We drove for about an hour through some beautiful scenery to drop off the off the hire car at George airport. We stopped off at Fancourt Golf Club en route to satisfy Tim’s curiosity. There is a fine spa hotel there which does three night packages – an alternative I would never have thought of when planning this trip. We met up with the transfer car and two and a half hours later arrived at the Storms River section of the Tsitsikamma Section of the Garden Route National Park (GRNP).

We are spending tonight in a little chalet by the trailhead. The setting is absolutely stunning – undoubtedly the very best “hotel” room I have ever stayed in! Chalet 26 is set up on stilts into the cliff side with the Indian Ocean powering up against the the rugged rocks at the water’s edge.

This tiny wooden cabin is very well designed to have everything you need for a very comfortable stay by the ocean, including a braai (get me!) and microwave as well as all the usual “essentials” like a kettle, shower, WC etc. and electric – although there are candles provided, which suggests that the power supply is maybe not 100 percent reliable. If I could build my dream log cabin (which I would seriously love to do, but doubt I ever will), then it would be exactly like this. It is just a short walk to a restaurant and shop, set by a small beach along the coast. I could happily stay here for quite a while – there are numerous hiking trails possible from the chalet (although there are warnings about snakes). I would definitely come back and stay here for longer if I we are ever fortunate enough to be able to take another trip to South Africa.

Tomorrow, we start a two day 17km hike from Storms River Mouth, walking eastwards through natural fynbos and pristine indigenous forest over rugged rocks at the water’s edge and ending on the banks of the Sandrift River at The Fernery.

I am hoping to see dolphins, whales (although it is a bad year for them, apparently) and maybe Otters, given that the famous big 5 day hike from here is called the Otter Trail. Bird spotting possibilities include the Knysna Loerie (turaco) and the endangered Oystercatcher.

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