As usual, we pop in and visit friends along the way and spend nights at B&B's in between.
Crossing the Orange River; one of the borders between the Free State and the Cape Province
The trusty steed which takes us on many trips across South Africa and neighboring countries
Our first stop was at Victoria West where we stayed over with friends, Sanet and Chris. Sanet was my Marquard hairdresser for nineteen years. She was a single mother of three; these children are now well-adjusted, steady young adults of whom she can be very proud . When Sanet married Chris, who has his own law practice in this small Karoo town, I told her that I would follow her to have my hair "done". Of course, every time we visit, I have a cut and color. Chris is also a master "braai-er" (BBQ expert) so we always have a lovely evening with them too.
The next morning we headed southwards to the Breede River Mouth. Friends, Dereck and Lesley, who own the Country Pumpkin in Barrydale, have a holiday home at Witsand on the lagoon. While Dereck and Grant spent the days on Dereck's boat, fishing, Lesley and I lolled around on the deck. I managed to get beautiful photos of seed-eaters at her bird feeder and also took many photos of the lagoon, sunrise, sunset and the men returning from their trips. During this weekend, I also got photos of visiting waterbirds on a dam nearby. (more about these birds in tomorrow's post)
The view of the Breede River Mouth from Dereck and Lesley's holiday home in Witsand
Grant and Dereck washing the boat down after a day's fishing on the lagoon
Soon it was Monday morning and time for us to move on. We rode down to Wilderness on the N2 and booked into a national parks log cabin for the night.
The bike resting outside our log cabin in the Ebb and Flo National Park, Wilderness
After a fair amount of birding in this well-maintained Sanparks resort, we met up with friends Rudi and his fiance, Nazeem later that evening. Rudi, whom we've known since we all worked together on the diamond mines in Namibia in the nineties, now works in the DRC. This was a rare time when our leaves in SA coincided and he and Nazeem, treated us to a delicious dinner at a local restaurant in Wilderness.
Dinner with friends, Nazeem and Rudi at The Blue Olive Restaurant, Wilderness
The next morning we had a short hop from Wilderness to Knysna. Here we stopped off with friends, Pete and Mart who have a beautiful guest lodge in Knysna overlooking the Knysna Heads.
For the first time ever, this stretch of the Indian Ocean was contaminated by the Red Tide. This phenomena can produce crayfish and mussels which are poisonous. Although Google states that the word "red" is misleading, on this particular day, we found the ocean to have a definite RED line depicting this ominous tide!
Pete, Mart and Grant strolling along the water's edge while yours truly walked behind taking photos
After two days of Grant treating us to lunches at nearby eateries, Pete BBQ'ing on their patio for dinner and a lovely walk on nearby Brenton Beach, we eventually left them and headed up the N2 to Port Elizabeth.
Here we stopped off with dear old friends, John and Sonja. Over a delicious lunch of macaroni cheese and salad, we each caught up on the others news. I met John, a bank auditor (called bank inspectors) in 1975. I worked for a bank in Greytown and he and two other inspectors had dropped into our branch unexpectedly (as bank inspectors were wont to do!) on Saturday at 11am. John, a bachelor at the time, Grant and I became firm friends and kept in touch over the decades. In 1989, he was stationed permanently at the Port Elizabeth bank where he met and married Sonja. Since his retirement they have lived in a townhouse complex in the city.
After taking our leave from these dear people, we set off up the N2; we had booked to stay over at a guest house in Port Alfred which we always patronized. Arriving at Coral Cottages B&B, landlady, Cynthia and her Xhosa manager, Luanda welcomed us like old friends.
Our BMW outside our beautiful accommodation at Coral Cottages B&B, Port Alfred
As we left very early the next morning, Cynthia made us sandwiches in lieu of breakfast. Grant made a flask of coffee the next morning at the same time that he served me tea in bed! We were on the home stretch across the Eastern Cape heading north to the Free State.
We stopped for breakfast at the top of one of the many passes on the trip between the east Cape coast and the Free State. Isn't the setting just magnificent?
Grant and I on one of the many passes between Grahamstown and the Eastern Cape/Free State border
At 2.15 that afternoon, we rode through the gates of our Marquard home. Another memorable motorcycle tour across our beautiful country.
I'm linking this post to Our World Tuesday which you can access by clicking here. Thanks to Lady Fi for hosting the meme this week.