We just left our nest atop a tree in an indigenous forest just outside of knysna.
Last two days were the most relaxing so far… There was not a sound other than those of birds and ourselves. There were times when I would be staring out of the window and sikander will come up from behind and ask “what are you thinking”.. and I was amazed by the fact that I was thinking nothing. My mind was blank. Rested. Quiet. I was just enjoying the scene outside the window :).
After leaving Colchester, we started phase 2 of our trip.. almost midway at Port Elizabeth we changed our chevy for a BMW.. and made way towards the garden route. One of the amazing features of the N2 and also the summer days is the long range visibility. The road at times feel like it’s stretching to infinity… right ahead is an unending road and on both sides are open fields with mountains in a distance.
Our first stop was at tsitsikamma. There is a nice highway pitstop there with both on-the-move and sit down restaurants, fuel, rest areas and information booth. We reached knysna about 2:30pm. Went about looking for places open for lunch but being a Saturday everything in the town was either already closed or closing. Picked up a few groceries as we were going to stay at Teniqua self catering tree tops and left. A few kilometers down the road we came across signs of a restaurant.. took the alley road and went in. It felt like we have suddenly reached Goa! Bamboo shacks… rooms behind the shack… tables on the water front, reggae music, pool table inside the shack and assorted water games gear… After having lunch and drinks there we headed back on the highway.
The GPS brought us to a point on the road which had a sign board of teniqua treetops but there was no sign of anything far far away along the road… The board said left, a little distance away there was a gate on the left which said “private property, keep closed all the time”. Still we could not see any building inside the gate.. we went in… After a little while came to one more similar gate. Went in… saw a few ladies coming from the opposite side and confirmed that we were on the right path. Just about 500mts away hidden in the trees was the teniqua main area.
The owner William showed us around the property a little. Teniqua is a 38 hectares big resort in an indigenous forest.. There are only 8 treetops in the whole area with each being so private that you can’t hear or see from one to another… The common area has a big place for bonfires, library of books and games, a huge huge chess on the floor, swimming pool, trampoline, swings.. “enough if you ever get bored of your treetop!”.
Robin took us to our treetop. We fell in love with it as soon as we entered. Everything was so thoughtful in there… A little well-equiped kitchen; a bedroom, a covered sitting area with windows on all sides, an open bbq area, toilet and open to the sky shower and bath tub! 🙂 it was a lovely little house on the trees. It was almost like being tarzan and jane.
After unpacking our groceries, we went for a little walk in the forest. They have a few marked trails. First day we just walked in the open grassland area of the forest and enjoyed the beautiful sunset and the mountain view from a mountain top. Went back cooked dinner… It was getting cold and a warm bowl of daal chawal was the best dish at that time :).
Next day morning we starting on a trail all the way down to the river bed. After going up and down two mountains we reached a pool in the river and it was jet black. Robin had told us earlier about the “Coca Cola” rivers of the region. The water is a reddish so at places where the river runs deep, it appears black and at the shore it makes interesting colours of red and orange.
We were the only ones there… so it like our own private river pool! We stayed down for about half hour and the we started to walk along the river bed so that we can climb the first mountain itself rather than climbing up and down two. At one point it was no longer possible to walk along the treetop side of the river so we crossed – with shoes tied together and on our shoulders. The other side was quite difficult and at one place we felt we can cross back. Sikander even did (and lost the water bottle to the river!) But the flow was too high and the river so deep that I chickened out.. and he had to cross back. We kept on going ahead. . Figuring out a path where we thought it looks like people have walked.. only to realise we were lost. We had no water and the sun was at its peak. We decided to turn back and go up the original way itself. But after about 200 mts or so we saw a white painted stone on the other side… and then we also saw their board on the other side marking the 2nd place to cross…. yeah!!!! The fact that we had no water and it was getting hotter and hotter was what worrying us. once we saw the path, it was such a big relief… we climbed up mostly without much talk and drank two full glasses of water each upon reaching the cabin :). A friendly hike turned into an adventure..
In the evening we again walked around the open grasslands area and took in the beautiful birds and flowers of the place. We also played a half game of scrabble at the common entertainment room. I had planned a pasta meal for dinner. Though simple, it by far is the tastiest pasta I had 🙂 eating our dinners with the views of the sun setting on one end and the moon rising on another… The whole experience made the food amazing!
Oh! And I forgot to mention we also had a cola bath in the open! The water in the taps is from the river.. so when you fill the bath tub it’s like going inside a tub full of coca cola.. we had bought some Epsom salt at the local groceries and we just sat in it out in the open with our glasses of wine..
Lots of good food for the mind and the body.. After two nights of bliss we now head towards stellenbosch..