Next up for our day was a trip to Birds of Eden which had also been recommended by Adrienne and Bernie. Along the way we stopped at Thyme and Again, a farm stall and café, and enjoyed a late lunch. The shop had dried fruits and nuts, jams, sauces, produce and a butchery, as well as baked goods. The café was a nice homemade sort of affair. I ordered an ice coffee since I saw it on the menu and thought a pick-me-up would be good. To my surprise, what I got was more akin to a coffee milkshake or frappe with ice cream in it! Live and learn, but it was still delicious.
Birds of Eden turned out to be a fabulous choice as we really enjoyed seeing so many spectacular birds. It is the largest enclosed aviary in the world. It was indeed very large and enclosed with only netting. Everywhere we looked we spotted colorful birds of all kinds, most of whom are rescues. There was a meandering boardwalk, a stream, and ponds. We really enjoyed sitting on a bench by one of the ponds toward the end of the day where it seemed all the birds came to us. The sounds of the bird calls were loud and continuous so you really felt you were in the jungle! I think we were the last to leave at closing time. Here is a selection of the many photos I took.
Flying foxes - fruit bats?
A Weaver at his nest
On the way out
After our very full day, we decided to skip dinner when we got back to the B & B and just had a snack from our own food and an early evening.
The next day our plan included a hike in the Robberg Nature Reserve. After breakfast we got ourselves together and set off to the peninsula nearby. This turned out to be a wonderful 3 hour hike in which we saw seals, birds, and even the tiny Blue Duiker, a small antelope-like creature that dwells in the forest undergrowth. The trail was at times steep and at other times it was like hiking across sand dunes. It was a bit more challenging than we expected but the views were amazing. Some sections required handrails for which I was quite grateful.
Looking back toward Plett
We walked on a beautiful sand beach and around a small island on a boardwalk.
It was a good thing we went in the morning because by the time we got back to the car (feeling pretty old and tired!) it was beginning to cloud up.
The day before we left Jeffrey's Bay we thought we would go and do a little shopping and browsing at the local outlets. To our surprise we found them all closed on a Saturday afternoon. Thus we learned of one of South Africa's local traditions; shops close up at about 3 p.m. on a Saturday. Fortunately they were open for a few hours on Sunday morning so we stopped in before we hit the road.
Our next destination was a town called Plettenberg Bay down the coast about two hours or so. The sun was out, which pleased us after a couple of windy, rainy days. The drive wasn't too bad and the coastal scenery started to improve with mountains coming closer to the sea making for more drama. There are a lot of small rivers that come out of the mountains and empty into the sea creating great cracks in the landscape. We stopped at the Storms River to admire one such gully.
About half way along to Plett we made a detour to check out Nature's Valley. This is a nature preserve at a river mouth which has a big sand beach and a lagoon. It was quite windy but we wandered out to the beach and admired the views. There were a few families having a Sunday afternoon braai. Braai is the South African term for a barbeque. It's also a favorite national pastime, to which we can easily relate!
Sea snails devouring a blue bottle jelly
We arrived in Plettenberg Bay in mid-afternoon and found Bayside Lodge, our B & B. Our room was delightful with lots of natural light and the gardens were fragrant with jasmine and roses. Adrienne and Bernie, our hosts, purchased Bayside Lodge about 7 months ago having moved back to South Africa from Botswana where they managed several safari lodges. We got a nice orientation from Adrienne, decided on a venue for dinner which she booked for us, and settled in for a sundowner on the patio, where I did some writing.
Our dinner at The Fat Fish was good with the atmosphere quite busy and boisterous. I enjoyed a local fish called Kingclip. We have found the quality of the food to be very high in South Africa. In addition it is also quite reasonably priced. Of course it helps that the dollar is pretty strong right now, but in general, food is cheap and drink is cheaper! A glass of wine is about $3 and a beer $2.