25th May, 2017

Hello friends!

“This marks the longest I’ve stayed in one place since a long time. There is so much here I will never understand. I’ve never been a church going man… But there is indeed something spiritual in this place. And though it may forever be obscure to me, I cannot but be aware of its power. I do know that it is here that I’ve known my first untroubled sleep in many years.” These words by Tom Cruise in Last Samurai echoed through my mind as I woke up to the panoramic view of the beautiful Indian Ocean.

Today (27th February,2017) was our third and last day in Knysna. Over the last two days, we were completely consumed with the warmth and calmness of life in Knysna. It just seemed to us that everyone here had so much more time. It was a complete contrast from the hustling and bustling life in Mumbai back home. I can’t recall the last time I would have spent so much time just simply staring at the vast blue Ocean; no noise, no distractions – it was just me and my husband. The whole set up seemed magical.

After a few snoozes, I finally managed to drag myself out of the bed. We quickly got ready and headed for breakfast. Just like the previous day, the breakfast setting was mind blowing – Tables right on the deck with a panoramic view of the Indian Ocean. We stuffed ourselves with the homemade muesli and freshly baked breads. For the hot breakfast, the staff was very kind to remember what we liked the previous day. Everything was just perfect as usual!

We were super excited for the day that was to follow as it was time for the World’s highest Bungee Jump at Bloukrans Bridge, Plettenberg bay.


PLETTENBERG BAY


Plettenberg Bay is widely known as Pelt is a highly seasonal town, with a large proportion of second homes used exclusively during peak holiday periods. The town is also very popular with domestic and foreign tourists, making it a stop along the garden route to visit local attractions such as Robberg Peninsula Nature Reserve, the world’s largest free-flight aviary Birds of Eden, Sea Kayaking and Whale Watching.


MIRINDA fun facts –  Plettenberg Bay is famous for its skydiving experience too.  One can combine the bungy and sky diving on the same day. By making prior bookings for them, both activities can be completed in about 3-4 hours.


Time for Bungee!!!! Woohoo !

We started from Alexanders at around 9 am. After a smooth ride of 1.5 hours, we reached our destination Tsitsikamma – Known as the Garden of the Garden Route is a Khoi word meaning “place of abundant or sparkling water”. The region sits on a 200m high plateau stretches from the Bloukrans River to the Tsitsikamma River, is bordered by the Tsitsikamma Mountains and the Indian Ocean. Tsitsikamma had various adventure activities and bungee jumping is one of them. The Bungee Jump is operated by Face Adrenalin at the Bloukrans Bridge.

Just as we crossed the bridge and entered the bungy site, the entire atmosphere had completely changed. Huge hoardings and posters, lots of vehicles filled with people, loud singing and dancing at morning 10:30 am – it was as if we had crossed over to a whole new world. The energy was palpable.


MIRINDA suggests –  Bloukrans Bungee is a very popular bungee spot known across the world for being the highest bungee point. Lots of tourist visit it round the year. We suggest you visit it during the morning slots as it less crowded at that time and also the weather will be nicer as compared to the hot afternoons. You can book a slot via telephone but you need to be there half an hour before your scheduled jump.


We had booked the 11 am slot and we were just in time for that. As we proceeded towards the payment counter, it suddenly struck me that there is no turning back. I was deep scared. My feet were trembling with fear; In a moment I had lost the courage to jump. My husband calmed me down and advised me to just watch him jump if I wasn’t feeling too confident about it. So I took a seat on the cliff and watched on as my husband proceeded with his batch for the jump.


MIRINDA fun facts – The bungee jump is organized & operated by Face Adrenalin. They are open from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. – 365 days. The charge per person for the jump was around R950 plus another R450 for the photographs and video (purchasing which was optional, but I am sure you would want a memory of it!).


