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SOUTH AFRICA | Sunday, 19 January 2014 | Views [302]

In theory, after the shark cage trip, I had a full day in Cape Town to myself. Sadly the reality proved very different as I woke on the thursday morning, after a troubled nights sleep, feeling cold and very shivery, despite the fact it was 27 degrees outside! My day in Cape Town therefore turned in to a day in bed in my room. Thanks heavens for room service. Thankfully by Friday I was feeling better enough as I had a flight booked that afternoon to George where I was to spend the night.

The flight was one of the smoothest I’ve ever taken and, due to following the coast, the view out the window was superb. The scenery in this part of the country is fabulous and actually quite varied as you follow the coast. I arrived in George with no problems and caught my transfer to Acorn Lodge, the guesthouse I had booked for the night. Acorn lodge is a pleasant, slightly rustic little place where I was greeted with little ceremony but a great deal of welcome!

Having settled in to my room and changed it was off for supper. I’d asked Cathleen from Acorn for recommendations for a local restaurant and she had booked me in to a little Turkish place around the corner called Kafe Serefe. It was a great little place, with a very cosy atmosphere and on the night I was there even had a belly dancer going. (I have to admit, when dining alone, it’s quite hard knowing where to look when the dancer if performing for someone else but stood right by your table!) The food was great and, if you’re ever there I would definitely recommend the lamb’s liver cakes for your starter.

The highlight of the night for me had to be their wine list however. The moment I saw I could order a bottle of Old Man’s Blend red wine, I knew someone had tipped them off I was on my way!

The following morning I was picked up by Deb, who had just flown in to George and we set of for a place called Oudtshoorn to meet up with Amy and Travis. From there we drove to Cango Caves where Amy, Travis and I took the adventure tour and Deb took the standard tour. The adventure tour certainly lived up to its name. The cave system stretches around 5km of which the adventure tour goes about 1.something km in.  During the course of the walk you get to walk, crawl and squeeze through several tight places in order to visit parts of the caves the regular tour does not reach.

I have to report that I failed to finish the course. We got to a tunnel called The Chimney. It was a kneel down, squeeze in, twist and stand up kind of tunnel with a maximum diameter for the stand up bit of 43cm. I was feeling distinctly claustrophobic at this point and when the guide mentioned my shoulders may be a little broad for the tunnel I got even more so. I was the last of our group to try and having poked my head in and looked up I had what can only be described as a full on panic attack and respectfully declined to continue.

At this juncture I made my way solo, part way back along the route we had come, to where the guide had instructed me to wait for the rest. I have to say, it was worth declining the chimney as the solo part was an experience in itself. There were a couple of tricky bits to get back through and being able to do so on my own was amazing. I almost, almost but not quite, got to understand why people would do this. Making your way through a cave system when the only sounds you can hear are of your own making and there is no-one else around was a  very special moment. Mind you, if someone had come along about then and turned off the lights…

After this we headed back to Oudtshoorn for lunch. I can’t remember the name of the place but had the most amazing neck of lamb. Amy reliably assures me that Karoo lamb is the best in the world. I tried arguing the case for Welsh or New Zealand but, even after the neck of lamb for lunch, the best I could get was an agreement that I needed to eat more karoo lamb before I could give a really qualified opinion. I’m kinda looking forward to the research!

After lunch we headed back to George to drop off the hire car Deb had and then we headed south. We were aiming for, and made it to, Storm’s River Mouth Rest Camp. This delightful spot is in the Storm’s River National Marine Park and we have a chalet about 80m form the sea. I can’t say beach as most of this is rocks but this sound is amazing The surf really does boom here and the rollers are crashing in throughout the day.

The place is billed as between the forest and the sea and it certainly is that.  Our chalet backs onto the forest pretty much and, as I said, the sea is within 80m too. We arrived quite late so after supper and a quick look at the particularly clear night sky, until it clouded over, it was time for bed. We’re here for a couple more nights so I’m hoping at some point for a clear night sky as light pollution here is pretty much non-existent!

Today was spent pretty lazily until lunch time. The highlight of the morning being when Deb noticed I’d actually had one of the few shaves of my trip so far! We headed slightly further down the coast road from our chalet to the restaurant and visitor centre where we had a delightful lunch followed by a short, 30 minute, trip out into the bay and then up the gorge of the Storm’s River itself. Well, I think it was that gorge, but it was a gorge none the less. The rest of the afternoon had been spent catching up with this blog.

I’ve managed to update the shark pictures but will not be uploading and further pics until I get back to Joburg or find proper internet elsewhere, as I connected via my iPhone this afternoon and had 550MB of data eaten by Windows background processes as I uploaded the pics! (Luckily I got another 3GB for under £15 so it’s not as bad as it sounds!)

Anyhow, tomorrow is, in theory, the Bloukrans Bungee. We’re to be there around half nine and our jumps are scheduled between ten and eleven, so if you don’t hear anything from me after that then I guess there were rope issues! Otherwise I will let you know how I get on in the next day or so. Don’t hold your breath though, I’m having nightmares and panic attacks just thinking about it now so I currently have no idea if I will do it or not! Either way, wish me luck!


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