So after our unfortunate time in Port Elizabeth I was thrilled to be heading somewhere familiar to visit old friends and to show Kenny the place i’d spent so much time in over the past few years (for those who don’t know I volunteered at a horse rehab and rescue farm here several times over the past 5 years). We boarded the baz bus at 6.30am outside our hostel and quite frankly I couldn’t wait to see the back of it. Our bus driver Jay was great, he explained that we would stop along the way for breakfast and would arrive in Cintsa by about 12.30 in the afternoon. Luckily the bus was pretty empty so we were able to stretch out and grab some well needed sleep (as neither of us had slept much the night before thanks to the bedbugs and stolen cash). Before long we arrived at our breakfast stop and after grabbing a sandwich and some snacks we headed on towards East London and Cintsa. We dropped one guy off in East London and from there everything started to become familiar, the shops, the roads, the houses and before long we were turning on to the Chintsa West road that led to the backpackers. With a flying glimpse at some of the horses as we drove past towards the backpackers all the worries of the last few days seemed to disappear. After a long and bumpy ride down the drive we arrived at Buccaneers backpackers where we would be spending the next few nights.
I had originally wanted to surprise George and Penny (the people that run the rehab and rescue farm) when we got there but after our disastrous last few days I was just eager to see them and all their wonderful animals, so I sent a picture to Penny of the view from our room and said ‘guess where we are,’ she quickly replied with ‘when are you coming over,’ and soon after she was on her way to pick us up for the afternoon. Before long I could hear the squeak of breaks I instantly recognised as the Toyota, so we headed out to meet her and after the hugs and introductions we were off to the farm (about 10mins away) to see George and everyone else. We were greeted with the same enormous hug from George and after the introductions for Kenny we immediately put the kettle on and had a cuppa to catch up on what had been happening over the last year. We spoke about the new horses they had acquired the old ones that they had lost and everything in between (there’s always lots to catch up on). We then headed out to meet some of the new arrivals and one of the youngest new arrivals bibi who is only a few months old and born on the farm.
It’s always amazing to come back and see how much the younger horses grow up from when you first meet them, for example the first time I visited Harvey and Themba (my favourites) were 3 & 2 and now they are 8 & 7 you can imagine in that time they’ve gone from little things to enormous animals but still have the same wonderful characters. (Even if they are a bit cheeky). With Kenny’s introduction to the horses, pigs, dogs, rats and mice over it was feed time (for the horses not us).
So we headed out to feed all the horses across the farm while Christine and Ninka (two volunteers who were also staying at the farm) headed out to get fish and chips for tea. Before long they were back and we were all enjoying the most amazing fish and chips outside on the veranda. Once we’d all finished Penny, Christine and Ninka drove us back to the backpackers and came in for a drink or two at the bar. As per usual the bar was full of characters, one in particular … Mfuta, a South African guy who lives in England and runs a strawberry farm, in all the days we were there no one made me laugh more than he did! After a couple of ciders Penny and the girls headed home and after a few (too many) more Kenny and I headed for bed slightly worse for wear.
The next morning I was up bright and early ready for a trail ride with Penny and some other clients. While Kenny had a lie in and a chill. (If you ever happen to be around the area do the trail ride! It’s the most amazing ride along the beach and up through the bush on fantastic horses!) Horses caught, groomed and tacked up the clients were introduced to their horses and we were off. I was spending the morning on Themba, a horse who I had helped to train a few years previously and my absolute favourite. We headed off down the road and on to the beach and the weather was glorious, sunny but a little bit of wind, by the time we were back I was starting to think I might be a little burnt despite covering myself in sun cream before heading out. We untacked the horses and fed them lunch while we waited for Kenny to make it up the road to meet us before heading back to the farm for a quick lunch before the farrier arrived.
By the time we headed back out after lunch it was quite clear I really had burnt, my legs, arms and very much my shoulders. So I spent as much time as possible in the afternoon in the shade while we watched Anton, the farrier, do each of the horses feet. It took him around 2.5 hours to trim all 19/20 horses and by the time he was finished it was about 4.30pm so we fed the horses and headed back to the farm to feed there and get ready for dinner, George was making macaroni cheese. Now George’s macaroni cheese isn’t your average macaroni cheese. It the best Mac&cheese in the world, full of different types of cheeses and bacon. So for Kenny’s first experience ever of macaroni cheese he was pretty spoilt. After stuffing our faces Christine dropped us back at the backpackers where we grabbed a quick beer before heading for a shower and an early night. Needless to say I covered myself in aftersun in an attempt to help my sun burn before we hit the hay.
Morning and despite my best efforts the night before of drinking tons of water and covering myself in aftersun the sunburn had got to me and I felt like I was dying. So after texting Penny and letting her know we wrote off the day and ended up spending all day in bed with me feeling sorry for myself, good job we brought a whole load of dvds with us, we grabbed a pizza for tea before grabbing an early night in an attempt to feel better.
Up bright and early for breakfast the next morning and with my sunburn not looking quite so fierce but some nice blisters appearing on my shoulder and back we headed to the pool (all burn covered up obviously) for some well needed cool water. After a few hours we decided to check out the beach and grab some lunch at Barefoot Cafe across the beach. However we didn’t check out the beach for the long! The wind was crazy and sending the sand everywhere, we headed straight up to the cafe and grabbed two amazing burgers for lunch. After a couple of card games and beers later we headed back to try our luck walking back across the beach. It wasn’t so windy by this point and it didn’t feel like we were getting shot in the legs by tiny bullets of sand. We headed back up to the pool for a while before showering and sorting our bags out for our departure the day after. (It always amazes me how much mess we can make in just a few days). We had dinner at the hostel which was a braai, the food was great and lots of it. We shared a table with another couple who were also travelling around South Africa and India and got to swap our travel plans and travel blogs before we headed to the bar for a couple games of pool. After I beat Kenny and the two of us beat a couple of girls who had challenged us we decided to call it a night ready for our departure the following day.
Morning again and after finishing packing we headed for breakfast to fill up before our drive to Hogsback. The shuttle was leaving around 11.30 so we chilled out in reception and looked at some travel plans for the rest of our trip while we waited for the shuttle to arrive. Before long our driver appeared and we headed on out to our ‘shuttle’ that would take us up in to the mountains to Hogsback.