After my first few weeks in South-Africa, my colleague Fatima, an ih student Tim, my roommate Audrey and I, Margaux decided to take the opportunity to broaden our South-African horizon during the Easter weekend.
Hotspots2c is a company we work together with closely that organizes various trips around Cape Town, beginning at one day tours like the exploring the wine lands, going to cape point and whale spotting among many more. If you’re in for a longer adventure, their multiple day tours can go up to 15 days. We opted for one of their most famous tours, which is a garden route and safari tour. Normally this tour takes you on a 3 day adventure with activities including bungee jumping and walking with elephants, our tour was adapted to the longer weekend and included one more day and some extra activities. If you’re interested in this tour, don’t wait until next easter to come around! Hotspots2c has a five day garden route and safari tour that will take you on the same route, while you can experience even more.
The first day me and Audrey got picked up right in front of our doorstep, we said goodbye to out other roommates and stepped into a fairly full mini bus, we greeted our friends Tim and Fatima and got to know our tour group. We picked up two more people before we left for an adventure that started of with… a four hour drive on the scenic route 62. Luckily good music, our amazing tour guide Xenny, funny stories and stunning landscapes kept us company.
Eventually we arrived at game reserve Botelierskop. There we got thrown into the wild with a short walk in between rhinos, to then arrive at an enormous 4×4 vehicle. The safari took us all over the game reserve in about 2 hours and we saw giraffes, buffalos, lions feasting on a carcass, empala’s jumping around and many other animals. Unfortunately, we didn’t get to spot leopard, but all the other make up for that!
After that it was another short drive to our hostel, Afro vibe. We slept in cosy rooms of six with a marvelous view at sunset over the beach and the ocean.
The next day was another early one, after an egg on toast and fruit yoghurt breakfast we took off for Knysna, a viewpoint over the ocean, mountains and little towns underneath it. It was pretty misty that day, otherwise it is also used as a whale spotting point.
The trill of the day (and the whole trip) was planned as early as 11am. Just in time we arrived at face adrenaline, to do exactly what it says: face our adrenaline by bungee jumping of the highest bridge of the world, a whopping 216 meters in downwards direction.
Of the four of us, only Audrey and me were brave enough to jump down, and the second we set foot on the actual bridge, we both regretted our choice. We were both strapped in safely into a tight harness, and everything is really organized, but every time we saw someone jump, and the line in front of us getting shorter, our heartbeat raised. Audrey was the first one to jump, and before she could reach me to tell me the experience, I was being held up by 2 guys, bringing me to the edge of the bridge, which honestly feels like a pirate is forcing you to walk the plank. The first few second are horrible but amazing at the same time, and after that it genuinely feels like flying through the air.
After this adventure we went to Tsitsikama national park to see and walk over the suspending bridge, and just a few kilometers down to line, we went on the Tsitsikama falls adventure, in which we ziplined through and over waterfalls.
After this adventurous day we slept over at African Array Launch. This hostel has the most amazing view you’ve ever seen and it’s definitely worth setting your alarm clock a little bit earlier to see the sun rise from one of their multiple terraces! Don’t worry about the early morning breeze, there are blankets and a small outdoor fire place to keep your warm.
After our amazing breakfast we had to put on our bathing suits and take of for wilderness national park. We explored the park on a slightly different way then you normally would, but perfectly suitable for this beautiful outdoor activitiy: kayaking. We kayaked in between mountain, under bridges, and in a generally stunning environment. Sadly, we weren’t fast enough to reach the end of the ‘road’, but if you do, there is a breathtaking waterfall awaiting you.
We had our lunch there too, and after taking a dive in their pool, we took off to the highlight of the whole trip: walking with elephants. These three elephants were rescued after their family was killed when they were young. Since they were raised by humans, they don’t see us as threats and we are able to take chill walks with them around Buffelsdrift. The elephants are very playfull and aren’t shy of a hug or two, once you come close by, they will happily put their trunk around you or sniff around.
The park rangers told us it was a cold day, but for us Europeans, 32 degrees seemed like we were melting away. Because of the heat, we were all very relieved to hear that our next hostel had a pool! Once arrived at the Backpackers paradise hostel we all took a quick dip before our dinner. We had some typical South-African braai around the bonfire outside.
After 3 days and nights on the road, it was time for our last day before heading back to Cape Town city. In the morning,we visited Cango Caves, the cave, or at least the first and biggest chamber of this cave was discovered in 1780 by a farmer from the Netherlands. The farmer named Jacobus van Zyl obviously didn’t have the current technology available to archeologists and lowered himself into the cave with only a rope and a small candle. It is amazing how they recreate this experience by shutting of all of the lights except a very small one at the entrance, about the size and strength of the oil lamp he must have used. At that point, we couldn’t see a single thing. Our guide was very friendly and told us about all the old tales of the caves and the rock formations. My favorite part though, was the adventure tour, where you crawl through small passage ways and climb up a steep rock formation that is just about 15 centimeters wide.
After about an hour and a half, we finally saw daylight again. And drove through to our next destination; Boplaas. The Boplaas vineyards are owned and run by a family that specializes in Portuguese wines. We had the chance to taste five of their most famous wines and ports. I was amazed by the quality and price equation of these wines, and treated myself to a R70 Ruby Port, a fruity and thick red wine with a fairly high alcohol percentage.
Luckily after all the hiking and wine tasting, we had ourselves a big lunch on the vineyard. Their pizza’s are absolutely amazing. After lunch we were looking forward to a good nap while driving all the way back to Cape Town. I didn’t see much of the landscapes this time around, since I was zoning out after this busy weekend, but the times I did open my eyes were not disappointing! A lot of the times we were driving on passage ways through mountains, and before we knew it, we saw the contours of table mountain and lion’s head in front of us.