After re supplyIng in the famous surfing town of Jeffry’s Bay on the Indian Ocean and made famous in the surfing classic “The Endless Summer” (Cape Saint Francis -the perfect wave) we headed into the stretch of coast known as The Wild Coast – hundreds of kilometers of white sand, warm water and no towns. We made a couple of stops – one in the funky village of Port St Johns, a gritty little town in what was called in Aparteid times as The Transkii, and now popular with the backpacker set, then at a little Eco tourism place in the tribal Pondoland, on the East end of The Coast – Mtenturiverlodge.com – endless miles of white sand where eland and rhino come down to the beach, along with shipwrecks dotting the coast – from 300 year old Portugese traders that ran afoul to WWII liberty ships torpedoed trying to resupply England with Asian rubber.
Our next destination was the iMfolosi Reserve, founded in1895 and the oldest big game reserve in Africa. We stayed at Mpila which, unlike private reserves and its larger and more famous counterpart Kruger, has no perimeter fence save an electrified stand at 2 meters to keep the elephant out. This means that you can awake to lions,rhino, hyenas and other critters at your doorstep. This proves challenging when you Braai (that is, BBQ) – leave your food unattended and the hyenas -200 plus pounds of bone crushing power- will relieve you of your dinner. That being said, given a modicum of common sense African wild animals are much more predictable and manageable than your average CA freeway pack at rush hour. Big game hi lights: black and white rhino at close range, walking the bush and seeing them, while exposed and eye to eye, South Africans, South African parks, which are both wonderful and with great infrastructure.
Next installment: Close encounter – I mean a REALLY close encounter – with a massive bull elephant (we’re not dead yet!), walking the bush versus driving (both have their virtues) and thoughts on doing your own Africa ( it’s easier, more comfortable and less expensive than you think)
Pictures and video clips to follow when we have an Internet connection that is faster than the bush drum telegraph.
Bryan and Jane