The Garden Route - Western Cape, South Africa
Plettenberg Bay is approximately half way between East London and Cape Town directly on the famous Garden Route. The beautiful bay is surrounded by no less than ten nature reserves protecting the natural wonders of this area. Jean's brother bought a summer house here for his family and four daughters (age 15-22) which extended to boyfriends and friends throughout our visit. No less than 4 and up to 10 extra beds were scattered on the floors welcoming the extended clan. I wish I had a friend as generous as them when I was a teen.
Jean, Zoe, Martilief and friend on deck of Janus' house
This sports paradise boasts fabulous trails for hikers, mountain bikers, horse riders and canoeists. The highlight of the area is undoubtedly the rivers, beaches and the bay with its ideal conditions for all facets of watersports, including sailing in the safe waters of the Bay, superb rock and surf fishing and scuba diving spots. Alternately one can simply stroll along its clean, sandy beaches stretching for miles along the Indian Ocean or enjoy its safe swimming areas. In winter, the endangered southern right whale evidently comes to calve which my sister-in-law said was a site to be seen.
Elizabeth and Janus were generous in their hospitality, braiis (BBQs) and showing us the area. At 6 AM they insisted we arise (with much chagrin) to hike at Robbins Reserve, a peninsula overlooking the Indian Ocean. On our hike we were surpassed by a dozen fisherman who were marching to the point to fish for shark. With large rods and heads of some other fish stuck in their sacks they hoped to catch a shark, take a photo and throw it back. Good Luck I say!!!
Jean and Elizabeth (our sister-in-law) hiking at Robbins Reserve
The hike was spectacular and good for the soul and my weary legs. Up, down, up , down and around we climbed for five hours. Later we headed back into town for a hearty brunch at the restaurant overlooking the ocean. Meanwhile Zoe-Pascale was visiting her cousin Jana and Martlief who she has fallen in love with once again.
That evening they took us for another braii (the south africans can't get enough of a BBQ) overlooking the ocean - a time to just talk, laugh, and enjoy being together.
As always we try to find something special for Zoe. This time it was the Monkey Sanctuary. Dragging along her cousin Jana and boyfriend plus Ouma we marched through the open monkey jungle watching them sing and dance. The guide told us that most of their monkeys are given to them by people who realize that they cannot keep them as pets. Monkeys evidently have a pecking order in which they always try to be on top. Once they get pass the little baby stage and are no longer just cute, they become rambunctious, aggressive and disorderly. Therefore if you were thinking of getting a monkey for a pet, think again.
The bird sanctuary was beautiful with it's wooden paths, waterfalls, jungle atmosphere and wide display of african birds.
We missed the Elephant Park this trip as well as a thousand other things we could have done. But if you are in this area a stay at Plettenberg Bay is definitely worth it.
Jana (zoe's cousin) me, zoe, Jana's boyfriend, and Ouma