Day 11 – Port St Johns to Underberg – 19 September

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I was up early and got some nice shots of the sun rising over the sea from our balcony, while Brian tried to pretend I wasn’t clattering about annoying him while he still tried to sleep.

We were packed up and ready to go at 9am after some SIRT Granola that I made myself and which is coming in handy at places where we don’t get breakfast!

We went driving to Second Beach to see what that looks like, and weren’t disappointed. On the way back we took the road up to The Gap and The Blow Hole which leads to amazing views of the ocean and beaches and it is well worth the slight detour (although I failed to see the Blow Hole!). We did however come across one of the the most scenic football pitches in the world – though you’d probably lose quite a few balls playing on it!

From Port St Johns to our hotel in the Drakensberge, Gooderson Drakensberg Gardens, was a good 300km drive and for me so far the most scenic of anything we’ve seen. The landscape changes drastically over the 300km drive, but all of it is interesting and pretty. I think we were probably lucky that it is springtime so there is a lot of new grass about, making the mountains and fields green and providing contrast with the brown hills and greys and blues mixed in. We left the former Transkei with all its traditional huts and kraals behind a bit before we got to Kokstad. Throughout the last few days we have driven through hundreds of kilometres of rolling hills covered in huts and people living a traditional lifestyle, interspersed with some luscious green valleys.

Whenever I walk up to a desk to check in I am a tiny bit worried that somehow, somewhere my booking got screwed up. This time, unfortunately, my niggling worry was substantiated as they couldn’t find our booking at all. I immediately got annoyed as I had the printout showing my booking and that I’d already paid a not inconsiderable amount of money for the privilege of staying at their hotel! They found me a room eventually but the issue still wasn’t resolved. We were also told that the carvery/buffet restaurant was fully booked which meant we had to eat at the only other available restaurant in the resort. We didn’t let the c*ck-up with the booking get us down and went for a nice afternoon walk and took some pictures of the mountains and scenery. We were lucky to still see some snow on the mountains as there was a cold snap a couple of days earlier, and the mountains were magnificent.

After our walk we got ready for dinner at 7pm, via happy hour at the bar. On the way to the restaurant I walked past the other restaurant with the carvery (that I was actually keen on!) and asked them whether they were indeed fully booked. They looked at me like I was a complete idiot and replied that we could come back at 8pm as they’d definitely have a table then. Having argued with the front desk about the fact that I couldn’t see how a carvery/buffet could be fully booked for the entire period or service, I was quite annoyed that I was forced to eat in the other restaurant and it left a sour taste in my mouth. The situation was only made worse when Brian’s steak order was messed up twice in the other restaurant and we had to get the manager involved to resolve the situation….Gooderson is to be avoided if at all possible!! They are expensive for what you get, and very disorganised. 

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