Addo Elephant National Park and the Garden Route #2

Since the Addo Elephant National Park is not far from Port Elizabeth and we had never visited this park before, we decided to change that. We didn’t know exactly what to expect, so we initially booked in for only two nights. The park offers a rest camp with campsites at the entrance. This is located in the northern part of the park. Since we were there during the school holidays, it was accordingly full and almost fully booked. We had beautiful experiences with elephants and have seen besides many elephants, buffalos, various antelopes and zebras in the two days. The elephants in this park are really hardened: Cars that stop two meters next to them and drive back and forth don’t bother them. Screeching children hanging half out of the window are just as tolerated by them as road blocks formed by cars.

Our impression of Addo Elephant National Park

The camp is located a few meters next to the road and railway tracks in operation. Per night, a minimum of four trains drove through our car (felt of course) and the plots are kept so small that you can hear the next but one neighbor well when he turns on his air mattress. In short: the park is not soooo our thing. We had even less air to breathe than is generally the case in SanParks due to the regulations. The behavior of various visitors near elephants should be avoided in really wild parks. This would probably end unpleasantly in the vast majority of encounters. On a positive note, Addo Elephant National Park is the only SanPark we have visited so far where visitors are advised to turn off the engine near the elephants.

Back to the coast 

As we were leaving the park, a WhatsApp from Mark arrived. He inquired where we were and what our further plans were. A short correspondence later, it was clear that he had no time for coffee as his company required his full attention. We wished him, in these challenging times, all the best for the future. Our way then led us back to the coast. Originally we would have liked to go to Storm River Mouth again and spend a few days at the ocean. Because of the very bad wheather and the equally bad further forecast we renounced this and drove to Knysna. When the weather got better, we drove to Buffels Bay, a small sleepy place about 20 km behind Knysna (coming from Port Elizabeth). Here we found a wonderful campsite, right by the sea, surrounded by rugged cliffs. We spent two nights at this dreamlike place and spent the days with lazing and beach walks. 

Nibbles in Knysna

Back in Knysna, we visited the Maillard Baking Company more often. A young company that offered fantastic (sourdough) breads, as well as breadsticks with incorporated olives or salt and sesame sticks and produced wonderful, very tasty pizzas in the stone oven. If anything is in short supply in southern Africa, it’s smart bread and decent cheese. We were in bread heaven! When it came to cheese, Claus the Cheeseman was able to remedy the situation. Guido recognized his Cologne accent immediately and Claus had made it his business to find suppliers of good cheese and offer it on Saturdays at the market in Sedgefield and during the week in Knysna. 

Cheese makes you happy

We bought from him great mountain cheese, a gryuere-like cheese, Cambrini – a mixture of Camembert and Brie – and various Italian-style hard cheeses. We went into a buying frenzy and enjoyed wonderful bread with excellent cheese over the next few days!  For Swiss, supermarket cheese is true hell. Guido contemptuously calls it plastic cheese and what they call Cheddar or Gouda here really has nothing to do with the famous cheese from England and the Netherlands. It is different with the good Gouda or Cheddar, which you can buy among other things at Claus. By the way, another good address is The Good Stuff Company in Mosselbay. Besides very good cheese and things like Black Forest ham, you can get fantastic coffee and excellent wine there.

Whales in Plettenberg Bay

Since we had seen the whales in Tsitsikamma from the campsite, we knew they were there. For us it was clear that we wanted to make an attempt to see these 40 ton giants up close. What became of it, and how we fared, you will find out in the next article.

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