I took a BazBus for the first time since I came to South Africa to go to East London.
Honestly speaking, I didn't like it at all. It was just a tour-bus for young / inexperienced backpackers and no local South Africans seemed to be travelling on this bus. Furthermore, all the seats were not reclinable and the driver was constantly advertising tours for Cape Town with a loud speaker! The only good thing about BazBus was that they did a door-to-door service.


The photo below shows the house in Transkei where Nelson Mandela currently lives.
A pity that it was a bit rainy and the sky was hazy, but Transkei was beautiful with vast greenish lands and deep valleys.


It took me over 12 hours from Durban to East London by BazBus.
Sugar Shack located right in front of the main beach of East London was where I stayed for three nights.

Andre - the owner of Sugar Shack - was very kind to drive me to Yellow Sands on my first day in East London.
Yellow Sands is a river-mouth just outside East London. It doesn't look really good in the photo below, but I actually had some fast and hollow waves here, very typical river-mouth waves with only Andre, two of Andre's friends and me in the water. And no shark sightings while we were out there!


The wind direction wasn't right on the second day and it was predicted to be much windier in the afternoon. No surfing but Andre drove me to the museum of East London where there was one thing I was very interested in checking out.


It was this enigmatic fish (?) called "Coelacanth" shown in the photo below. It was discovered in the 1930s here in East London and has become the main attraction of this museum ever since then.
I remember becoming very intrigued in this ugly species when I was a kid as the mummified version of a coelacanth was brought to my hometown for public display then. Luckily, I've never become geeky about fish, though.


Later in the morning, I strolled around downtown East London, aka Buffalo City. Nothing really interesting for me to see and no buffaloes in the city. Instead, a number of South Africans were demonstrating like buffaloes on the main street.




The photo below shows the main beach of East London.
I never surfed at this beach but saw a few guys in the water today. Sugar Shack is located right in front of this beach.


The wind eased off on the third day and Andre drove me to Nafoon Reef - one of the world-class surf-spots in South Africa and it's seriously sharky.
The photo below was taken before we paddled out. It was very very low-tide and the waves weren't big at all, about max 3ft on sets then. No crowds and no sharks in sight today.
Even under Andre's expert guidance it took me a little while to position myself for a proper take-off on the peak here at Nafoon. Waves weren't powerful enough but running long. Like surfing at Yellow Sands two days ago, I had some good fun waves here.


Many many thanks to the owner of Sugar Shack - Andre. He sort of took me under his wings, and despite the fact that I only spent three days in East London, I made the most of it in terms of surfing in this little city.
East London is somehow very little known by international surfers, but this city is definitely a swell magnet. If you ever stop in East London, I highly recommend that you stay in Sugar Shack. Watch out for some suspicious shadows in the water, though!




Port Elizabeth (hereafter PE) was my next stop.
I wasn't interested in this city at all and my real destination was Jeffreys Bay, about an hour from PE by car (hereafter J-Bay), but there was no direct bus from East London to J-Bay unless I made a stop in PE and changed to another bus.
I took a coach bus called TRANSLUX from East London as shown in the above photo. I got off this bus at the railway station in PE and ended up in a hostel located in the middle of PE Central where there were only a few decent restaurants, a couple of gas-stations and a SPAR (South African supermarket).


On my third day at the hostel in PE, I met three German tourists - Reuben, Patricia and Christian. They were renting a small car and going to Addo National Park in the morning. I really just met them at the hostel while we were having breakfast in the kitchen and I simply asked if I could join them to Addo. Their reply was quick - "Yes, that's no problem!". There was one empty seat in their car and I was small enough to fit in it. Lucky me!


Despite the fact that it was still early March and also that we were in AFRICA, it was quite chilly with some clouds in the sky in Addo National Park.


We were thrilled to see animals so close to our car such as zebras, antelopes, jackals, buffaloes and elephants (elephants are what Addo is mostly famous for).






Interestingly enough, what made us even more thrilled than anything else was when we spotted a dung beetle on the road as shown in the photo below. It was quite amusing.


