Waking up early to participate in the black water tubing we postponed breakfast until the security briefing. At that point we realized that breakfast wasn’t included so we ordered some cheese and tomato toast and ate while simultaneously getting in our wet suits and trying on life vests and helmets.
After a little bit of hiking in wet suits we got into the calm black water at the start of the river. It was more of a pool than a river and it was nice to get some fresh water to cool ourselves. We then slowly made our way down the river, some swimming, some paddling and an occasional cliff jump or two along the way. Storms river have had a quite severe draught so the water was really low casing the trip to include more hiking than usual but it was still a nice activity. It was very tranquil and apart from the splashing the forest was calm and quiet. We spotted a baboon and some birds but otherwise it was a great way to spend your morning. Some four or five hours later we had made it all the way down and were driven back to Tube ‘n Axe for a nice braii. I was pleasantly surprised by the quality of the vegetarian alternative I was given, although it doesn’t much to beat their national pride sausages who look like something originating from a dog with a bad stomach.
During lunch we chatted with a father and his two kids that had participated on the same trip and it turned out they were heading to Knysna themselves. So they offered us to join them in their car rather than having a staff member of Tube ‘n Axe drive us there (for 40€ or so). Sweet, I had a good chat with the guy who worked as a oil price analyst and had been living in London for the last five years before they dropped us off at Island Vibe Knysna. He flatly refused when we tried to at least pay for the petrol so it was a cheap ride as well.
Island Vibe Knysna was much smaller than the one in J-Bay, and had more of a comfy attitude, and not that heavy focus on partying. We slacked at the pool and had a chat with the other guests while trying to figure out how we would spend new years. After a couple of tries the reception managed to get us a table at a place called The Anchorage which was supposedly “quite posh”. Dressed to kill we went there and were pleased to see the really nice seafood menus. We treated ourselves with some cultivated oysters on ice and followed that up with a seafood platter and had some sparkling wine and a bottle of sauvignon blanc. The waiter gave great service although he was a bit nervous so we complimented his work and tipped nicely after enjoying the meal who now held the prize “best meal in South Africa”. It was a bit too early for clubbing so we headed back to Island Vibe for some more drinks.
Most of the people were supposedly going to some place called Tryst so we decided to check out that as well. Yours truly are not known for his navigation skills and neither is Mona so around 2330 we realized that we would perhaps not find the place before midnight. We were at the time outside some place playing music though, “the whitest place in South Africa” was a phrase that came to our minds when hearing the music from outside. Apparently this was the Yacht Club for members only – so we walked in with another couple in a similar situation. We were not kicked out despite most people were in pirate costumes and started dancing and drinking.
Sean and Janine kept the drinks coming and we didn’t want to be bad either so when the place closed we had had more than a few drinks. Funny when a round for for costs about 5€ though, not exactly Swedish prices. Some tequila shooters later and Sean and Janine invited us over to their place nearby for some snacks and more drinks. We thought we perhaps would go home but then changed our minds, how many chances of a nice after party with locals in South Africa do you get? It may also have been the evil evil man that passed me (and others) a bottle of Jack that caused our minds to shift. Sean had worked as a chef and promised we would have some strawberries for a night snack and also a lunch for tomorrow.
Sean and Janine’s place was Nice and in a Nice neighborhood, we had a few laughs but eventually we felt it was time to head back home. Easier said than done. On our way back we bumped into one guy and two girls having their own party in some parking lot – they were very happy to see us and urged us to have some very foul green liquor – not that we needed more though but bring it on. We gradually made our way towards Island Vibe, but at some point Mona was too tired though so yours truly, always being a nice guy, told her to jump in a nearby shopping cart and off we went.
A couple of youngsters found this sight quite amusing and it may have saved us from being robbed, hard to tell and one always feel bad about suspecting every colored person to be a likely robber whereas others are judged harmless, it’s a strange country. The final triumph of the journey is not completely clear in my own memory though, but some parts of my brain was still working since I was told that I very carefully avoided the pool in a big circle before finally reaching the dorm and falling into sleep flat faced fully dressed like a proper Swede should on new years.