On the 6th of July this year we undertook the third annual “Chasing the Sun” tour down the East Coast of South Africa. Winter in this part of the country is just so much warmer with beautiful sunny days and chilly evenings. We cant explain it better than the official website for this area –
“From the Fynbos and forests of the Tsitsikamma Mountains to seaside fun in East London. The Sunshine Coast is best enjoyed by road tripping through the various seaside villages established along the way. As the name would have you think the area enjoys sunny forecasts for most of the year welcoming visitors to golden coastline adventures and an abundance of leisure activities.” – Eastern Cape Tourism
Some background on our “Chasing the SUN” tour this year. We travelled with 2 families consisting of 4 adults and 4 kids aged between 5-8 years of age chasing sunny days and some heat away from the cold Western Cape area. Let the adventure begin.
Our first stop from Kam’Bati River Resort was the OENA Property in Mossel Bay on the Diaz Beach – Bay Lodge on the Beach. What an incredible stay this was, with a games room for the kids and delicious breakfast on the deck overlooking some dolphins in the bay right in front of the guest house. Kids jumped into the already heated jacuzzi on a chilly morning (one of their highlights of the entire trip) Now we knew it is holiday time – Michelle is an amazing host and looked after all our needs on the quick visit.
Next morning we set off to Plettenberg Bay for a 2 night stay at Christiana Lodge, which is our accommodation of choice close to Robberg Beach and part of the OENA Portfolio. Every year on the tour we attend the Goodluck “#getluckysummertour” concert at The Grand in Plett. What a great show again from these top SA Music performers. We where surprised to see all the amazing upgrades to Christiana lodge after a very busy season in Plettenberg Bay. So many international travellers returned to the area for holiday. The lodge has installed complete back up Solar systems, so no worries about loadshedding. Important for us, when we decided on the stops for the tour, was to find accommodation that has sufficient back up power system in place. The rolling blackouts in South Africa at the moment was upgraded to stage 6 again. Traveling with kids is definately not easy when you have to sit in darkness for such big parts of the day. Next morning after a Christiana Lodge Breakfast, we headed to Knysna to enjoy delicious oysters at Tappas on Thesen Island, and to get into the Oyster Festival vibe in this busy holiday town. We always try to plan this stop to fall on the same dates as the annual “Knysna Oyster Festival”. The town of Knysna was vibey and the kids enjoyed the playground at Tappas, all of this while we could sit back and relax with a glass (or two) wine.
Next morning Louis, who is a keen trail runner, took an early morning run on the #pletttrails route in Robberg Nature Reserve, and came back with the most amazing photos and memories of this run. His first words upon return – “this must be my most beautiful run ever!”
Christa Joubert, owner of Christiana lodge, showed us around the renovated SOLAR HOUSE unit, which will be the newest unit in the growing portfolio. With a 25 meter swimming pool and 180 degree view on the beach, this house is going to put them in league of their own in the area. Target opening date for this house is 1 September 2023. Our time in Plett was almost over and again it surely didn’t disappoint.
Next stop Addo Elephant Park. A 3-hour drive lay ahead, so we left sunny Plettenberg Bay nice and early. In Addo we decided to stay at Longhill Lodge, our OENA partner in this area. Longhill Lodge is situated about 25km from the national park and offers 3 spacious Villas with all amenities, so we could really pack out our belongings, and just relax. Axel and A’lishia the hosts and lodge managers, welcomed us in the parking area to take our luggage and immediately we felt like we are home. The lodge is situated on a 1800 ha Private reserve (the only one with giraffe in the area) Longhill also installed back up power with inverters and batteries to keep the lights on. The lodge offers a big outdoor lapa and braai area, where we spend the evening watching the small buck feeding in the area in front of the lodge. No visit to Addo would be complete without a drive in the Addo Elephant Park. Unfortunately the next morning was a cold, and a rainy day lay ahead, so we didn’t get to see any of the giants roaming around in the park. Naturally the kids where a bit disappointed, so we headed right back to the lodge and booked an afternoon drive with our guide Marco. Here is where things got really interesting –
Follow our blog to read the second part of this amazing holiday and tour –