This meant throwing clothes together, charging camera batteries, getting itineraries, making phone calls, and printing maps, as well as organising our long-term Isuzu D-Max double cab and collecting the Invader Quattro off-road caravan – kindly loaned to us by Dan at Invader. There is nothing like a short-notice travel trip to get your engine firing on all cylinders.
With a quick stopover for one night at Steenbokkie Nature Reserve campsite in Beaufort West, we drove straight through the following morning to reach the Morgan Bay campsite at 17:30. This was the starting and meeting point for all the travellers on this particular trip, which was organised as part of a collaboration between Cederberg 4X4 and Caravan & Outdoor Life magazine.
On our arrival in Morgan Bay, we were directed to our camping stand by Coenie, the owner of Cederberg 4X4, and our guide for the trip. It didn’t take us long to set-up camp, settle in around the braai fire, and get to know the other adventurers on the trip (see the photos of all the vehicles and their associated caravans and off-road trailers later in this article).
Morgan Bay campsite is a scenic place with large trees offering good shade and lush, green grass underfoot. It’s set right on the banks of the Inchara River Lagoon, which offers great water sport and fishing opportunities. Campers, withstands along the banks of the lagoon, were fishing from chairs right in front of their tents.
The following morning, after a scrumptious breakfast, we departed for the Kei Mouth ferry to take us across the river into the Transkei. It didn’t take long to get all nine vehicles, with their respective caravans and trailers in tow, to the other side and then it was on to Trennerys Hotel and Campsite for our first stop. Trennerys is a well-known feature of the Transkei and offers the perfect setting for a holiday like no other. This intimate campsite has only 10 stands, each with their own electricity and the neat ablutions are mere metres for the camping stands. There are large trees that offer good shade to most of the camping stands and the sub-tropical climate ensures that there is grass as far as the eye can see. The humidity took a bit of getting used to, for us Cape coastalites, and one way to combat it was to recline in a comfy camping chair and sip on a cold beverage.
Trennerys has everything a family requires for the perfect holiday. There is a sparkling sun-chair lined swimming pool, a restaurant, and a bar. For the kids, there are numerous fun activities such as a full volleyball court, trampoline, pool table, PlayStation games, table tennis, jungle gym, and, of course, the beautiful beach within easy walking distance.
After settling in at the campsite, our group enjoyed a communal braai before turning in for the night. The following morning, after a leisurely breakfast, we headed off in convoy to the wreck of the Jacaranda.
The trip to the wreck started off on a dust road through typically rural Transkei roads and the last few kilometres were spent trying to locate vehicle tracks in the long grasses that populate the undulating hilly area that leads down to the coast and to the Jacaranda. On our arrival at the coast, we were met with the sight of a herd of Nguni cattle relaxing in the sand at the beach. Their beautiful markings and docile natures allow you to get very close for photos. The lead bull of the herd did toss his head and horns around a bit just to let me know who was in charge, but I felt little threat from the head honcho. Cattle on beaches is a common sight in the Transkei. Talking of animals, I was amazed at the number of animals that roam free and unattended along the roads. Some of the more stubborn goats and cattle don’t bat an eyelid when you drive up to them in the road. A blast of the car’s horn usually gets them moving. The sheer number of animals on the roads is mind-boggling. Though the cows, goats, and pigs all looked very healthy, I was saddened to see so many emaciated dogs, clearly un-neutered and uncared for, roaming the dust roads in search of food. The area is littered with dead dogs that are often simply left at the roadside.
The popular three-hour walk and boat trip starts with a boat ride, and then there is an easy walk in the sub-tropical forest. Trevor’s and Carlo’s knowledge of the local fauna and flora and medical uses is inexhaustible. Next, we go by boat through a formation called the ‘Gates’, which is amazing. Don’t forget your costumes, as there is a great waterfall to swim under, then another walk onto the high ground with the most amazing views, and finally a boat ride back to the beach. You will need sturdy walking shoes, a sun hat, sunscreen lotion, binoculars, camera, insect repellent, and drinking water.
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June - July 2020