30% Off Your Trip To Mauritius

Massive 30% Off Your Trip To Mauritius with The Travel Collective and Beachcomber Tours

In celebration of Mauritius Independence Day (their special day was on March 12th) The Travel Collective is offering 30% off all Beachcomber 5-star resort bookings at Dinarobin, Paradis, Troux aux Biches and Shandrani Resorts. This special is valid for all room types, excluding villas. 

But wait, there’s more! 

You can add some sparkle to your holiday by upgrading to the Escape Beverage Package for a special selection of drinks daily. You know you want it. You’re going to be on holiday! 

But wait, there’s even more! 

Beachcomber are throwing in some complimentary lunches during most of this period.

Unbelievable, I know, but there’s even more…

Your stay at Shandrani Beachcomber, should you choose it, is on a premium, all-inclusive basis. 

Sound too good to be true? Well, there is always the small print*. 

For this special, the small print is simply that you need to book before 25 March 2019 for travel between now and 31 October 2019.
No other small print, promise, but that deadline is quite close.

Ping Craig – craig@thetruthcollective.co.za / 082 376 4443  
https://www.facebook.com/TravelCollectiveCo/ @travel_collective_co  – shouldyou want to gather any other information about this rather special deal. 

The Baviaanskloof journey ends

The climb back up the mountains was just as interesting as our descent earlier in the day. Satisfied after our excellent lunch catered by Cape St Francis Resort, it would have been easy to nod off in the backseat of the 4x4 were it not that the trip is somewhat bumpy but more so because looking back into the valley offers spectacular views and gives a better feeling on just how deep the valley is.

After the long climb expertly navigated by our tour leader Shaun we arrived back atop the mountain onto level ground and it was time, or so we thought, to settle in for the long drive home.

But that was not to be for our excitement was reignited when a very observant fellow traveler lady tourist spotted a buffalo in a waterhole off in the distance.  Disturbed by our presence he emerged somewhat agitated from the water and turned to stare us down. A friend of mine who owned a game farm in the Natal Midlands that bred disease free buffalo once commented that buffalo look at you with a stare that says “you owe me money”. Well this fellow stood and stared at us like that before moving off. He turned again when he saw we were not moving on and gave us the stare again as if to say “hey get going before I come and collect”!

And so we continued until almost on a premonition rather than any actual sighting, Shaun pulled off the road where two Blue Cranes merged into our view. Baboons are a plenty making sense of the name Baviaanskloof,  Valley of the Baboons and if one stays alert there are sighting of buck aplenty although in the hot afternoon sun sightings were not as regular as on the way up. We did however stop twice to assist two tortoise across the road so that they wouldn’t be run over by following vehicles.

The scenery on the trip back to Cape St Francis was no less interesting than the trip to the reserve for one was able to take in things missed on the way out. Interesting was how the afternoon sun changed the look of the scenery seen earlier in the day with a morning sun. The farmlands in the mountains certainly make for beautiful photos and one would imagine even better artist canvasses. The colours in the late afternoon sun are nothing short of spectacular.

It is almost worth a trip, not into the actual reserve / pass itself but just up the the entrance. You wouldn’t need a 4x4 for a normal sedan would do just fine. The photo opportunities taking in the beautiful views of not only the mountains but the marvelous colours of the farmlands are a treat enough.

Farmlands view before the entrance to the pass

Having spent a lot of time in the Drakensberg with many trips up Sani Pass, the trip through the Baviaanskloof is certainly more than Sani’s equal. It is rugged in its own right and the peaks though not as towering, are equally majestic in their ruggedness and the incredible, ever changing rock formations have a beauty all of their own.

The purpose of this blog was not to try and tell all about the Baviaanskloof but rather to relate what a wonderful experience we have right on our doorstep and what it was to travel into this great wilderness area. If it encourages just one reader who has never ventured into Baviaanskloof it will have served my purpose but I reiterate, use a guide or at least someone knowledgeable of the area and is an experienced 4x4 driver. There are several tour companies that offer trips with the Resort being one of them.

As things happen a wonderful days outing day ended with a small mishap that Shaun handled like a trooper. Just before driving into Patensie, Shaun pulled over having detected the vehicle was not running as smoothly as it shoul. Sure enough we had a puncture. Displaying the same calm demeanor he had the entire trip Shaun set about changing the tyre refusing all offers of help and in next to no time had us back home all safe and sound.

A great day filled with good memories and a camera with filled with some great photos. Thank goodness for digital cameras.

