Sunday, March 6, 2011

March 1st – The Garden Route From Mossel Bay

As Mossel Bay's harbour is too small to dock at, we had to get a tender into town – easier said than done, considering that the swell was making the tender boat rise and fall alarmingly. But, the crew did a great job of getting everyone off, so we were able to do our tour along the beautiful Garden Route to the pretty town of Knysna.

On the way down the coast, we had stunning sandy beaches on one side, and the mountains on the other, with vast forests and farmland lining the road. On getting to Knysna, we stopped at the waterfront which is a great advert for the country's tourist industry – clean, safe, informal, great views, and sophisticated bars and restaurants everywhere.

We then went to the main event, oyster tasting at an ultra-luxury resort overlooking a private beach. I can't have been to many more stunning seafront settings in the world – a gorgeous deserted white beach, overlooked by a fabulous dining room, where we were served champagne and delicious oysters – amazing! Just before we got thinking of staying here for a few nights, they informed us that their cheapest holiday cottage for two cost a mere 30,000 rand a night (£2,670/$4,350) – I hope that price includes a couple of oysters for dinner!

So, as the ship was sailing at 2pm, we swilled these down, and did the same beautiful drive back again, to catch the last tender back to the ship. By now, the waves had got bigger, and somehow Tracy and I were the last two people off the tender, which was lurching, rising and falling like a rollercoaster, and occasionally getting soaked by big waves. Fortunately, this was a little too scary for me to get seasick, and I've never been more relieved to finally get back onboard after 10 adrenalin-fuelled minutes.