November 3: Addo Elephant National Park, Port Elizabeth on Garden Route to Tsitsikamma National Park

The day started early with the plan of going on safari in the nearby Addo Elephant National Park, which is a diverse wildlife conservation park situated close to Port Elizabeth and is one of the country's 19 national parks. It currently ranks third in size after Kruger National Park and the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park. It is primarily an elephant sanctuary. In South Africa there are no free roaming areas for the indigenous animals. All land is either private or government owned with the goal of preserving the animals in as much of a natural habitat as possible. Addo is the home to hundreds of elephants along with zebras, lions and wildebeests to name but a few. Each is protected and allowed to live a natural life with little to no human assistance. The only protection is from man made destruction.

From there the biking route was to follow the Garden Route down the coast to Tsitsikamma National Park. Unfortunately there are massive forest fires sparking up thoroughout the region from south of Port Elizabeth to approximately the Tsitsikamma National Park area. The road is open, then closed, then reopened -- but with no regularity or assurance that all is safe. Smoke fills the air giving the illusion of mist encircling the mountain tops or a deep fog penetrating the vista ahead. There is a strong smell of burning timber in the air that clings to the nostrils and clothes. To pedal through an area, even if allowed by the police, would be very dangerous considering the smoke inhalation, as well as the possiblitly of having the way blocked by fire. With flames burning the shrubbery and trees along side the road, under bridges, and up the sides of the hills, it gives off a sense of being in another world -- A world that is not as safe and warm and inviting as one would want -- A "hell" on earth!

The Garden Route, however, when free from fire, is an ecologically diverse vegetation area with numerous lagoons and lakes dotted along the coast. The Route is sandwiched between the mountains and the Indian Ocean, with mountain passes, including the Outeniqua Pass, linking the area with the arid Little Karoo. The Outeniqua and Tsitsikamma indigenous forests are a unique mixture of Cape Fynbos and Temperate Forest and offer hiking trails and eco-tourism activities. Nearly 300 species of bird life are to be found in a variety of habitats ranging from fynbos to forest to wetlands. (Wikipedia)

In 2017 the Garden Route was added to UNESCO's World Network of Biosphere Reserves

The word "Tsitsikamma" hails from the Khoekhoe language tse-tsesa, meaning "clear", and gami, meaning "water", probably referring to the clear water of the Tsitsikamma River.

Margaret and CJ Waitinf for Directions!

Jackie Giving Last Minute Directions!

Zebras Arriving

Master of the Herd

Giving Us Their Best Shot!

Antelope in the Bush

AND The Elephants!!!

Giving Us THEIR Best Shot!

Two Brothers Playtime

Mr. Warthog

"Oh Boy, Am I Thirsty!"

"Mom Said It Is Time For Your Bath!!"

Bottoms Up

"See, I Told You It Was Bath Time!"


Ostrich and Antelope


Mr. Antelope

Mr and Mrs Warthog

Mr. Antelope Having Lunch

Fire in the Distance

Getting Closer

Just a Few Yards Of the Road

More Flames

View From the Van

Fence Post

Gorge Below In Flames

Safe In The Van!

Tsitsikamma Village Inn -- Home Away From Home

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