Jun 10

Road Trip Day 2: Oudtshoorn to Addo

Monday, June 28

Oudtshoorn, RSA to Addo, RSA (425km or 264mi)

We knew we were getting a late start on the road after enjoying Buffelsdrift, and then our visits to both the Cango Caves and the Cango Ostrich Farm.  We wanted to get driving back on the “Mountain Route” (Route 62) as quickly as possible so we would see as much of the landscape as we could while it was still light.  There wasn’t much hope of reaching Addo before dark though.  We headed out through Oudtshoorn, back to Route 62 and really enjoyed finishing this scenic drive.  We merged back with the N2 around Humansdorp for a quick shot to Port Elizabeth while listening to the day’s soccer game in multiple languages again on the radio.

The sun was starting to set at this point and we had a ways to go on the teeny tiny Route 335 in pitch black up the western edge of the park, through the village of Addo, to get to the Main Gate.  It was a hair-raising drive as semis would come barreling down towards us and there was not enough room on the road for both of us and no shoulder to drive on and no light to see if there was a safe soft shoulder to pull to the side.  In fact the highway was so narrow that the yellow line wasn’t painted on the asphalt; it was painted on the dirt to the side of the asphalt.  It was a nervous hour.  Somehow, Josh thought it would be better to get through this portion of the drive as quickly as possible, so we also did this at speed.

We were relieved to arrive at the gate.  We were welcomed by the park’s gatekeeper, who took down our information and reason for our visit, and then made sure that we knew that Ghana had “buried” the U.S. a few days ago.  After checking in and getting the key to our chalet, we got settled.  The chalet was large with a kitchen and bath – very comfy.  We ate dinner at the Main Camp’s restaurant.   While the food was unremarkable, we had a great bottle of South African Sauvignon Blanc from the Durbanville Hills winery.  We didn’t finish the wine with dinner so we took our bottle and glasses over to the outdoor picnic venue they had set up for World Cup viewing and watched the late game of Brazil versus Chile.  There was a group of Brazilians at the park who set up a table to watch the games with all their gear and flags and parked their car out front with an over-sized replica trophy strapped to the top – almost the size of the whole car.  They were a little over the top, but it was all in good fun.  We hit the hay early because we were both fighting African winter colds and so we could get up before the sun and see the most animals possible in the morning!

The second leg of the road trip:

Drive on Route 62:

Our accommodations at Addo:

Jun 10

Road Trip Day 2: Cango Ostrich Farm

Monday, June 28

Oudtshoorn, RSA

After driving back towards the city to get back on Route 62, we didn’t get far.  We realized we needed to visit a real ostrich farm if we were going to truly “do” Oudtshoorn.  We couldn’t drive past the Cango Ostrich Farm without stopping in for a tour.  After some lessons on the history of ostrich farming in South Africa and on ostriches themselves, we got to go and see the farm.  We got to “hug” ostriches, see some eggs, see the emus they have, watch some ostrich jockeys, and then Josh got an “ostrich massage”.  The guide had Josh hold the feed bucket in front him while a ton of the female ostriches craned their necks over and around his shoulders to get in the bucket.

Cango Ostrich Farm:

Getting our ostrich hugs:

This is the nicest female (which we hugged) and on the right is a dwarf ostrich female.  Every time they try to put her in a pen with another female, the big one beats her up, so she lives alone.

This is one of their emus:

The mating pairs have these houses to nest in:

A male, checking us out:

A look at all the pens:

Ostrich jockeys:

Josh getting his “massage” and really thinking about his earring!  From the beginning of the tour, the guide had been teasing Josh to watch his “shiny” earring because it was just the perfect shiny type of bauble (and height) that an ostrich would love to peck at and eat!

Josh checking the eggs:

The shells are super strong!

Jun 10

Road Trip Day 2: Cango Caves

Monday, June 28

Oudtshoorn, RSA

We knew we were in ostrich country, what we didn’t know is we were right by one of South Africa’s top tourist destinations: the Cango Caves (official site)!  Additionally, Jeannette is a sucker for caves and caverns.  So we drove on over to the caves before getting on the road and we were glad we did!  We had a great guide and really enjoyed the tour.

