Well after an amazing few days where Rich and I got married it was time to head on our amazing honeymoon. Running on adrenaline we headed to the airport and checked in, including our 'just married' luggage tag courteously from my school friends. We had a little wrap from Leon as a snack before our flight. On the flight I watched 'Revenant' with Leo DiCaprio and had my meal and then fell asleep. The lack of sleep during the week meant I was severely exhausted which boded well for a decent sleep on the flight. When I woke up it was almost time for breakfast. We then had a stopover in Johannesburg for about 2 hours before a flight to Cape Town. The queues at passport control were ridiculous, so slow and I was worried we would miss our connecting flight but we were ok. For our next flight which was 2.5 hours, Rich had got us an upgrade by bidding for it. We were able to go and use the lounges which were nice. It was lovely, having comfy reclining seats and we had a light snack of three different appetisers. It's definitely a luxury I could get used to.
When we landed in Cape Town we collected our luggage and headed for Europcar. Our car was an automatic Honda with about 8 seats in it. We set up the sat nav and headed on our way. Rich had been told not to stop once heading to Cape Town as there were lots of town ships which were not very safe. We headed on the motorway past these and it only took about 25 mins to get into the centre. We were staying at the Blackheath lodge which was setback, up a hill from the sea. When we arrived there was a guy who was incredibly friendly, he gave us the rundown of the hotel and a map we could use. He also advised we get taxis at night. We had a soft drink and he gave us luggage tags which had my new married name on, it was quite strange to see it written down. He offered us an upgrade if we wanted to pay but we were not going to be in the room that long and our room was gorgeous. There was a small pool and the eating area overlooked this. They had a small area to make tea and cakes and biscuits which was a nice touch and the fudge was delicious. Our room had a high ceiling and a lovely cushioned window seat which I would love to have in my home! They had dressing robes as well we could use. After resting for a short while we headed off on foot, we walked around the seafront. There was a massive sunglasses statue which looked out to sea. The waves were pretty wild out there and it was a pretty walk. It took about 40 minutes to get to the V&A waterfront. It was a shopping and eating area and had a London eye style wheel there. We went to Hennes and rich got a new pair of sunnies for 75rand. It was about the same price as back home, maybe slightly cheaper. After a wander around and taking a pic at the table mountain frame with it in the background we decided on a place for dinner which looked busy. It was one called leave your husband here or something. We got a table outside which was on the waterfront by the port and had our first cocktail, or mine at least. The sunset was really pretty here and it was a mild evening. We ordered a fish platter which was pretty special, calamari, fish, prawns, chips and rice platter for 600. We hadn't long settled into eating when the seagulls came and attacked and made off with some food. When they came back for a second round we decided to move inside. After finishing up our feast we got a taxi back which was about 50 rand, so really cheap, we were liking SA so far.
On Tuesday we had a lovely breakfast and it was a beautiful warm day. They had cereals and pastries you could help yourself to and would cook a hot breakfast, I had a poached egg with avocado, sausage, mushrooms and toast. We set off for Table Mountain which was only about 15 mins away. We drove up the windy road to it and were indicated to park up by a guy in a yellow vest. Rich had read that there are parking attendants all over SA and you tip them after. We walked the last part up to the office. We bought our tickets for 480 and headed for the cable car. You could take your picture in front of a green screen to superimpose you into a pic with Table Mountain and pick up the picture later. We got the 360degrees rotating cable car to the top, an elderly man got on and Rich told him that it would move but he tried to hold on but a woman came along and told him to let go of the bar and let it move him around. We got to the top and there was a restaurant up there and we walked around the top, it had a stunning view of the coastline. We wandered around for about an hour and a half checking out the rocky landscape. Rich managed to break his flip flops in our travels. They had a round statue which pointed in the direction to countries with distances. It was really gorgeous to look down over Cape Town and see the stadium and town. We went down a steep set of stairs and up the other side. It was really rocky and flat and there were stones piled up on top of each other, whether someone did it deliberately who knows but looked a bit like the pinnacles in Australia. We eventually headed back to the main part and took a pic next to a sign for Table Mountain before we headed down. We then headed down the west side of the peninsular to head to the Cape of Good Hope. There were