27 August 2008


Mel and me "Crumping"

Mel and Jimmy dancing

Mel and Jimmy looking hot!

Sexy Mel

The Pose!

Friday 22nd August

After work I picked up Jimmy from Bloukrans and we headed to Wilderness via Pick n Pay. Susie was staying at the Park with her friends. We went to Bongos (a bar that serves amazing pizzas) for dinner, where we met Quintin, Mel and Lloyd the barman.

After dinner we went to Susie’s to have a Lekker Jol, and met up with a horrifically drunk Kevin (a colleague from head office). Mel and I arrived separately and by the time we got to the house Pauline and Sarah were already in bed. We stayed up an entertained Kev, until he went to his cottage. Mel went home, I slept on the sofa bed-not a good move, and it was very cold and very uncomfortable,

Saturday 23rd August

Saturday morning Susie, Jermaine, Sarah, Pauline and I went for a Mooch around Sedgefield Market. I bought a hakkie sack and some delicious cake!

After we were all supposed to go Canoeing, but I was feeling lazy so was going to sit in the sun and read my book. In the end I went to Mel’s house (which we managed to lock ourselves out of so had to get the neighbors ladder and break in through the window and watched DVDs. After we drove into George and had a hilarious afternoon drinking beer and playing pool. We drove back to wilderness to braai at about 7pm. All the girls were huddled around the fireplace and not looking like they were up for much. It had rained while they were canoeing so were feeling sorry for themselves. The would we bought from Pick and Pay was awful, so it took forever to make a fire. Jimmy, Mel and I gave up, went to the Caltex to buy some pies, then drove to George and went clubbing.

Everyone at the club was seduced by “the Power of Mel”; even a random lesbian told her that she “would do anything just for one kiss”. Jimmy had his work cut out pretending to be both of our boyfriends as we had a lot of attention being a white girl and a pretty coloured girl. At 3am I thought it would be a good idea to go home, as I had a meeting at 9:30am.

I dropped Jimmy at Susie’s cottage then stayed at Mel’s. She has an electric blanket. It was amazing. I want one.

Sunday 24th August

After the meeting that lasted til 1pm, Jimmy and I went to Mel’s to Braai the meat that we hadn’t eaten the previous evening. The braai wood from PnP was terrible so after 3hours of trying to get it to make decent coals, we cooked the food in the oven. We all lay in bed chatting for the rest of the afternoon. Jimmy and I kept trying to leave, but the electric blanket and “the power of Mel” meant that we didn’t leave until 9pm.

I dropped Jimmy home at 11pm, we saw a huge family of bush pigs, which I was very excited about!

Coffee Bay

Pauline Surfing

Me and Pauline on the beach

Dancing in the backpackers

Dancing around the fire

The glittery girlies
(Susie, me, Mel and Pauline)

Friday 15th August

Yesterday it was Melaney’s (a friend of Susie’s who works at Wilderness) 23rd Birthday, so they decided to take a long weekend off and go to East London.

Susie and Pauline had been staying at Addo so went on ahead and I got picked up by Mel on-route. I was supposed to be taking Friday off, but after 3 phone calls before 8am from the office, I decided I might as well go in. Mel also had to go into work and didn’t finish til 2pm, so got to me at 4pm. Thus the epic drive began.

It was dark and rainy by the time we stopped at Port Elizabeth for McDonalds, and then we got stuck in traffic for a while just outside Shamwari. Other than that, and a couple of occasions where Adrian nearly lost the back end of the car on the windy roads, our 10 hour drive on the N2 was fairly uneventful. We turned off the N2 at about 2am and drove along an 80Km stretch of nasty, uneven, potholed road, swerving to avoid sheep, goats, horses, donkeys and cows. We all just wanted to get there and (from Susie’s description) we assumed we were close. We were not. We hit a huge pot hole and busted the wheel rim, thus getting a flat tyre. So 3am, in the North of the Eastern Cape we had to get out and change the tyre. I have never felt so vulnerable, but luckily we didn’t get shot/stabbed/mugged/raped/hijacked. We put on the spare, let down the jack…and the spare was flat! We managed to slowly nurse the car to the backpackers as there was still some air in the spare. Nothing like a bit of excitement to start a holiday!

Saturday 16th August

The next day we got up late. Adrian, Pauline and I all checked out the Bomvu bay, then looked at the big sandy beach that stretched out the other side of the donkey field. Here I met a professional surfer who liked my Hardiedar impression and wanted me to go out surfing with him to watch for sharks, I was tempted but embarrassed by my poor surfing ability so declined. This turned out to be a good move as it started to rain in the afternoon. We spent the afternoon chilling at the awesome backpackers and making T-shirts. The barman took us to play with his 2week old puppies which were very, very cute.

In the evening there was a “full moon party” we all to a communal spooning power nap which was a great bonding experience, then fully refreshed we covered ourselves in glitter and headed out to the party. We danced around the fire while local drummers played, and ended up encouraging all the people staying at the backpackers to join us, then Jimmy and I practiced on this balance board whilst the others went with “zee Germans” to the beach. We danced all night long and had a fantabulous time.

