Bridal Veil FallsAnother round of public transport delays sees me back in East London (for about 36 hours) instead of Pretoria. Sadly I exhausted most of the entertainment options last time I was here, so may have to resort to finally reading my copy of The Canterbury Tales. I know you’re all dying to hear what’s been going on over the past week, so here it is:

The Hogsback shuttle bus broke down on Monday, so, ever resourceful, I jumped aboard the Baz Bus and headed for Cintsa. As the Hogsback shuttle doesn’t run on Wednesdays I was stranded – shipwrecked, if you will – at Buccaneers Backpackers for a few balmy days of chilling out on a subtropical lagoon (with free canoes, volleyball and climbing wall). I saw my first ververt monkeys (Cercopithecus aethiops), cajoled a few other backpackers into playing frisbee on the beach (much harder than you might think when there is free DSTV) and managed to remember the complicated rules of blackjack (primary school, not casino – play a two or pick up two, you know the one I mean).

Cintsa BayKettle Spout Falls

Hogsback (The Shire)With the shuttle repaired, I headed to Away With The Fairies – a leafy hostel set in the stunning Amatola Mountains (the southern tip of the Drakensberg). As the shuttle doesn’t run on Saturdays either, I was stranded – spirited away, if you will – for a few days of hiking and waterfall viewing. Tolkien references were everywhere, though the guidebooks claim that he left the area when he was either three (Rough Guide) or five (Lonely Planet). Nevertheless, the woods were a lot like I imagined the Old Forest Road. The hostel grounds were also host to some samango monkeys (Cercopithecus albogularis) and the rare Cape parrot (Poicephalus robustus). Photos may possibly be uploaded retroactively if I find a decent internet connection.

Away With The FairiesSo, for the second or third time, I’m off to Pretoria to see about some visas. This time I expect to get at least as far as Bloemfontein.