The blueberry season is officially launched, and there is a lot of work! Between two harvests, we went with Solène on a weekend getaway in Plettenberg Bay and Robberg Island, probably the most beautiful I have seen in South Africa so far…
They took their time to come but they are really are here now, these much-vaunted organic bluerries… they were late because of last winter’s severe draught and got rip late but the high temperatures of the last days made them become blue all of a sudden, so we started to picking them last week.
We thought with Solène that the blueberry field was small but we quickly changed our minds once we started working there! Picking the blueberries itself is not a hard task – the bushes have no spines and the fruits are easy to reach – but it requires a lot of time and patience. You need to make sure that they are completely ripe – they then have a really dark blue color –, separate the ones that are still too red but were picked by mistake, the ones fallen on the ground or too ripe… harvesting a row with bushes that are full of ripe berries can take 2h30 for two people!
We now don’t have enough space in the fridges to store the kilos of packed blueberries! Margreta couldn’t have a space at Sedgefield market (which was their main point of sell) this year because of their late arrival, so they now have to find other markets and shops to sell them. We tried a smaller market close to Knysna last Friday evening but it was unfortunately quite empty due to the bad weather of the day, but with more visitors we could probably have had more success.
We sent to see the Esthers during the bicycle trip “Racing for Rheenendal” during their step in Plettenberg Bay last Saturday. I had the occasion to drive on the left (I had just made a small test with Jeremy the day before) and I confirm that I really find it more natural than driving on the right (even if I was mistaken on the first crossroad that I had to take!). Maybe because I am left-handed?
We made a stop in Knysna to have lunch in the restaurant / bakery / café “Ile de Pain”. An amazing place, where the bread is cooked in a wood-fire oven and each meal (from breakfast to lunch) is full of freshness, originality and taste. Difficult to make a choice on the menu!
We then drove to Plettenberg Bay. The city itself, very touristic, doesn’t have so much interest, but it is more the huge beaches that are worth it. Once more, the wind and the strength of the ocean struck us. However, the bay is joined by a big river, creating smaller ponds that are much more quiet and ideal for bathing. I didn’t dare diving but Solène really enjoyed it!
On the evening, we found the Esthers and had dinners with them. They were gone only since Wednesday but we were all happy to be together again and to hear the stories of their adventures with their bikes so far, while sharing a generous meal in a German restaurant.
Robberg Nature Reserve
On Sunday morning, we had an excellent breakfast in a bakery / café that Jeremy told us about. I would highly recommend it: located in a lovely and quiet courtyard, Le Fournil has a menu to die for and an unbeatable quality-price ratio (freshly pressed fruits and vegetables juices, porridges, toasts of all kinds… such a treat!
After taking all the necessary energy there for the day, we went to Robberg Island, a marvelous nature reserve. Without exaggerating the most beautiful place I have ever seen in South Africa so far! We took our time to walk all around the island (around 9 km) and fully enjoy these spectacular landscapes: transparent water, craggy cliffs, violent waves, paradise beaches (if you remove the waves though!), and contrasts between the orange ochre rocks, the turquoise of the water, the green, yellow and pink vegetation… and a fauna truly present! We saw prairie dogs, lizards, many seals and even dolphins, which our first time!
On the way back, we went again to Knysna for a last drink at the sunset. A perfect day from morning to night!
The following days were very hot (around 40°C) at the beginning of the week, with violent storm three evenings in a row, lighting the whole valley and even starting fires on the mountains far in front of the house. Impressive!
We just had another excellent weekend but it will be the subject of a new article… to be continued!
Tips & practical info
Albergo for backpacker : Very well located hostel, with a garden full of huge hammocks and very cozy commons spaces. Tea and coffee always available. Dorms and bathrooms clean and pleasant.
Food & beverage
Île de Pain – Knysna: Bakery / café / restaurant where you can taste excellent breakfast and lunches. The bread is baked in a wood-fire oven and the desserts are all more mouth-watering than the others.
The German – Plettenberg Bay: Nice restaurant with a very sweet staff and generous meals.
Le Fournil de Plett Bakery and Café – Plettenberg Bay: Bakery / café located in a nice courtyard. Excellent breakfasts and lunches on the menu. Definitely a must!
Culture & activities
Robberg Nature Reserve: R40 per person to enter the reserve. You can easily spend the day there if you take your time to walk and enjoy the wonderful panoramas, the fauna and flora…