SA Blog is exploring South Africa on the Baz Bus, following the adventures of intrepid Baz Blogger Kathy - a.k.a. "Trekker".
Continuing our Leg One coverage of the Baz Bus route, we pull out of the Garden Route, and into the Eastern Cape. But first a -
Somewhere between Storms River and Cape St. Francis, the Baz Bus pulls into a little diner, where you can get some pretty good sandwiches, or go to the Steers for a hamburger.
- We now enter the Eastern Cape (home of two major destination coasts: the Sunshine Coast and the Wild Coast), three stops away from our mandatory overnight.
BAZ STOP: CAPE ST. FRANCIS
This first stop in the Eastern Cape is a relatively unknown surfers' paradise. However, the legendary waves at Cape St. Francis can often be evasive. While I didn't have a chance to stop here, I heard amazing things and it sounded like a good place to chill and maybe do a little fishing.
BAZ STOP: JEFFREY’S BAY
From the numerous surf style factory shops, such as Billabong and Roxy, to the miles of golden sand... Jeffrey's Bay - a.k.a. J-Bay - is a Surfing Mecca!
This also means it is fairly busy and congested, but with all that sand and ocean you are sure to find a quiet spot. There are some truly amazing waves out there, plus a few that are perfect for us beginners.
Where to stay in Jeffrey's Bay: Island Vibe Backpackers. True to its name, this backpackers feels like an island paradise for every surfer and surfer wanna-be. The vibe is excellent and the food is delicious - not every hostel offers a huge T-bone steak for R45. Island Vibe overlooks the beach and through the backdoor it's only a 30sec walk to the golden sand. Remember to ask for coupons to the surf shops (unfortunately not valid at the factory shops).
- Trekker's Opinion: I liked Jefferey's Bay but it has a very commercial feel. So if you prefer surfing with nature as your only audience, stop here for a day or two and then move further up the coast.
BAZ STOP: NMMM (PORT ELIZABETH)Arriving around 10pm, the Nelson Mandela Metropole (NMMM - a.k.a. Port Elizabeth) is the first required stop since departing Cape Town. The 5th largest city in South Africa, many believe PE is also the safest. It is also called the Friendly City and, more appropriately, the Windy City. Only a stone's throw away from the Addo Elephant Park, PE also offers beaches with a slightly warmer ocean than Cape Town's, LOTS of shopping, and an aquarium - generally, it's a nice place to explore.
- SIDE NOTE: if you have even the slightest allergy, remember to bring some meds, when the wind blows so does the pollen.
- Good PE info site: MyPE.co.za
Where to Stay in PE: Wet Hippo Backpackers. A nice comfortable vibe and friendly atmosphere, making a good spot to chill before hopping on the bus again. Tanaqua Lodge. A new backpackers that feels more like a luxory hotel. The staff is friendly and the décor is fantastic. Definitely a good place to relax after being on the bus all day.
- Trekker's Opinion: Just because it is a required stop on the Baz Bus - you arrive at 10pm and leave at 7am the next day - don't think PE isn't a good place for an extended visit. Spend at least a day here and visit Addo or go shopping. Remember: your next BIG city is Durban.
- IMPORTANT NOTE: From here on out the Baz Bus DOES NOT run every day. Be sure to check your schedule and start planning your trip carefully.
We've now completed Leg One of our Baz Bus journey!
Till next time, keep travelling….. :)