Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Peter Giddy Guided Tours. Hiking the Zuurberg Trails September 2018

Come Hiking with Peter Giddy Guided Trails

Other tours include
Addo Elephant Park
Daniel Cheetah Project and Addo Elephant Park Combo
Two Day -- Addo Elephant Park;  Hiking Trail and Kragga Kamma Wildlife Reserve
Garden Route  --  Cape Town to Port Elizabeth
Garden Route / Tsitsikamma -- One or two day excursions
Airport and Hotel Transfers
City; Cultural; Township and Historical Tours

Peter invites you to join him on a Hiking Trail around Port Elizabeth.  Meet locals and see some of the natural trails of the area.
Bookings at

Zuurberg Hiking trail -- September 2018

The signboard at the Ranger station describes the hiking trails.  A map is also available.
These hikes all start at the Ranger Station near to the Zuurberg Inn.  There is this terrible 16k road to the Inn.

We leave from Port Elizabeth at 6.45am. The drive to Zuurberg is about 90km and once we have registered we begin our hike at 08.30am.  It is best to start reasonably early to avoid the heat of the day.  This trail is best done in the months April to September as the valley can become extremely hot in Summer.
Beautiful pin cushion protea
13 Hikers in the group this morning.  Our Group Leader is Rob Witte who is family of Cheryl who I know from Tourism.  Ralph; Jurgen; Andrew; Dave;  Sally and her friend from Cape Town,  Tracey,  Dave and Naomi,  Ian Andrews who kindly gave me a lift today; Flo, Val and Paul make up the group.
We regroup just before starting the descent.  Below are some magnificent views of the Valley.
On the trail today -- Rob is our Hike Leader;  Ralph; Val;  Dave and Naomi;  Flo;  Sally and her friend from Cape Town, Tracey;  Jurgen;  Dave;  Ian who kindly offers me a lift there and back; and Paul who is a regular hiker in this group.
There are 13 of us altogether which makes for a good number -- everyone gets to know your name and there is a good flow of conversation for the duration of the hike.

A long descent is ahead of us.
The pathway zig zags down to the river below.
The picnic area is cool and a welcome break.  I am quite shaky and need something to eat.
Crossing the river after the picnic break.
Paul admires the Otto Pool and rock faces.

The first part of this hike takes us up to the pathway that leads to the ridge from where we see Antelope (the Hartebeest) and some of the most magnificent views across the valleys below.  The descent into the valley is long and tough.  By the time we reach the stream below I am feeling quite low and am glad to be able to take in something to eat.

The break is at the Otto Pool and river crossing.  A bench table and comfortable rocks makes for a good place to recover in the shade.
After the break we walk for an easy two km to the Blougat Pool where I am the only one who takes a swim.  The water is cool and refreshing... Definitely not freezing.

After the Otto Pool we are on the Addo Trail Run pathway which leads to the Blougat pool where I have a swim after a challenge by one of the walkers.
The river runs strongly into the pool after recent heavy rains.

After leaving the Blougat Pool we have to cross the river something like 15 to 20 times.  It is a really long section of the hike and should not be underestimated.
On the path we are mainly in the shade which helps as the day has become quite warm.
Sally and Flo try to avoid getting wet feed.

After the Blougat pool we walk along a pathway that crosses the streams 15 to 20 times and continues uphill.  This section is long and can be quite tiresome.
Then we start the climb upwards back to the ranger station.  The climb from the last crossing of the stream takes us about an hour. We decide to take the Left Turn at the intersection so as to get the benefit of a bit more shaded walking as well as the exhilaration of the rock climb at the end.  This way is a bit steeper but, in the opinion of the majority of walkers, is the better of the two options.

