Sunday 3rd March and we all met at the Cape Town International airport bound for Port Elizabeth. Our coach driver met us all on arrival, with a huge smile on his face, and in no time, we were headed along the N2 with our first stop being Nanaga farm stall! It is, indeed, a fabulous place worthy of a stop whenever on the N2 – Port Elizabeth to Grahamstown!
We then drove the road to Paterson from where we headed on the Addo route with a turnoff near the Addo National Park onto the Zuurberg pass. This 18km is very ‘rough’ for the first 2 – 3 kms, thereafter you seem to leave the bad corrugations and it’s a good gravel road!
We arrived at Zuurberg Mountain Village by just after 15h00 to a hot cup of coffee / tea, scones and banana bread! We were shown to our rooms – their Edwardian cottages which are fabulous, complete with a Victorian bath, an indoor and outdoor shower, and fabulous comfy bed. The staff at this hotel offer service par excellence and by about 18h00 we were all down on the veranda enjoying something to drink and watch the sun set. A tasty 5 course buffet dinner was presented, after which everyone headed to their rooms.
An early start on Monday for our game drive in Addo. We shared this drive with some French people who were so very keen to see ‘Buffalo’ – our game driver very quickly assured us he cannot guarantee the sighting of animals – but just out of camp we saw our first elephants – in the distance – and not worthy of a stop! We came upon a ZEBRA CROSSING – literally in front of our vehicle! At a water hole we saw ONE Buffalo and our game driver picked up several more in the bushes near the waterhole. So, the Frenchmen were happy! Very shortly the rest of our group were happy seeing a whole herd happily playing (and even swimming) in a large waterhole. What a treat!
Zuurberg Mountain Village had packed us a picnic lunch and on our return to the park we had an early lunch! The picnic lunches were so huge that we drove into Addo (the town) afterwards to try and find some needy people to hand the excess lunch to.
On our return up the hill, a short rest and we headed the 5km down to Camp Figtree where they had set up our very own High Tea, very near one of their Figtree’s. A fabulous decadent tea with views to die for! What a fabulous country we live in.
On Tuesday on waking, we discovered our vehicle had a puncture! Very quickly Zuurberg had plugged the puncture AND we got our vehicle provider to bring us a spare tyre out from PE. (Definitely needed a spare with the roads ahead of us). The vehicle had left their office without a spare wheel!!!
This made us late for our game drive and delayed us by about an hour. This was a disadvantage as we ended up doing our game drive in the mid-day temperatures! We were lucky to see elephant & giraffe very close and came upon a kill – which must have happened just before we got arrived – the kudu lay on one side of the road and the lion on the other side – just catching his breath. We were told the other lions and lionesses must also have been in the immediate vicinity although we never got to see them.
Lunch after this was at Leeuwenbosch and a return to Zuurberg by late afternoon and another rest – in fact, even a sleep as the fresh air and distance travelled takes it out of you!
Dinner again – oh my goodness – hopefully no-one is on a diet!
Wednesday and we were not quite sure what to do with the last few hours we had before our flight at 12h45. Fortunately, we decided to leave a bit later and enjoy Zuurberg – so we left at 09h30.
At the Paterson intersection, we realised something was brewing up ahead – (we thought a road accident) – only to discover it was a protest – in fact, the entire N10 highway was blocked both ways with 3km of traffic waiting for the protest to be finished. We were advised to turn around and go to Port Elizabeth via Motherwell –
Thank goodness, we had this option as some others who were perhaps en route to Cradock or the N2 (Grahamstown) would have had to wait well over 3 hours – quite depressing to see this, for sure!
We arrived at the airport in just enough time to check in with about a wait of 15 minutes. As we all had priority boarding this made checking in pleasant, and the flight home was comfortable although Safair announced that the lunch sandwiches/ rolls were finished – a LUNCH TIME and NO food??? – why not re-stock the plane at the previous airport? Embarrassing, to say the least, as an irate German could just not understand this at all. All’s well that ends well and wonderful compliments about the tour makes it all worthwhile!