Africamps- Glamping in the Garden Route

I awakened slowly, life soaked back into my surroundings, the gentle breeze was rustling in the trees nearby and somewhere a colourful Knysna Turaco was making his presence known with his harsh throaty call. While the soft light filtered through my window pane and morning unpeeled herself, I suddenly realized where I was.

I swung myself towards the edge of the bed. It was a new day and I didn’t want to miss it! The zip of the tent whined while I tugged at it eagerly, holding back for a moment longer before embracing the dawn, my the first step outside unfolded a view with all natures colours. The puffy clouds edged their way over the horizon and the lush green forest was softly litten by the light rays that worked its way through the cracks of the cloud base. I took a deep breath and let the moment imprint on me. Such beauty!

The picturesque display of the surrounding forest is alluring and this charming little camp nestled here deep in the Crags region of Plettenberg Bay creates a feeling of a hidden secret, a place still to be discovered. I smiled to myself and grabbed my camera, it’s time for the adventurous exploration to begin. The fresh air swirls around me and dewdrops glisten and sparkle as I move my feet through the grass. It’s going to be a beautiful day !!

Someone explained it to me once, it’s like being “indoor – outdoors” a luxury tent gives you the outdoor freedom with the indoor comforts. You simply step into nature and stay there, no restrictions, you move with nature and embrace it. It’s so effortless. Everything in this environment feels like it belongs.

The day passes into night and the campfire glows against the walls of the tent while the shadows dance and tell their story of my evening activities. The crackle of the flames sizzles my food and I work my way into the reclining chair to enjoy the warmth of my outdoors fire. The sounds of the bush are heightened by darkness and in the distance, I hear the fiery nightjar call into the night. This is escapism at its best.

Thank you www.africamps.co.za for the wonderful stay and experience. You truly make Africa a place to enjoy.

The Travelbug Rose #Howzitsouthafrica

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The Water that Became Stone.

It’s 200 million years ago and earth is moving, cracking and shaping its way out of the Pangaea super continent. Slowly but surely water seeps in the earths new crevases, hollowing the soft stone and forming the water filled caves of the earth. But the new mystery lies quietly below for few more million years before the forces of nature rips and tears into her rock formations.

It’s now 4 million years ago and slowly the earths liquid dissipates and leaves the empty cavities exposed to the air for the first time, it’s now that the mineral formations start to grow, graciously turning the dripping water into stone…

The Cango Caves has been known to modern man for a couple century now and as a tourist entering a space that has only been familiar to us in such a short period of time the magnitude barely sinks in.

The mystery of these interlinking chambers of limestone and dolomite has left us wondering about these hollow spaces ever since. It holds some of the most spectacular limestone dripping formations and crystals known to mankind.

South Africa’s numerous limestone and dolomite areas was suitable for what is called karst development, which is a topography formed from the dissolution of soluble rocks such as limestone, dolomite, and gypsum and is characterized by underground drainage systems with sinkholes and caves.

Dripstone Caverns
These ancient rocks are among the oldest known on Earth and the Precambrian rocks of South Africa are the oldest formation of this considerable size. Imagine that!!

Our very own Cango Caves is edged deep underground in the Swartberg Mountian folds and is most likely the best explored karst and our premier cave in South Africa. It’s also known as the longest cave formation of its kind.

Undiscovered by humans the cave was occupied animals only until about 10,000 years ago before it was discovered by the Khoisan which used the entrance area as a shelter. It seems that they didnโ€™t explore deeper into the cave as it was said that the believes were that the place was filled with spirits and other unknown dwellers.

But today we are privileged to be able to simply get into our vehicles and drive to these magnificent stuctures, buy a ticket and glimpse into a world that we merely see a tiny millisecond of. Take some time to absorb the space that you move in and let your guide whisper a few secrets of it past.

