Saturday, October 4, 2008

Garden Route, Dolphin Trail, Game Lodge and Klein Karoo - 30th August to 9th Sept.2008

Eva, Christa and Ramona Tour – Garden Route, Dolphin Trail, Game Lodge and Klein Karoo – 30. August until 10. September 2008

Day 1. First stop the whales at Hermanus. Very windy, but we saw quite a few whales. Next stop Agulhas with almighty storm, almost blowing us over. Evening we spend at Cypresscottage Guest House, Swellendam, where it was storming all night and the rain was pouring down in buckets.

Day 2. As we drove off from Swellendam the skies opened up and we could see most beautiful views of the Langeberg Mountains halfway down covered with snow. As we reached Knysna and drove along the lagoon, we could see that the storms and high sees were not over, since the water was up to the road driving next to the lagoon.
At Plettenberg Bay were my guests stayed for two nights in a small Guest House we arrived just before dark. As we drove down from Plettenberg Bay to look at the large lagoon there, the police has just closed off two roads, as the water was so high and had taken away one Restaurant near the edge of the lagoon.
Day 3. This day we spend visiting the Elephant Park near Knysna, , to feed, feel and hug an elephant. All my guests love this close encounter of elephants. We went for a walk amongst some of the old yellowwoods in the forest and in the afternoon on a lovely boat trip on the lagoon.

Day 4. This was the 2nd of September. Two days ago our coast was hammered by most severe storms with a swell of the sea 9 metres high and being new moon, caused a special high and low tied.
The morning we spend at Monkey land and then we were monkeys ourselves in the Treetops Canopy Adventure Tour, Well, I had to do it again, after doing it last year, but if they take the Guide for free, why not. It is a very exciting experience.
We then were told that our Dolphin Trail that had to start at the Storms river Mouth was not possible the normal way, since the huts we were meant to stay in for the night, down at the sea, were washed away two days ago. What a start of the spring and our tour. We were taken down to the storms river mouth to look at the devastation caused by the massive swell of the sea two days ago. Two of the huts were totally broken and 6 others also damaged.

Day 5. The first day of the Dolphin Trail, we mainly walked in the Tsitsikamma forest. Our guide, Marius, very educationally did this.
At the bridge of the old Storms river road we had our lunch with sandwiches. They took us then onto a path were we ended on top of the mountain, overlooking the storms river mouth. Magnificent views over the sea, with whales playing in the far distance.
Late afternoon we arrived at the luxury accommodation, The Mountain View Lodge. We were greeted very friendly by our hosts and shown to our lovely wooden chalets. We met again with our hosts for some drinks at their bar and then we had a fantastic three-course meal.

Day 6. Today we were able to walk on the real Dolphin Trail. It was along the coastline, through lovely forests and with fantastic views over the blue ocean, with splashing water over the rocks below, but no dolphins in sight. At one place the wooden stairs where we were meant to climb over rocks, were also washed away. At this point we were suddenly splashed wet by a big wave and then had to climb up a steel ladder, that was brought in for us and hold up by some 4 men. I must say I was glad when my guests and I were all safely up the ladder and on steadier ground again.
Walking into the forest near lunchtime, we suddenly were surprised by a lovely table with lots of special food for lunch. Not something one expects on a Trail, but then this is a luxury Trail. Well worth doing We enjoyed it thoroughly, specially ending up at some real luxury the second day, the Fenery Lodge, with beautiful wooden chalets for us and a special meal in their 5-star Lodge. Being able to use a Jacuzzi after an all day walk was also a luxury.

Day 7 to 11.
For the rest of this trip we did the usual things, like half day in Addo National Park, afternoon and evening a Safari at Schotia. We saw a lot of animals, also some lions feeding on a warthog. After a long day drive to Oudtshoorn, we could do the Ostrich Safari Farm, where you can learn everything about the Ostrich. The next day the Cango Caves and up the Swartberg Pass and our last night we spend at the lovely Groenfontein Retreat “A Farm in Africa”, with a fantastic african farm meal in the evening. On our tour back to Somerset West we could still enjoy some winetasting near Robertson.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

NAMAQUALAND FLOWER TOUR --- 17th to 21st August 2008

This Namaqualand Tour, with two ladies from the UK, was very enjoyable and we saw some fantastic
flower fields. We spend the first day in the West Coast Nature Reserve and Postberg. The flower fields just started there. Lovely Helliophilias as seen on this photo.
We travelled from Clan William to the Namaquland National Park with its millions of Namaqualand daisies, but also with very scenic mountains around.
From Springbok we travelled to Nieuwoudtville, the bulb capital of the westcoast. Here were also stunning fields of flowers. So much beauty and variety in flowers, more than anywhere in the world.
We then spend one day at the Bushmans Kloof Nature Reserve. The animals and flowers were breath taking. Such a big variety of different species of flowers is amazing. Also the rockpaintings we could gaze at, made this a very special trip.