Thoughtless Thursday- South Africa: The Garden Route

Last Thursday I posted Part One of our South Africa trip.  This week will be pictures from the next few days after leaving Kruger. When we left Kruger, we drove back to Johannesburg and caught our flight down to Port Elizabeth.  From Port Elizabeth we spent three nights in Knysna, then drove over to Struisbaai where we spent another two nights, before we made our way to Cape Town.  These pictures are from the area between Port Elizabeth to Storms River.  The route we took is known as the Garden Route and it’s my favorite area in the whole world.  On my preliminary selection I picked 80 pictures to go in this post, and that is when I decided to draw out my South Africa update by breaking it into several posts. Next up will be our time around the southern most point of Africa, followed by our time in Cape Town.  I’m going to try to limit the words and just have a lot of pictures but I love this are so much that might be hard for me to do!! Make sure you’re in it for the long haul because even though I’m splitting this post in to two, I still have a lot of pictures for you!

We lucked out and didn’t have anyone sitting next to us on our flight from Johannesburg to Port Elizabeth so Brice got his own seat!

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These next several pictures are from a place called Monkeyland and then Birds of Eden. They are located on the same premises.  This was either my 3rd or 4th trip to Monkeyland and it never gets old.  We like to get there first thing in the morning while the animals are still active.  We were the first visitors for the day so it was just the 5 of us with our tour guide.  Monkeyland is a primate sanctuary made up of a large, wooded fenced area and you get to walk around while the monkey’s freely play.  They have several feeding stations set up around the premises so that is why it’s best to go early when they are going to get their food. A lot of these monkeys were either formally pets or rescued in some way or another, the others were born there.  They even have a retirement home for when the monkeys can no longer get on the tables to eat. 🙂DSCN3532 DSCN3538 DSCN3550 DSCN3557 DSCN3568 DSCN3583 DSCN3585 DSCN3598 DSCN3619 DSCN3631After playing with the birds and the monkeys we headed west to see what we had driven through the night before.  These three days were the only days we had bad weather, and of course they were the main days we had outside activities planned. Thank goodness for self timers!DSCN3646DSCN3651Our next stop was to see the Big Tree.  This tree is close to 150 feet tall about estimated to be between 600-800 years old.  When I say this is a big tree, I mean you can’t even get a picture of the whole thing without using panorama.  We took my mom to see this tree back in 2010 and since then they had completed the wooden path which made it much easier to access.DSCN3656DSCN3657All of that walking around sure did make us hungry!  Our next stop was the Storms River National Park.  There is a really pretty suspension bridge you can walk over that gives you an amazing view of the river’s mouth but due to the weather and the haze we didn’t make the hike over to see it this time. (Colin, Matt and I have been there before)DSCN3662The busy morning wore Brice out too.DSCN3668DSCN3670DSCN3691DSCN3692DSCN3688This right here is Bloukrans Bridge where crazy people bungee jump from.  It is the world’s bungee bridge and it makes my stomach turn knots just looking at it.  None of us are that crazy but we stopped and watched a few crazy people jump.DSCN3693After watching a few people jump we hauled booty back over to Knysna to catch our sunset cruise with Springtide Charters.  Colin’s great aunt and uncle who we were staying with watched Brice for the evening so we could go on the cruise.  We did this same cruise in 2010 but that time it was too dangerous for us to leave the lagoon so it was very leisurely.  This time, even though it started pouring down rain, the cruise continued and we were able to go out through the heads, into the ocean.  The captain and his mate were very nice and informative and we enjoyed some adult beverages and a platter of delicious foods.  The rain prevented us from getting very many good pictures.  Life jackets were required when leaving the lagoon. 🙂IMG_2829IMG_2836The next day we had more outside activities planned, and of course the rain continued!  A little water wasn’t going to stop us though.  Next up was our trip to Jukani Wildlife Sanctuary.  They had recently moved their facility to a new and bigger area so we wanted to go check it out.  We had taken my family there back in 2010.  They have mostly large cats but do have several other species.  All of their animals had been rescued in one way or another.  It is a family run operation and one of the lion’s actually grew up in their home.  I could go on and on about this place, but instead just check out their site for details on all the animals.  Because it was raining a lot of the cats were hiding in their houses, but we still enjoyed ourselves.DSCN3718DSCN3726DSCN3735DSCN3740This lion was very interested in Brice and I’m pretty sure she wanted to eat him.  Nonetheless, Brice loved roaring at them.DSCN3753Next stop was to another one of my favorite places, Knysna Elephant Park. This was my 4th time being here and like with the monkeys, it doesn’t get old.  Being this up close to these gentle giants is such an amazing experience.  All of these animals had also been rescued.  Most of them were rescued from culling.  Others were rescued as babies when something happened to their mother (sometimes poaching :() and one of their elephants was actually born at the park!  Last time we were there one of the elephants was still a small calf so to see her several years later was really neat!  Matt and Colin took an identical picture with the matriarch when we were there in 2010.  I will have to find that picture to do a side by side comparison.  Brice was rather skeptical at first but he finally warmed up to them and even touched one!DSCN3768DSCN3770DSCN3774IMG_2852IMG_2864IMG_2878IMG_2914!  Funny story- there are baboons that just roam around this area and if you didn’t know, they are not nice.  Colin’s aunt and uncle like to leave their sliding glass door open that leads on to the deck.  While we were out a baboon ran in to the house and stole a loaf of bread, a few bananas, and some other fruit!!IMG_3495Sadly our time in Knysna had to come to an end.  We made one last trip up to the Knysna Head’s to soak in the view.  It is so pretty up here even when it’s cloudy.  IMG_2941IMG_2959IMG_2954

If you’ve made it all the way through I applaud you and am impressed!  I say it all the time but if you have never been or even considered South Africa as a place you want to go, you should reconsider!!! More to come next Thursday.

Have you ever had an encounter with a wild animal?

Do you prefer visiting animals/nature or museums?

10 responses to “Thoughtless Thursday- South Africa: The Garden Route

  1. Love the pics! Poor sleepy Brice in that one shot! I’m such an animal person which is probably why South Africa ended up being my favorite place I’ve ever been. I’m really hoping to do a few days at an elephant rescue center sometime in the next few years, I think those places are so awesome 🙂

    • I won’t make you chose between the two 🙂 The monkeys were very curious about Brice and one almost jumped in his stroller!

  2. Pingback: Thoughtless Thursday- South Africa: Southernmost region | I run He tris·

  3. Pingback: Thoughtless Thursday- South Africa: Cape Town Part 1 | I run He tris·

  4. Pingback: Thoughtless Thursday – South Africa: Cape Town Part 2 | I run He tris·

  5. Pingback: Thoughtless Thursday- South Africa: Cape Town Part 3 | I run He tris·

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