For more information visit:

www.cangocaves.co.za

Hints and tips:

1. Wear comfort shoes

2. Take a camera of cell phone for pictures

3. Watch the video in the room on the 2nd floor.

“The cave you fear to enter holds the treasure you seek.”

The Sphinx of Sedgefield

The 1km stretch to Gericke’s Point

Not only are these impressive fossilized dunes South Africa’s highest vegetated fossil dunes but they are the most remarkable looking rockscapes in Southern Africa as they jagged their way along the Garden Route, stretching between the Kaaimans and Brenton on Sea.

The stretch from Wilderness to Gericke’s Point

Gericke’s Point or the “Sphinx” as it’s known to us, is situated in Sedgefield and the striking accumulation of solidified sand stretches into the ocean to create an intricate reef structure with rock pools and sharp ridge protrusions where many a fishermen or spear fishermen bide their time waiting patiently for the most impressive catch of the day to pass through.

Many a rock pool has been formed by these jagged edged formations

It’s here you’ll find the beach amblers lazily meandering their way along this stretch of rock and sand, at low tide, to fill their curiosity, day dream or just escape the pressures of life and breathe in the salty air of the Indian Ocean as it works its way to shore.

Looking back towards Sedgefield and Swartvlei beach

To the right of the Sphinx formation is a surfing spot frequented by the odd surfer that walks the mere 1km stretch from Swartvlei beach to catch that special breaker pushing its way to the rugged shore line.

Here they play among the wild and untamed watery ways of the sea just for the exceptional moment of catching the ultimate wave that will give them the thrilling adventure they have been waiting for all day.

I watch as they bob, paddle, surf and tumble in the unruly ocean waters just to do it all over again. In between they are visited by the odd local water dwellers that zip past or hang for a while.

These creatures are as entertaining as the rubberized board sitters and way more advanced in ocean manoeuvres and you can’t help giggling at the ease of their gliding motions as they pass the splashing arms and legs of their land counterparts.

But in the end they have to part ways and the human sapiens have to leave behind the rolling and tumbling of the right point break and head back to the earthy soil and familiar ground.

Strolling back to the car park I cross more rock pools reflecting the cloudy sky of the the Southern Cape in the late afternoon, I look back and admire a few more impressive looking rocks before leaving behind the rusty looking Sphinx and its ocean mysteries only to return on another day.

#Sedgefield #gardenroute #meetsouthafrica

www.exploreknysna.com

Lotus weavers of Cambodia

https://www.instagram.com/p/Bb3RRAYhhCO/ While in Siem Reap, Cambodia on a cycling outing one day I came across this little spot. I was aware that the weaving of silk is a popular practice here, but I had no idea that they wove this chamie like fabrics our of the stems of the Lotus flowers.

Altought I was near the Tonlรฉ Sap lake the Lotus fiber weaving takes place in Cambodia on the spectacular giant lake of Kamping Poy near Battambang.

It’s here, they farm all during the year from generation to generation in order to extract and sell the seeds.

The Lotus (nelumbo nucifer) is on a aquatic perennial which spreads for thousand hectares in Cambodia. The pink and white flowers are sacred in certain parts of Asia and you can see why.

Their beauty is delicate and seems to be almost porcelain from a distance. This timeless tradition comes from Burma and was brought to Cambodia by Samatoa in 2009 and they developed the unique handmade process in order to make an exclusive fabric which could be commercialised and create many jobs in Cambodia.

The Samatoa then trained and educated underprivileged women living around the spectacular lotus lake of Kamping Poy near Battambang in Cambodia to relieve poverty after the rule of the Khmer Rouge.

The lotus fabric is 100% ecological, natural and renewable and just absolutely exquist.

Find out more Lotus Farm

For the love of the Garden Route

I have recently been asked what my favourite place in South Africa is to visit and why? It was easily answered; “The Garden Route of course”.

This might sound like cheating but living in the Garden Route of South Africa is an absolute privilege and I am constantly encouraging people to visit my alluring piece of Utopia.