Sunday 17th August

Next morning Pauline and Susie went for a surf lesson. My knee still hurt from the otter trail so I just went and swam in the 22degree water (it was amazing!) and took photos of the girls. The rain set in for the rest of the day, so we just chilled out and read our books. We tried all day to get someone to fix out tyre, but no one turned up.

We were going to leave at 10pm and drive through the night to get Adrian to the Airport for 5am. We went out in search of someone to pump up out tyre, but everyone refused as they said it was too dangerous to drive at night. Thus Susie and Pauline left with Adrian at 7pm (once we had transferred some petrol to their car from Mel’s) and Mel, Jermaine and I stayed another night.

We had a drumming lesson and then played pool on the horrifically bumpy table, which was so wonky the balls went in a circle. We then sat at the bar talking amongst ourselves and to the barman, doing Jagerbombs, flaming lambos and all sorts of other foolish stuff!

Monday 18th August

Monday morning we got someone to pump our tyre and left at 9am. Mel drove all the way home and we didn’t get to my house until 8pm. It turned out that when the tyre had got damaged, a hole was made in the water tank, and thus we had to keep stopping to refill the water so that the car didn’t overheat.

Mel and Jimmy had dinner and Moffee at mine before heading back to Jimmy’s house at Bloukranz. Mel wanted to drive back to Wilderness that night but we wouldn’t let her. Good job as the next morning I got a call from her…she had broken down.

13 August 2008

The Otter Trail

Natures Valley (end of the trail)

Day5 views

Top left: Pauline
Bottom left: Susie
Top right: me
Bottom right: Loren

Another pretty view


Bloukranz river at low tide!


This day is only 4.8Km from the rest camp, past the waterfall, to the day 1 hut. As it is a fairly easy day, Loren and I started from the reception at just after 2pm.

We confidently traversed the dangerous boulders and rocks with our heavy packs, which according to the trail guide we read should "feel like an extension of your body". With 5 days worth of food on my back, my 'extended body' felt grossly obese!

As the 1st day was so easy, I decided to drop my camera about 2km into the trail, so that we could walk back to try and find it...no luck with that, some tourists had picked it up, so I called the rangers and got them to accost the tourists as they finished the trail. The rangers dropped in on the morning of day 4 to deliver my camera, so unfortunately all the photos I am posting are from the last 2 days.

When we got to the huts the other group of hikers were already there. We sat with them (a group of business men and a business woman from Jo'burg) and spent the evening chatting around the campfire. This was very pleasant, and the peak of our relationship, as things soon deteriorated!!


We didn't start day 2 until nearly 11am as Susie and Pauline were being hardcore and walked day 1 and 2 together. They were supposed to start with us on the Thursday, but Pauline had flown in on Tuesday and the airline had left her luggage in Frankfurt. After 2 days of promising that her bag was on its way they finally admitted that they had lost it!

Anyways, we headed off on this, the day of death going up hill, then downhill, then uphill, where we saw a southern right whale lob-tailing, then down a steep gorge to the stunning Kleinbos (I think) river. Here we stopped for lunch for an hour and sunned ourselves on the riverbank. Loren and I went exploring up stream, which was absolutely beautiful! I ate Paprika chicken super noodles which were so delicious I thought they were worth a mention!

Stopping for such a long break was a big mistake. Our legs had now completely seised up, making the next steep uphill very nasty indeed!! The sign posts had said that Bloubaai, one of the famous beauty spots on the trail, was only 700m, so once at the top of the hill we started looking for routes down to the bay. We went down one route that took us to a small pebbely bay. This was not the right bay, but was very beautiful especially as the Indian Ocean was incredibly rough! The others sat on the rocks watching the ocean while I set about poking around in rockpools at the colourful cushion starfish when Pauline spotted an otter less than 10m from us in the milky surf. He was a big otter, and didn't seem too bothered that we were there. We were amazed that he seemed quite comfortable in the angry waves, a person would have been dead in no time!

Once the otter had wandered off up the shore, we went back up the hill from the bay, then kept going up and up and up then down and up then down to Bloubaai. At bloubaai we saw 2 illegal fishermen who I reported to the rangers. The Baai was very pretty, but by far the most memorable moment from the baai was Pauline's slow-motion fall onto her head (assisted by the momentum of her pack to unbalance her) and subsequent sideways roll into a rock pool, where she lay stranded on her back like an overturned turtle.

From Bloubaai we went up an even steeper hill, and from then on I can't really remember anything other than the pain of going up-hill, scrambling down-hill, and the immense relief of reaching camp.

Once at camp, Loren and I bathed in a bitterly cold stream. Our hut overlooked a stunning little bay. We lit the braai and sat talking and eating for the evening. We were joined by a small spotted Genet who sat and watched us, waiting for us to vacate so that he could search our braai pit for any scraps of meat. This was one of my favourite huts.


