AVIVA Homeward bound with Cape To Addo Tours : Part 3

Sunday was an early start and would be the longest time on the road and with bags packed in the trailer, we headed to Oudtshoorn where those who wanted to experience the Cango Wildlife Ranch did so, whilst others headed to the Cango Caves. The Cango Wildlife Ranch is an exceptionally well run, organised and aesthetically pleasing Safari Park. IMG_20150622_204007The animals are all in excellent condition, living in exhibits or enclosures which are natural to their normal habitats. IMG_20150828_163249

They have their own operating theatre and Animal Clinic where they get the most professional and best treatment that any animal could wish for. Everything in the entire park has been carefully considered to keep the animals safe, happy and stress-free. If time was not an issue, I could easily have spent half a day here.

 We had one more stop before reaching Cape Town and that was in Barrydale, a quaint town in the Klein Karoo, reportedly making the best milkshakes in the Southern Hemisphere, the entire world, in Africa! At first, what caught your eye immediately was the vast collection of petrol pumps, old bicycles, household items and old Barber chairs, a real blast from the past and it was no surprise the restaurant would be called Diesel & Crème.  IMG_20150828_164513

This place is on the tourist route if you are travelling Route 62 and is ultra-popular with old and young alike.

What meant to be a quick milkshake stop, turned out to be another culinary delight. All the burgers had unusual names and in some cases non-appetising names but the real deal caused little explosions on your tongue as you began eating the food.

We had one last stop to look out over False Bay with Gordon’s Bay, Strand and Somerset West beneath our feet. The only disappointment was the incredibly cold, gale-force wind that was blowing and the sun was pretty weak in the distance. I doubt anyone cared too much as we were all really quite tired and wanted to get home, freshen up and tumble into bed.

Well done Cape to Addo – loved the tour, Nico and Gareth were fantastic tour guides and it was every bit worthy of the price. Now can you invite me to go on the 6-day tour please!

AVIVA On Tour with Cape to Addo : Part 2

As there were 23 of us on tour, we drove up in two Quantum van’s and fortunately for us as we were the 2nd bus to depart, we were able to sleep late on Saturday morning.  A leisurely stretch out of bed, morning coffee, a refreshing shower meant that we could cherish one hour of a chillax snail pace speed.

Our first stop of the morning was the farmers market in Slow Town, aptly named because of the laid-back atmosphere of this beautiful town, and one of a handful of Slow Town’s around the world.  The majority of skipped breakfast as we were warned there would be tantalising food to eat and that our taste buds would colour us happy with sampling all the goodies.  IMG_0114Once the gap was filled, curios were bought, we headed to The Elephant Sanctuary in The Crags, Plettenberg Bay. Some volunteers opted for Monkeyland but Megan & I headed to see the Elephants as this was one project we were negotiating adding to our broad spectrum of projects.  Elephants are my great love (besides Rhino’s, Giraffe, Serval, Cheetah, Leopard which all feature high on my list of favourite wildlife animals) but to get up close with an Elephant was on my bucket list.

The guides are extremely tender with the Ellies and can read any body language sign.  I love the feel of the elephant, the soft patches, the rough patches and the hard patches. They are only youngsters but it is the aim of The Elephant Sanctuary to one day release them to make it out on their own.  Luckily for them, they will have each other.

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Megan and I were taken for a walk around the facility and explained what the volunteer would experience on this project. The facility and the accommodation is in the most peaceful and tranquil valley where forest of trees surround you for miles around.  This was a project we were excited to be introducing.  We chatted about ethical volunteering and none of their elephants have ever be trained, chained, beaten or harmed in any way.

Next stop – lunch and it was right next door to the Sanctuary.  They made the most-delicious-absolutely-to-die-for burgers and fries (the thin American-styled fries) and what better way to wash that down in the hot winter sun, but with an ICE cold Savannah.  By now I was thinking that Cape To Addo needed to introduce a Gourmet Food & Drink Tour as so far we have been surprised with the most awesome restaurants with the most magnificent meals on the menu.

Lunch was a lively chatter with quotes like “are you going to eat all of that … you do realise you might throw up your food whilst bungee jumping” or “I still don’t know if I am going to jump” and those who were outwardly brave were trying to make this adventure sound like a walk in the park.  As we crossed several bridges it was all laughs until we received the Bloukrans River Bridge and the words escaping the mouths of these young dare-devils made us laugh until our sides ached.  You would not catch me jumping from that bridge so a volunteer and I sat in the pub and watched it on the TV, whilst continuing to sip on ice cold apple cider.  It is good to have my fruit during the day and I was determined to keep my healthy attitude going during this tour.

