Vacation: Sipping Wine, Walking the Beach…and Riding ELEPHANTS!

After we left Oudtshoorn we drove down the N12 towards George. After a couple of missed turns and backtracking we got on the right road to do a little wine tasting. We were looking for Herold Wines, a small vineyard off the beaten track…WAY off the beaten track, as in there was no physical address, just GPS coordinates. But it had pretty good reviews online, and they had pinot noir, which isn’t grown much in South Africa.

Once we finally found the place, we ended up being the only people there. Alas, because they were such a small vineyard, they were out of pinot noir–sold out in their high season. So we did a quick tasting of the rest of their wines, bought a couple of bottles, took some photos around the area, and got back on the road to Sedgefield.

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The drive down to George over the Outeniqua Pass was beautiful, winding through the lush mountains, and from there we had another 45 minutes to our hostel.

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We found this particular hostel at the last minute when we found that everything in Knysna and Wilderness was booked. But we were both glad we found it. It was less like a hostel and more like beach apartments. Nice spacious room, nice bathroom, mini fridge, tv, picnic area outside every room on the balcony overlooking the ocean, and people came and cleaned everyday. Downstairs there was a bar and a restaurant with some great pizza, and three feet away was the entrance to the beach.

Our trip was somewhat poorly timed as we picked the only two days out of that week where the weather was cool, windy, and at night, very rainy. I was disappointed because the day we left was going to start the  nice warm weather for the rest of the weekend, but it ended up being okay. We took a walk on the beach the first evening while the sunset. It was chilly, but it was then that we discovered how much warmer the Indian Ocean is than the Atlantic. Even with it being chilly outside, wading in the water was nice.

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The next day was more sunny, still windy, but we managed to swim in the ocean for awhile. And by swim I mean stand in waist high water and resist going out farther because the undertow was so strong. That afternoon we drove to through Knysna to the Elephant Park. Again, the weather turned sour, which I was at first disappointed about, but the worst it got was a drizzle. We did an elephant back ride, which many people complain about being too expensive, but it was an awesome experience, definitely worth it to be on top of the elephant.

My elephant was named Chaka and my guide was Felix from Zimbabwe. After a pretty long ride, we fed our elephants a bucket of fruits and veggies. Then we went to see the other smaller elephants. It was pretty cool getting to be so up close to them. You could touch their side and belly, play with their ears, stroke their trunks, and even put a hand out for it to put its foot in. They were all pretty friendly even while they were busy eating. If they started to walk, you just walked beside them. Despite how well trained they were (and they were really responsive), their size still made them frightening. Overall an amazing experience and I would definitely go back to at least see them again.

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After we finished with the elephants we decided to have dinner in Knysna. I chose what I thought looked like a nice Indian restaurant. It was all bad. The waiter spoke no English, just the language from his home country which was pointless in that region and what was worse, the entrees didn’t come with rice, which was just absurd to me. How do you have a soupy lentil dish with no rice. Then what made it all worse was on the ride home, the food made both of us sick–upset stomachs and heartburn. Shame!

The next morning we took another walk on another part of the beach and took photos before we got back on the road and headed back to cape town. The weather was beautiful that day and the water was so nice, we didn’t want to leave. Myoli Beach is definitely one place I will have to visit again.

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