Elpis Chrysovergis

Elpis Chrysovergis

Jun 11 2014

Garden Route, Wild Coast and Durban

By Elpis
Our AfriQuest journey had to start from the most South-Western point of Africa and that would of course be the Cape of Good Hope. At that point, the cold waters of the Atlantic meets the warmer Indian Ocean. The Cape of Good Hope section of Table Mountain National Park is home to several species of antelope, eland, cape mountain zebras and of course baboons!

Leaving our beloved Mother City of Cape Town after almost 2.5 unforgettable years, our first stop was at Wilderness, a small seaside town on the Garden Route of the Southern Cape in Africa.  Undoubtedly, the place to stay there is the Beach House backpackers. This old house has beach white dorms with sea views and rooms with windows looking onto endless blue skies.

While being in Wilderness you should definitely visit the Kaaiman’s River Bridge. This elegantly curved bridge, built in 1953, was the first of its kind in South Africa, but now as the train is not operating anymore, it has become a very popular place to photograph. If you follow the railway lines from the bridge, you cannot miss Clifford. This guy, left his home 7 years ago and stumbled upon a cave! The cave is covered in shells, drift wood and all sorts of treasures found on the coast. It has a few comfortable looking beds and a long dining room table on a veranda with a stunning view of the ocean!

Further to the East, Knysna is famous for the indigenous forest as well as the fantastic views from the ‘’Knysna Heads’’, two dramatic cliffs guard the entrance to the lagoon of Knysna! Plettenberg bay, nicknamed Plet or Plett, is your next to do on the list! This small touristic hub with its superb beaches attracts lots of youngsters during the school holidays!

After passing the famous Bloukrans Bridge (for the brave ones, it is your chance to do the highest bungee jumping in the world), don’t even think not to stop at the stunning Storms River. A landscape of ultimate beauty comes into your eyes once you enter this little virgin village. Having the feeling that you are in a fairy-tale, Dijembe backpackers will blow you away with its natural beauty and its organic concept. Needless to mention, day trip to Tsitsikama National Park is a must!

Next stop in our trip was Jeffrey’s Bay, one of the best surfing destinations worldwide, especially Super Tubes. The vibe of the city is chilled and easy-going, and the waves are just unreal! Camping next to the ocean at Island Vibe backpackers was a difficult to beat situation.. Although not a fan of shopping, Billabong’s factory sales caught our attention and we had our little shopping therapy! After filming some amazing clips of the surfers in the water, we had to move on!

Passing quickly from Port Elizabeth (where we got special hospitality by Steffen, or Mr PE, and his family) and Port Alfred (the most amazing pineapples ever), we made it to the unique state of Transkei, the state where the Father of the Nation, Nelson Mandela, was born. Coffee Bay and specifically Coffee Shack backpackers was our next destination. The combination of many hills next to the ocean was giving the scenery a unique sight. The hike to the ‘’Hole in the Wall’’ is a definitely a must!

That was the first time we saw traditional Xhosa villages. Several families live together in thatched straight-walled rondavels. The Xhosa hut is one of the simpler structures and was developed in sparsely wooded areas, and therefore it is constructed principally of mud brick.  This is then plastered with mud, the whole being thatched with a conical roof.  Both the building and the decoration was traditionally the responsibility of women!

Last stop before we say goodbye to South Africa was the province of KwaZulu-Natal, the beautiful city of Durban. With its warm water, Durban is one of the most preferred places where South African spend their coastal holidays. Don’t miss out the Victoria or spice market, the Ushaka Marine World and Moses Mabhida Stadium that hosted few of the games of the FIFA World Cup in 2010. If cycling is your thing, hire a bicycle and explore the ‘’Golden Mile’’, the popular stretch of beachfront including the stunning promenade of Durban!

Our South African experience ended in the most amazing way. It doesn’t matter if you are in America, Australia or South Africa, the Greek hospitality is always unique! A bunch of awesome Greeks-Cypriots arranged accommodation for us in Durban, took us out for a dinner in a Greek restaurant, contributed financially in our AfriQuest and treated us like our family! There are no words to describe how thankful we feel.. Thank you SYHS Durban, you guys are sooooo special, we will never forget you :)


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