Port Elizabeth

Thursday

We have left Amakhala and have now arrived in Port Elizabeth. We’re on the beach front feeling hot and tired from our 5am game drive this morning. We did manage to have an outside shower before we left Hlosi Lodge, but the heat is very intense. Here’s our view from our bed..

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We looked around the local shops and nearly bought some bracelets, but found they were made from elephants tail hair, so decided against it. The pool at the hotel looked inviting but the sea was so close and beautiful we just had to get in there. The waves were high and crashed rhythmically on the beach.

The lifeguard flags only allowed limited access to the beach, so we had lots of people laughing and jumping through the waves with us. Lots of the local girls were in the sea in their clothes. It had been a very hot day so I guess nobody cared about being drenched in sea water.

We also spoke to an old SA couple on the beach. They had originally come from Cape Town but had to settle in Port Elizabeth for work. They were very friendly and chatty and wanted to tell us all about PE. Unfortunately, we were only here for one night so we were unable to explore as much as we would have liked to.

We dressed up and went for cocktails overlooking the beach at a bar called Ginger. As you can imagine, many drinks were made with root ginger, so we tried four and were not disappointed.

In the evening, we found a nice restaurant about a km away from our hotel. Mark had seen it recommended on Trip Advisor. It was called The Coach House was in an elevated position, overlooking the sea. All the staff wore long, elegant, royal blue dresses that enhanced their slim figures. We only managed to get a table inside, as all the outside tables were reserved. The place soon filled up and the waitresses were kept very busy.

Mark had the fillet steak and it was absolutely delicious. He also had mussel soup which was also tasty. I had pork chops and ate every mouthful – yum.

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A lovely walk along the beach pathway and we were back at the Beach Hotel, ready for our last sleep in South Africa.

 

 

 

 

 

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Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday – Amakhala

IMG_20170320_080351In a beautiful luxury safari tent at the Hlosi Lodge. Wake up at 5am for early morning game drive. Breakfast served back at the lodge at 9am. Relax til 1pm. Drinks at the bar, then lunch at 2pm, high tea at 3.30pm before heading out for late afternoon game drive 4-7pm. Finally dinner at 8pm.

We met Daniel & Sandra from Switzerland, Liz & Toby from Devon, Barry & Dev from Ireland.

 

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Enjoying a drink and refreshments during a game drive. Usually beer, wine, crisps and biltong.

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Plettenbergbaii

Hogs Hollow

We spent the day at the many beaches around Plettenberg Bay. Warm, white, soft sand.. crashing .waves, empty beaches. It was a Saturday and yet there were no people. Most shops were closed, but luckily we found a very nice fish restaurant and bar in the beach. Without hesitation, I ordered a large spiced rum and coke, mussels, followed by grilled fish and chips. It had a great beach vibe and Mark and I watched the kids on beach boards surfing the waves and a sand artist slowly creating nautical sculptures on the beach.

We also found Natures Valley where on one side was a serene, calm lake with mountains, then on the other side was the crashing waves of the sea. The beach between the two was enormous and beautiful, so I laid here for a while, turning from side to side enjoying the magical difference in sceneries.

A short drive away was the longest bungy jump from a bridge into a valley. It was so scary, I really don’t know why people would do it. Mark really wanted to do it. We watched a few jumpers then decided it was much better watching, than doing it ourselves!

We’ll be checking out of Hogs Hollow in the morning 😔

Day 11 Birds of Eden and The Monkey Sanctuary

Breakfast in the sunshine with spectacular views, followed by african birds that have been rescued or need help to survive.

Then the monkey sanctuary caring for monkeys that had previously been pets or disabled.

Here we crossed the longest suspension bridge in the world!

 

 

 

Day 7 Wine Tasting

 

After a delicious breakfast at the Protea Hotel, we walked to the town to collect our tram bus. First stop was Boschendal. My cousin Steve had recommended we took the purple route. Two hours of drinking wine we then moved onto the next winery. We stayed an hour, then the next and the next and so on.

On our way, we got talking to a lovely couple, Jake and Charlotte, doctors from Oxford. Then there was a young local guy who was in the wine industry so he kept us informed all day long. The next stop we met Brian and Anna from our trip to Table Mountain.

As the day progressed we collected two other couples, one from Canada and the other from Israel. Everyone had a great time and we all stuck together.

By the end of the day, we’d made plans to meet that evening for drinks. This is where it became a little hazy. Apparently, we had a very nice time drinking and eating pizza.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Day 6 Franschhoek

Wine Region.

We left Cape Town this morning during a big Cycle Race whereby the roads around Camps Bay were closed off.

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Stellenbosch was en route and we stopped to have a mooch around. It had a cafe style vibe, with lots of restaurants and bars offering al fresco dining. There were lots of beautiful people and high profile cars enjoying a casual drinks and lazy lunches. It is the place to go for a relaxed hour or two with friends and family.

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We have now arrived in Franschhoek. Our hotel is pretty with a colonial charm. Our room is on the bottom right.

Upon arrival, we booked a tour of the wineries for tomorrow, then found the Tuk Tuk Microbrewery! Beer, nachos, guacamole, chips, dips – yum yum yum.

After lounging by the pool reading my book, we headed out to a pizzeria for dinner. The sound of the saxophone drew us in. The music was fantastic and the musician played whilst he walked around the restaurant, inside and out. He never made eye contact with anyone, he was just content in his own world.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bailey’s Bar

IMG_20170311_232819Day 5

Today we met up with my cousin Steve Bailey. We laughed, we shared memories and we hugged. It’s been a long time since we were running around as 10 year olds. I still think of him as my cool cousin, but now he is all grown up, with a beautiful wife, with a beautiful house, with beautiful kids. He loves Cape Town and Cape Town loves him. See you in 2018 Steve & Taryn! 😉

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Peninsula Part III

We went on to visit the Botanical Garden where the wind had dropped and temperatures soared to 32°C.

I can’t upload any photos at the moment, so I’ll get myself a new mobile chip and work from that. Got it.. now here’s some images.

We also spent the evening in the pool and watched a very beautiful African sunset.  We’re both feeling incredibly lucky to be here.

The Waterfront

We got our hire car today and headed straight to the V&A Waterfront. It was full of boats, a big wheel, designer shops and restaurants. Stylish and bustling. Mark bought a SA sim card so calling in South Africa is now cheap. We tasted local craft beer in Mitchells, a scottish bar and then had lunch and drank gourmet milkshakes in Gibsons overlooking the harbour. We then strolled around the town, found some colourful bars and markets.

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South African Craft Beer, sponsored by London Pride!
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Colourful bars
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Mark buying a SA Sim