Tuesday, July 08, 2014

27 April: Addo Elephant Park to Port Alfred

We decided to have a lazy start to the day today. We pretty much figured that our Game Driving was over and we needed a bit of a lie-in.

After a leisurely start we decided to take a drive thru the park to the "halfway road" and pop out there en route to Port Alfred. Best. Idea. Evar.

Seriously, we didn't see much for the whole first part of the drive ... I almost thought I spotted a rhino, but when it lifted it's head, it turned out to be a lone Buffalo instead. Oh well. I really was hoping to see one of the Black Rhino they have there, but I was out of luck :(

Just as we were getting to the stretch before the road, where we'd seen the Ellies yesterday, we had our second close-up Caracal sighting. Yesterday we'd watched one wander alongside and then cross the road (that's the one in the pic). This one was closer, but headed off into the brush much quicker. Although not as amazing as seeing them with their cubs (in Pilanesberg), it was pretty cool.

And then we hit the jackpot. Sitting the the grass up ahead were 2 male Lions, only one car already watching them. We edged closer and they got up and moved into the road. Both of them walking down the road and right past our car! You know when you can't zoom out enough to get a decent photo! Seriously, the only time I've had a lion experience that up close is probably the Lion Park!

Back up the hill, where we'd spotted the long-gone Caracal, they stopped and sat in the grass again. So we turned the car around and went and watched them for a while. Wow. So special. (Yes, those are our super chuffed with ourselves faces :) )

With our trip completed made in our last few minutes in the park, we headed on our way. We'd been told that we could simply not miss a stop at Nanaga Farm Stall, and it was right on our route. So we stopped and grabbed some brunch. Had to try their apparently not-to-be-missed Roosterbrood, absolutely hit the spot! And stocked up on a number of other unnecessary pastry items to take with us, of course ;)

And then we headed to our next overnight stop, The Royal Guest House in Port Alfred. Mkay, so for something that had as many stars as it did from positive reviews on Safari Now (and the fact that it apparently is a 4-star hotel), I was expecting a little more. I thought we deserved a little luxury after our 2 nights in Addo, not realising how awesome the accommodation there was when I was booking. Honestly, this was the worst spot we stayed in on our entire trip.

It's built in, I presume, an old house. So we were literally staying in bedrooms in the house. The noise levels left a lot to be desired. The bathroom was this weird added on room. But it suited our purposes, although I'd never stay there again. Honestly tho, I'd probably never bother going back to Port Alfred either.

So why did we go, you ask? Well The Trucker had some idea of going and checking out his other gran's old house, which he had memories of visiting as a kid. After booking (he was sure she stayed in Port Alfred), we found out on a visit to his mom's that actually his gran had lived a little further north in Kleinemonde, which seems to now be called Seafield. We Google Streetviewed it with his mom and neither of them could agree on where the old house was.

So, after checking in to The Royal Guest House, we headed north in the hopes of reliving a few of his childhood memories. Now either the old house has been knocked down or a lot more have sprung up around it, but there was nothing definitive to see and we quickly turned around and headed back to Port Alfred.

We thought about a walk along Kleinemonde beach, but it seems like the road there is a well-guarded secret o_0 So instead we headed for a walk along some of the Port Alfred coastline and sat and watched the waves. Got an ice cream and walked along the pier and watched the waves breaking.

It wasn't the best of weather so we went back to the Guest House and lazed till dinner time ...

Now there was another story. After checking Trip Advisor for a suitable dinner spot, we headed out. A couple on the list weren't open for dinner or on Sundays. And then when we found one that was open, after we pulled into the parking spot, we saw they had some guy with his guitar serenading the patrons. Nope, not for us tonight. As we reversed, 3 cop cars pulled into the parking lot. So no idea what was potting there ... but glad we got out.

And so, we ended up at Spur. By this stage, our fourth attempt at finding dinner, we just wanted something that "did what it said on the box" if you know what I mean? It wasn't amazing by any stretch, but that pretty much summed up Port Alfred for us.


Anonymous said...

Oh sad! Devastated that you didn't enjoy PA! You will have to come back & let us show u around! And next time stay at Kowie River Guest House - best spot in town xx

geronimo said...

Really enjoyed your write up and can i just say that to see lions in Addo you did really well. I live in Port Alfred and have visited Addo quite a few times and never seen lion! Lots of elephants of course :-)

Sad to hear of your experience of Port Alfred. I can't believe the owners of your guest house didn't recommend somewhere for you to eat on Sunday. My mother and father-in-law own a guest house in Port Alfred and always spends time with guests recommending places to eat and things for folks to do. If you ever come back perhaps give them a look up :-) Dockside Guest House

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