Some of us learn from the mistakes of others. The rest of us have to be the others.
I quickly came to realize that traveling by public transport in Southern Africa requires some planning and is more time-consuming than in Asia and Latin America (yes, I was told so before, but first had to experience it myself). Since I was still at the beginning of my travels and didn´t feel adventurous enough (yet) to rent a car on my own, I chose to go with the convenient solo traveler option, the 7-days-BazBus travel pass, which would allow me to hop-on & off at a few places along the Garden Route during a week (well, 5 days, even the tourist busses don´t run every day here 😉
It makes me laugh now, but I have to admit I felt a bit like Reese Witherspoon in “Wild” when I set up my tent for the first time, all by myself and just on time before the daylight was gone. After I had shared the campsite with a couple horses for two rainy days I decided to move into the dorm, but my brand-new 22€ tent passed the test and I am sure a few mosquitos were thankful they were kept dry.
It is a rainy evening and we have no electricity at the lodge (yes, load shedding again). Cat runs into the dorm, (almost) unnoticed.
German chick: Oh no, I am allergic.
Me & another German girl: Me too!
German chick: Get the cat out!!!
The brave German boyfriend tries to grab the cat, gets bitten, cat hides under the bed. Finally, the hero catches the cat, German chick opens the door. Cat has to go, but hold on, a bat comes in.
Everyone: Get the bat out!!!!!
The bat does not bother us at all that night and it is probably still hanging in the dorm.
And the Garden Route…
After three relaxing days at Wild Spirit I started to get used to the hippie life style there. Using the cold outdoor shower once a day started to require more effort, so it was time to move on to Knysna.
I wanted to go Kloofing, one of the adventure activities Knysna offers. However, no tour operators offered tours on those days due to the high water levels and after a Belgian guy had suffered a fatal Kloofing accident the day before. Instead two Dutch girls from the hostel invited me to join a township tour.
At the end I realized that the kids were probably in for the sweets, which the tour guide buys for them every time he visits the township, but they did get excited about taking their pictures 🙂
I didn´t want to leave Knysna without getting a good view of the lagoon. No better place for that than from The Heads.
Unfortunately, the viewpoint was outside of town and it turned out to be impossible to rent a bike on a Sunday. Even though I didn´t have much time left before I had to catch the bus (the next one wouldn´t run until two days later), I decided to give it a try and walk there. By the time I got to enjoy the beautiful views from The Heads I knew I was not going to make it back on time walking. On the last kilometre I had been debating with myself whether it was time to become more adventurous and get a lift back to Knysna (exactly, no hitch-hiking on my own in Africa). The only possible answer was “Yes”, so I hoped to be lucky and started to head downhill. It only took one car! I had barely lifted my thumb when the white car of an elderly couple from Johannesburg approached me, almost in slow-motion at 10km/h. Once more, not many places with people as helpful as in South Africa!
Seven days on the Garden Route without a rental car didn´t give me enough time to see Wilderness, Plettenberg Bay or any of the other places that were also recommended to me (I will have to come back :). I am enjoying my last sunset from the BazBus (thanks Joburgers) and am on my way to Hermanus where I hope to encounter my first big whites tomorrow morning (hence I had to finish the post…) Wish me luck 🙂