Here is the concluding part of my Easter-break road trip. To read Part 1, please click here.
We reached our self-catering chalet, Dolphin View, near Storms River sometime in the early afternoon. Two days of early morning drives had left both K and me a little exhausted. However, all our tiredness and sleep seemed to disappear as we took in the fresh air and beautiful surroundings of the area. Storms River and the Tsitsikamma are one of the prettiest places in South Africa. Don’t be mis-led just because it’s a small place; there is so much to do here that two days are certainly not enough!
Since the weather was very nice on the day we arrived, K and I decided to take a quick drive to the village to check out what all activities we could do. En-route to the Storms River village, we stopped to see the Big Tree. It’s located just off the N2, between the Storms River Bridge and the turn-off for the Village. As the name suggests, the Big Tree is a big tree! It’s bigger than big – it’s massive. The tree is supposedly 1002 years old with a trunk circumference of 8.5m and height of 36.6m! I was just fascinated by its age and the spread of its branches. It looked liked a towering canopy.
A quick walk and some pictures later, we were back on the road to the village. A cute coffee shop and an information centre are very strategically located on the main road, just after the turn-off from N2. We stopped to pick up a few brochures and chat to the lady about the ‘canopy tour‘. This is the most popular activity that all visitors to the area indulge in. Some of the other adventure sports offered are mountain biking, zip-lining, bungee jumping, kayaking, segway tours and hiking. There are several great hiking trails in the region, with the Otter trail being the most popular. It’s a 5-day hike and booking must be made way in advance. But for the less adventurous people like us, there are shorter trails as well that one can cover in a few hours.
The Storms River village is tiny, with one main road which has a few eateries, one supermarket, a liquor store and a few companies offering various adventure sports and activities. The rest of the village is dotted with B&Bs and small hotels.
Marilyn’s 60’s Diner is probably the place that all visitors to Storms River eat at, at least once. I loved the quirky decor – old cadilacs, chevy’s and motorbikes replete with neon signs and posters of Marilyn and Elvis; a juke box and other 60’s memorabilia. It’s a shame that the food was just average coz otherwise the little diner had great music, good service and a funky atmosphere.
Unfortunately for us, the weekend was a stormy one. Dark clouds were looming overhead and we could see rain was fast approaching. The sea looked really rough and menacing and we managed to cook our dinner just in time. Strong winds and really heave rain battered down throughout the night. When we woke up in the morning, the rain had stopped but it was still grey and cloudy. The storm had caused a fair bit of damage – we could see broken branches strewn all around, the roof of a cottage in the neighbouring resort had blown away and we heard reports of flooding in other places. In a nutshell, it was a bit of a dampener.
However, since we did not want to stay indoors and waste our day, K and I donned our rain jackets and headed to Storms River Mouth, located inside the national park. This place offers some beautiful hiking trails, kayaking and scuba diving. But given the bad weather, all activities had been suspended except the short walk to the suspension bridge. We were happy to do that even in the rain as it offered some great views of the rocky ocean and the bridge itself.
Next on our things to do list was the Bloukrans Bridge – a beautiful arch-haped bridge, 216m high spanning a gorge. But that’s not what it is famous for. It’s been recognised as the ‘highest bungee from a bridge’ in the world! When we arrived, there were more than enough enthusiastic people queueing up to book a jump. But K and I were happy to watch from a distance. The only way I would jump off that bridge (or any) was if someone pushed me off!
Back at the chalet, we went for a short but rather strenuous hike to the rocky beach below the cliff. The constant rain had made the trail really slippery and the storm had left a lot of broken branches and trees. But since we were heading back the next day, we wanted to make the most of our time.
As expected, the day of our departure turned out to be a nice and sunny one with not a cloud in sight! We drove out with a heavy heart as a long drive back home beckoned.