The final rocky part of the trail. Fortunately it is not too hot and there is a cool breeze. With Dave and Sally bringing up the rear.
We summit the climb and from here we can see the Zuurberg Inn as well as the ranger station where our cars are parked.
Back at the cars we have a short break before driving home. Some of this road is extremely poor with bumps and potholes.  We get back safely and have the joy of completing a really worthwhile hiking trail. 
The total distance is about 14km and the total time that this hike took is about 4.5 hours.  However we set a reasonably quick pace and the smaller group made going easier especially on the river crossings. My phone tells me that I have walked about 25 000 steps during the hike.

Friday, August 31, 2018

August 2018 with Peter Giddy and Peter Giddy Guided Tours

August 2018 with Peter Giddy and Peter Giddy Guided Tours

Peter loves to talk about the nature and bushveld of South Africa.

Contact Peter at
  • Addo Elephant Park Safari
  • Kragga Kamma and other wildlife reserves
  • City; Cultural; Historical; Township and Grahamstown tours
  • Cape Town and  Garden Route; Plettenberg Bay adventures; Tsitsikamma Tours
  • Storms River Mouth; Whale watching; Beach and other walks
  • Morning hikes around Port Elizabeth -- Forest; Beach; Social hikes of 2-3 hours. 
  • Transfers -- Airport; Wildlife Reserves; Hotels and other venues

This boo, which I finish reading, k is a compilation of short stories edited by James Patterson.  Well worth a read.  Diverse and interesting stories. It has provided me with a selection of authors who I will be looking for in the library.

Wednesday 1st August 2018.... Running with Mike Burger this morning for the first time in many years.  Mike is managing the Stock Control of Eastern Cape Motors New vehicles.  He is running 2 - 3 times a week. We run about 5km.   Later I swim 800m before fetching Jessica at school.
Thursday 2nd.  Running 7k with Chris; Lindi; Mike; Viv and Kelly. 
 We are a group of 15 on the Bushbuck Trail.
A log of the trail is along the perimiter fence with some serious hills and soft sand.
Royalston Hiking Trail.  The morning starts out a bit chilly so when I get to Royalston I am glad to have brought an extra rain jacket.  There is a slight drizzle but that does not put the majority of walkers off.  Alan leads the Long walk of 8km and Lynne leads the short walkers (6km).  The trails are the Bushbuck walk and the Forest walk.
The hike today is not an easy one with many hills and lots of soft sand.  Fortunately it is cool.  On a hot day people may really battle on the walk.  I take a liter of water but on a hot day I would probably need at least another 500ml.  In our group we are 15 walkers.  Benny; Alan and I are the only men.  Ladies seem to be more adventurous and look for physical activity.  However a couple of the ladies battle with the hills and make their displeasure known.
 The group examines the board.  Alan determines that we will be taking the Bushbuck Trail.
 An explanation of the trails.  Unfortunately a spelling mistake describes the trail as the Bushback Trail.
The trails are well marked and easy to find.
Once we reach the pond it is less than 2km to walk
On the main reserve area we see a number of animals including a herd of Wildebeest; Sable Antelope and Giraffe.  On the trail we see a couple of Impala as well as a lone Waterbuck who we startle.  It is only when you are close to the animals like this one that you realise how big they really are.
The hike takes us just on 2.5 hours.  Most of the group stop for a snack picnic lunch after the walk.
I pack up and leave and go to Newton Park pool for a 1000m swim before heading home. After the run and hiking trail my legs were quite weary and I cramped up in the pool.

I drop Jacqui and her family off at Greenacres shopping center and a bit later I collect the Combi from the body shop where it has been for the past four days.  I had bumped both my and Barbara's bakkie tail lights.
Barbara bought this bookshelf and has filled it with the remaining books.
 Jacqui at tea at Grassroof
 Nicky leaving for a tough ten kay this morning
 Daniel is captain of his Rugby Team vs Westering
 Nicky finishes the 10k in 1.02.  Not bad for a tough, hilly event.
 Nicky and her support group -- Chris; Estelle; John and Werner
 Saturday morning run with Ronel; Elmarie; Chris; Lindi and Mike.
NMBT Township tour with Deborah; Sam and Beth.
Saturday 4th.  Start the morning with a Beach Front Run.  Later I have a Township Tour for three NMBT with Deborah and her two children -- Sam and Beth.

