The Garden Route: Paddling to the Indian Ocean

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Before I get to today’s main attraction, I have a little announcement to make…

Yay! Appropriate timing, as the announcement was made during the Oscars—I gave my own acceptance speech inside my head (…or not)—and I’ll keep this brief but just wanted to extend a huge THANKS to every one of you who voted and/or who read this site regularly. You all rock! My heart was aflutter when I saw the Tweet, as I was up against some serious competition. Now, back to South Africa and the Indian Ocean…

After Mom and I had a good laugh over the baboons guarding the golf course, we rushed to the lobby to meet our hiking group. We’d signed up for this two-hour hike and canoe through Pezula Resort where we were staying, which started with a not-too-leisurely stroll through a steep wooded path to observe native plant species. Yeah, not my idea of a fun morning either—nature and learning, who wants that?! (I kid, I kid…sorta)—but once we reached the bottom, there were four two-seater kayaks waiting for us. Physical activity, on the other hand, is exactly how I like to spend my morning.

Having had a bit of experience kayaking in the past, I put Mom up front so I could steer from the back. And yet, she still managed to take control (typical) and steer us into the foliage regardless of the positioning. (Love you, Mom!)

It was a nice serene setting and a warm fall morning to be outside getting some much-needed exercise after eating our way through the Garden Route.

After 30 minutes on the river and only a few mishaps that did little more than scare the avian life stirring by the water’s edge, we arrived at a long, flat spit of sand, which turned out to be the coastline of the Indian Ocean!

As soon as we had successfully disembarked the kayaks without so much as a hazardous spill, Mom and I kicked off our flip-flops and padded across the soft sand.

But not before my mom was armed and ready with her camcorder. Ever since I was a wee tot, my mom has had both the (D)SLR and video cameras pointed on me, which I suppose is what helped me perfect the fake smile at such an early age. My friends in Europe used to make fun of me for this; they said they were unable to catch me in a candid moment without a smile on my face, which is probably true as I don’t want willingly to give anyone blackmail ammo. And my mom is likely responsible for my own upbringing of a camera glued to my hand at every moment. (It goes without saying then that all the video footage from our Garden Route trip is courtesy of her shaky filming and my quick editing—a team effort!)

I’d venture to say that there wasn’t a second of our time in South Africa when my mom wasn’t giddy with the thrill of the newness of everything, but one of the high points for her was stepping foot in the Indian Ocean for the first time.

And that water was cold, y’all. I, on the other hand, was fine just chilling in the sand and enjoying being back on a warm beach—and in a sundress at that. Living in San Francisco makes you grateful for any occurrence when you don’t need a puffy jacket and leg warmers layered over jeans layered over tights to keep warm. Sure, we live a straight three-mile shot to Ocean Beach, but in the three years that I’ve lived here, I’ve been on that beach in a bikini all of zero times.

And so, I leaped with excitement (no big surprise there, I’m sure).

Then, we heard the clanging of the dinner bells from the castle—yes, there was a castle on this deserted spit of sand owned by the resort—and so we made our way up the steep cobblestone steps for lunch overlooking the ocean.

The feast was a royal one, yes, and then we were even given a tour of the other castle, where Nelson Mandela and a host of celebrities have stayed at one time or another, but while pretty and posh, the view from above was the selling point.

Then, it was time to go once more—no rest for the weary. We said good-bye to Pezula and Knysna, loaded up our rental SUV once more, and drove off into the sunset on our long journey back to Cape Town.

COMMENTS
  • February 28, 2011
    Amy

    Congrats, my love! Well-deserved! You’re the best!

  • February 28, 2011

    Very fun! I loved everything about the Garden Route. Plus I always like to see you jump.
    Congrats!!!!!!!

    • February 28, 2011
      Kristin

      There’s never an occasion that doesn’t call for jumping–at least in my book!

  • February 28, 2011

    the leaping pic is by far my favorite! Love it!

    xox

  • February 28, 2011

    Congratulations Kristin, I knew you were going to win.

    • February 28, 2011
      Kristin

      Well, that makes one of us, because I was convinced I wasn’t going to! Thanks for your vote of confidence; you’re too sweet =)

  • February 28, 2011

    Congratulations!!!! Although I’m not surprised at all 🙂

  • February 28, 2011

    Careful, there’s big sharks in them there waters. Cheers!

  • February 28, 2011

    go us winners!!!

    You make me want to jump on a plane immediately and head to South Africa!

    • February 28, 2011
      Kristin

      How about I hop a flight to Paris instead and we celebrate together?! (I wish!)

  • February 28, 2011

    Felicidades amiga!!! That’s some big news! I think you should share your acceptance speech.

    This post makes me long for SA in such a bad way. It’s such a special place, huh?

    • February 28, 2011
      Kristin

      Thanks, my dear! Yes, I think one of my top three countries (not sure what the other two are…Australia and New Zealand? Maldives? Cook Islands? Norway? So many!). I think I actually met you for the first time when you had just returned from your medical trip there!

  • February 28, 2011

    So happy for you that you won- You deserve it! And I love your leaping pictures!

    • February 28, 2011
      Kristin

      I think I would have to be 10 months pregnant with twins to not attempt a jumping shot. And even then, maybe… =)

  • February 28, 2011

    Congrats and well deserved !!

  • March 1, 2011

    Congratulations! And happy retirement! :0)
    I love the jumping photos too, I have always taken them with my Mum but recently I’ve made Didier join in the fun as well. You should have seen us both jumping up and down on a bridge in Central Park trying to get just the right shot, the people around us were in hysterics!

  • March 1, 2011
    Chelsea Sudbury

    Congrats, Kristin! The award was well-deserved! 🙂

  • March 1, 2011

    Congrats!

  • March 1, 2011

    Grrrreat Photography!

    CONGRATULATIONS! Voting wasn’t the easiest thing to do (or maybe I had a blonde moment when I tried), but I stuck with it. Figured you could use the extra vote. LOL

  • March 2, 2011

    Congratulations, Kristin! A well deserved win!

  • March 2, 2011

    Yay, congrats. I love the blue in that 5th picture and I must admit to being a fan of your jumps and leaps. 🙂

    I love that your Mum steered you into the foliage as it reminds me of the time a cousin and I went kayaking. It took about 10 minutes or so before we were actually in sync. She would go, “1,2,3, left,” and you’d hear my oar splash on the right side. And then, we got it right, or so we thought till we realised we had an affinity for the rocks!

  • March 3, 2011

    What a fantastic trip with your mom! I love the last sunset photo (well I’m kind of a sucker for sunset photos) but they’re all really nice!

  • March 6, 2011

    Woot! Congrats on your Hall of Fame… Now, tell me they give you some sort of cup, or badge, at least?

    • March 6, 2011
      Kristin

      I wish! I’d like a nice cup of Chai myself. Winners are *supposed* to get a hearty $20…which, after three years of winning, I’ve yet to receive. Heh. I’d really like a blog badge, that’s all I ask for, but they don’t even give you one of those! You’d think they’d want to promote their contest, right?

  • March 7, 2011

    Congrats! On a more shalow note, I love that dress you’re wearing. So cute.

  • March 10, 2011

    Congratulations on the award!

    I like your beach hair and I love the sunset photo.

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