loads of traffic and the journey should have taken an hour but took close to two. There was a train line which ran alongside the coast line. We had to avoid the Mitchell plan which is meant to be the dodgiest part in the area. We header for Boulders where there were load of penguins, we walked along a boardwalk and found the entrance into it which was 130. You could see them in the bushes and there were these kind of barallels to allow them to go and nest their eggs. When we got to the beach end there were loads of penguins, babies and all. Some had fun going into the sea for a swim and we took lots of pics. There was a separate beach you could go onto but there were only a few people allowed and it was always busy so we didn't get a chance to go onto it. We went and ate at a café next door before we left and I had a chicken burger and juice. We the headed for the Cape of Good Hope as time was ticking along. We paid 40 for a toll into the park, we drove for a bit longer once inside to get to the car park. We walked up and got a train which was 96 up to the steep part of it. We walked up to the lighthouse which has been built but basically was too high and wasn't useful so they had to build a smaller one but they kept this one for tourism. We saw the new one when we went to the end so walked down to it which took about 10 mins or so and got a few pics. Two oceans collide there which is nice to see, the other time I saw that was in New Zealand up in Cape Regina. There was a beautiful white beach which Rich had hoped we could walk down into but the trail was a 1.5 hours and we didn't have enough sunlight to do it as the sun was setting around 6pm. That was a real shame as it looked stunning.
We set off on our drive back up the eastern side and the sun was starting to set quickly. It was beautiful and we stopped multiple times for pics. One place was the Chapmans pass which had a beautiful red sunset for us to admire. We went through Hawk bay and Camps bay. Rich sister in law Blair lived in Camps Bay when younger. We stopped on our travels for water and an adapter. The plugs were different in SA although the hotel did have an English one as well. We got back and showered up ready for our meal out. Rich had booked the Pot luck club, which was a quirky place hidden amongst a building, it had a Hoxton feel to it. It served small tapas style dishes that were uncommon, chickpea fries, lamb carpaccio, fish tacos and other yummy dishes. I ordered a few different cocktails to enjoy with this. It had a really nice vibe to it and was high up so had a good view of Cape Town. This was one of our most expensive meals at 1334rand but still very cheap for a fancy restaurant. We got our taxi back to the hotel and chatted to our taxi driver who was from Burundi and couldn't go back as it was at war. He wanted to take his family there but couldn't yet until it settled down. It makes you realise how fortunate we are that we come from a 'fairly' civil country and are lucky to travel.
On Wednesday, the weather had changed and it was time to leave CT. We had our lovely breakfast again. Rich had woken up with a bad throat so we headed down the road to the pharmacy to get some stuff. The pharmacist recommended a spray to clear it. We packed up and went to the shopping mall so rich could get some havianas. He picked a pair (349) and I got two tops in hennes (449) plus Rich got a lunch roll as Rich barely touched his breakfast and we wandered back to get on the road. It only took a few hours to drive to Hermanus and was a gorgeous coastal drive. The weather was really changing and we stopped to take a picture and the wind nearly blew us off the road. We went past more townships and through Gordons Bay. In Hermanus we stayed at the 183 Marine Beachfront guest house. It was set on the coast front and was really lovely. They offered to upgrade us into one of their nicer rooms which was lovely of them as it was so quiet. All the rooms looked gorgeous and initially we were going to stay in one room as it had a door onto the balcony. They said it was going to be really stormy and that room could be noisy so we moved into the other room called the Coral room. This had a lovely bath which had a small window which looked into the sea. They also put a little bottle of champagne into the communal fridge for us. We went for a walk along the coast front, it was so windy. They had these cute little plaques on the walk way with quotes, messages to people, dedications, pictures etc. Later that evening the hotel owner recommended the Pear tree for dinner if we wanted good food so we headed there. We had a little walk around and saw another restaurant he said was good for décor and took a pic with a big whale statue and a fountain. We had a very enthusiastic waiter called Chengo. We had prawns and calamari for starters and I had a chicken and sweet potato curry for dinner. I also had a vanilla milkshake which was served out of a jam jar. It was a very cute restaurant. Later that night we headed back and a nice woman did our turn down. We told her it was our honeymoon and had a little chat. When we went into the room, the bed was made up with petals and chocolates. I decided to have a bath as I don't often and hey, whilst on honeymoon!
