Monday, 28 April 2014

Plettenberg Bay, South Africa - home of Tsitsikamma forest

After driving through Oudtshoorn we decided that there was no point staying in the town for the sake of it so decided to drive straight to Plettenberg Bay (aka ‘Plett’) after we had done the whole ostrich thing in the morning. (read about that here

This was one of my favourite drives so far, purely because  we were driving in the clouds, something I don't recall doing before!

driving the Garden Route in the clouds!!!

Like the other places, Plettenberg bay is a small coastal town, with not that much to do in the centre. The little town reminded me a little of Byron Bay in Australia with its  relaxed  vibe and quite high street, peppered with a few people here and there enjoying an icecream or coffee.

the outskirts of Tsitsikamma 

However, you come to Plett for the scenery, nature and adrenalin filled activities. The surrounding area has so much to offer, from horse riding, sailing, tubing, sky diving, to seeing animals, hiking in the forests and camping..

this is where we jumped from-
worlds highest bridge bungee

On our first full day here, we had booked bungee jumping for lunch time…but that deserves a blog posting in its own right so keep a look out for that to come when I get back home....

On the Wednesday we had planned on seeing Tsitsikamma followed by a horse ride but the nonstop torrential rain meant that the ride was postponed for the day after. Being true Brits though, we weren’t gonna let a little bit of down pour stop us…I did what is best in these situations – I had bubbly with brekkie, a cocktail for lunch and enjoyed the local wine at dinner!!!*

taking refuge from the rain with a cocktail 

Amongst the sampling of alcoholic beverages, and lot letting a little bit of rain stop us from sightseeing, we set off for a drive around Tsitsikamma forest and Nature’s Valley. 

watch out for the baboons!!!

With a poncho on that made me look what can only be described as a massive condom, we did have a little wander but in all honesty, we were ok with seeing just 20 minutes here and there. The scenery didn’t seem to change that drastically at the different stops we made, and once you have seen a few massive trees, hanging vines and moody ferns, you have seen it all really!!!

who doesn't enjoy wearing a pack-a-mac

in amongst the trees

We did stop at the Storm River Village (near the mouth of the river where they do the river activities) at this cute 50s and 60s retro American diner, called Marilyns. I had a “Miami” cocktail, which has to be one of the strongest cocktails I have ever sipped and the Boy had the biggest slice of apple pie and ice cream.

this was a huuuuge slice 

By the early afternoon, we were rained out and returned to our hotel to kick back. There is something inherently smug about watching the down pour over the forest in the comfort of your sumptuous lodge with a warm crackling fire going. Especially when you’re all snuggled up and eating your way through a bucket of complimentary popcorn. It’s quite a satisfying way to spend an afternoon.

Thursday we were a bit more successful with the weather, the sun was in full beam and it was hot enough for shorts and t-shirt at 10am, meaning that we got to horse riding the morning but the kayaking and lilo trip on the river through Tsitsikamma was cancelled owing to the high water  level  because of  the heavy recent rains.

could almost pass as a pro (?!)

beautiful sunny morning for riding 

The Boy had not been looking forward to the horse ride at all, but I somehow had nagged him into it, just for the hour. That was enough for now as both of us are novices, although we were pretty chuffed with the trotting!!!

Starting from ‘The Crags’ the area that our hotel was in, we took a wander around the outskirts of the Tsitsikamma forest and with the  sun blazing, it was actually really good way to see the surroundings!! We took our horse ride with Hog Hollows horse riding.

Zac the horse
Seeing as our afternoon of river fun was cancelled we decided to go to the Tsitsikamma forest and have a little walk instead. We chose the waterfall walk as it was the shortest one at 3 hours (the otter walk was 5 days!!!). What the chap at the entrance didn’t tell us though was that this wasn’t a pleasant walk through the trees to a waterfall but three hours of hiking and bouldering!!! Once you made it through the forest on slippery mud and stepped over the roots and rocks, you had to clamber over the huge rocks on the beach. 

gorgeous rugged coastal line of Tsitsikamma 

watching the waves crash over the rocks 

coast stretched for miles 

great spot for a picnic 

Be warned this “walk” is not for the faint hearted or exercise adverse! I like to think I am quite fit and agile but I took a few falls after slipping off rocks and mud, resulting in a few cuts and scrapes plus a sore arse.

this was a rock climbing session - not a walk

 X x X 

Note – there are tolls of 38 rand to the forest and bungee jump so factor that in to your  budget- gong to and fro we spent a fair bit on tolls. 38 rand doesn’t sound much but when you can get a glass of wine or 25 rand, well, you do the math!

*note I did consume food at these times so please do not feel the need to call alcoholics anonymous just yet 

read part one of Cape Town here
read part two of Cape Town here

read about our  amazing hotel in Camps Bay here
read about the winelands here
read about the  fun with ostriches here

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