The jumps are organized in batches that commenced every hour starting from 9:00 a.m. in the morning. Each batch consisted of 20-30 participants from all over the world. Each member of the jumping batch was first weighed on the weighing scale (max weight allowed is 100 kgs). Then, each member was allocated a dedicated number which was labelled on the fist. Finally, once each member was weighed and allocated a number, the entire batch is escorted by the guides to the bungee jumping spot on the Bloukrans Bridge.

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BLOUKRANS BRIDGE – BUNGEE


The Bloukrans Bungee is the world’s highest commercial bungee bridge.  It is also the highest commercial natural bungee jump in the World. There are a number of world records associated with Bloukrans. The Bloukrans Bridge is 216 meters (709 feet) above the Bloukrans River. Face Adrenalin primary focuses on maintaining the highest quality safety standards on the operations so that bungee jumping can be experienced and enjoyed by all.

The bungee jumping site (from where actual jump occurs) was located just beneath the bridge.  It was a concrete slab which was parallel to the actual bridge above. To reach there, the organizers had manufactured a makeshift path. It was actually made up like a cage which made sure that people walking on it could see what was beneath them. It was super scary. Each small step felt like a giant leap. Finally, after a thrilling walk over the scary cage, my husband made it to the jumping spot. I was sitting in the cafeteria on the cliff from where I could see the jumping activities from a distance. It was only later that we realized that even supporters and companions of jumpers can accompany them on the bridge by paying a nominal fee.  A number of guests had accompanied the jumpers on the bridge.


MIRINDA fun facts – One can view the jumps from the bridge for a nominal fee of R100 and then make up their mind for jumping.


The following passage is written by my husband.

“On the bridge, the scene was like a club party – DJ blasting the music away at full volume, people dancing and singing at the top of the voice, selfies being clicked all around amidst strong winds – the tempo of the place was to a next level.  In the background of loud cheers, one after one the jumpers started jumping. We could see the actual jump on the television placed on the bridge. It was thrilling. Surprisingly, the music just killed the fear and everyone was pumped up to go next. I was the last one left to jump. Unfortunately, by the time my turn had come, all the supporters who had come with the other jumpers had already made their way back to the cliff. It was just me and the volunteers. The music had died down and suddenly it wasn’t a party anymore. The volunteers tied the rope to my feet with all the proper gear and asked me to stand on the edge of the bridge. My heart was racing through my chest. I couldn’t look down. They asked me to go forward but I just wasn’t ready.  Finally, they gave me a push and off I went. For the first couple of seconds, I was just thinking what have I done!!! Am I stupid to do this!! I literally thought that the rope will snap and I am going to die. However, over the next few seconds, the panic made way to sanity. I could appreciate the gorgeous view that was in front of me as I swung upside down like yo-yo on a rope. Beneath me was a small river flowing through a dense landscape; In front of me I could see two hills on either side which formed a V-shape through which I could visualize the infinity the Indian Ocean. Absolutely Stunning!!!

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After some 20-25 seconds, the rope became stable and I was just hanging upside down, waiting to be pulled up the volunteers. This were weird few seconds as I didn’t know how to balance myself. I tried a few things but it was just very uncomfortable. Finally, after a few awkward seconds, I was pulled up by the volunteers. As I was coming up, I realized what one jump did to me!! The sheer force that I experienced on the first few seconds made me change my entire perspective on gravity. I have never been this scared in my life. I honestly thought this is it. I am going to die!! I swore I am never doing it again. But, I must say – Everyone should definitely try it once. It is something that I will never forget.”

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MIRINDA suggests- Insist to the volunteers to make you jump in between the batch when there are people around to cheer. Being the last one is more scary and intimidating.


My husband finally made it back to the cliff in one piece. He was terrified but glad that it was over. We ate an ice-cream and soaked in on the grand achievement. He was also handed over a certificate from the organizers. We collected our photographs and videos in the pen drive and made our way back to Knysna.


MIRINDA fun facts- Face Adrenalin volunteers show the photos & videos on a big t.v. screen for one to view & enjoy the photos and videos before paying for them. They also have a souvenir shop where you can buy the Bungee rope, t-shirts, etc.