On Thursday we had a lovely breakfast. They had decorated the table with little table confetti and the owner came over to say she didn't realise it was our honeymoon and they like to make a special deal for it. She offered us champagne but we agreed on appletiser (hardcore). We had the table looking out onto the ocean and it was lovely. We could have cereal and then the cook made us a lovely egg muffin with cheese in it, never had one like that before but it was so good. When we checked out they gave us a lovely shell as a nice memory. We left Hermanus and headed for the Garden Route Game Lodge. As we checked out we left another tip in the box for the staff. We stopped along the way and went to a supermarket and got water and crisps for the trip. I also picked up exfoliating mitts as I needed to scrub my tan off as it was looking really odd. We filled up on petrol. In SA there are attendants and they do the petrol and clean your windscreen as well. Fuel was really cheap over there and we only spent about 320 for half a tank.
We arrived at the Garden Route Game Lodge around 3pm an hour ahead of the first drive. We went and checked in and had a little look around. Our room had champagne, strawberries, fudge and some truffles. We met at 4 and were put into a group with Hans and were in a jeep with a roof. We were with about 4 other people. We saw some animals very quickly. Luckily the cheetah had made a kill that day (a springbok) so was in a spot the ranger spotted easily. It took me ages to see him and I had to use the camera lens which Rich bought me with a zoom to see her. Hans made sure we saw a large range of the animals. We saw wilder beast, springbok, rhino, ostrich, antelope, water buffalo, birds, giraffe, yellow monk house and even a hippo. He took us to a big pond and the hippos surfaced a few times which was good to see, they are very dangerous and account for a lot of deaths in the world as they attack people doing their washing in the rivers. Later on when we were returning to camp the people on the tour spotted the water buffalo's chasing the cheetah. We got closer and someone spotted the cheetah hiding in the bush with the buffalo nearby. The ranger said if they catch the cheetah then its game over. They had attempted to put a domesticated cheetah into the range and it had a tracker. 24 hours later they found the tracker and a bit of skin and nothing else. There were only 2 cheetahs in the park, male and female and they stayed well away from each other. The buffalo spotted the cheetah and gave chase and it was so close to our vehicle, it was so amazing to watch but luckily the cheetah got away. We headed back to camp and Hans built a big fire and we had some hot chocolate and a shot of port to warm us up. After the drive, it was straight to dinner for the buffet. We were directed to a candlelit dinner which was in the lodge which overlooked the game reserve, it was gorgeous with an open fire. We tried wilder beast and ostrich for diner and they were tasty. For dessert I had a crème Brule.
The next morning on Friday we set off for the elephant enclosure, they keep the elephants separately purely as they trample and destroy trees... so until it expands they are kept in a separate area, a massive one I might add. We saw them at the waterhole as the sun was rising and they were the most beautiful pictures. It was an older male and a younger one. It was absolutely freezing and I was wearing about 5 layers! Luckily I used the poncho as well but when we got back to camp Rich said my lips were blue. We saw a family of Zebra's, they normally travel in packs of 5 with the make at the back keeping watch. There was a mum with her young baby who was feeding which was sweet. At the sun was rising we headed onwards and there were some gorgeous shots with a stag looking animal (an Eland) on the hilltop with the sun rising behind them. It was another gorgeous shot. We headed for the lion pen but it was a really misty morning and they were sat really far away so we couldn't get any closer as Hans didn't want to lay new car tracks as they are disruptive to the animals. It was a shame. The lions are also kept separate and have some springbok in with them but they get fed once a week so don't really need to hunt. There was one lion and 3 lionesses and the youngest lioness was 5. Again they didn't want to release the lions in with all other animals until they had more space or they could kill a lot of the other animals, even though there was loads of room and animals. They also were not allowed to breed as that was what they agreed with the charity who had rehomed them. I think they found that lions could be abandoned so they didn't allow for any breeding. We tipped Hans before we headed off as we were getting put with another ranger to have a different experience.
