Sunday, December 10

The Garden Route, Day Five: Animals and Nature

We decided to head east today, toward our final destination of Port Elizabeth. The idea was that we should check it out now, lest we find that we don't have time to check out any of the activities in that direction when we next head that way. The morning was spent on the nature triple of Jukani, Monkeyland and Birds of Eden.

I had mixed feelings about Jukani. It was certainly educational, and I guess like the other two sites I got a warm and fuzzy feeling in supporting "animal sanctuaries" (quotes placed by my cynicism only)... but Jukani ultimately was just a big cat zoo. Still, we did see some majestic animals, the tigers ironically amongst the most impressive.

Next up was Monkeyland. This was fun; walking around with a tour seeing various primates up to no good. Again it was pretty educational, if only because in learning exactly how grumpy monkeys can get while eating.

The last of the three was Birds of Eden. We spend the longest time here, partly because of the size of the place but mainly because we were self guided. Again I saw some wonderful animals but I suppose by that time I really had had my fill of the animal kingdom.

In short, all three were well above average but not quite unmissable.

After lunch we continued east to the mouth of Storms River. This offered us some pretty exciting views, a suspension bridge, and a really good (albeit deceptively short) hike up to a lookout point. It was totally worth it but, you really should budget a couple of hours if you want to check it out yourself.

Geographically, this pretty much marks the eastern most point of our Garden Route experience. My fear that it's quite a bit over-marketed has yet to be allayed, and I don't see it getting anywhere near the top ten of trails or road trips that I've been on.

Still, I have a couple of days left so who knows? Maybe the best is yet to come.

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