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Surf Trip to Garden Route

Surf Trip to Garden Route

Let me introduce myself – my name is Paul and I am a French intern at JENMAN African Safaris. I am studying at a Business School in Lyon, France and am currently completing a 6-month internship I had to do abroad. I guess you could say Cape Town is my new home and I am really enjoying everyday life here… especially surfing! There is so much to do in this city, but nothing beats the surf. At least once a week you’ll find my roommates and I on our boards waiting for a wave in Muizenberg, one of the most famous spot to surf. The waves of South Africa are force to be reckoned with, but hey… I’ve battled the French waters my entire life,  so my response is ‘Bring it on!’

Thursday 24th was a public holiday, so I took the chance to take Friday off and attempt the Garden Route on a 4-day weekend. We wanted to avoid tourists and famous attractions and to do something a bit special. So we decided to plan this surf trip, as the Garden Route offers some great spots to surf. Here’s what each day looked like for us:

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Surf boards

Day 1: Departure is planned at 7h30 in the morning. We are very excited to go, especially as France’s rugby team won against Romania yesterday and is doing well in the World Cup (we are also rugby players and fans). First stop is Muizenberg. We rent boards and suits at our friend’s surf shop. First issue of the trip: we cannot fit 5 boards on the roof racks of the car –  a small red Golf – so we have to rent body-boards (which are also a lot of fun) and flippers. It means we can put them in the trunk! We now are ready to go: 5 people in this small and old car with a full trunk. This is going to be a long trip!

We make our way through Plettenberg Bay with an unintentional detour in Oudtshoorn. We finally arrive in Plettenberg Bay at 19h00, where we booked accommodation in a very nice backpackers. The city is really nice and we have a great party in a bar overlooking the beach from the backpackers.

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The crew

Day 2: Early wake-up at 7h30 for a morning surf session. The beach is amazing and so are the waves. We are alone in the water. We felt so free! I surf with 10 dolphins that are only 5 meters away from me, which I must admit is a bit scary as the fin makes me immediately think of sharks. Around 11h00 we had a huge breakfast before a second session as the surf was incredible. We also meet a a group of young children playing rugby and before long we are playing with and teaching them the basics of surfing. This was a great moment!

Our second scare comes moments after teaching when a big dark shadow is spotted 3 meters from us…  it was just a seal. Finally, we make our way to Knysna where we check in at a backpackers. We rest for a few minutes and then head for dinner and the nightlife of the Waterfront.

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Children on the beach

Day 3: Early wake-up at 7h30 and we enjoy the free breakfast at the backpackers. We make our way to Buffalo Bay and discover a white, sunny beach with many families. There aren’t so many waves so we just chill on the beach. The water is so warm and surprisingly the waves get bigger and bigger. Just when we are about to give up on the surf, Buffalo Bay reclaims her reputation by kicking up 3 foot waves. It is an astonishing change in swell and so we celebrate with some beers afterwards.

Then we go to Wilderness where it is raining. We have a late afternoon session here, but soon the current picks up and is too strong and the rocks are too many to keep surfing. We close the day with the IRB rugby world cup, watching the Springboks game over an incredible dinner at the Backpackers (who knew?) and an extravagant Wilderness party to follow.

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Buffalo Bay

Day 4: Final early wake-up at 7h30 in order to go to Victoria Bay, which is definitely the best spot ever! Not so many surfers in the water (but just enough to reassure you concerning sharks) and a little rain. Great 2 -3 foot waves which kept on coming. Mossel Bay was our lunch stop before our final surf destination.

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Victoria Bay

Vleesbai was our final stop and it was absolute magic! Warm water and correct waves… yes ‘correct’ waves, because each wave was something like a movie. Unbelievable barrels on the light turquoise coloured water that made the coast feel like an island paradise. We spend the afternoon there surfing and playing rugby on the beach. A true manly way to end of a weekend with the boys.

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Finally it is time to go back to Observatory. It’s going to be a long journey! We enjoy the sundowners and stunning landscapes in the terrible 30 km traffic jam outside of Cape Town. We finally arrive at home, eat a huge dinner as we were starving, and go bed very quickly. When we close our eyes, we still the waves and the ocean moving underneath us.

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That was an awesome weekend and definitely an unforgettable experience. I hope I will have the occasion to replan such a good weekend soon.

“Don’t limit your challenges, but challenge your limits.”

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