagtail was a regular visitor at our camp
While staýing at Morgan Bay we took a trip to Double Mouth just 5 km away.
Many years ago, on a previous visit to Double mouth we had found Ming Porcelian shards on Bead Beach from a 16th centuary Portuguese shipwreck. There were also Carnelian Beads and Money Cowries. Unfortunately the estuary had closed due lack of rain in the area and the beach had silted over covering any trace of shards.
After spending the night camping in the Double Mouth Nature Reserve we returned to Morgan Bay and had a wonderful supper with Kerry and Hilton. We were lucky to see them at all. Kerry was off to clients in Kenya the next day. It was good to catch up with all their news. They are extremely happy living where they do on the Wild Coast.
The following day it was back inland to the N2 for us to continue with our trip further north east along the coast. Just short of Mthatha we turned off the N2, back to the coast again, heading for Coffee Bay where we would spend the next few days. The trip was stunning!
The tarred road wove its way over hills, through small villages dotted with thatched rondavels……
and colourful houses. There must have been a special on turquoise paint!
Washing hanging on lines and fences…..
We knew we’d enjoy the Transkei, it seemed just our scene!
We dodged the goats, cows and poultry, cautiously avoiding the school children returning from rural schools too!
We were fascinated by the tyres at the peak of the thatch roofs, always decorated with something.
Passing through Coffee Bay on our way to White Clay, located closer to The Hole in the Wall, we were glad we’d taken the advice of others on where to stay. Coffee Bay looked somewhat dirty and run down.
White Clay, our campsite on rolling Transkei hills
Hole in the Wall collage and a view from above looking back, away from the Hole, to show the beauty of the area…...
We enjoyed White Clay so much that we stayed a few more days and enjoyed relaxing and walks on the beach
White Clay, Wild coast.
The Irish couple that had occupied our part of Cardamom House in Gordon’s Bay were leaving soon so we could start our way home again as we would have a place to stay!
We had come a long way and needed a few stops along the way and there was no need to rush…
A few days at Yellowsands first. We were glad to get a place overlooking the river, our favourite. We wanted to see Sky on our return too, and learned that he was back in Plettenberg Bay, so we returned to Forever Resort and had lunch with him at Enricos in Keurboomsstrand.
We visited Annabel at the Paws Charity shop in Plett where she worked on Mondays. While there Solveig found an outrageous “Watermelon” dress that looked as if it was made for a fancy dress! Solveig snapped it up to wear at AfrikaBurn which we were going to in May.
Drongos eating from our hands at Estelle and Andre’s in Plettenberg Bay
We were still visiting friends and family along the way although we were on our way home, so we saw the Zoutendyks again, visiting them at their home. We also had coffee with Carol and Lauren at a tea room in town. Lauren was visiting Carol and David on her own. Although Lauren lives in Gordon’s Bay, we never get to see her unless in a crowd. We really enjoyed our get together.
You might not realise that we have to break camp each time we go anywhere by vehicle when camping. Our tempory home is our transport too. So instead of returning to Forever Resorts, we continued homeward(ish).
Buffalo Bay has one of our favourite campsites too and if not windy it is idyllic.
Buffalo Bay. We were lucky to get a site at the waters edge
Before leaving for home the next day we were able to get a chance to explore the coastline on the other side of the point.