Tuesday, 6 September 2016

The Garden Route South Africa. Jeffreys Bay, Addo Elephant Park and Nature's Valley. January 2015.

We decided to have a family holiday in South Africa. We haven’t done the famous Garden Route so this is what we would do.
On January 22nd 2015 we flew out of Manchester on EK 22,
and were joined in Dubai Airport by our daughter who worked for the airline at that time. We got the night flight EK 767 at 23.20 from Dubai to Johannesburg arriving at 05.35. In JNB, we got our bags and went through customs and had to find the staff travel desk and get the tickets for SAA 403 leaving at 08.40. it was easy to do and the staff very nice, just gave us the boarding passes absolutely no problem. We went back through security and boarded the South African Airways flight to Port Elizabeth arriving at 10.20.
PE Airport Home to the BIG 7?
 We picked up the hire car, it was a brand new Toyota Avanza. The lady at the hire desk said ‘its a van sir’ , so my husband said ‘no! we have booked a car', she replied ‘yes, its a van sir’. This went on for a while!

We then drove out of PE, it was a shame we didn’t have time to explore as it looked like a nice city and beautiful beachfront. We drove the short distance to Jeffreys Bay.
Jeffreys Bay is famous for surfing, it is another town featured on the Endless Summer film. I had hired a Villa, Beach Villa in Flame Crescent. https://www.safarinow.com/go/flamecrescenthousewavecrest
The villa was massive, it slept 8, had a pool, and outdoor eating area and BBQ, 2 bathrooms, parking. It was great and all for £30.00 per night.

The first day we spent on the beach, surfing and horse riding on the beach.  
Then we had a day trip to Addo elephant Park.
Addo Elephant National Park

When we lived in South Africa, Addo was known as more of an Elephant Sanctuary with just a few  Elephants who were fed on Oranges. So I didn’t really have very high expectations from the park. I was wrong! The park is now the third largest in South Africa and has many animals in it. As it is also Malaria free it attracts many overseas tourists.
Elephant in Addo

 The park was great, with good picnic facilities, and loads of animals. It was a great day out and highly recommended.
Unfortunately the weather the next day was horrid. So we had a drive out to Cape St Francis, I wanted to see the light house and the penguin rehabilitation. It was a long drive in the rain and the lighthouse was covered in scaffolding and the penguin rescue close! The town was an odd place, it looked like a working fishing village, but had buildings built all around it. There were lots of golf courses and American looking estates. I found it all a bit odd and wouldn’t go back.  

Cape Saint Francis

The Penguin at Cape Saint Francis
My Family at Port St Francis
 The next day we had booked to go Blackwater Tubing on the Bloukrans River. It was hammering down with rain, but we couldn't contact the company so drove to Natures Valley, in the rain. we were not surprised that the tubing was cancelled, I don't think it would have been safe. so we drove around a soggy Natures Valley looked at the beach and had a drink at the one and only place to eat The Valley Inn. it was a dull old fashioned place, quite dirty and scruffy. as it was the place where the Otters Trail Hike ends you could get a drink called the Otters @hole. that what the place looked like!
The Otters @hole
The weather had not been kind to us and may have had some thing to do with it but so far I was very underwhelmed by the famous Garden Route. I thought Jeffreys Bay was great, a chilled out place I really liked it and could see myself living there and the next day we were moving on to Knysna.