group of elephants in Addo Elephant Park

The Final Piece of (South-)Africa

After our intensive adventure in Lesotho we need to relax when traveling, after all, this is our last fortnight.

Last night in Lesotho was hectic (short and wispy because of Milady’s problem) and tiring. Fortunately, the weather is OK today with the sun shining and summer-temperature, delicious weather to discover new horizons. We want to gain a few days of sea and sun.
We direct Garmin to Coffee Bay and choose to “avoid highway”. This route leads us from the border crossing at Ramatseliso / Ramatsediso to Maluti where we first fill our fuel tanks. As previously mentioned, the trip into the mountains early took high power of Milady, and thus fuel consumption was high. Moreover we drive without a fuel gauge for months, there must be a loose wire and that I can not get easily found, that’s a job for home. And, the rear fuel tank is leaking again so that can be refueled to only 30 liters… The last days we had to guess how much we were able to drive, so we are quite relieved that we find a service station in Maluti.

We drive to Matatiele and do some shopping at the local supermarket and I buy some electricity-plugs for Milady.

Carmen, our Garmin, then leads us along the R56 that is being maintained.

The ride is pretty exhausting and the lack of sleep begins to play tricks on me. By two/three pm we look for a place to relax and arrive at the Tsitsa Falls Backpackers. We decide to stay there for the night, have an afternoon nap and further relax in the shade with a book and the beautiful view of the valley with the waterfalls.

In the morning I fill the water tank with fresh rainwater from the Backpackers and we head for Coffee Bay. Better we didn’t take that road yesterday. The first part to Mthatha is a fine, well-paved road without potholes. Unfortunately, Carmen has found an alternative route and we end up on a dirt road where we precautionary run no faster than 25-30 km / h. We also meet a lot of abandoned cars and breakdowns, this is a real African rough road! After literally hours of driving we get on the paved road again close to Coffee Bay which, when we look back on the map, appears to run all the way from Mthatha, hmmm.

The Coffee Bay Backpackers and Campsite has a spot for us on the other side of the estuary, a good opportunity to drive through the water once again, haha.

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When we have a drink, a cow walks along the terrace…

It’s a nice place, we order (free) food at the backpackers and with a local fisherman, we agree that we will buy his cray fish tomorrow.

Unfortunately that evening it starts to rain again and it rains all night. Our plan to stay another day at the beach quite literally falls into the water.

We continue towards Port Elizabeth, almost entirely via the N2 where we don’t see much of the scenery as it rains all day. When we finally see the sun coming through the clouds it is the end of the afternoon and we find a campsite in Grahamstown, Makana Resort. A stroll around the resort teaches us that it is really low season now, the pool is half empty, the restaurant is closed and the reception is unmanned. Only the porter is present and also fulfills the role of receptionist.

Grahamstown turns out to be a lovely old town where the next morning we look around a bit and have a cup of coffee and tea.

Then we leave for Port Elizabeth and a nice summer sun, the temperature is again enjoyable, which makes us the rain of recent days quickly vergeten.Onderweg we decide to turn off towards Addo Elephant Park. We take the N342, unpaved, but from Paterson this again surfaced and we even see from the road walking the elephants in the park. We find a nice camping spot at The Homestead B&B and Campsite,  a little crampy spots but spotlessly clean bathrooms and friendly owners. Through them we book a safari in Addo and Schotia Game Park for the next day, an experience not soon to be forgotten, just look at the pictures and videos below and this Portfolio.

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During diner in the evening we meet an artist who makes beautiful realistic drawings.

Addo to Port Elizabeth is only a short drive away and two hours after departure at The Homestead we find a campsite at the Pine Lodge Resort where we camp our last days of sun and beach.

On Sunday 22-1 we pack Milady for the trip and on Monday morning we drive to the port of PE along with the shipping agent to leave our faithful companion for shipment to Europe.

The farewell makes us take a deep breath, how we will find her in a few weeks in Zeebrugge?

Meanwhile, Sonja has booked two nights at Dempsey’s Self Catering Guest House, our last nights in Africa, for the time being. Jack and Cathy welcome us warmly and in their “double room” we can retire nicely before we take the big flight home.

On January 26 at half past three we are back home …

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