Christmas in Wilderness, New Year in Plettenberg Bay, South Africa


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Christmas in Wilderness, The Garden Route, South Africa

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Wilderness. Rolling breakers, lonely coves, national parks, tumbling waterfalls, white sands and stunning sunsets. Transport is needed to access most of the above as public transport is non-existent, a taxi costs a fortune and walking in the heat for long periods is not recommended.

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Despite booking in advance for the tent site (a small piece of grass that accommodated two tents max it was already occupied and we ended up camping on the hostel’s concrete patio. Views from the balcony over the beach made up for it but the dirty kitchen and toilets didn’t. The owner after dealing with a complaint about the noise from neighbours confided in us that one review on trip advisor said that it was the dirtiest hostel he had stayed in and that included the ones in India. She felt that the review was a little harsh and that he only had to say something to her at the time and she could have sorted it out. Having been given licence to speak I said
“In that case, you might want to ask the staff to clean the toilets” There are half empty beer bottles in them, toilet roll paper pieces all over the floor, dirty showers and peanut butter covered knives in the kitchen that have been left for days” .

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Unfortunately they had no wifi so we couldn’t contact friend and family to wish them happy Christmas and had to send good wishes via ESP over a superb 4 course Thai Christmas meal that was so big that we shared. Tom Yum Soup, Chilli Prawns, Chicken Satay, Beef Masamum Curry, a version of profiteroles, tea and coffee.

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A walk along the old disused railway that ran along the coast lead away from the main beach through a long tunnel and out into a small cove. Outside the tunnel was an adjoining cave occupied by a hermit who had decorated the adjoining cave. He gave us a tour, enclosed tunnels decorated with kitsch led to double beds, kitchens, lounge chairs and sofas . It was a place for homeless people he explained – except there was no one living there apart from himself! We gave him a donation anyway. I chickened out at the viaduct bridge – it looked very unsafe.

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We headed to Plettenburg Bay for New Year. Same old same old, hostel was rammed, young drunk South Africans, dirty kitchen, etc etc. Again this place would be wonderful out of season for a short stay as the beaches and views are lovely. Plettenberg Bay. South Africa.
I can’t think of anything else to say about this place so let me relate a conversation I overheard whilst sipping my G and T.
8 year old pointing at swimmer in sea not swimming in between life guard flags – “He’s going to die”
Her 5 year old sister “Why’s he going to die?”
8 year old “because he’s not swimming in between the flags”
5 year old “how do you know?”
8 year old “Because Daddy told me” Daddy would die, I would die and you would die if you didn’t swim between the flags”
5 year old voice raised in wonder “Daddy would die”
8 year old “Yes”
3 year old brother who has not been listening “Who’s going to die/”
5 year old pointing at swimmer “he’s going to die” “But he’s a teenager and you know that they don’t listen”.
Final stop Jefferies Bay – surfers’ paradise and a run down town where we stayed in a hostel full of drunk, loud young men who partied all night.
With relief we left the Garden Route and headed to the Wild Coast.

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25 thoughts on “Christmas in Wilderness, New Year in Plettenberg Bay, South Africa

  1. Absolutely stunning photos. Incredible colors and contrasts. The one of the river and rocks was excellent composition with texture. Great variety and enjoyed the colorful interesting photo and story of the hermit.
    Sorry the experience didn’t live up to the scenery for you. But thanks for sharing the riches.

  2. Wow! You’ve outdone yourself on catching the light and beauty of the scenery, and since your photos are so often stunning, that’s saying something! I can see this are could be worth the effort to visit in off-season. Not sure what to think of the kid’s conversation. I guess it was one way to keep them out of the dangerous surf. 🙂

  3. I have been in Wilderness when I was 11 years old I think. We did a family trip to South Africa. I remember the beautiful beaches and the warm Indian Ocean. And the abundance of food at our hotel, I think they had the greatest choice of buffet I have ever seen in my life. Love the pictures 🙂

  4. Your images are beautiful! The conversation was really very funny. “But he’s a teenager and you know that they don’t listen.” 😀

  5. The Christmas break is definitely not the time to go along the Garden Route! I used to live in Muizenberg, False Bay and every Christmas we were invaded by holiday makers from the then Transvaal – we couldn’t wait for them to go home! Seems like nothing has changed.

    As you say Sue, the Garden Route has some glorious scenery, the lagoon at Knysna, dolphins surfing in Plett, Storm’s River and Nature’s Valley are wonderful (and you can rent cabins at Storm’s River), though J-Bay I thought was quite dull. Have a read http://wp.me/pL5Ms-2c if you get the time 🙂

    I hope the Wild Coast was better!

    Jude xx

  6. Not that impressed then? I spent four or five days in Plett a few years ago and it was amazing, really friendly people, great scenery, good food. Favourite place in South Africa.

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