Thursday, June 08, 2006

National Parks rule

After leaving Buffalo Bay Backpackers (044 383 06098) we went into Knysna for breakfast. The sun was still out and we thought Knysna looked like a nice little town, being on a lagoon and having a nice laid back cafe culture. We ummed and ahhed about whether to stay in town for a few days, especially as it was the Pink Loerie gay festival over the weekend, but in the end decided to carry on down the coast toward the Tsitsikamma national park. The drive down there was lovely, although the native bushland became replaced by pine plantations for quite a way.

We stopped at Nature's Valley rest camp and booked into a forest hut. This was lovely, hidden away in the forest right by the riverbank. You couldn't even see the next hut along from us. We sat on the veranda for quite a while just watching the birds on the river. A Kingfisher was dipping in and out of the water on the opposite bank, egyptian geese were honking and an eagle was circling the forest overhead. Very idyllic. We decided to walk to the river mouth and attempted to follow the walking trail. It was waterlogged for quite a large section, so we couldn't follow the path. I figured that as long as we followed the river bank we couldn't go wrong and tried to find another route. Gemma got scared and chickened out -no sense of adventure, so we walked back down the road and into Nature's Valley town for supplies only to work out that the shop was a further 2km away. When we got there we had fish & chips and a beer, bought some snacks and walked back.

As ever we were up early and on the road again. This time was just a short drive to the next rest camp in Tsitsikamma national park, Storms River Mouth. Again we booked into a forest hut, a similar sort of setup only the rest camp was a lot bigger with some bigger more stylish accomodation and it was right on the sea front. We went to the info/cafe and had a meal and got our bearings. When we got back to the hut we were delighted to see a family of 3 vervet monkeys on our hut and raiding our bin. After taking some photos and having a sort of stand off, where they seemed to be checking us out as much as we were them, they had enough and buggered off back into the forest. I picked up the scattered food wrappers and replaced the lid on the bin.

We walked a small trail into the river mouth and over a suspension bridge affording a nice view up the gorge. We carried on up the hill on the other side to a lookout point. Although our general level of fitness is much better than the last time we had a year off the walk up had us knackered by the time we got to the top. We needed a bit of a sit down. Thankfully coming back down wasn't so hard. We took a boat trip up the gorge accompanied by what I can only assume was a party of scicilian mafia bosses on holiday. Their guide continously translated their questions to the boat guy and was on a mobile to a restaurant demanding special treatment for his special VIP guests. After the trip we motored off, but the caught us up at the toilets -one of them must have been busting as he exclaimed, "Mama Mia!", when he got in there.

I came to the conclusion that Rock Dassies are the least endangered of South Africa's animal life. They were all over the place and utterly cute. They look like little grumpy old men. When we got back to the hut the bin lid was knocked off and the wrappers all over the place again. Naughty Monkeys!

2 comments:

Bong said...

Hi Gemma and Tom!!

I caugt your "tales" of travel while doing obscure research!! I am the bass player of the band you saw in Cape Town, for The Ska Band, "The Rudimentals".

Thanks for visiting our country, I (from reading your posts,) do understand your confusion at the fact that there are lots of contrasts and divides that still exist here.

We experience and live it every day, but that is what makes South Africa so unique, is the fact that there is a huge population demographic and psychographic difference, which is part and parcel of the history of this country.

Anyway, that being said, yes, there are some really beautiful places here, most of which I'm sure you have not seen yet, obviously, but, I just wanted to say "Hi!", and if you want to contact me, you may do so at errol_bong@ananzi.co.za, or visit our band website at www.rudimentals.co.za. (the site is being overhauled, but you can still catch the basics there.

Cheers!!

Bong said...

Hi Gemma and Tom!!

I caugt your "tales" of travel while doing obscure research!! I am the bass player of the band you saw in Cape Town, for The Ska Band, "The Rudimentals".

Thanks for visiting our country, I (from reading your posts,) do understand your confusion at the fact that there are lots of contrasts and divides that still exist here.

We experience and live it every day, but that is what makes South Africa so unique, is the fact that there is a huge population demographic and psychographic difference, which is part and parcel of the history of this country.

Anyway, that being said, yes, there are some really beautiful places here, most of which I'm sure you have not seen yet, obviously, but, I just wanted to say "Hi!", and if you want to contact me, you may do so at errol_bong@ananzi.co.za, or visit our band website at www.rudimentals.co.za. (the site is being overhauled, but you can still catch the basics there.

Cheers!!