I was dreading day 3 as Susie had said it was the hardest day. We woke up to a warm sunny day, with a strong cooling head-wind. The other group set off first, and we left about 30min later. Today was all about timing as there were 2 big rivers to cross. We had overtaken the group just before the 1st river (the Elandsbos) and I went to investigate the recommended route. This route was underwater so we had to sprint across the beach then traverse a cliff face in order to rejoin the path. We passed this info onto the other group, who then (without thanking us) rushed off ahead. Amusingly for us their rudeness was repaid as halfway across a huge tidal surge came and got their boots wet!!
We crossed the Elandsbos and quickly overtook the other group before the "hill of death" which wasn't actually that bad. I owe this to the excellent stick that I had found. It was a peice of eucalyptus driftwood which was light, sturdy and smooth so I didn't get any splinters. I loved that stick as it took the pressure off of my thighs and bum muscles and made the uphill much easier.

We decided to take a quick lunch at the top of the hill (having learnt from day2) before pushing on to quickly reach our 2nd river the Lottering. We had walked quicker than expected so had about an hour and a half to kill before low tide. Susie decided that the river was crossable, so started to make her way across, only to get stranded on a large rock for about 10min as the tide came in. We found this highly amusing and taunted her while she balanced on the rock. She returned with a bruised ego suggesting that perhaps we should wait for low tide after all.

The other group showed up just before low tide, we had just prepeared ourselves to cross when one of their group members (desperate to get to the huts first so that they got 1st pick again raced across. We had started to pick our way across when we saw a tidal surge coming. I raced to the other side and looked back assuming to see Susie and Pauline close behind, I turned to see Susie practically being swept away and half drowned by her backpack.
As the surge had come up, Susie had been swept from the rock, with the man from the other group less than a foot behind her saying "you're slipping" without even trying to help!! Her flipflop got swept upstream, right past the rest of the group who just stood and watched it, so I had to go paddling back across the river and upstream to get it. on my travels I found a safer place to cross and helped the other group...and do you think they said thank you? no.

Anyway, we got to the hut way ahead of them as there was quite a steep uphill the other side of the river that they struggled with. We took great pleasure in choosing the huts, going into each and deciding on 'hut 1' as the door was broken on 'hut 2'.
The business women was clearly not happy about being not getting to choose her hut. She came storming into our hut and said..."did you leave us with a wet hut" I very untactfully stifled a giggle and answered "yeah" as a dripping wet Susie stood shivering in the corner, she gave me the death stare and told me that it was "not nice, really not nice". Thus the relationship between the two groups was over.

That night my stick disappeared, I think the other group used it for firewood...low blow...not nice!


God repayed me for being not nice today, as I woke up with a sore knee and no stick to help me up the steep uphill from out huts. My knee was really sore and I struggled. After putting on a bandage and finding a replacement stick (not half as good as the first, and it gave me a splinter!) it felt much better.

Today was almost twice as long as the other days, however it was much flatter. The uphills were quite short, however the terrain was quite difficult. Nothing very exciting happened during the day. I walked through lots of sploom (that foamy stuff on the sea when it is rough) at one river crossing. We had a long break by this river and did a bit of sunbathing. We got to the Bloukranz river about 2 and a half hours before low tide. We decided that we would have lunch on the beach at the river. Unfortunately the sea was so rough the beach was underwater, so instead we dosed uncomfortably on the rocks for 2hrs. Half an hour before low tide, the river was just as full. the rough sea was pushing up the river making it impossible to cross. We decided that the best option would be to take the escape route and get the rangers to drop us at the next hut. The other group had been there about 15min when we left. We tried to persuade them to come with us so that the rangers only had to make one trip. They refused, saying there was still 30min til low tide so they would rather wait.
The escape route was horribly steep but the views were amazing. The ranger took us via the Bloukranz forest station, where we dropped in to see Jermaine and steal a couple of bottles of wine.
Just as we were being dropped off the ranger said that he had got a call from the other hikers asking to be picked up. the ranger decided to let them walk to the N2, which would take them an extra couple of hours (hikers are supposed to meet the rangers at the N2, but we got picked up from the top of the escape route, perks of knowing the rangers!!)

Once at the huts we went for a nudist swim in the river at the huts before wrapping up in our thermals around the campfire to enjoy the wine. The other hikers arrived about 2hours later. They came to our braai and boasted about crossing the river. A blatant and unnecessary lie! We congratulated them over-enthusiastically, then bitched about them once they left!!


The final day was beautiful, the weather was perfect, and apart from a killer hill at the beginning, the walking was easy (plus our packs were much lighter having finished our food!)

I was filled with mixed emotions. I had really enjoyed the trail, eating what you carry, cooked over a fire you made yourself. Washing in streams was so refreshing, and it was nice not looking in a mirror for 5 days!! However...we smelt really really bad. We all needed a warm shower and clean clothes, and the trail is pretty intense so it was nice to have finished.

In conclusion...
1. The trail was physically much easier than I expected
2. I love my thermals, and my walking boots
3. The trail was a perfect length
4. The other group were not nice
5. Paprika chicken 2-minute noodles are very tasty!