Richmond to Cape Town via the coast 2011 - Port Elizabeth and The Garden Route

We spent 3 days with Andy and Margie, who we met on the Indian Ocean cruise last year, they live in Port Elizabeth and we thoroughly enjoyed our stay with them. It was the first time we'd stayed in this area as previouslywe'd simply passed through it on the N2 freeway. There were some lovely beaches and the countryside just inland was hilly and very pretty. We much preferred it to the busy beaches and beachfront at Durban and could happily spend a couple of weeks exploring the area.

One of the PE beaches on a sunny Sunday morning.

A little further along the rocks were popular with fishermen.

We spent most mornings and evenings in the garden with Andy and Margie - and Shelly the dog.

The Garden Route is one of the most famous areas of South Africa with beautiful sandy beaches and rocky cliffs backed by forested mountains.We've travelled along the Garden Route on several occasions but this time tried to visit places that we've not stayed at recently.

Our first stop was at Cape St Francis staying at a holiday resort which offered chalets as well as camping.

Nearby was Port St Francis with a fishing boat harbour.

We were able to walk from the campsite to this beautiful beach. Cape St Francis lighthouse is at the end of the promontory.

4 days were spent at Nature's Valley on the western Edge of the Tsitsikamma Nature Reserve.

We had a lovely shady campsite amongst the trees but also close to the lagoon.

There are several walks in this area covering a variety of terrain and scenery, from gorges and forests to coastal paths and lagoons.

 

Our first walk took us up through the forest. From time to time we could see the Groot River lagoon and the sea through the trees.

On our way back we had to negotiate a narrow gorge where the footpath meandered along a stream bed - fortunately there was very little water in the stream and there were steps and ladders in some places.

 

The beach at Nature's Valley. The waves were quite strong so it wasn't possible to swim properly in the sea.

However I did find a deep rock pool where I could swim. When I stood up little shrimps came and nibbled at my feet!

One afternoon I hired a canoe and spent an hour or so paddling along the river and down to the lagoon.

We had stayed at Wilderness Nature Reserve about 15 years ago but wanted to revisit area.

We picked a lovely spot next to the river and there was a large tree nearby that we could sit under to get some shade.

This Reserve has several walks, some of which start at the campsite. One morning we followed the trail alongside the river up to a waterfall - where we enjoyed a lovely cool swim.

On the way to the waterfall we had to cross the river on a hand drawn pontoon bridge.

We saw this flower beside the path. It was about 15cm across, I've no idea what it is.

This is the first proper sunset that we've seen on this trip as on most days during the late afternoon it would become cloudy.

I spent quite a bit of time taking photos of the birds around the campsite. This family of little grebes were often to be seen.

1. The Wild Coast.

2. Port Elizabeth and the Garden Route.

3. The Overberg and the Cape Peninsula.

Diary (word '97 document)

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