We were back in Knysna at around 2:00 pm and stopped at Bosun’s Pub & Grill for lunch.

Bosun’s Pub & Grill was a cozy Irish pub serving a variety local craft beers. It was located on the way to our hotel with the view of the Knysna Lagoons. All in all it was a friendly pub, good beer and good standard pub grub. Service was good and food was quite reasonably priced. We ordered a cheese & tomato sandwich and a thai chicken curry for lunch along with their local craft beers. It was nothing fancy but that wasn’t expected so it did the job.

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After our meal, we headed back to our hotel. Being our last day at Alexander’s, we wanted to enjoy the property and the beautiful views it offered. In the evening, we jumped into the pool, ordered some cocktails from the bar, turned on some ambient music and basked into the magnificent sun in front of the lovely Ocean. It was another romantic evening of our honeymoon.

For dinner, we wanted to visit the Quays at the Waterfront. Today we decided not pre-book the restaurant as we wanted to stroll on the waterfront, do some shopping (which we hadn’t done much during the whole trip) and then go for dinner. With the help of our complimentary shuttle service, we reached the Waterfront at around 7:30 pm.


THE HARBOUR KNYSNA WATERFRONT


The Harbour Knysna Quays is a picturesque little harbour in the heart of the waterfront. Being a recreational harbour you will find the idyllic atmosphere that can only be associated with Knysna’s uniqueness. The Waterfront is a popular hotspot for tourists and locals, for its leisure activities, dining and spectacular views.

The Knysna Waterfront is also extremely popular for its many restaurants. These include take-away and family-friendly joints, but also comprise of classy venues for delicious culinary creations. Due to Knysna’s excellent positioning, fresh seafood is readily available, and can be enjoyed while sipping on a fabulous South African wine and enjoying the breath-taking views of the serene lagoon water.

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We strolled on the Waterfront for some time. I can say it was a shopaholic’s delight, as there were number of fabulously unique shops ranging from designer clothing boutiques and jewellery designers to touristy goods and curio shops. There were art galleries, décor shops, and specialty stores to cater to the needs and preferences of every type of person visiting here. We enjoyed doing some window shopping but the locals told us that the restaurants there shut by 10:30-11:00 p.m., so we decided to grab dinner.

Walking past many restaurants, we were so confused as every restaurant looked welcoming and served different types of cuisines. We finally decided on Café Mario for some Italian cuisine.

Café Mario looked like a small Italian café from the outside with a few tables next to the water. It was packed with tourists and thus we assumed the place would be good!! As we entered, we saw the place was quite big on the inside with varied table set ups from a private section, to family tables.

We chose to sit in the private section with a few tables. We ordered the house favourite wine along with their signature Pizza and Ravioli. I can never forget this meal… It was the best Italian food I have ever tried. The home-made pizza dough and sauce was so yummy… My mouth has already started watering while writing this!

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Post dinner, we strolled on the Waterfront for some time, we saw this buzzing place on the first floor atrium called JJ’s Restaurant. Seeing freshly baked Cheesecakes on their menu, and we being cheesecake fanatics… we quickly grabbed a table there. We ordered their famous Lemon Cheesecake and the “Taste of Africa” which was a local favourite. “Taste of Africa” was a mixture of milk tart, koeksisters, crème brûlé, ice-cream with chocolate sauce and sorbet which created a festival of flavours in our mouth!

As we were enjoying our desserts, we saw some of the restaurant staff suddenly organizing themselves in front of the bar. A few more members joined them and they started singing and dancing to the African tunes. Slowly and gradually, all the guests also got into the mood and the whole restaurant was on its feet. It was as if the town was singing farewell to us. We were very touched by such lively gestures on our last evening in Knysna.

At 11 pm, we called our shuttle service, made our way back to the hotel and said a final goodnight to the lovely town of Knysna.

Coming up Next… Day 08 at Kruger National Park – Sabi Sands Game Reserve…

Keep following www.mirindatravels.com for all the details!

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