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TRAVELBUCKET

COUNTRIES VISITED

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Turn tables are interesting objects which not a lot of people know about or what its function is, unless you have a special interest in trains.  I grew up around trains, but never knew that the picturesque town of Knysna had a turn table tugged away in its bowels. This is just another hidden gem of the Garden Route.  So, what is a turn table all about? Or before we go there, why am I writing about a turn table of all things under the sun?  Because I think it is worthwhile to write about it as it is not something often seen in South Africa.  I discovered this one by accident in the beautiful town of Knysna, next to the waterfront at an almost forgotten spot next to a parking lot.    On your next visit in Knysna head over to this GPS location to see it:  S 34° 02.393… Read more >

WANDERING IN WILDERNESS

When you visit the beautiful village of Wilderness, that lies in the heart of the Garden Route, you will experience rivers, lakes, beaches and forest, all within easy reach of each other.  With many accommodations to choose from this is a perfect base to explore from.   You can spoil yourself with some good eateries, adventure activities (kloofing, abseiling, paragliding), excellent farmers markets and beach strolls.  So, why NOT visit Wilderness? This is South Africa’s own lakes district.  There are various bird hides along the lakes system that you can, well, hide in, to watch some bird life along the lakes.  Find Gullilule and Malachite Bird hides for some splendid bird activity along the lakes. The chances are good that you will be the only person in the hide.  By far one of the best kept secrets still in the Garden Route! Stop at Dolphin’s Point and enjoy the view both… Read more >

TIPS ON HOW TO NEGOTIATE AFRICAN ROADS

This post is mostly for the inexperienced first-time visitor/driver to the African continent.  Always remember that Africa is quite different than any other continent.  So be aware that you sometimes need to come out of your comfort zone to survive the continent.  Things that seems abnormal on other continents is sometimes quite normal in Africa! Check your tyres before you drive off. It sounds a bit foolish, but this can safe you some embarrassment if you just walk around your vehicle once to check if all your tyres are still okay and inflated to the correct pressure.  Now you are ready to hit the road and enjoy the rest of your trip.    Tyre compressors and gauges at garages, especially in remote locations, are not always correct.  Be aware of that.  We have a habit of using our own tyre pressure gauge that we carry in our cubbyhole.   Part of… Read more >

VLEESBAAI 4X4 DUNE ROUTE

We have been to the Vleesbaai 4×4 route many, many times in the past, but each and every time that we go it is something special as the dunes constantly shift and change its look with the seasons.  It is time for sun, sea and sand and happy holidays again.  Vleesbaai 4×4 route is the perfect destination for those windy and cloudy days when the weather does not want to play along for a beach visit.    Early morning when you are first on the route you will encounter many fresh spoor ­– some very cat-like (I was thinking in the direction of a vaalbos kat), small antelope, mice and birds.  As they say the early bird catches the worm or is it spoor in this case?  The interesting thing about this route is that it changes according to the time of day that you visit.  Early morning the sand… Read more >

GONJAH AND TOLBOS IN GAMTOOS VALLEY

It sounds like a children story title or, if you are adventurous, it might sound to you like the adventures of two travelers in some remote area. Well, you might be right whichever way your thoughts take you. All our special days, including birthdays, mother’s day, father’s day, Christmas and any other special day we can think of, is spent exploring different places. The Gamtoos Valley is quickly becoming one of our favourite places to explore. It was thus a no-brainer to spend Felicity’s birthday in the citrus capital of the Eastern Cape. Except, this time around there were no citrus involved, but instead we discovered another secluded campsite not to far off the main road. After spending a night in Baviaanskloof, it was time to meet the parents for a weekend camping and spoils for mom on her birthday. So after stopping of at Tolbos (more about this quaint… Read more >

PARING ELUSIVE FOREST ELEPHANTS AND MYSTICAL PHANTOM GIN

Reading the invite in my mailbox my imagination was immediately triggered.  This time around we were not invited to Phantom at the Opera, but to a Phantom ginning night in the mystical Knysna forest. It was time to broaden our horizons and travel to Knysna for the experience.  And what an experience it was!    The setting at The Cabin at Simola was exquisite with a view over the estuary to the one side and the haunting beauty of the Knysna forest on the other side, while sipping on some handcrafted gin. Life cannot get any better! The story of how the husband and wife team of Karel and Chantal started off in Worcester distilling gin in their living room to where they arrived at the name of Phantom for their gin is truly an inspiring story interlocked with all the mysteries the Knysna forest has to offer.  This includes the… Read more >

….. AND WE ARE OFF TO THE BAVIAANSKLOOF MEGA RESERVE

This will be our eighth escape to the magical world of the Baviaanskloof in the adventure province of the Eastern Cape!   From all of our trips we entered only once from the Eastern access gate and all the other times we entered through the Nuwekloof pass on the Willowmore side.   It does not make any difference from where you enter, the rugged beauty is always special to us.  On 15 March 2019 the catchment area of the Baviaanskloof had a down pour of about 75 mm in a time span of 40 minutes which caused huge damage to roads and alike.  Once through Raaskrans and crossing the first “drif” we noticed that big amounts of water rushed through the kloof.  Debris was hanging from trees to indicate the water’s reach.  This was the trend for the next two days – short and easy water crossing, longer water crossings, washed away… Read more >

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