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Day 17: Grootbos Private Nature Preserve, Cape Town Vineyards

By Andrew Skurka / May 18, 2008 /

Michael dropped us off at the dock just after there was enough daylight to see. The crew was already prepping the 25-foot shark boat; the seas had subsided overnight and the captain was comfortable going out today. Our host, a very attractive 32 year-old wildlife biologist with a Kiwi accent that had me drooling, welcomed…

Day 16: Gansbaai, Grootbos Private Nature Reserve

By Andrew Skurka / May 17, 2008 /

Roller coaster-like screams took over all of us, followed by relieving laughter as the plane leveled out from its rapid ascent. I looked over at the pilot, who had an ear-to-ear grin. “It’s always a pleasure to fly with people who are willing to have some fun,” he cackled over the radio, glancing down at…

Day 15: Cape Town, Cape Point National Park

By Andrew Skurka / May 16, 2008 /

The day began at Boulders Beach, one of the classic tourist stops that I normally would avoid and would encourage others to do the same—I overwhelming prefer authentic, impromptu experiences, not mass-produced ones. However, Boulders Beach is an exception—nearly everybody who visits Cape Town visits the beach, and I’d recommend you do as well. Located…

Day 14: Cape Town

By Andrew Skurka / May 15, 2008 /

Based largely on the fact that there is a Trails Illustrated map for the city of Cape Town and Table Mountain Park, I had been looking forward to this leg of the trip since I first arrived in South Africa. Unfortunately the weather today has been awful—“On a clear day, Table Mountain would be right…

Day 13: Otter Trail, Plettenberg Bay

By Andrew Skurka / May 14, 2008 /

I finished up the Otter Trail this morning at the beautiful Nature’s Valley, where that sought-after long stroll on a sandy beach awaited me. Adél picked me up and we returned to the The Plettenberg, yet another high-end luxury hotel, for another superb breakfast, this time more deserved. I was very happy that one of…

Day 12: Otter Trail, Tsitsikamma National Park

By Andrew Skurka / May 13, 2008 /

This morning it was difficult to leave the small National Park cabin I stayed in last night. It was perched 20 feet from the ocean, on a rocky bluff, and all night long I could hear the pounding surf outside. But there was a good reason to get going: for the next 1.5 days I’m…

Day 11: Garden Route and Tsitsikamma National Park

By Andrew Skurka / May 12, 2008 /

 There were no strenuous activities on the schedule today, but I felt compelled anyway to gorge on breakfast at the Pezula Resort Hotel, a top-of-the-top-end place located on the Eastern Head of Knysna, from where there are views of both the Knysna Lagoon and the Indian Ocean. Pezula features beautiful condo-like rooms (decorated with a…

Day 10: Garden Route

By Andrew Skurka / May 11, 2008 /

Before my mid-day flight I took a long run along the beach that climaxed with a swim in the Indian Ocean—Why not, right? I’m starting to feel much more comfortable traveling alone in South Africa—it’s not as if locals stop to cheer me on or give me water, but no one has bothered me either,…

Day 9: Leaving the ‘Berg

By Andrew Skurka / May 10, 2008 /

The sunrise from Twins Cave was impressive—pink-hued light lit up the escarpment wall to begin the day. I packed up quickly and began to descend, slightly concerned about making an 11am shuttle that would take me back to Durban. (Actually, I was concerned with making the shuttle after a shower, which I desperately needed.) The…

Day 8: Drakensberg Mountains

By Andrew Skurka / May 8, 2008 /

Drakensberg Last night over dinner I planned today’s outing, with help from Craig, the General Manager of Cathedral Peak Hotel who has been hiking in the ‘Berg for at least 20 years. He highly recommended that I stay out overnight and camp at Twins Cave, one of many caves in the area that is popular…