Safari!

We had a reservation to go to a nearby game preserve for a safari drive at 11 am. Knowing that mornings and late afternoons/early evenings are the best time to see the animals active, I had tried to reserve a safari during those times. However, only those staying at the preserve could reserve the prime viewing times. So we took what we could get and decided to make the most of it. We were far from disappointed! First of all, our guide, Janco, was phenomenal. Although he’s young, he’s experienced and learned so much. We laughed about the fact that every time we asked him, “Have you ever…,” the answer was a self-deprecating “Yes.” Then we’d ask for more information and he’d regale us with a great story. He seemed to truly enjoy teaching us fun facts about the animals and about South Africa in general. Some of our favorites include:

  • Ostriches eat rocks because they don’t have any acids in their stomachs to break down food, so the rocks do that. There may be 70-80 in their stomachs at any given time.
  • The Secretary bird, a bird endemic to South Africa, mates once for life and remains loyal to that mate until they both die AND it eats venomous snakes.
  • Hippos kill 3-4 thousand people a year in all of Africa.

After our 2 hour safari (which turned into 2.5 hours thanks to our fascinating guide), we ate lunch at the preserve. Not only was it a stunning setting, but our food was excellent. Most of us tried their local ostrich dishes (as steak, a burger, and sliced rare in a salad) and thoroughly enjoyed everything.

The rest of our afternoon was dedicated to exploring Mossel Bay. There are a few artisans with shops and a bunch of coffee shops. I had wanted to see the famed Post Office Tree, where letters would be left in boots or other secure containers and fellow countrymen passing through would collect and pass along the mail. We were too late to visit the lighthouse, but still walked up the path to a fantastic view across the bay. This is one of the end points to the St. Blaize Trail. The other is located at the small, rocky beach at Pinnacle Point. The trail leads along the picturesque and rugged coastline for about 13.5-15 kilometers (depending on start/end spot). I would have loved hiking along the entire trail, perhaps ending with the zip line a little further along the cliff line down to the beach area at Mossel Bay.

The beach area has a little sand, but is mostly made of up rocks that create little pools that are safe from the currents. Many families congregate here to swim in the seawater rock pools, walk along the waterfront, and eat at the restaurant that boasts beautiful views. There was also a small aquarium, though we didn’t visit it.

Very early the next morning, my husband and son headed out for a 7 am tee time at the highly ranked Pinnacle Point Golf Course.  Unfortunately, fog was so thick they couldn’t see where they were hitting for their first 3 holes. After that, the fog lifted and they were able to enjoy the stunning and difficult course. According to my son, the course required approach-shot precision and the ability to play creatively in constantly varying wind, fog, and rain conditions. Additionally, similar to Pebble Beach, this ocean course requires adapting your shot to ocean-level differences in how far the ball travels.

While they played, several of us hiked out from the St. Blaize Trail starting point on this end to Cave PP13B. The cave is massive and very impressive. However, to truly explore it, a guide is necessary. One such group was heading out to the cave just after we returned and we would have enjoyed joining them. But it was time to check-out of our house and head back along the scenic garden route to Cape Town.

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Garden Route Scenic Drive

Cave Entrance

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