If you haven’t been following this series you can read previous at

Use a tour guide when sightseeing
The Adventure continues into Baviaanskloof
And so the Adventure continues …

And so the Adventure continues …

And so the Adventure continued but rather than climbing higher and higher we now started descending, steeper and steeper with sheer cliffs falling away to our right from what seemed just inches from the wheels of the 4x4. One can only wonder what happens when a vehicle approaches from the opposite direction for there certainly isn’t space for two vehicles to pass each other.  Another reason why you rather do your first trip with a guide comfortable with the driving conditions unless of course you are one of those 4x4 junkes that would happily challenge the annual DAKAR.

Peering out of the 4x4 we could see fellow travelers vehicles that looked only a little bigger than ants illustrating just how far we still had to go and descend.  Again the scenery and the vegetation changed as we descended and at last we reached our lunch destination, Doodsklip campsite.

Doodsklip is a lovely campsite situated just on the edge of the upper reaches of the Kouga dam. When the dam is full the water’s edge must be a few metres away from the campsite but with the dam standing below 50% it was a short walk to water’s edge.

Whilst Shaun set up camp and our lunch spread supplied by Cape St Francis Resort, the German tourists and I wandered off to do a bit of exploring. Considering how high we had climber to reach the lookout point where I nearly burst into “sitting on top of the world looking down on creation”, now standing near the dams water edge it illustrated just how far we had descended. As the crow flies it was a relatively very short distance but as the  road wound downhill following the contours on the mountain it was actually miles and miles in actual distance travelled.

Wandering off I found a sparkling little brook of cool water where I sat and soaked aching feet. Had it been deeper I would have taken a dip but it was too shallow for such pleasure so rather I splashed the cool waters all over until I was sopping wet. Again if the dam were a bit closer to capacity it would have been possible to have a swim. No doubt even as low as the dam is, if one is prepared to walk one would reach water’s edge. Alas old age and disease has reduced my walkability to but very short distances but my German touring companions did wander off closer to the water but did not swim. Thoughtfully the resort provided towels had any of us chosen to take a dip.

Returning to camp, Shaun had set up our delicious lunch in the shade of a huge wild fig. And what a spread he presented us with complete with a beer for each of us, not the driver, to quench that thirst of what had been a long and at times, a somewhat nailbiting experience.

Lunch over it was time to wind our way back up the pass which proved as much an experience ans the descent.  Buffalo sightings and even a pair of blue crane sightings awaited us …

More next week but some interesting comment s and one in particular from the daughter of the farmer who built the cable car, Correcting my comment of it being a ‘zip line’ Sharon Osborne daughter of Winston le Roux who built the cable car had this to add.

Sharon wrote …

“The ‘zip line’ you refer to was actually a fully functional cable car. As a child I crossed the gorge in it !
The cableway was built by my father, Winston Le Roux in 1967 between his farms Enkeldoorn and Good Hope (now Bergplaas). He used two 32mm carrier cables. The system had a 5 ton carrying capacity, and spans 410m over a 387m gorge.

He used the cableway for many years to transport potatoes and sheep en route to the PE market, cutting out the treacherous 24 km passes.

Andries Blignaut a mechanical engineer & friend of his from PE, assisted in the planning and design.

Winston lives in PE, is 86 years old and in good health. Details are in his book Beautiful Baviaanskloof.
http://www.winstonlrx606.wix.com/baviaanskloof-saga

There must be so many other locals who have stories to tell and so please feel free to add you comments and keep this conversation going

Previous Posts in this blog series

Use a tour guide when sightseeing

The Adventure continues into Baviaanskloof

Use a tour guide when sightseeing

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Use a tour guide when sightseeing  – you see and understand more of what you are seeing!

Wednesday saw us embark on adventure to learn a little more about the Adventure Province that is the Eastern Cape. We truly are blessed in St Francis and surrounding areas including the Tsitsikama, surrounded by so much unspoilt nature thanks to those organisations that work so hard to preserve our natural heritage concerned organization, it will stay that way owing to much of already protected and work afoot to extend the protected areas. That is of course unless the EFF and BLF have their way in which case we can kiss South Africa goodbye anyway.

As a youngster in one of my very early jobs I worked as a sales rep for a small agency firm is Port Elizabeth introducing, believe it or not, Tastic Rice, only just recently introduced as the first par boiled rice in South Africa. My area included Humansdorp, Hankey and Patensie and I remember them only as small farming towns with a few orange trees, little else and little to really remember them by. On returning to this area in 2013 some forty years on I gave little thought to revisiting the towns for really, how much could they have changed.

Setting off early Wednesday from Cape St Francis Resort in the company of two German tourists with Resort Adventures Shaun Tessendorf as our guide we headed for Humansdorp on toward Hankey and onward, Patensie. When one drives oneself, one tends to pay limited attention to the passing vegetation. Sure driving between St Francis and Humansdorp one becomes accustomed the scenery and vegetation but being a passenger gets to see just that little bit more. We all know First Choice is a major dairy in the area but Shaun imparted interesting information that I was totally unaware of prior to this trip.