Heavy rain as I put on the fire this afternoon
 Jacqui with Lene and Karen
 Gail; Delene; Jacqui; Joshua; Barbara; Lene and Karen
 Carey and boyfriend Nathan; Gail; Delene; Matthew and Karen.
Lene; Barbara; John; Nathan and Carey.
We have a Family Braai before Jacqui leaves for Cape Town. Karen brings a great Potato Bake; Lene a Potato salad; Barbara makes a Green Salad with Baby Spinach; I make a coleslaw.  I Braai sausage only.  Plenty of food for everyone.
Tom and Granddad walk around Grey with a Black Bag to pick up Garbage and litter.
So tomorrow morning (Monday) when the group runs past this section, they dont have to offended by all the bottles and packets that people leave lying around.

Monday 6th.  Barbara; Jacqui and her family -- all drive to Cape Town to stay at Nicky for the rest of their SA Holiday. It is a long drive as we make a number of long stops. Finally arrive in CT in driving rain at 6pm.
 Meeting Michael at the airport International Arrivals -- Nicky; Jacqui; Michael; Tom; Barbara; Anabelle and Emily.
 Ally's 21 birthday at Thirsty Scarecrow at Stellenbosch.  With Kelsey (Summerstrand PE) and Emma.
 Amee farmers from Sommerset East where the farm manager grows Lucern and they also have a hunt game farm. Oriole and Megan.
Megan and Danni (who I made the mistake of calling Candy)
 This is Nicola; Mishka and Tia.
 Here is Phi and Angie
And from Port Elizabeth and from many years of school and lifesaving friendships -- Laura S and Cameron Riddle with Ally.
Tuesday 7th August 2018.  Today is Ally's 21st Birthday and Barbara and I have been married for 42 years. We are staying in CT with Nicky.   We fetch Michael from the airport and Nicky fetches her three from school.  So we are three families with 7 children in her house.   This evening we meet at a restaurant near to Stellenbosch where Ally celebrates her 21st with friends.  It is a Pizza evening.  Very successful.
Wednesday morning I visit the Dole Office where I meet Machel and Rieme.  Laura is leaving; Richard v Tonder.

I meet the group in Tygervalley where we have a breakfast.  I do shopping for supplies for the house. We take a walk in the local park where the children feed the Egyptian Geese.
Tygerberg Nature Reserve.   We take the Tortoise Route up to the Radio masts.
 Boys shoot up ahead on this Zoro Trail
 Lisa and Jacqui renewing old friendships
 Family pic overlooking the city below.
 We find this Termite hole.
 Termites with red heads can be biters.
 Reynard and Michael enjoying the views across the mountains across the Cape

A table full of picnic food after we decided, spontaneously, to have a picnic on the hill of the Tygerberg.
Thursday morning.  Nix and I are up early for a 12k (hilly route in the dark) Wietske Run.   We meet at 5.30 and run 12k.,  There are around 100 runners most of whom do the 20k.  Barbara and I do some shopping for breakfast.  Reynard and Lisa (Christiaan; Katie and Zak) visit  and we all do the Tygerberg Nature Reserve walk and a picnic.  Ally comes home for a few days after her 21st and Res dance.  This evening I make a Spanish Omlette for supper.  We are thirteen staying in Nicky's house: Nicky; Christian; Aaron; Zara; Mia; Ally; Barbara and I;  Jacqui; Michael; Emily; Anabelle and Tom. Such fun!
 Cape Town waterfront
 Ally; Jacqui and Nicky... Three sisters.  Celebrating Ally's 21st
 Ally at her 21st Party.
 Barbara and I at the Thirsty Scarecrow
 Jacqui and Nicky enjoying Cape Town ... Walking around the dam.
 Family outing on the Tygerberg Nature Reserve with Cape Town and the mountain in the background
 A family outing.  Walking around the dam with Zara; Emily; Nicky; Michael; Peter; Anabelle; Mia; Tom and Aaron with the Dog Star.
Zara and Granddad on the See Saw.
Friday.  Nicky; Michael and I run from her house -- In the light and sun;  We do another hilly route of 9k. The first half is basically down hill but then we start up Vygeboom and then end on Kendall roads.  Both long up hill. Nicky is strong and her hill training is paying off.
The rest of the day is a drive to Hout Bay Restaurant and then to Stellenbosch where we are caught up in Traffic for hours before dropping Ally off at Res.
This was my first James Rowlins Book as far as I can remember. I dont think that it is the right author for me.
Saturday 11th.  Drive home from Cape Town.  Stopping in Plett to off load some stuff from Patrick.
Sunday ..  Relaxing and recovering from a couple of hectic weeks.
Monday -- Running with the group.  Bailed and ended running just 3k with Owen Biggs. Transfer for TTC of Manuel and Venice to Shamwari -- Longlee Manor.
Tuesday 14th. Running 7k with Chris; Liesl; Stefany and Mike.  Barbara and I load the spare fridge and take it to Plett where we do some sorting out.
Wednesday -- Run just 5k.  Swim 1200m.  My first swim in about two weeks. Shamwari pick up and transfer to Airport for TTC -- Manuel and Venice. Meanwhile Michael and Jacqui spent the night in Hermanus and saw at least one whale.  This afternoon they drive to Plett.
Lynne gives instructions to Long and Short Walkers. 
 We have 15 in our group led by Carryn.
Stopping for a snack break.  The hike was  about 8km and 2.15 hours.

I start the morning with a run -- 8km with Chris; Mike; Stefany and then meet Kate who is training for an extreme adventure event where she has to cycle 80km in a group of four.
Thursday walking Group. We walk the Grysbok Trail behind the University.
 Blake goes into hospital for an operation
 Close encounter of the Elephant kind.
 This is known as a Sombre Greenbul (Was a Sombre Bulbul) identified by Kevin.  This bird was so cheeky during our lunch that he came and pecked on our sandwiches as we had them in our hand.
Our Group -- Emilio and Tony;  Venkatesh;  Christine and Stefany.
Friday 17th.  An Addo Tour with Tony and Emilio from Spain who are here for a Hunting Holiday.  Christine and Stefany from Germany who are here for work at Mahle Automotive components and Venkatesh who is on holiday.

