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Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Mossel Bay & African Oceans Guesthouse (Nov 8th)

Today we are staying in a beautiful room in a guest house called Africa Oceans. Apart from the safari, this is the most expensive night of our stay in South Africa, but it is definitely worth it.

The guesthouse isn't really in Mossel Bay itself, but it has a lovely setting and our room, the honeymoon suite has a big balcony with a great view over the beach and the ocean, a big plush bedroom, a kitchenette and a good sized bathroom, not to mention the fluffy bathrobes.


Honeymoon suite at African Oceans
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Here's the view from the balcony:


View from balcony at African Oceans
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We drove into Mossel Bay itself for lunch. It doesn't appear to be the most picturesque or exciting place, but there are plenty restuarants.

We spent the remainder of our afternoon after lunch just lazing by the pool and drinking some chilled vino on the balcony - bliss.


Swimming Pool at African Oceans
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There was a free minibus pickup service in the evening which you could use to go to any one of five different restaurants. We had a lovely seafood dinner in a resturant called the Kingfisher which was very nice.

Not a very eventful day, but relaxing and enjoyable and I would highly recommend the African Oceans guesthouse if you are looking for somewhere luxurious to relax. You can read more reviews of African Oceans here.

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Sunday, December 16, 2007

Knysna, Plettenberg Bay and the Elephants (Nov 7th)

Today we woke up early again with the light streaming through the light curtains in our room. We are staying at a place called Cunningham's Island Guest House which is on Leisure Island, a small island of about 4km in circumference reachable by a causeway from the mainland. The guest house is nice enough, but we were a little disappointed because we had booked a specific room after viewing it on the website and when we arrived we ended up in a different room, which we were told was still a deluxe room. The room was very pleasant but nothing like the room we had thought we were getting and if we had known this when we booked we probably wouldn't have come here. Here is a photo of our room, which was up some stairs and had a little balcony:



Our room at Cunningham Island Guesthouse
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And here is a photo of the rather horrible bathroom:


Nasty bathroom at Cunningham Island Guesthouse, Knysna


The woman who owned the place seemed a bit sour faced and nowhere near as friendly as the other places we have stayed at so far. I wouldn't go back there if I was staying in Knysna again.

After our breakfast of bacon and scrambled eggs we decided to take a quick look around the island, but took a wrong turning and ended up walking almost the whole circumference. It turned out to be a very pleasant walk - the sun was shining and it was a very sleepy, relaxed place with a pretty little beach.



Our room at Cunningham Island Guesthouse
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After our walk we took a trip to the Knysna Elephant park which is a park for orphaned elephants. After a quick film about the elephants we saw a gorgeous baby elephant who had been born in the park:



Baby Elephant
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We then met a few other elephants, took some photos and fed them. It was a bizarre experience feeding them - you just hold out the food and they pick it up with their trunks, or you can put it directly in their mouths, which was a bit too scary for my liking. Here is a photo of me feeding the elephants:


Feeding the Elephants
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And a couple of other photos of the gorgeous elephants - I must have taken at least 100 photos of them!



Knysna Elephants
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Knysna Elephants
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After the elephant park we took a quick visit to Plettenberg Bay for lunch - some grilled fish and salad in a bar beside the beach and took a walk along the beach.



Beach at Plettenberg Bay
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After lunch we drove to the centre of Knysna, which is about 30km from Plettenberg Bay and has a nice waterfront area. This area is almost like a mini version of the V&A Waterfront in Cape Town, with shops, restaurants and a marina.

We had a wander around, looked in a few shops and booked a restuarant for dinner. After so manybusy days it was nice to get the chance to sit next to the pool at the guesthouse and read for a while then relax in the room before going out for dinner.


Knysa
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Overall we had a good day and I would recommend Knysna as a base for touring the nearby areas of the garden route.

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Saturday, December 15, 2007

The Drive to Knysna (Nov 6th)

Today was a beautiful day, sunny with blue skies and not much wind - quite a contrast from yesterday. We had breakfast in the guesthouse then took a walk along the beach and took about a hundred photos of the huge waves, not quite managing to catch the dramaticness of them (is that a word?) on camera.


Cape St Francis
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Cape St Francis
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After our walk we started the drive to Knysna. The drive along this part of the Garden Route was very scenic, with lots of mountains, forests and coastline. We took a detour to the Tsitsikamma national park and down to Storm's River Mouth for a walk. There are quite a few walking trails in the park, both short and long and great views of the sea and the river mouth. There is also a restaurant and a shop here so it's a good place for a lunch break and it costs R40 per person to get into the park.



Beach at Storm's River Mouth
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We walked along one of the shorter trails and again took many photos of the waves, then it was back to the car to continue our journey.


Crashing Waves at Storm's River Mouth
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Our next stop was in Monkeyland and Birds of Eden. Monkeyland was full of monkeys that had previously been in captivity and/or living in poor conditions and were being rehabilitated into a better environment. It's a little forest with walkways that allow the visitors to have a look at the monkeys. You can see a few photos of them below:


Monkey Chilling Out in the Trees
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Monkey
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We had a short tour around Monkeyland and also visited Birds of Eden which is a great place to see lots of unusual birds flying around. This was pretty enjoyable apart from the bird that landed on Stuart's shoulder and started nibbling his ear - ouch!


Parrot
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Monkey
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