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Port Elizabeth to Johannesburg

So, after a gorgeous but exhausting trip along the Garden Route, we finally reached Port Elizabeth to spend a week with John's friends Tom, Jaquie and Jono and get some relaxation time! Port Elizabeth is a small but beautiful town on the south-east coast that a lot of tourists rush right through, or just spend a couple of days in, but for us it made a perfect rest stop. Our hosts were lovely; Jono took us to the beach on an ill-fated mission to teach John to surf, and at the weekend we took a trip to Addo Elephant National Park for a day of safari. I was disappointed in my quest to see a lion, but we did see elephants, warthogs, kudu, zebra, and huge tortoises taking a casual stroll down the roads. A contender for the best moment of our trip was when a group of elephants appeared out of the bushes right by our window, forcing us to quickly reverse or be crushed. They gave us a dismissive glance before strolling across the road right in front of us.


That was pretty much the end of the relaxation time for me, as I had the daunting task of completing my PADI Diver Open Water course in just 2 days. On my first day I learnt all my skills in the safety of a swimming pool and then went to the beach to do one dive in the sea, then got up bright and early on day 2 at 6am to do another three dives before lunch. I was exhausted, and my back ached from carrying the weights and air canister in and out of the water, but I was a qualified diver! Who knows, it might even be the beginning of a perfect six-pack.

The next day we set off for Durban at 7am. It felt like the longest coach ride in the world but we made it, finally stumbling into our hostel at 11pm. Our hostel was pretty close to the beach and an impressive new centre called Ushaka Marine World, a water park/swimming pool/shopping mall/food court that offered plenty entertainment. It was also clear why Durban is seen as a surfer's paradise; the waves are huge and pretty much constant. Having said that, we weren't really enamoured with Durban; it's noisy, dirty, and it rained quite a lot. If only we could surf...

As our time in South Africa drew to an end, we just had time for a one-night stopover with my Grandad and his wife Louise, who gave us a bed for the night and took us walking in Klipriviersberg, a local nature reserve in Mondeor. The reserve was beautiful and felt so far away from the world, and John even made some new friends when we stopped for a snack.


It was definitely a flying visit; that night Louise dropped us off at the airport and we were on our way to Bangkok, where I now sit writing this blog. Updates on our Thai adventures coming soon...

Posted by kate1401 00:24 Archived in South Africa Tagged diving safari johannesburg durban port_elizabeth Comments (0)

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