Saturday 18th.  Run with Mike and Jenna from Hobie Beach.  We run up Walmer Boulevard and past Forest Hill to Strandfontein and then down 2nd Ave.  This is exactly 10k on both my phone and Jenna measured it as well.
Mike and Jenna on Strandfontein Road for a 10k run.
 Our group at the Seaview Lion Park where we see Lions (of course) but also a Tiger; Zebra; Giraffe; Blesbok; Impala; Wildebeest.
A lion called Neddie next to the fence.
I have a Seaview Lion Park and City Tour combo for Emilio and Tony.  As I leave I receive a call from Ibahyi Town lodge to take an Italian family of 4 for a city tour so they join us.  There is a bit of confusion as I thought that I would take them to the Airport but they ended up taking a Taxi.
This afternoon SA play Argentina (Rugby championships) and win a bonus point at 34-21 in Durban.
 Jacqui takes her family to Mossel Bay where they get started on Sandboarding.  Amazingly they all manage to stay standing
I get home and decide to put our bedrooms on Air BnB.
 We get to the airport early and check in. We then have plenty of time for a coffee and walk on the Pier at Hobie Beach before Barbara leaves for Cape Town
On the way to Cape Town where Barbara is able to watch Ally playing hockey, go to the Movies to see Mama Mia 2, Stay over at Nicky's house and then on to Doha and Aukland by Tuesday.
Sunday morning.  Barbara leaves for Cape Town and then New Zealand.  We check in early and have time to go to the beach for a coffee and walk on the Pier before Barbara leaves.  Ally fetches her from the airport in CT.
Lewis and Sue are from Australia and are traveling SA on Motor Bikes.
I meet Ron and Lyn for a beer and snack at the Something Good restaurant.
I have a City Tour for two from the Beach Hotel for Mosaic.  Later I meet up with Ron and Lyn for a Beer at Something Good.
 Swimming at Newton Park Pool  -- Two km
Two new tyres fitted to the front of the Combi.
Monday morning 20th.  A lethargic start to my running morning turned out to be a 9k.  I run with Chris and Lindi and then meet Kate and end up doing 9k.  I have discovered that my phone tracks my distance, steps and Calories without my having to set it.  All I have to do is take the phone with me. This is a really handy feature.
Meeting with Peter and Frank and then I have two new Dunlop Tyres fitted to the Combi.  While they do the fitting I go for a swim.
Cell Group this evening.
Tuesday morning.  Second day waking up to an empty house.  This is not for me. Join the group for a run.  Chris has a sore hip and bails early.  Fran joins Andrea and Kelly.  I run a 10kay.  Going around Grey one or two extra loops helps add the distance.
It was raining from last night and most of the morning.  This evening we are able to sit outside and there really was no chill in the air.  Elamrie; Jenny and Suzanne chat while Chris (our Braaier for this evening and Mike talk about important stuff. 
 Chris; Suzanne; Elmarie and I
Bobby had been working in Bhisho all day -- driving over 500 kay but seemed to enjoy a bit of relaxed time with the group.  Suzanne is in PE to visit her Mom in hospital and also to move her to  a frail care. We had seen Suzanne on the run this morning as she charged past us. She is living in the UK and is training for a marathon.  Also just started a new office job in London where she is delighted to have secured permanent employment.
Yesterday I put the extra rooms on Air BnB and today I receive two bookings for September.  Amazing! Couple of things to adjust but it seems to work.  I meet Jody Bowler (Keith's wife) at the Ironman Expo where they have a working office. She very kindly takes my details for both the BnB and Tourist Guiding in case they have enquiries.
This evening I arrange a braai.  On the advice of Bobby, I buy some boerewors and chicken Sosaties at Merino butchery.  This turns out to be a good choice.  I make a coleslaw and a Potato salad.  I have never made potato salad before and so was happy with the outcome.  A nice friendship group sitting outside the whole evening chatting.
 Plenty of streams to cross.
Start of the Hopewell hiking trail.
Wednesday ... Running with Chris. Lindi and Mike.  Then meet Kate and do a little extra so 8kay.
Then later I meet Robin and we drive to Hopewell nature reserve together.  We are 18 walkers for a 12k hike. I am with Ian for a lot of the walk.   Then we drive back together and he drops me off.  But I have forgotten my phone in his car so have to fetch it later.
 On the Donkin Lighthouse with Kalay and Marido from Finland
We stop for lunch at the "This is Eat" restaurant
Thursday I have a City Tour.  Pick up a Finnish Couple (Kayla and Margot I think) at the Garden Court.  We do the Campenile; fort; Castle Hill Museum; Donkin and City and then we have lunch at the "This is Eat" restaurant.  This is my first time to use this restaurant so I was curious to see what goes on here.  They are a Muslim owned establishment.  They appear to specialise in Sea Food.  They serve it in Polystyrene containers with plastic cutlery. No alcohol so you don't tend to linger.  We had Hake which is served with Veg, Rice, Chips or Salad and a single plate of 6 giant prawns.  The prawns were great but the fish was mediocre.
After the tour I pack up and after showing Barbara and Edith (House Sitters) out home, I leave for Plett where I spend the night.
Friday morning I leave early for a 6 hour drive to Cape Town where I stay the night with Nicky.  We fetch her children from School.  I make a Cottage Pie for supper.  Ally comes for the night and to watch Aaron play hockey on Saturday. As well as the Bishbosh (Bishops and Rondebosch) high school rugby games.
This afternoon Nicky and I spend a good deal of the day setting up our BnB businesses.
Saturday 25th.  I pick up my Family Group for a Garden Route Tour.  We start the day with a visit to the Giraffe House where you see a huge variety of animals which you can feed.  Of course the main attraction is the three or four Giraffe.  What surprises me is the tame animals such as the Blue Crane. the Kudu and the Eland which allow us to approach up close.  Neil gives us a presentation including holding a Tarantula; Lizard; Python and other creepy crawlies.
We then drive to Plett where they book in at the Robberg Beach house.  This evening we have dinner at the Moby Dick beachfront restaurant.

