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TRAVELBUCKET

South Africa

FRIENDLY STRANGER

In a previous life the premises was a small surfboard factory, but was given a new life and was turned into a popular eatery situated in the friendly city of Port Elizabeth away from the tourist strip.  That is what makes it so nice to visit – you meet the friendly citizens of The Bay while having breakfast or lunch or a beer or whatever you fancy at that moment. My daughter took me for an early Sunday breakfast and what a nice surprise!  The mixed décor creates a fantastic relaxed atmosphere to create just the right mood to have something delicious from the varied menu. A first for me was the “craft” juice – something to the likes of craft beer, but a healthier option.  But do not forget that they also serve some craft beer here!  This is not just a coffee shop but much more.  It was… Read more >

LIVINGSTONE AND STANLEY

While all wrapped up in winter woollies we traversed the Outeniqua pass towards Oudtshoorn before sunrise.  Our aim for the day was Minwater 4×4 (owned by Louis Jordaan) near Oudtshoorn with Livingstone the Landy accompanied by Stanley (the coffee flask) – two true explorers side by side! As the sun was starting to lift its head there was time for a quick early morning cup of coffee  and a rusk with Stanley providing the hot water source.   It was on the chilly side so  we did not linger long before we continued the drive. The sun was slow to rise and the shadows cold and deep.  We had breakfast while the fog was still hanging low over Oudtshoorn and the valley down below.  What a privilege to live in Africa and enjoy life from the window of your old Land Rover. We all enjoyed a nice day out in… Read more >

MILLWOOD GOLDFIELDS

Deep in the heart of the Knysna forest a story of hope to find that elusive gold nugget unfolds when one visits the forgotten town of Millwood    Every time I visit I just wonder what life must have been like in those years … So here is the story. Back in 1886 Millwood was a bustling gold mining town patched together by the dreams, greed and hope for riches that comes with gold digging.  The rumour of gold was enough to draw people from wide and afar.  Yet, after no substantial gold-bearing reefs were found Millwood was reduced to a ghost town amongst the ferns.  Today the only buildings that are left of this once booming time is Moterolli’s coffee shop and the Pitt Street Cottage with its yellowwood floors and ceiling next to it that offers accommodation. The gold rush started when Ruigtevlei farmer, James Hooper, found a small… Read more >

FORESTS & FERNS

We spent the weekend at Forest Edge chalets on the edge of the magical Knysna forest in the Rheenendal area.  These cottages are located just a couple of minutes’ drive from the memorial of Dalene Matthee, a renowned South African writer, at Krisjan-se-Nek.  This was her favorite spot in the Knysna Forest. Through Dalene Matthee’s books, the stories of the Knysna forest took on a new life.  We followed Saul barnard and Old Foot on the forest footpaths in Circles in a Forest.  We got to know the people of the forest in Fiela’s Child and the Mulberry Forest.  And we got a glimpse of the magic of the forest through Karoliena Kapp in Dream Forest.  En excerpt from :  www.dalenematthee.co.za   It was a weekend filled with the happy chirping of birds in the morning when the sun rises, the humming of bees, getting into bed at night when… Read more >

LONG AND WINDING ROADS

It was already late in the afternoon when we left home base on 31 December 2013 with our bikes to spend New Year’s eve somewhere in the quiet Karoo.  The road will lead us to Rietbron.  As everyone was heading for the coast the roads were busy, but luckily we were heading in the opposite direction to Rietbron – never been there before, so we did not know what to expect!. Our first break was in the beautiful Meiringspoort.  It was hot.  Time for a drinks and smoke break while taking a short breather.  Soon after exiting the poort  we turned right and were on the back roads of the Karoo.  No traffic and only silence.  A 100 kms of gravel roads lay ahead of us before we reached Rietbron.   It started off with a nice gravel ride with views over the wide open veld .  Further into the… Read more >

THE FOREST VILLAGE

Hubby spoiled me with a quick, but welcome, road trip while he was on his home break  from his bush work somewhere in Africa.  We zippied  along the N2 in the Garden Route and through the green Tsitsikamma forests to the adrenaline filled little village of Storms River situated halfway between Port Elizabeth and George. Walking in the village you cannot imagine that yellowwood was actually used for railway sleepers in this forest community in the early 1800’s.   At the turn of the 1800’s Frank Mangold purchased several properties in the village and built a house and established several other businesses.  Today there are still not a lot of businesses in the sleepy village, but if you are an adrenaline junky this is the place to do a canopy tour and maybe catch a glimpse of the rare Knysna Loerie with its reds wings gliding from tree to tree or… Read more >

SANCCOB PORT ELIZABETH (PREVIOUSLY KNOWN AS SAMREC)

SAMREC (SA Marine Rehabilitation and Education Centre) is Port Elizabeth’s marine rehabilitation centre situated in the Cape Recife Nature Reserve. At the centre you can interact with some African penguins, (also known as the jackass penguin and black-footed penguin) a ganet and cormorant or whatever type of bird that they rescue and is on the road to recovery.  Once extremely numerous, the African penguin is declining in numbers due to a combination of threats and is classified as endangered. (In fact more endangered than our precious rhinos).  Penguins mate for life and they recognize each other according to the amount of black spots on their chests – it works something like the human’s fingerprints – not one penguin’s marking is the same than the next one.  Penguins have an average life span of 10 to 27 years, but in captivity they easily reach the age of 30. The African penguin is only found… Read more >

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