We headed back to the lodge and had breakfast. They had a buffet but you could choose eggs of any kind to be made, we would not go hungry here! We had to go to the centre for 10.15 to be picked up for our massage at 10.30. It was set upon the ground and was next door to Hans's house. It was only a half an hour one but was very nice, I almost fell asleep. We gave them a tip of 300. When we got back to the main camp we then went for a walk around the ground and found 2 cheetah's in 2 separate sections. They walked around once we approached but they were in separate areas so seemed to be staring each other out. I was so shocked, we asked Hans later about it and he seemed a bit embarrassed and said they had trialled a petting section but it didn't really work so they were rehoming the cheetahs. I guess not many people go explore the surrounding grounds. We walked around the ground and there were some animals watching us, I think wilderbeast when we tried to walk down the centre path so we walked around the other side. I am sure they wouldn't have done anything but we didn't want to risk it. We then went into the reptile centre which had loads of snakes in different areas, Rich loved them!! Outside there were crocodiles in separate areas and we saw a few tortoises. There was a massive one. After our mini adventure we went and sat by the pool. It wasn't really hot but nice to read and relax.
For the Friday evening game drive we had to switch cars and had Tim as our ranger. We headed first for the white rhino's and spent quite a long time there watching the mum and baby eat. Rhino's stay with their mum for 3 years typically. They eat for up to 14 hours a day. You could tell they were Tim's fav animal. He said there was a team that watched the rhinos as people always tried to steal them to take their tusks and kill them. It was so sad as their population is dwindling quickly and will be extinct one day. These little birds were around their feet and apparently it is because they get the worms etc. when the rhinos are grazing.. It was so cute to watch them jumping around.. Rhinos are also very blind! But their ears stretch around to hear people or animals approaching. We had a couple in our car and the guy was a bit of a dush, he just asked silly questions and thought he was really funny! We headed for the lion enclosure and the dush then decided to ask about a toilet, like really? Should have let him go in the lion pen J Luckily we found the lions perched down relaxing so we drove quite close to them and watched them. Up closer they were really beautiful, absolutely amazing looking animals. After a while one of the lionesses started to walk towards our car. Later on that night as it was getting dark we saw the male cheetah and he walked close to our car and to the top of the hill, with the moonlight in the background it was another epic shot of his silhouette. That evening we tried some springbok for dinner as part of our main.
Saturday was our last morning at the reserve before we headed to Knynsa. It was not as cold as the previous morning thankfully and I had even added a few extra layers. We headed for the lions and they there were sat by the fences. A few of the vehicles were watching them. Tim took us inside to try and get closer to the lions. When we went to leave one of the lionesses was sat near the entrance and kept an eye on us, eventually she looked away so Tim felt it was ok to pass. We went and saw the giraffes and I spotted a 3rd one in the trees, Tim explained it was a girl. The young males mum had died so they brought in a girl to breed with. Sadly the mother giraffe had a tooth problem so when they tried to sedate her she ran off and over a cliff L He said giraffes have no sense of height. He explained that they have 4 pressure chambers as they mostly have their head down grazing otherwise they would lose consciousness. He said that the father was starting to see his son as competition for the female's attention and had made very territorial gestures. When we headed back we saw the elephants trying to break free, there is electric wiring on the ground to stop them moving into the other section. Tim told us that before when the wires were lower, the elephants realised they could throw sand on top of the wires and they could then pass. The dad was found further across the estate, they were always looking for a way to escape. The younger male was testing throwing branches onto the wires to see if they could break the wire. They are such intelligent animals, I think they are my favourite and maybe lions. Giraffes was Rich's favourite. The ostrich was not far away and seemed to want attention from the cars. Apparently the elephant has the biggest brain but the ostrich has the smallest and are quite stupid. We then went to see the other two rhinos of the reserve who were sleeping in the mud quite peacefully. After we headed back and tipped Tim, along with a few other people, some tight people didn't. Hans and Tim were both great rangers and we definitely saw the most animals with Hans and heard some great stories but Tim was a lovely guy and really cared about the animals and shared lots of facts.