Sunday a bit of a lazy start but it is cold and wet.  We visit Jukani where Bert is the guide; Monkeyland where Andy is the guide and lastly the Birds of Eden.
Monday is a really busy day as we decide to leave Plett a day early.  Pack up, a bit of shopping, then visit Mungo Linen factory;  Then over to the Bungy Jumping where we watch for a while but it is really cold this morning.

 Saturday morning. Catherine and Elise feeding Gerry the Giraffe at the Giraffe house.

 Blue Crane --  the SA National bird
Eland.  The largest Antelope.
 Saturday evening.  Supper at Moby Dick on the beach front in Plett
 Monday morning we have a short beach walk on Robberg
 Monday afternoon after a busy drive we get to the Tsitsikamma Falls Zip Lines where Xabiso and Lionel are our guides.
 David and Elise on the 200m longest line.
 Catherine comes Zooming in.
Dallas; Catherine; Our guide was Sashi; Elise; David and myself at the end of the Segway adventure
We finally get to Tsitsikamma village where we have lunch in the Elvis Restaurant before going on to the Zip lines and the Segway which is a huge success with everyone -- even myself who takes a nasty fall.
Our last activity for the day is to get some take aways for supper and then drive on to PE where everyone stays over at our house.

Tuesday morning we drive to Amakhala where I drop them off at Leuwenbosch for a special outing with the Vet. Tuesday afternoon -- A short City Tour with Desmond and family then a recce of the Ironman Cycle route.

Gedney family at Amakhala having the time of their lives as they join the team on a :Rhino Procedure"
 Hazel and I on the Ironman Cycle route.

Wednesday..... 8km with Chris and Lindi;  Then Owen and lastly Kate.
Desmond and Elizabeth for Stampede.
Hazel swims and then Bike ride the hills around the turn point -- Maitlands hills.
Anne and one for BnB;  Hakan for BnB
 Desmond and Elizabeth on the Stampede
 Monkeys at Addo on Thursday 30th
City Tour on Thursday 30th afternoon for Mosaic with Marlene and Anne and two senior Ironmen Ron 73 and Dave 67. 
Little Elizabeth was amazing.  She was so adaptable and such a happy child.

Thursday... 30th... Run with Hakan my Ironman Guest.  He enjoyed being with the group.
Cathy starting to recover from the Operation.  Barbara working tirelessly with her and has spent three days at her bedside.
Ginia from Conifer;  Desmond and family plus Frederick and Antoine from France for Addo.
Later Ron; Marlene; Dave and Anne for a city tour for Mosaic Sean.
 Hakan from Sweden Air BnB; Physio Sabrina and Pro Athlete from Germany -- Anne Haug.
 Ironmen -- Frank and Chris with his family -- Ferret; Zakeem and Liza.  The sign is for Marine and bush.  Joanne and Scott.
Picnic lunch at Jacks.  The Ironmen were not that impressed as they seem to have special diets.
Friday 31st.  Hakan; Anne Haug and physio Sabrina staying with me for the weekend of Ironman.
Pick up 7 for an Addo Tour.  All for Bush and Marine -- Anje.