31 August 2011

Mini vs Maxi Tour - Bonus

When the team was walking over to the Tsitsikamma Canopy Tours offices, "Chrome & Fin City" caught my eye and I resolved it was a place to a visit after the tour. I would never have expected to find a collection of Cadillacs in Storms River.

Aside from the cars, the Cadillac Shack is decked out with pictures of Elvis and his music  plays constantly in the background, a reminder that the the king of rock and roll was partial to "Caddies".

I am not sure which model this one is, but judging from the number plate it dates back to 1959.

The Cadillac Eldorado is big and brash and flashy - no wonder they were so popular. One of these could have made an ideal MAXI team vehicle - I would even have been prepared to drive around in the pink one.

 The fins were such a hall mark of the cars of that era. It gives them a sculptured look.

Aint it cool.................. it is a real work of art, but they would probably not fit in the parking bays of today.

Mini vs Maxi Tour Cameos #2 - Wisteria

Most of the year the Wisteria is a fairly non-descript climber, but when they burst into flower they are so rewarding. This one is in full bloom outside the Cape Dutch suites at the Tsitsikamma Village Inn.

30 August 2011

Mini vs Maxi Tour - The Khologha Forest

Just on the out-skirts of Stutterheim is the Manderson Hotel, a real gem with well appointed rooms and a friendly atmosphere.

My room for the night looked out over the gardens and the Amathole Mountains.

The hotel has magnificent views of the Khologha Forest and the Amathole Mountains. It is an ideal place to stop over if you enjoy hiking and want to tackle some interesting forest walks.

The walks through, the  Khologha Forest, start a short distance from the hotel and you can choose the length of you walk depending on you level of fitness and dare I say laziness. The long walk is 17 kilometres. If you don't have a map, you can always check the distances and routes at the interpretive centre.

Just remember to obey the signs if you are picnicing and are going to braai.

The parth are well signposted - don't you like the innovative direction signs.

One of the things that struck me about this wooden walkway, which goes a short distance into the forest, is that it makes it possible for people with disabilities to enjoy the beauty of the forest.

One of the many waterfalls that cascade down the mountains along the hiking trail.

All too soon the walk was over.... and the adventure was over.........and it was time to go home .....and to part company with the trusty Amarok.

Mini vs Maxi Cameos #1 - Arum Lilly

So ofthen when I am on holiday or travelling I am so busy looking at the big picture that I miss the little ones.  What I will be doing in this series is to show some of the gems I photographed on the tour.

Arum lily growing in the village at Storms River.

The Mini vs Maxi Challenge - From the West to the East

Day three of the tour dawned bright and sunny in Tsistikamma. It is one of those paces that is full of charm and beauty, which makes it difficult to leave, especially after the wonderful hospitality of our hosts Chris and Irma.

To get the most of the atmosphere I took an early morning walk before breakfast, through the gardens and the picturesque village, which is set below the majestic mountains of the Tsitsikamma. Imagine waking up to this every morning.

A two and a half drive brought us to the Elephant House at Addo, where we were ushered into an establishment that was full character and old world charm, with its wide verandas and lush well kept gardens.

This is a place to stay if you are looking for peace and quite, good accommodation and excellent food. Our gourmet three course lunch with our host that was superb, to say the least.

The Elephant House is a stone's throw away from the Addo Elephant National Park, which was our next destination. As we were driving on to Stutterheim after the tour, we decided to  do a self drive in the MAXI teams VW Amarok. This vehicle is amazing. It is just as comfortable on the dirt roads as it is on the tar.

The Addo Elephant National Park is one of my favourite places in the Eastern Cape. Whenever I go there I am never disappointed. This time was no exception. I have never seen the Park looking so lush. The countryside is awash with a blaze of colour from all the flowers - it looks like spring has sprung early this year.

With all the vegetation and surface water the animals were not as concentrated as they were in the drier months, but we were not disappointed - here are three of my favourites, elephants, kudu and warthog.

From here our next stop was the Manderson Hotel at Stutterheim, but that is tomorrow's story.