The only disappointment about our visit in Addo was the fact that we did not spot any lions. We actually had no idea if they were resting under the trees or hiding deeply in the bush. By midday we decided to leave Addo and drove to Schotia Private Game Reserve which was famous for a night safari with lions to be spotted.

To be continued.....

Schotia Private Game Reserve is located about a 40-minute drive from Addo.
While Addo cost ZAR150 for each one of us, Schotia was ZAR650 for each! No wonder it's called "Private Game Reserve". This cost included refreshment, dinner and a special 4x4 called "Landy" which was driven and navigated by a ranger/guide.
The photo below shows (from left) Christian, Patricia, Reuben and me with our Landy behind us.


Schotia was smaller than Addo in terms of the area. Therefore, our chance to encounter animals in Schotia was higher than that of Addo.
We saw many antelopes, zebras, a few roaming giraffes, and two beautiful white rhinos here.





I was happy to see more animals in Schotia than in Addo, but there was one species missing and yet to be seen - lions.
Our ranger/guide kept driving the Landy as he was trying to locate the exact whereabouts of lions by cooperating with other Schotia rangers.


Finally, we tracked down a herd of lions resting on a hill. They looked majestic, especially the male one with distinctive fur around his neck. Sadly but luckily, they all looked indifferent to us.



The dinner as shown in the photo below was provided after sunset with lots of meat, a few veggies, bread and nice stew. This was apparently a typical South African meal and I really enjoyed it.



Shortly after our dinner, we went for a night safari. It was completely dark with only the headlights of our Landy on. Not knowing what we might encounter on our way was a little creepy but exciting at the same time. And after 10 minutes of driving in the dark we found some gathering in the bush.


It was the same herd of lions that we had encountered earlier in the afternoon.


This time they were having dinner - some sort of meat, possibly a kudu. I was a bit skeptical about whether these lions hunted it on their own or Schotia's rangers placed it here for this whole show....?


All in all, I really enjoyed the safaris at Schotia.
Although it was a little pricey, witnessing two big rhinos and a herd of lions paid off. It was almost 23pm when we got back to our hostel in PE. Thanks to Reuben, Patricia and Christian for their great company!

Now J-Bay is calling me.

Despite my strong resistance to riding BazBus, I took it again from PE to Jeffreys Bay (hereafter J-Bay) simply because it was cheaper than TRANSLUX or Greyhound.

My hostel in J-Bay is called Ubuntu Backpackers located behind supermarket Checkers.
I'm staying in a 6-bed dorm for ZAR100.00 per night including breakfast - it's normally ZAR120 but ZAR100 per night is a weekly rate if staying for 7 nights.


A big surprise is that J-Bay is actually a decent-size town.
Jeffreys Bay is the name of a huge bay within which there appear to be quite a few sections such as Magnatubes, Boneyards, Supertubes (most famous), Tubes, Point, etc.... Luckily, Ubuntu is located within walking distance from all of these.


The above photo only shows Boneyards and Supertubes. Magnatubes is located a little further south from Boneyards, while all the other sections are located further north from Supertubes as shown in the panoramic photo below. Imagine if huge swells start to come into this bay....


Finally, I've come to where I've been longing to be for many years!!


I was surfing mostly at Tubes or The Point up until now due mainly to the lack of swells, but this morning the very first decent-size swells have arrived in J-Bay.
The photo above shows the view from the balcony in Ubuntu Backpackers overlooking Boneyards.


Waves were 4 to 5ft on sets with light cross-shore winds this morning. It was glassy enough with warm water at Supertubes.


Set waves had nice long shoulders. They looked like they were going to close out, but they never did.
Surprisingly, taking off on a wave at the outside section of Supertubes wasn't too difficult for me. It was actually relatively easy, but making the first section and staying in the pocket all the way through was quite difficult and it would definitely require me to have skills and experiences.



Today's waves were big enough for me to get the very first taste of Supertubes.
Hopefully, the next swell will bring some epic waves to have all the consecutive sections connected - from Boneyards or Supertubes through Impossibles, Coins, Salad Bowls and even up to Tubes or The Point. I keep my fingers crossed!