IMG_20150726_145839After the jump and the volunteers had collected their certificates and picked up the video we headed back to Sedgefield. I have never seen a bunch of wound up, bouncing-off-the-ceiling youngsters, as this bunch.  The adrenaline rush was so great that we knew they had to come down from the high and then the crash came!  Within minutes they were all fast sleep and slept until we reached the Backpackers.  Me? I fell asleep too and woke myself up snorking like a little piglet which had everyone who was awake, laughing at me.  At least I was entertaining!

 

 

AVIVA Joins Cape to Addo Tour : Part 1

AVIVA were fortunate enough to be invited to join volunteers on a 3-day Cape to Addo Tour. Though we did not go all the way to the Addo Elephant Park (that is on the 6-day tour), we nonetheless had a blast of our lives.

We were uplifted picked up at the AVIVA Volunteer House at the wonderful dreadful hour of 5am which meant a 4am getting-out-of-the-bed-with-a-grunt-and-a-moan kind of thing, which I might add was not pleasant at all. Be that as it may, we cheerily greeted our tour guide, Nico, stumbled into the van, nestled comfortably into our seats and headed off to collect the next batch of volunteers and/or interns and/or language students and once everyone was present and counted for, we headed out of Cape Town.

First stop just-had-to-be the Engen One Stop in Somerset West, which is undoubtedly the best eat-and-run place at which to stop, when heading out on a road trip. After grabbing coffee and food-on-the-go, we headed to the Garden Route Game Lodge just outside of Mossel Bay for a game drive and to see the Big 5.

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All the Big 5 were out enjoying the beautiful sunshine and just in case you are interested, so were the flowers – fields of them.

Before we knew it, we were in Sedgefield and luckily in time to watch the sunset at Myoli Beach – the sun did not disappoint.  Some of us stayed at the top look-out point whilst others ventured down to the beach and onto the rocks for a bit of “me” time. Photographic evidence from a sober bunch of great peeps.

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Once at the house and having unpacked, freshened up, we ended the perfect day in the perfect way – braai, red wine, salad and chunky hot garlic bread.. IMG_20150214_222631 IMG_20150602_213338

One great thing about going on a tour is that you, as the passenger, are able to drink and enjoy knowing that you will not be driving.  So before long and after the dishes has been stacked into the dishwasher and the place was tidied, the volunteers headed to the Beach Bar for more drinking and socialising whilst others crept quietly into bed.

Soon we were all pushing out the zzzzzzz’s with such force dainty execution, that we did not hear them tumbling back into the house after a serious bit of socialising.

Next post = Day 2 …. and what a day it was!

A Big Fat Whale, Wine & Wors Tour

I was sitting at my desk minding my own business when all of a sudden an email dropped into my inbox and I was blown away into another dimension. I then went onto Social Media and there it was …. My Big Fat Whale, Wine & Wors Tour. I could not believe that 3 of my most fav things which is checking out the big whales, drinking copious amounts of wine and eating boerewors was attainable right under my pretty little nose! 11391139_873087992762731_5761010926052869014_n

Oh yes, Wine Flies has introduced a great 3 W’s tour – Whales, Wine and Wors and this is one tour I am not going to miss.  The whales are slowly making their way back to Hermanus and we all know that the warm winter sun, fresh air, wine and wors is the best cure to beat the winter blues.  The tour runs every Tuesday and Thursday from July until December so if you don’t catch me in the office on either one of these two day’s you will find me on tour! Then expect a blog post of note! I don’t want to spoil all the fun as to what one does on the Tour (what happens on the tour, stays on the tour) suffice to say, there will be a lot to see and a lot to do and your entire day is jam-packed from start to finish with Riaan, the tour operator, keep you entertained all the way.

The first stop is Stellenbosch to experience the Wine part of the tour.  I cannot think of anything nicer than starting the day drinking wine – make mine a full glass please!  After the wine tasting you will be whisked off to Grabouw for the second W of the tour – wors.  Braai Master’s will agree that Grabouw boerewors has all the flavours for an enjoyable meal. And what can compare to boerewors and apple cider tasting in Grabouw? This pairing I would simply label as awesome!  Leave me here and fetch me later, please.

Then it is off to Hermanus for Whale watching – I think at this time I would feel like a whale myself but the tour does not end here. More wine tasting to finish off the day before heading back to the city.  If you were traveling with me on this tour, you would have to excuse the snoring that you would hear coming from the back seat. This is one tour I think I could thoroughly enjoy with a couple of volunteers. Who is game?

Next tour is on the 16th July.