26 August 2011


My announcement that I was going to bungee jump was met with mixed reaction, from total horror, to "I wish it was me." In spite of all my bluster and bravado I was not sure that I would do, or could do it - not that I was about to tell anyone that little secret.
And when I got there, oh boy, oh boy, oh boy I nearly chickened out. Iit was only my pride that kept me going. How does one describe the emotions – trepidation while waiting for your turn,

worry as you are helped to the edge, you can't run away, as your ankles are tied together,

terror as you are launched into the abyss

and then pure joy

 the thrill of the jump as you plummet ......... a long, long way down

 relief as you are hauled up

and then a grin like the Cheshire cat.

Face Adrenalin really did us proud. Will I do it again? I think I could.

Mini vs Maxi Tour - Adrenalin most of the way

Day two continued.

No visit to Cape St Francis is complete without a visit to the lighthouse.

After breakfast, Frank from the Cape St Francis Resort took us on a cruise around the canals and proved to be a very congenial companion and competent skipper as he regaled us with many facts and stories.

It was then time for the BUNGEE organised by Face adrenalin at the Bloukrans Bridge. It's a loooong way down.

It's almost like there are two worlds that do not know what the other is doing.

Taking the plunge

Now if that was not enough, we headed for Tsitsikamma Canopy Tours, to zip line between the trees....high above the ground. What does strike you is that jumping off high places is not one of man's natural inclinations. But it is fun.

Our guides, Chris and Tarky (Tarquin) kept us in stitches with their brand of what I call "forest humour." Here we see Lindile coming in for a smooth landing.

Irma and Chris, Tsitsikamma Village Inn, our hosts for the evening have really pulled out the stops. Their hospitality is really tremendous and adds to the warmth of the place.

Dinner at the Hunters Restaurant was superb. I settled on the venison pie and Lindile and Songezo the rump steaks.

Mini vs Maxi Tour - Day 2 Cape St Francis

My day started with an early morning walk on a rather windswept, but refreshing beach at Cape St Francis.

The wide expanse of beach looking towards the lighthouse.

Our accommodation at the Cape St Franci Resort catching the early morning light.

Today is going to be very busy with a canal tour, bungy jumping and a canopy tour

25 August 2011

Mini vs Maxi Tour - legendary hamburger

It has been a long day. The drive to East London was most enjoyable as I was treated to a magificent sunrise. They are always good for getting the day started.

Inkwenkwezi Private Game Reserve hosted the launch of the Mini vs MAXI tour. It is a great venue and the hosts have a wonderful sense of humour. At lunch we were offered a choice of a mini or maxi burger. I, along with a few others allowed myself to be "conned" into the MAXI burger. How could I have been so blind.

Every Wednesday they have burger night. The deal is that if you can eat two of these in the space of an hour, you will be rewarded with 24 cases of beer.

In twelve years on three people have managed it. I am not surprised. I couldn't manage half.

The Maxi team drove back to Cape St Francis this evening and will be starting with the action tomorrow.

24 August 2011

The Mini vs Maxi Tour - The wheels are ready to roll

I collected the the MAXI vehicle, a VW Amarok this morning. What a beaut - or should I rather say brute.

With wheels like this one can only have fun. I hit the road at 5am tomorrow morning.

23 August 2011

Fun on the streets

Sometimes we cruise the city streets at night looking for interesting shots. On this evening I was having fun photographing moving cars, with the Edward Hotel as a back drop.

Mini vs Maxi Tour - Two days to go

I have never thought of the Eastern Cape as the Adventure Province until now. I have always been content to travel around the province enjoying its beauty, bio-diversity, wildlife and history.
Now that the Eastern Cape Parks and Tourism Agency have given me the opportunity to see at first hand the adventure side of the Eastern Cape and get involved in some of the more physical pursuits, I am sure my travels will never be the same again.

Whatever you do in the Eastern Cape, or wherever you travel, you will always find some wonderful gems. I am looking forward to the experience. 
The Arboretum at Hogsback. We may not go there, but this picture shows another facet of the wonderful biodiversity of the Eastern Cape