Why do I love it so much. It’s simple really, from the long white beaches that strectches for miles, so much so that sometimes you never see another person, to the huge indigenous forest on the foothold of the mountain ranges that frames our coastline, the Garden Route offers more natural beauty and tranquillity than most destinations I have been to.

You have to go far to see the perfect sunset or sunrise, but not me, a mere walk to the end of the road were I live does that, not to mention the view points, water edges and bird hides, all waiting for you to capture that flawless moment when the sun merges with your horizon. Its not difficult to become a visual story teller as my life in pictures unfolds infront of me, everyday.

For the adventurous explorer in me, this is truly the natural playground I have been looking for and there is more often than not a leisurely hike, a forest or beach walk, a paddle on the river, an ocean excursion or a paragliding flight involved in my daily life.

Out there is fresh air to breathe, a place to clear your mind, to surrender yourself to nature and what she has to offer, all while taking in a new discovery everyday, yes everyday, for once you get take a deeper look, the magic starts happening.

Garden Route, You ask? Not only is it the greenest part of South Africa and constantly looks like an over grown garden but it has a foodie aspect too and almost every thing we savour comes from the coffers of our farmlands and oceans as our reputation for the food basket of South Africa is slowly proceeding us.

It’s here among the mountains that we grow, pick and harvest most of what we eat and quence our thrist with crafted drinks, from “Karrie” to craft beer. And many an artisan of food can be found in our farmers markets, farmstalls and earthy slow food restaurants.

A Saturday morning outing to the Wild Oats, Outeniqua or Harkerville Market is the shopping experience in my world of food and the odd baker, honey producer, mushroom picker, herb grower and the other plant and pluckers do the rest.

With this I invite you to step into my world. A place that has the most moderate climate on earth and indulge in its splendour and extraordinary resources and when you leave our shores, mountains and countryside, you will do so with a smile, only wishing to return….

Wilderness Accommodation

Explore Knysna Accommodation

The Pursuit of Wind and Water

The ocean has a way of inviting the adventurous, the risk taker and the adrenaline junkie. It pulls them in and moulds them into the sports freaks of the sea.

Some sail, some paddle some even venture into the depths, but the kite surfers expose themselves to the elements of water and wind. They bare their bodies to become the vessels, attach themselves to a kite sail and uses the forces to drive them.

You watch these mobile water adventurers as they sweep around waves and skim over the surface of this vast body of water we call the ocean and which in itself isn’t a kind force, dancing with the wind and mocking it with the glee on their faces.

Once done, they emerge from the ocean like little Neptune figures, dripping with the salty remains of the blue planet, smile endearingly at each other as they share their watery passion and there they will return!!

Watch “Knysna, our town situated in the heart of the Garden Route.” on YouTube

Knysna rises after the fires that devistated or our beautiful region and town on 7th June 2017. It has soaked up the rain and rejuvenated itself. The green region is approaching summer and is looking absolutely beautiful.

Click here to watch

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Flight above Knysna

Hiking the Garden Route – Giant Kingfisher Trail

If there is one thing that will keep you busy in the Garden Route of South Africa it will definitely be the hiking. Now I don’t mean pack a backpack and head out for 3 days, no, you simply grab a day pack and head to the forest, rivers, fynbos dunes or beaches. Make sure you stock your pack with ample water, a good sun hat, cozzy, some snacks and sunscreen before you heading out.

One on of my favourite hikes is the Giant Kingfisher Trail. It is situated near the village of Wilderness and is a short and easy half day walk, with its lush greenery and natural beauty it is easily one of the most scenic hikes in the area.

The whole trail meanders along the Touw River and has various views with picnic tables along the way and you can stop at any point to just pop into the river for a quick cool off. But like most peeps I opt for the “head to the waterfall” option.

As you stroll through the indigenous forest look out for the famous Knysna Turaco, there are plenty around and you will hear their harsh call echoing over the tree tops. The tree and plant lovers will find the names of most of the popular plants along the way or you can just soak up the cool green shade it has to offer.

One of the exciting moments of this trail is crossing the river on the pontoon. A good old fashion pull along barge that can fit about 6 people at a time and it never goes without some laughs and giggles as you work your way across the tea stained river.

Keep your eyes peeled for the little blue duiker that feeds along the trail as well as chameleons, butterflies and other creatures that live here. It really is an indigenous paradise for nature lovers.

At the end of the trail is a rocky waterfall with various tiers. Once here you merely work your way to a “rock spot”, shed your clothes and jump in to indulge in the cool river water that the Outeniqua Mountain delivers here.

Spend some time here to explore the scenic views, snack away and let the warm African sun dry you off before heading back on the same track.

On the return hike take a bit of time to look at some of the views and rock formations and remember its not a rush but a gentle journey and you need to enjoy and appreciate the surroundings as there are very few of these unique places left in the world.

For more information click the link below.

Please Note : This is a SANparks product The Giant Kingfisher Trail

Diary of a Roadtripper – Travelling in Style

There are ways to see the world and there are ways to experience the world but hopping into one of these babies is a sure treat! BMW has always stated that it is a sheer driving pleasure but until you have actually been in one yourself there IS no way to describe it.

Being a real back road farm girl that normally ends up on some forgotten track somewhere with the windows wide open and the warm African air caressing your hair, the actual experience of sitting in a vehicle with comfortable seats, every gadget you can imagine and with gentle conditioned air, all while there is a powerful engine purring under your butt is pure euphoria!

The countryside swoops past the huge windows, you don’t think of anything but staring out of them. The car thinks for itself and the navigation system simply steers you in the right direction of your programmed journey. The spaciousness makes me think of heading off on a long distance road trip with all you need popped in the back, it would simply feel like a Sunday drive as you wouldn’t even notice, yes, there is enough space! How could you not enjoy this piece of mechanical art!
Let’s talk gravel roads, dust and uneven surfaces. What even is that? You hit the ground and she settles into her driving ability with ease, you can glide through scenic routes of this interesting landscape and just actually enjoy the ride.

Why would you not drive one? The only way to improve on this drive is to acquire a driver, but why would you do that? I personally wouldn’t let go of the steering wheel and would head for anywhere at a drop of a hat just be able to drive this piece of stylish technology

The all-new BMW X3 now available in South Africa

Technical Specifications

BMW Group South Africa invests another R160m to increase production capacity of BMW Plant Rosslyn

Exclusive special-edition e-mountain bike by BMW Lifestyle and premium bike maker SPECIALIZED now available in South Africa

Featured On CTInsider

Power Van into the Outeniqua mountains

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A 3 hour outing into the Outeniqua Mountains in a small Power Van with undescribable amount of power and a magnificent view! Hard to imagine that this railway track was build only by a labour force in the early 1900’s.  The click a di click and the soft rocking of the carriages takes me back to childhood days while we constantly climb up into the soft folds of this mountain range. 

Crossing over the old ox wagon path that the traders use to use, a gruelling trip of 10 days back then, I could not even imagine what it was like to be a trader in those days.  As we travel along we catch a glimpse of the Montague pass far below us,  still in use today, although only more of a scenic touristic route now.  And then we reach the end of our upward journey for a quick turn around, we have time to enjoy the view and have a hop off, hop on experience.

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Part of the fun is the tunnels we have to go through

, 7 of them, the kids squeal with pleasure as we pass through them and the van blows his train whistle..

The Erika’s are in full bloom and we skim the edges of colour while heading back down.  Arriving at our pit stop for lunch we clamber out of the van and up the hill, what a view of George and the Indian ocean.  An hour later Anabelle our guide scoots us back into the Power Van for our final stretch home.  The excitement and anticipation of a train trip was fulfilled 3 times over.  A well recommended outing ! 

Gotravelbug on the move.