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Beer and Biryani :: The Travelling Adventures of Matt & Donna  
Zebra, Addo Elephant National Park
March 22, 2007

Away with the Fairies

Buccaneers in Cintsa is essentially a beach resort for backpackers, set on 35 acres of bush land, running from the hill top, all the way down to the white sandy beaches below, and bordered by a large tranquil lagoon and river on one side, and by dense forests on the other. Instead of spending 1-2 days at several beaches as we hop up the coast, we decided to spend a decent amount of time in one place, and Buccaneers was definitely the right choice for us.

Rather than sleeping in a Double room or Dorm, we spent our time in a Safari Tent, set in the bush, with crazy views overlooking the beach and hills. Other than a few leaks, and a snake that thought sunning itself under Donna's deck chair would be a good idea, it was amazing value for money.

The morning view from our tent

The morning view from our safari tent - Buccaneers in Cintsa West

In addition to lazy days on the beach, frolicking in the waves (yep - matt can swim) and trying our hand at Canoeing and body boarding, the lodge puts on 10 Litres of free wine each night with an activity. During our stay those activities normally degenerated into lazy chats on the dunes, or wild parties in the main bar.

The biggest event of note during our stay on the Wild Coast was probably The Storm of the Century, the planets aligned, coinciding with a king tide and the equinox, causing massive 11 meter waves, and thunderous rain storms. The tide was so high it completely swamped the beach, with waves coming in directly into the lagoon behind the sand dunes.

Unfortunately on our travels so far, even though Apartheid is over in South Africa, the segregation between black and white people still exists. Buccaneers is the first hostel we have stayed in where local blacks held more than just menial cleaning jobs, here they ran the bar and reception, which resulted in much more interaction with the guests, where they joined us in the late night drinking sessions in the bar, and the midday chill outs in front of the tv while the rain poured down.

With no bus routes north to Hogsback (the tail end of the Drakensberg Mountain Range), we were introduced to Laurence, a local hogsbackian who drove us the 2 hour journey in his bakkie, unfortunately the vehicle was only designed to carry two people, and after he picked up a couple of other travellers in East London on the way, the vehicle was fairly cramped in what finally took us three hours.

Hogsback is billed as a mystical place of fairies and goblins, and its forests and waterfalls are rumored to have inspired J. R. R. Tolkein for Lord of the Rings. Its home to the endangered Cape Parrot which nests in the gardens around the lodge. It definitely is a beautiful place to visit, and while we only stayed a short time, it was probably the most relaxing place we have visited so far. After 5 relaxing days on the beach in Cintsa, we did manage to squeeze in a 5 hour hike through the forests around Hogsback, with plenty of rock scrambling, taking in three magical waterfalls, and some fantastic scenery.

Bridal Veil Falls - Hogsback

Toadstools in the forests around Hogsback

Note for our Mums: Because Hogsback is so remote, we opted for the home cooked meals from the Hostel instead of self catering, and the meals we were served were extremely wholesome, and piled high with vegetables.

It was cold and misty on our final morning in Hogsback, as we wound our way down the mountain pass towards the main road, the sun finally broke through the thick clouds giving us a magical view of the surrounding hills with rolling pastures leading down to the small Xhosa communities nestled in the valleys. We passed parents walking the children to school, cows grazing on the side of the road, and all other assortments of stray animals. As we finally reached the plains, the scenery changed drastically to endless grasslands, dotted with termite mounds and the odd cactus tree or thorny bush.

Enough of the beaches and bog standard tourist route, its time to get off the beaten track and see the real africa, we head 500km North now to Lesotho, and will probably be out of touch for the next 2-3 weeks.

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  My god, snakes, l would be on the first flight home!!

Lachie & Stella - April 02, 2007

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