It occurs to me that folks reading this in the USA – or even other volunteers not so close to the beach – may think I’m bragging a little. Make no mistake; I am. 🙂
Yesterday morning I left the house early for what I was expecting to be an adventure, and I was not disappointed. The plan was to meet up with my fellow volunteers to see the beach, and if we were lucky, find some cheap lodging in the area for the evening. The plan was pretty loose.
Going off of some basic instructions from a previous volunteer in this area, Briana, Diana, Katrina, Michael, Shawn and I met in town to pick up some basic provisions and find transport to the mouth of Kosi Bay.
I could write about the particulars of this locale, but Wikipedia already does a pretty good job of that.
After Shawn and Michael negotiated with the drivers at the taxi rank, we had a price set, and the six of us were off to see the Indian Ocean. The drive was longer than I had expected, but much of it was on winding, sand roads through the bush. Along the way, we had to stop at a gate to pay the entry fee (20 Rand each – about $2.50 US).
When we arrived, we all got David, our driver’s cell phone number so that we could call him to come pick us up. The only problem was that we all quickly realized that there is no cell phone reception there. Change of plan: we told David to come back for us at 2:00 pm.
It is absolutely beautiful there, and the water temperature was just perfect. It would be difficult to ask for nicer weather for our day there, too. I could write about what it looks like there, but my photos can tell a better story of that.
So, after floating in the bay and running out into the ocean, eating cookies I made a few nights earlier, snapping dozens of photos, and getting sunburned, we knew we were running out of time. But, we didn’t really want to leave.
We went back to the area where we were dropped off that morning (it’s like a parking lot, but I’m not sure that is what I would call it) and started preparing to be picked up. Then, Shawn spotted a Land Rover with a sign on it for “Kosi Bay Cabanas.” He walked down to the nearest part of the beach and quickly found the manager of this particular lodge, Gustav.
Michael and Katrina were already resigned to going back to town, but the rest of us were in for whatever accommodations we might be able to procure (at a decent price). It isn’t terribly busy for tourists right now, so we got a great price for the four of us to spend the night, and Gustav was able to transport us, too. I don’t want to get into particulars about the prices, as he may have been taking pity on us poor volunteers. But also know that I would recommend this lodge to anyone who cares to see this beautiful part of the world.
Unfortunately, we were still on the hook with David, who was expecting to transport six people back to town (not two). We wanted to keep ourselves in this driver’s good graces, as we may need him again. We got the price reduced to the cost of five people returning to town, but I’m sure it was still worth his while for making the trip back out.
So, the four that were staying had time for another quick wade in the bay before heading to the lodge via Land Rover with some other folks that were staying there. When we got to the lodge, we were able to quickly make ourselves at home, take a dip in the pool, and get cleaned up (under a real, indoor, running-water shower) for dinner with new friends we had made at the lodge: freshly brai’ed (grilled) Rock Salmon and chips (french fries). Then, we spent the rest of the evening in the lounge chatting with Gustav about anything and everything.
When we woke up this morning, we were already reflecting on what an excellent day we had. Before breakfast, Gustav took us for another quick drive to the lake part of Kosi Bay that is closest to his lodge. Our hope was to see some hippos (from afar), but no luck on that front. Then we went back and enjoyed a delicious Afrikaner-style breakfast (… probably more like brunch).
Gustav was also nice enough to drive us back to our respective villages, after a quick stop in town for a little grocery shopping. An additional benefit for me is that I got to see the places my friends live, which I normally have little opportunity to do.
So, this isn’t a typical day in South Africa – or anywhere. It just feels like a small award that we won as part of being selected to serve in Peace Corps in this little corner of the world. But I hope to redeem this award as frequently as possible while I’m here.