Day 4 – Tsitsikamma to Addo

Woke up bright and early 6:45 am – thanks Erica for making sure we don;t oversleep! We decided to hike quite early so after a quick breakfast of Pro Nutro and coffee we started our walk to the new Wilderness suspension bridge, constructed only last year.
A very pleasant walk through shady forest brought us to the suspension bridge spanning the mouth of the Storms River. A very intimidating sight at first, it made us think of Indiana Jones crossing perilous rope bridges with natives in hot pursuit. Fortunately we were sans the natives, and the bridge was constructed of industrial stainless steel, anchored to each side by monolithic concrete blocks re-inforced with steel.  Must have cost a fortune, but what an impressive sight!  After a few stalling tactics taking nervous photos of each other in front of the bridge, Heather boldly stepped on first and started crossing, and then me with my Erica-backpack. Towards the centre the bounce became quite unnerving, so much so that each time I had to glance at the thick industrial strength cables on either side to reassure myself that we would not be taking a random plunge into the churning waters far below (now I know why they call it the Storms River!).
The bridge is actually incredibly strong, even in appearance, and the sign says it is rated for 25 people.  There is a hiking trail which continues on from the far side of the bridge but we were short of time and needed to get back on the road, so started to head back over the bridge. Lo and behold, there were two more bridges running along the length of the bank we had just come from!  Looks like SANParks went all out on this one (low whistle).
Well, here we are, there’s no way we’re not crossing the other two so back across we went and then braved the remaining 2 bridges. These led us back up the mountain up a different path and eventually wound back to the small beach and not so small restaurant at the start of the trail.  Quite a lot of action packed into just 1.8km, round trip!
Oh and almost forgot, a large-bodied black spider dropped onto the back of my leg – Heather ordered me to stop instantly (I’m thinking SNAKE!),  then said “I don’t actually know what to do!” just in time for the spider to scurry away under the walkway.  She wanted to swat the spider off but didn’t want to use her hand! Needless to say, we frisked Erica and each other very well before continuing!
Back on the road again, we stopped for lunch near PE in a leafy area called “Ocean View”. The restaurant was called Barnacles, highly recommended in a Tourism Brochure , so we thought what the hell and showed up in a hungry state. Being a Monday afternoon, off-season, we had the entire restaurant to ourselves. Erica had an absolute ball, crawling all over the place and actually ended up in the kitchen when we took our eyes off her for a second. She’s learning to stand up on her own and we reckon she’ll be walking before she turns 9 months.
Service at Barnacles was friendly and quick – although they specialise in seafood, I had the Oxtail special and Heather ordered a Spud with toppings.  The Oxtail was delicious – for only R86 half my plate was meat and the other half was home-made veggies. Heather’s spud was covered in so much bacon, cheese,spinach, mushrooms and veg that she had to do a fair amount of digging to find out out if there was actually a potato somewhere under all of it. The good food, strong coffee and relaxing view over the ocean refreshed us for the last leg of our day’s drive.
A side note: A funny thing we noticed about Ocean View, was that we kept seeing old classic cars in varying stages of decomposition parked outside places of business, some with signage and some without.  We counted 3 in the short stretch from the N2 into Ocean View.  Must be some kind of fad.
Also in this area is Lion Park, which we skipped (hey we’re going to Kruger) but this may be a worth a visit for anyone not prepared to drive too far.  We also went past a Rhino sanctuary not far from Lion Park which looks like the type of place you may as well visit if you’re visiting the Lions.
The last hour and a half to Addo was uneventful with boring countryside. I’m glad I had the two coffees.  We drove past GM Motor’s factory which I really wanted to visit – I’m sure I could slip past security in my Ford Ranger and with a bit of luck negotiate a quick tour of the factory. Sadly time was not on our side and we still wanted to do an afternoon game drive at Addo before the 5:30pm lockdown (in summer they lock up a little later at 6:30pm).
After driving through the town of Addo, I suddenly realised that I didn’t even bother to look at anything in the town.  It really is that small and uninteresting.  I wonder if the town of Addo came into being because of the game park, or vice-versa?  I’ll have to look this up on Google when I get some decent internet speed.
Just outside the town of Addo is the Reptile Park, which we’ve visited before. They have a few crocs and a very good range of snakes – it’s worth a visit if you come to Addo and I recall the entry fee wasn’t much.  By the way, you just can’t get fresh food in the town of Addo, unless you eat at the one restaurant. So stock up on fresh veg, fruit and meat beforehand.
We arrived at Addo at 4pm, collected our key and went straight into the game section. Saw a few sparse elephants, lots of Kudu, some bosvarke and only one or two tiny dung beetles (they were much bigger and plentiful in January 2009, must be a summer thing).
When we arrived at the Harpoor water hole we lucked upon a mother elly with a juvenile and a baby. They had just finished at the water hole and were crossing the road directly in front of us, just a few metres from our car.  This was a great sighting, but we are hoping to see a lot more in the morning.  Last year we counted around 75 elephants at this same watering hole – we’re hoping to catch them early tomorrow morning for their sunrise ablutions.