PHIL: Well, so much has happened since I last wrote - we're now in Jeffreys Bay at Island Vibe hostel, the surf capital of South Africa and my favourite place so far bar Cape Town! We arrived here last Saturday (a week yest) and leave tonight on the Baz Bus :-(
In brief what we've done since last wrote: Went to Castle of Good Hope in Cape Town (bit boring); Mark & Paul made it to Robben Island which they loved; We used the Baz Bus for the first time and went to Mossel Bay - a lovely place with gorgeous beach but our hostel, Santo Express Train Lodge, wasn't too cracky - the idea of it was great: a train parked on the beach (!!!) but the rooms were all tiny, it wasn't clean at all and it was sooooo hot! The 3rd day we were there it was so hot we couldn't handle sunbathing and doing nothing so we went to Botlierskop Game Reserve, which was brilliant!! Our guide, Stuart, was a total geek but hilarious. We were driven round in a beast of a truck and saw all sorts - lions, buffalo, rhinos, zebra, elephants, giraffes....!!It was amazing! We pulled up alongside 1 male and 1 female rhino, which were absolute beasts - definitely not something you want to get in the way of! Stuart was telling us about them and then he suddenly clapped his hands really loud and the rhinos panicked - the female ran off and the male jumped and then backed off, looking in our direction but never turning his back on us. It was scary - I felt sorry for them because I thought the male was going to charge us as we were suddenly a threat. But Stuart then (after we had all soiled our pants!) told us that white rhinos have really poor eyesight - they can only see us if you're within a metre of them. Phew!! Our next stop after Mossel Bay was Oudtshoorn which was great - a fab hostel called Backpackers Paradise, and it really was - it was a massive hostel with big gardens, swimming pool, tv rooms, bar and pool table, big lounge area, big kitchen....and the guy who ran it, Glen, was a right laugh! We met a really nice guy from Zimbabwe there and we went to the Cango Caves and to the Ostrich farm too!! - That was the funniest experience!! Before we got there though, the hostel had asked us if we wouldn't mind cycling down part of the 'Swartberg Pass' as there were 2 journalists writing a column for a magazine called GetAway and wanted photos of people cycling down. So we did that - it was awful! Ha! I hated every second! I don't know why, I loved cycling when I was younger but for some reason riding down this gravel dirttracks totally scared me - I was so worried about coming off and scraping myself along the gravel like I did at home when I was about 12! So I went about 2mph and poor Nathan went alongside me - I told him to go as I knew he was dying to, but he was a gent and stayed with me (and just got in a boo with me afterwards for spoiling his fun!!). Anyway the ostric farm - we thought it would be quite boring but the guide made it really interesting. He kept 'volunteering' us english for stuff - like Mark had to get in the pen with 'tame' 'Betsie' and get a kiss from her! - He had to put some feed between his lips and she pecked it off him! Then I had to get in and get a 'back massage' (don't ask!!) and then it was time to ride them - he kept picking on me so I had to go first! And it was the funniest thing I've ever done!! - Mine was called Killer and it went so fast I thought it was goona jump the fence at one point, I was screaming 'WOOHOO!!' like a fool and nearly fell off when it sudenly turned but didn't until the other side when the jockes eventually shouted "let go" and they grabbed my arms and pulled me off the back. Mark and Paul had a go which I think Mark's told you about - it was hilarious, and put it this way, nobody else wanted to hav a go after them!!; We've been to Knysna where we visted the Elephant Park - a great experience as we got to feed them!!; Then Plettenberg Bay which was a nice and trendy area but quite quiet; then Storms River for 2 nights where me and Paul did the bungy jump!!! It was brilliant!! 216 scary metres of pure excitement!!! Just walking the bridge to get to the jump site was flipping scary enough, but when you get to the very edge and have to stand with your toes curled over the edge and look down.......woah!! Amazing!! The crew on the bridge were mental, so funny - they got oyu all psyched up and the dance music's booming out so you get so excited......loved it! Mark and Nathan were scared for us just watching us from the pub at the registration point! - they could watch us on the tv monitor and they wnt outside too and took pictures of us doing it (see photos). We both got the dvd they take too, which is ace but I don't think we'll be able to get it on here so I'll try gt them on our facebook sites. They took proper pictures too so we bought the cd of those and have nearly put them all on here I think!
So yea, since all this we have been here in Jeffreys Bay for 8 days - the hostel is at the top of some steps down to the beach where the waves are amazing - that being why everyone from all the world comes here to surf. I've had so many 'moments' here - where I've just stopped and looked around and realised where I am and how lucky we are!! The view from our room is a dream and the atmosphere is amazing here - everyone here is in party mode so it's constantly drinking time and there's just no worries here - we have the sun, sea, surf and sambucas!!! We've met loads of people here and have made some great friends. We had a surfing lesson on Monday which was well cool - exhausting and such hard work, but cool - and pro surfers have been telling us that to be able to say we had our first lesson in 'J. Bay' is a surfers dream so that's ace! We've played volleyball with everyone and drank wine on the beach, we went horseriding which was just beautiful - it was like a scene out of a film - we went through all this grassy open land, along dirttracks and through woods and then came out on to the most amazing pure sand dunes!! - it was stunning....we galloped up and down the sand dunes and into the sea and along the shoreline....that really was fantastic! I am going to be really sad to leave this place - everything about it is perfect - and there's a beauty pizza delivery place just round the corner too so what more could I ask for??!!!
Next stop is Port Elizabeth for 2 nights and then probably on to Chintsa. So Port Elizabeth will be our 9th town along the route and the end of the first 'leg' of the Baz Bus, so we won't arrive there until late tonight, and then when we leave P.E. it will be early morning departure again as we start the 2nd leg.
Best get off now as tea is nearly ready - Pork Chops, mashed potato and veg - so we're not eating bad Mum!! Take care all, speak soon xxxxx