We had our breakfast and then set off and it took about a 2 hour drive to get to Knysna. We arrived at the gorgeous costal town and were staying at the Alexandra hotel. We got there around 12.15 and the manager was not best pleased with us as he was still preparing our room so asked us to go get some lunch. We went off for a drive down to the beach part and walked around there for a while. The waves were spectacular and it was a lovely day, it was very rocky and there was a place you could sit and watch the waves come in. We then went to have a bit to eat even though we weren't very hungry. We headed for a place that the manager recommended but this was closed for a month so we went next door to one called Senza. We had some sea calamari and focaccia which was ok but not the best we have eaten so far. After that we headed back to the hotel, and met Travis again who was a bit more chilled this time around. He congratulated us on our wedding and said we had been upgraded. He took us to the top floor and we went into a massive room with champagne and petals on the floor. It had a big bathroom with a deep bath in it and a double sink and shower. There was a balcony with a mini swimming pool in it. He soon realised the TV would not change over, owing to a lightning strike the other week. After 10 mins he came back and said we had to move, I was like "no don't worry"! He picked up some of our bits and headed across the hall. Rich looked back at me and was like 'WOW' the room or could say small apartment was massive. We had a living room with a big open plan bedroom with a steam/shower and deep bath and a gas fire and tv, plus a closet. It also had a bigger balcony and a Jacuzzi, we were loving it!! After settling in, we stayed in the apartment for the rest of the day until dinner time. Travis also booked us into a place for dinner he recommended called the anchorage. We had a driver called Luca who took us in the car and picked us up. It was a quirky seaside themed restaurant with a boat on the side of the wall. I opted to have pepper stuffed with cheese and prawn and a fillet steak. The food was AMAZING!!! Easily one of the best meals whilst in SA. I had a gin, vodka and Turkish delight cocktail. We finished off by having a baileys shot on the house from them. It was an amazing dinner.
On Sunday we went down for breakfast and we were in for another treat! There was an array of food from cereals, to cakes, muffins, cheese, hams, pickles, pastries and then you could choose a cooked breakfast of some kind. I tried the Alexandra benedict egg which had salmon on it and a poached egg but some spice. It was delicious and I felt very fat after eating it. We decided to take a drive to Plattenburg bay which was about half an hour away. We parked near the beach and went for a big walk along it. It was really gorgeous, on the way back I spotted a dead seal washed up on the beach L When we got back to the carpark we tipped the attendant as normal and as I got in the car he was saying about a friend who had been stabbed in the arm after trying to stop a car being broken into. Clearly he wasn't impressed with our tip but it was the same as we paid others and we were only gone for an hour or so. We then popped to the old nick shop which Travis recommended. It was a lovely few shops set on a nice bit of land selling, painting, arts and crafts, soaps etc. Afterwards we headed back for our massage at 4. We tried to use the hot tub but the switch kept tripping (electrics) so it wouldn't work unfortunately. We both had a massage and by golly gosh it was one of the hardest massages I have had. I was literally clenched teeth through it but I knew my body needed it and it would do me good. The therapist said my spine was quite tight and particularly my left shoulder. Later on we went to Degree 35 for a fish and chip supper. We were joined by some new guests to the hotel (the only other ones) a lovely young German couple so we ate together and talked about our trips and lives. I had prawns for starter and fish and chips for dinner which were delicious and then we set off with Luca, obviously tipping him for his efforts. We were sad to have to leave the hotel and check out was 11am. So we stayed as long as we could, it was one of the best upgrades ever and such a luxury!
We headed off towards Port Elizabeth which was going to take a few hours with some stops along the way. We saw a baboon on our trip and went through some toll roads. We headed for the Tsitsikamma National Park which was 180 to go into as a day guest. We parked up and there were some otters sat by the side and would hide in the bushes when people approached. As it was around 12ish we set off on a hike to the suspension bridge, it said it was around 1-1.5 hours. It was a beautiful trail and the waves were amazing. We saw some kayakers heading off to sea and around the rocky sides. We went over the first suspension bridge and went down to a rocky beach and we took a pic of an Indian family, they were visiting from Mumbai. They took one of us, we then headed back taking pics on the bridge. There was a second bridge as well. When we walked back we spotted a little beach we went down onto. Back at the main lodge we got some presents of teddies for our nieces and set off, on the way we hit some traffic which put us at a standstill. It turned out a truck had burnt out on the road and we were blocked. We were there for a good 45 mins before we could be on our way! When we got into Port Elizabeth we headed to drop the car off which was next to our hotel so we quickly checked over before we dropped the car back. We were really close to the airport so we went into it to get some dinner. I had a really big burger for my dinner with a milkshake. We headed back to the hotel for our early morning flight to Mauritius. Honeymoon part two was about to begin.