Leaving Humansdorp I noticed how suddenly the vegetation changed from flat grassland to hilly terrain covered in aloes and prickly pears. Commenting on the change to Shaun he explained how over the next ten hours how we would travel through some six of the seven biomes that exist in SA, Savanna, Thicket, Grassland, Forest, Fynbos, Nama Karoo, Succulent Karoo with only desert missing. And as we travelled one could almost instantly notice the change, sometimes changing several time is a few kilometres.

Arriving in Hankey it was like winding back a clock for the steep, narrow roads , even some of the buildings came back to me almost instantly. One noticeable change  however the amount of housing that filled the hillsides. Again Shaun added to our growing knowledge of the area explaining that the majority of the labour force that worked within the citrus industry lived in Hankey and were transported to the orchards and packing facilities by bus each day, returning at night. On very noticeable difference to our local Sea Vista township was the almost total lack of shacks, unless they were simply well camouflaged out of tourists sight. One wonders why when there seems to be a great need for labour in the farming area, squatters flock to Sea Vista where there is little or zero chance of employment.

Onward we travelled scheduled to stop for breakfast at a restaurant / tea garden just before Patensie. We were a little ahead of schedule the it wasn’t yet open and serving so we continued our adventure by going to visit Kouga Dam. On the way Shaun pointed out out how many flowering plants lined the road and almost anywhere where there was open plantable land. Bees play a huge role in the welfare of the  citrus orchards and ths every effort is made to ensure their survival which is so endangered worldwide.

Arriving at Kouga Dam it is hard to believe that just a year ago this dam was at just 8% of capacity. It certainly is nowhere close to full standing at just a tiny amount over 48%. With a long dry winter ahead this level is sure to dropping significantly if we don’t have rain soon. A reminder indeed of just how important it is for us to keep on saving water for the drought is far from over.

Kouga Dam opened in 1970 and originally named the Paul Sauer Dam

Returning to Padlangs Country Restaurant for breakfast Shaun stopped to show us how millions of years ago the entire area we were in must have been under the sea. The embankment running for miles on the northen side of the road show an amazing cross section of rocks and pebbles that appear to have been made by man as a support to stop the wall from collapsing but it is in fact solid rock.

More next week on our adventure into the Adventure Province.

Couple attacked on Patensie Farm

Manhunt for two suspects

The South African Police Service in Patensie have launched a manhunt for two suspects who allegedly attacked a couple (both in their fifties) on their farm in Patensie, last night, 12 February 2019 at about 22:00.

According to police information, as the couple arrived  home with their vehicle they were overpowered by two unknown males. The suspects were armed with a knife and a panga. They threatened the couple and demanded cash. A scuffle ensued between the 58-year-old man and one of the suspects, in which the 58-year-old man was struck over the head with the panga. The other suspect then allegedly stabbed the 58-year-old man in his hand and in his back.

The suspects forced their way inside the house and took two cellphones and an undisclosed amount of cash. The suspects fled the scene on foot soon afterwards.

The 58-year-old man was taken to a local doctor for medical treatment.

Police in Patensie are investigating a case of house robbery. Anyone who might be able to assist with any information that could lead to the arrest of the suspects are requested to contact Detective Warrant Officer Johannes Noeth, 0825514749, SAPS Patensie Detectives on 0422838419 or Crime Stop 08600 10111. Media enquiries: Captain Gerda Swart 0823017948.

Weekend dining ideas

Now that you have probably choked on the President’s promises made in his SONA speech, here are some more pleasant ideas to chew on,

Friday sees fish specials on the menu at both Joe Fish at the Resort with hake and chips at R69.00 and hake or calamari and chips on menu at The Links for just R79.00.

Wood Fired Pizza’s and burgers are on the menu at both the two new kids on the block, Full Stop in Cape St Francis and at Waterberry Park on the corner R330 and Oyster Bay road. Burgers are also on offer at both places but if you want something different and really tasty, try Full Stop’s Lamb Burger. Had one last night and ….Wow!!

Want a choice of some fine Greek cuisine with a beautiful view over the harbor, George has moved from Dionysus and is operating out of the Port St Francis Ski Boat & Yacht Club. This spacious venue undoubtedly has one of the finest views in ST Francis and diners can choose to eat outdoors or, if the weather isn’t too good, indoors. George also offers scrumptious local calamari and fresh fish.

St Francis Brewing Company is having one of their famous Sunday lunches. This Sunday it is the traditional Roast Beef & Yorkshire Pud.

And of course Joe Fish at the Resort has its ever popular lunch around pool on Sub=nday with their unbeatable Calamari and Ribs platter for four. Finger licking good!