Garden route

 

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// Nikon D7200 | -33.9734 : 23.88234 | alt. 232m

The problem with bush camping, it’s, well……. forbidden :p so the main rule is to park after sunset and leave before sunrise. It’s winter, so nights are pretty long, but since this is a bit stressful, you don’t really get the best sleep, and it’s never easy to wake up.
Back on the road, first national park on the garden route was wilderness area, a beautiful forest along the river. I made it too late to see anything, and while looking for a place to sleep, I found one of the bird hides along the road, with small parking in front without sign…. I took my chance and no one came to wake me up 🙂 Still, when bushcamping, it’s always a good idea to pack the pop top before sunrise…. and anyway, being next to a bird hide, it’s also a good idea to use it ! From there you can see the lake, with big branches next to the shelter, offering premium resting point for passing birds, and in a few minutes came a kingfisher and a cormorant.

Then, I went to the hiking part of the park along the river. First thing first, since any lovely part of nature is part of a national park, I decided to get the wild card, the south african pass for all the parks. You pay 10 times more than the locals, because obviously South Africa is a poor country and anyone makes 10 times more money abroad…..sure. 152euros for that pass…..

I went for the main trail going to the waterfall……which is closed ! You can still do the first part, a bit boring, with only a few openings to see the forest. The highlight was the river crossing on a pontoon which you operate yourself using a rope ! Just for that, this trail was worth it !
After this, I had to find another spot for the night…. following the gps database, I found a spot lost in the middle of the bush, by a waterfall and a couple of pools. This place could be paradise, and probably was, but locals coming here to enjoy it left their rubbish and empty beer cans, plastic bottles and bags are floating on the surface….. just disgusting.

The day after, fairly short drive to Storms river park, with dramatic coast, stormy ocean crashing on the rocks, a few dolphins, and a section of the park with long suspension bridges. You should do this part first, the morning light is just stunning ! You can take a kayak tour (but honestly, why a tour ????? ) and swim in one of the quiet sandy bay below the bridges.
The main attraction is the otter trail to the waterfall, which is a beautiful hike along the coast, but in winter time, the sun never goes high enough to bring light over the waterfall and the pool below, making this beautiful place dark and cold, not appealing at all. And with the current draught in SA, there was barely no water falling :p
There was a bigger surprise. On the way there, I met Farah and her friend doing the same hike, what are the odds ?!
I joined them in the evening at their hostel (where you can park you vehicle in the backyard) and we spent a lovely evening chatting and having a couple of beers around a bonfire. So good to catch up again 🙂

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