Thursday and another 3 hour trip on the Baz Bus. The bus was due to pick us up at 1:45 eventually at 3:15 the bus rolls up to the hostel and we climb on. Finally at around 7:30pm we arrive in Plettenberg Bay or ‘Plett’ as it’s more commonly known, after numerous hostel and McDonalds stops. (We think the driver had a thing for fast food, not that we were complaining). We had read and heard from other travellers that Plett was a tourist hotspot because of its white sand beaches and clear waters. But unfortunately when we arrived the weather wasn’t looking good, thick cloud and rain showers which is not ideal weather to check out these amazing beaches. So we grabbed some food from a local restaurant and headed to bed still knackered from the sandboarding.
The following day we were woken up by the sound of rain. We checked the weather and it looked like the rain was here to stay so we decided to take a look around the local area as our hostel was based on what seemed like the Main Street through the town. With it being a surfing town the streets are lined with surf shops which we were happy to check out. Some how we managed to leave empty handed which for us is an achievement. Rosie spotted a book shop on the main road when we passed on the bus so we headed there. At this point Rosie had already finished the three books she brought with her and I was about two hundred pages into my only book. After some deliberating Rosie eventually she settled on one enormous book. We grabbed some food from the local checkers and walked back to the hostel to chill for the rest of the day. But not without stopping for ice cream first.
With the bad weather here for the next couple of days we were forced into plan b (Plan b seemed to be an on going theme at this point). Luckily, whilst in Cape Town we looked online for activities in the towns further up the coast and stumbled across africanyon.com the first paragraph of the site reads “Explore the river with AfriCanyon, navigate through the river shallows, jump, zip-line, swim through fresh-water mountain pools, slide down natural water slides and abseil in and around waterfalls as you dip down into the river gorge.” it was instantly was something I knew I would love, however I thought it was going to be a challenge getting Rosie involved. We checked the website out again and surprisingly Rosie was game so we booked in up there and then for the following day, the Saturday.
We said to ourselves we would get up early for breakfast and with enough time to shower and pack a bag as the shuttle was picking us up at 9:10 for the canyoning. Shocker, we were up late I sorted the bag while Rosie munched on some coco pops, threw our clothes on no shower and ran out the door as the driver was arriving. The drive took around twenty five minutes. We were greeted by a man mountain, a big guy called Tebzzz (later ended up being the tour leader) we went through to reception for sign up. We had to fill out these forms, stating they weren’t liable for anything, I felt like I was signing my life away I must of written my signature about seven or eight times. Next it was wet suit time, if you read the shark diving post you’ll know Rosie really struggled and lets say this was a repeat performance. Mine was on in seconds and Rosie was jumping up and down being pulled around by the staff trying to help her get it on. We also had to put on a life jacket and a lower body harness. (Luckily you could rent trainers so you didn’t have to destroy your own which was amazing). But eventually we were both kitted up and ready to go. We were all put on a shuttle bus and taken into the middle of nowhere.
On the shuttle we were properly introduced to the crazy instructors, Tebzzz (the man mountain from earlier) and Ninja. Tebzzz was the lead guy so he explained that we would be doing abseiling, cliff jumping, ziplining and a lot of swimming and that we would be safe as long as we didn’t fiddle with any of the equipment which was reassuring. We got to location and piled out and sat on the group meters from the edge of a cliff to the gorge below. They asked if anyone was left handed, Rosie raised her hand and they sighed saying there’s always one. Tebzzz gave us a run down on the basics of abseiling and then once Ninja had set up and disappeared down the cliff we were ready to go. At this point I was starting to freak out heights are not my thing and I had no idea how high this abseil was. So I tried to sit there and not make eye contact so I could be forgotten about and go once everyone else had already gone. Rosie was sat on the far left as she was the only left handed person and I was by fluke sat on the far right we had 5 people between us so I couldn’t even use her to hide behind. Well my plan of no eye contact didn’t work Tebzzz pointed at me and said your first big man. Rosie and I instantly looked at eachother I think she could feel out scared I was. I was strapped into the line and slowly started leaning backwards over the edge telling myself don’t look down, small baby steps, don’t look down. Then Tebzzz shouted STOP I thought I was going to have a heart attack but he just wanted to take a picture. So I squeezed out a smile and carried on and before I knew it I was at the bottom and shaking. Everyone else then followed and then Rosie came down she finally hit the bottom and her body was trembling from adrenaline. We were about half way down the cliff, stood on a small ledge with the river running below us. Tebzzz then said right we’re jumping the rest and just jumped into the river. Again that fear I felt at the top returned and again it was me that was first. So I closed my eyes and jumped, I instantly forgot about the jump as I was hit with freezing cold water. I knew this was the bit the would freak Rosie out as she would end up under the water so I swam just far enough away so I wouldn’t get hit but close enough I could grab her as she hit the water. She came up and looked like she enjoyed it so off we went down the river. We traversed across over 2km of the river swimming, climbing, jumping off some even higher cliffs and zip lining down those waterfalls that were too high to jump or climb. We were in the water for around three hours until we eventually reached the end. We had a big hike back to the top of the cliff we’re we were greeted by the driver and driven back to base for a hot shower.
Once back at base we stripped of all the equipment and ran for the showers to wash off and warm up. Then before we knew it we were back in the shuttle back to the hostel to chill for the rest of the day.
Just a massive shout out to the staff at Africanyon there were amazing and had a great laugh but when it came to safety they were unbelievable and not at any point did either Rosie or myself feel unsafe or not completely trust the guys in charge.
We still have two more days in Plett and an even bigger day planned tomorrow but I’ll keep that one a secret for now. You can read about it soon.