Jun 10

Road Trip Day 2: Breakfast at Buffelsdrift

Monday, June 28

Oudtshoorn, RSA

We woke up with the sun – and to hippos!  We had coffee in bed in the huge, fluffy, white robes.  We used the fun outdoor shower and then made our way to the main building for the buffet breakfast.  The hippos were at the corner of the watering hole closest to the restaurant – it was loads of fun to eat with the hippos.  And then elephants made an appearance too!  We walked around the whole camp before checking out and setting off on the rest of our drive to the Eastern Cape.  We LOVED the Buffelsdrift Game Lodge.

The morning sun outside our tent:

The view of the watering hole from our deck:

Our tent:

This wasn’t ours, but the wood enclosure on the side is the outdoor shower:

The main building and restaurant:

Hippos!  See the baby up in the right corner?

Hippo, Hippo!

Outdoor seating at the restaurant over the watering hole:

Watering hole:

Tracks from the night before:

Jeannette watching the hippos from the tent while waiting for Josh:

Panorama of whole resort:

Main building and restaurant:

Jun 10

Road Trip Day 1: Route 62 to Oudtshoorn

Sunday, June 27

Cape Town, RSA to Oudtshoorn, RSA (420km or 260mi)

As depressed people do, we slept in a bit after the USA loss… USA loss, Celtics loss… It all seemed so much.  We decided to go on a sports-soul healing drive across the entire Western Cape and on across the Eastern Cape as well.  Richard encouraged us that our previous plans of just taking 1 day to drive to Addo (where we had reservations for Monday & Tuesday night) and 1 day back was not long enough to enjoy the drive.  After sleeping off the heavy losses, we hung out with our South African family and made some reservations for Oudtshoorn (official site) for the night – in a place where Richard and Carol knew someone who had stayed there before and they highly recommended it.  Additionally, Richard had a spare cell phone and SIM card so we didn’t have to go buy another one!  Even though we had barely used our previous cell, having one available as needed made us feel so much more connected and able adjust plans as needed.  It was so kind of them to let us borrow theirs and it made everything right with our world again (well, other than our USA loss – wink, wink).

We had heard of the Garden Route before we got to South Africa, and knew that we wanted to drive that one way of our trip to Addo – but when we arrived we learned of Route 62 (wiki).  Richard again highly recommended this scenic drive to Addo.  It was a gorgeous route along the mountains, and the striking landscapes seemed to change drastically by the hour.  We rattled off comparisons we were familiar with as drove.  Here is just a short sampling of some the wildly varied places we were reminded in the quickly changing landscape of the drive:  Grand Canyon, American Southwest, Petrified Forest, Australian Outback (although we’ve never been), the Badlands, Washington State, and West Virginia.

To get to Route 62, first we drove N1 through the Winelands and through a mountain range using the Huguenot Tunnel.  At Worcester we turned East on R60.  R60 follows the mountains to R62 and is a gorgeous drive.  We stopped in Robertson (official site) at the Rooiberg Winery (as Richard had suggested), but they were closed on Sundays so we ate at Bourbon Street and had Rooiberg wine there.  We drove through the super cute towns of Montague (official site) and Barrydale (official site) while listening to the game in both English and Afrikaans on the radio.  We thought we could understand the Afrikaans broadcast well enough to know when a goal had been scored and for which team, but it turns out when we get into range of an English broadcast several goals had been scored for both Germany and England that we had been unaware of!

We passed by Ronnie’s Sex Shop – which is supposed to be an awesome pub – but we had just gotten to a good radio station with the game in English and the sun was starting to set so we didn’t want to miss any of the landscape.  (The sunset was gorgeous!)

Despite our efforts, it was dark by the time we got to Oudtshoorn.  The Buffelsdrift Game Lodge, where we were staying, was  about 7km outside of town.  It was INCREDIBLY lux.  We tried to document the luxury details in the “tent” before we headed to dinner at the lodge restaurant.  We had an AMAZING dinner:  South African wine, ostrich wellington, venison loin medium rare, Afrikaans oven bread and malva pudding with custard.  Over the top ridiculously good.  We can’t say enough about the accommodations or the dinner – amazing.  Jeannette loved her HOT pedestal bath with salts and we loved falling asleep to a cacophony of loud birds. A great start to our road trip inside of a trip.

Our route for the day:

Our first start of the Mountain Route:

We saw baboons!

Huguenot Tunnel:

Cute church in Barrydale:

Canyons, just as the sun was going down:

Our tent at the Buffelsdrift Game Lodge: