Departing from the Drakensbergs on a misty-where’d-the-view-go-morning, we made our way to Johannesburg as to spend the evening with one of the few remaining Soskolne’s in South Africa – My cousin Debbie (and by cousin, I mean we share the same last name, although the specifics of how exactly are somewhat fuzzy – We assume someone was related to someone else once upon a time). After a pleasant evening debating the guilt of Oscar Pistorius (aka the South African OJ Simpson minus small gloves plus prosthetic legs), as well enjoying the always-entertaining-foreign-accent game of “what do you call this” (traffic light = robot?), we were up and at em at 6AM the following day to catch our flight to Port Elizabeth.
With 2 days and approximately 500 miles between us and Cape Town, our time along the famed Garden Route of South Africa was spent primarily witnessing a phenomenon only experienced during certain times of the year: "The Geriatric Journey." As peak travel season had come and gone, the “shoulder-season” of March welcomed all those from across the world with the innate inability to maintain follicle coloring. Every minute spent along this famed passage was either driving behind two knuckles & a steering wheel at half the speed limit (Borrowed Joke), or attempting to maneuver our way around a pack of tortoise-paced walkers, unable to determine which side of the pathway they wish to unknowingly take over next. Despite bringing the average age of this tourist trail down to a meager 68 years of age, we still did manage to enjoy several highlights along the way:
Tsitsikamma National Park – Known as the “garden of the garden route,” Tsitsikamma is the perfect destination for those looking for a non-existent-pace-of-travel. With the main attraction involving a 20-minute walk to a seriously-this-is-the-main-attraction suspension bridge, the majority of our day was spent relaxing, making fun of the elderly, and of course having a close encounter with a baboon who apparently was drawn to our front door by the ever-growing collection of chocolate we were compiling (props to Julie for screaming in fright as I attempted to save our Top Deck bars).
Knysna – Officially designated the “oyster capital of the world,” Knysna (surprisingly not pronounced “Ka-Nice-Na” as Julie the Master’s Degree-holding teacher in English initially thought), provided a nice lunch break for, wait for it, oysters. While the specifics of how Knysna earned this title will never be known (unless you are less lazy than me and just google it), this quick lunch stop would not normally earn the designation of “highlight,” except my god those oysters were amazing. Like, unbelievably amazing. Like, if we could eat one food for the rest of our lives (sorry pizza or pasta), these may cut the cake (is that even a saying?).
Ostrich Riding in Oudtshoorn – Pronounced “oot-swoorn”, the small village of Oudtshoorn has made a name for itself by specializing in one of the more entertaining flightless birds in the world – Ostriches. Typically bred for their amazingly healthy meat (fact #23 of 842 learned during our 1-hour Ostrich farm tour), Ostriches are actually less commonly known for their ability to carry checklist-happy tourists on their backsides (fact #841 of 842). A fairly cruel activity that no doubt would never see the day of light in any westernized country, we were very lucky that such moral standards have not yet hit the Motherland. And thus, an ostrich we did a ride. And no, the photos will not disappoint. Oh, and in case you are curious about fact #842 – Ostriches hate having people ride them.
With oysters in our bellies, Ostrich feathers stuck to our shorts, and a burning desire to somehow pass the 20-car-back-up caused by another member of the Geriatric Journey, our next stop was none other than the Mothercity of Cape Town.
Onto the pics: