Sunday 20th June published 24th June (Kirsty’s blog)
We were sad to say goodbye to Cape Town, it’s a fantastic city, loads to see and do, with a really good vibe, we’ve vowed to return some day to spend more time there and do it justice…you never know, England might end up playing here again if we’re lucky!
Our hire car turns up and I take the wheel and head out towards the Garden Route on the N2. We decide to stop off at Hermanus en route for some oysters and a spot of whale watching. Apparently there’s an oyster festival on and it’s the best place to see the Southern Right Whale.
Hermanus is a lovely little place and we find a restaurant carved out of a cave right by the sea, our table is situated about 10 feet from where the whales appear and three were here yesterday. We order some wild oysters and a couple of glasses of wine and look expectantly at the sea. Turns out there was a rush on oysters because of the festival and they’re fresh out, there must have been a rush on whales too and the three who delighted the crowds yesterday have gone all shy today. No matter though, despite the lack of oysters and whales we have a great lunch in the sunshine by the sea.
Back on the road towards Wilderness and it really is a beautiful route, with stunning scenery, everyone always talks about how great the Garden Route is and they’re not wrong.
We were hoping to reach Wilderness before it gets dark around 6pm though we have about a four and a half hour drive and it’s going to be tight. We arrive at Wilderness and duly follow our directions to Porcupine Pie Boutique Lodge, our home for the next two nights.
We find ourselves climbing higher and higher and the road turns into a track which then turns into a tiny gravel track and we’re starting to wonder whether we’ve taken a wrong turn somewhere, it’s now dark and the track is too small to turn around on but I didn’t like to point that out to Andy. Suddenly we see some twinkling lights high up on the mountain in the distance and we guess that must be Porcupine Pie. We’re warmly greeted by John and a friendly golden lab called Saffron, John shows us to our lodge which is absolutely beautiful and nestled on the mountain on stilts to one side. Even though it’s dark we can just about make out the shape of the mountains from the large sundeck area which feels like it’s floating high above the ground, I can’t wait to see the view tomorrow. The lodge is mainly glass to one side and the bathroom is surrounded by glass so that you can sit having a candlelit bath and enjoy the mountain views…there are no neighbours up here.
John lets us know that dinner will be ready around 7.30pm and leaves us to get aquainted with our lovely lodge. We head over to the ‘lapa’ for a pre dinner drink, it’s another beautiful wooden building really tastefully done with glass all across one side and exposed rafters. John and Judy greet us and they’re perfect hosts, we enjoy gorgeous Mediterranean lamb shanks cooked by John and a sublime cherry dessert created by Judy, washed down with a good bottle of Porcupine red.
Great food, great wine and great company, we have a perfect evening before heading back to our lodge with another bottle of red to watch the second half of Ivory Coast vs Brazil.
Before bed we wrap ourselves in enormous fluffy blankets and go out on to our deck and enjoy a sky jam packed full of stars, it was magical!
We leave the curtains open and wake up early to catch the sunrise….WOW!
This place is breathtakingly STUNNING!!!
We couldn’t have imagined how beautiful it is here, in fact I can’t find the superlative to describe it, though yet again we thank our lucky stars that we found such a special place.
Breakfast was gorgeous and perfectly cooked by John and we get to meet Storm and Major two enormous blue Great Danes, lovely they are too!
We were planning on going out to tour the local area but it is simply too stunning to leave and as were slap bang in the middle of the Wilderness Nature Reserve we decide to spend a day exploring the surrounding mountains and forrests to make the most of every minute here.
Though before we borrow a couple of walking staffs and don a rucksack, Andy takes a call from Mike Liggins who works at Look East, the regional TV news station. Mike has been following Andy’s tweets and our blog and would like to try and set up a video link via Skype so that Andy can give his views regarding the England vs Algeria game for the news that evening. After a couple of non successful attempts and a search for a web cam we decide to film it on the iPhone and then send it to Mike, I’ve also managed to get my bit in too, much to Andy’s consternation and Mike successfully recieves a couple of video clips to use on the news later. Technology is a wonderful thing, four years ago in Germany we had difficulty posting a pic on a website now we can do everything we need to do, wherever we are in the World…amazing!
We spend a brilliant afternoon trekking down to the bottom of the valley (steep as anything, glad we brought the staffs), crossed the river by stepping stones and walked through the forest along wooden walkways attached the side of the mountain until we reached a beautiful waterfall, a perfect way to spend an afternoon.
Another gorgeous evening meal of superbly cooked Kudu with a chocolate chilli sauce (John has promised to give me the recipe but I’m not sure that Sainsburys is awash with Kudu) followed by Judy’s lovely light apple pie.
John and Judy had a struggle with the planning department when building Porcupine Pie but I’m mightlily pleased they succeeded in the end, it’s a magical place with just three lodges so it’ll never be overcrowded, they’ve just been given an award as an ideal honeymoon location, John is a superb chef and Judy is a talented artist and her lovely work adorns the walls. As John said, he loves cooking and loves people so this is an ideal lifestyle for them, their brilliant personal service and excellent hosting skills makes our stay extra special and you couldn’t wish to meet a lovlier couple.
John and Judy’s two daughters live very close to where we are in Kew so before leaving they have a picture taken with a Pether’s butchers bag to go up on the wall in the shop in Kew, which we’ll deliver when we get home.
We really don’t want to leave this magical place, but there’s the small matter of a football match to attend so leave we must.
I can’t recommend Porcupine Pie Lodge highly enough, if ever you’re anywhere near the African continent then make sure you go out of your way to visit…it really is superb in every way!
Check out those views: http://www.porcupinepie.co.za
Lots of emails and tweets about the Paynes being spotted on the Look East news last night, Andy’s still insisting that I’ve muscled in on his fledgling media moment ;o)
We’re on our Way to Port Elizabeth with butterflies doing River Dance in hobnailed boots in my stomach…come on England!