The Great Break experienced the Tsitsikamma Canopy Tour first hand! What an incredible experience filled with majestic trees, beautiful bird life and of course, an adrenaline rush thrown in. We look forward to visiting all seven locations around South Africa. Certainly a top place to visit when exploring the Garden Route.
“Located in the magnificent Tsitsikamma indigenous rainforest, many of the platforms are built around giant Outeniqua Yellowwood trees that are up to 700 years old! Standing within the crown of these giants and looking down at the lush forest floor thirty metres below is an experience of a lifetime. The scenery and birdlife is spectacular and professional guides ensure your safety while keeping you informed about interesting features of the forest ecology. If you are fortunate enough, you will spot a pair of Knysna Loeries or the brilliant red plumage of the elusive Narina Trogon. Whatever happens, we’re quite sure you’ll be back again!” – Cape Canopy Tour
A firm favourite here at The Great Break! Arangieskop hike is a 2 day (overnight) hike just outside the town of Robertson, Western Cape. Approximately 10km per day with a climb to about 1600m ASL. The route has a well equipped ‘stone hut’ 200m below the summit for the overnight stop. A strenuous hike with steep ups and downs, but the experience and beauty is well worth it.
For more information on the route as well as booking details visit our friends over at Hiking SA. Hiking South Africa aims to serve and grow the South African hiking community as a central, national community resource.
Greyton is a small town tucked away against the mountains in the
Overberg of the Western Cape, a mere 1-hour drive by car to Hermanus. Hermanus is a small coastal
fisherman’s town known for whale watching and weekend breakaways for families.
THE EVENT> Race day was Sunday 6th October 2019, from
Greyton to the Brewery at Wine Village, near Hermanus. Cyclists set off at
08h00 on an 85km scenic route with 1400m of elevation ahead of them.
There was the alternative option of a shorter 25km circular route which
started at 08h15 and finished at the Old Potters Brewery in Greyton.
The vibe and energy on the day was contagious as the fun started
early in the morning and continued throughout the day.
COLLABORATION>We were so excited about joining forces with this
dynamic team on this outdoor event, and so grateful to have been given this
opportunity to work together on these awesome t-shirts, caps and even the race
THE BREWERIES> Old Potters
Brewhouseand Inn was established in 2016, in the small village
of Greyton, in the heart of the Overberg. In the surrounding area of Caledon,
the golden malted barley fields are used in the making of our beers.
Hemel en Aarde Brewery is nestled
at the entrance to the renowned Hemel & Aarde Valley wine region – a
beautiful piece of land, who’s beauty presented its name upon it, Heaven &
At a semi-secret rivermouth somewhere between Mossel Bay and Knysna the right conditions can produce some of the best left-hand (a wave breaking from left to right if you look at it from the beach) barrels in South Africa. Those usually happen in winter conditions, when a clean west swell is groomed by a fresh northwesterly wind.
Sharks, of course, are a concern, but statistically you are more likely to be killed by a mosquito and, with the seasonal migration patterns of the Great Whites (closer in-shore during the summer months) and reliable information on their whereabouts from good friends in the shark diving industry, the risk is no higher than at any other break.
To divulge the details of this special place would be to break an unspoken code – only those who know are allowed to go.
However, with some 200 kilometres of coastline, the Garden Route boasts diverse, world class surf spots. Some are remote and demanding – the realm of the most experienced board riders only. Others are more gentle, with rollers perfect for learning. From west to east, here is a handful of the finest:
1. The Point, Mossel Bay There are two main breaks at the area known as the ‘the point’. Outer Pool works on a low, incoming tide. It offers an easy take-off, before bending onto the reef and turning steep and hollow. This breaks is for experienced surfers only.
Inner Pool is better on a higher tide and usually a lot more forgiving and fun. The take-off and paddle out can be hairy and the inside can get shallow. There is also a rather unfriendly rock mid-break known as ‘peanut’, but, ask one of the friendly locals to point it out and you’ll be fine. It breaks best in small to medium south to southwest swell and light offshore (northwest to southwest) wind.
Ex professional surfer Llewellyn Whittaker [www.wavesschoolofsurfing.com] is the unofficial mayor of the town and your go-to for coaching, advice and equipment rental.
2. Victoria Bay, George ‘Vic’ as it is known in surfing circles, is your classic pointbreak setup in miniature. As with Mossels, the take-off and paddle out can be tricky and on lower tides the inside section of the reef does get shallow, but in general it’s an easy wave. It works best in south to southwest swell and light offshore (northwest to southwest) wind. The locals rule, so smile and wave and try stay out of the way. Contact www.vicbaysurfari.co.za for lessons and equipment hire.
3. Lookout Beach, Plettenberg Bay When the sandbars are just perfect, this spot can produce some of the most dreamy sand-bottomed right handers in South Africa. Many have likened it to the ‘Superbank’ on the Australian Gold Coast. Machine-like perfect in warm, clear water. Go to to Google and drool.
4. Seals Beachbreak, Cape St Francis Jeffreys Bay may be one of the world’s best waves, but the long, hollow pointbreak is far from easy to surf and the crowds (and locals) can be rather intimidating. Travel the extra 30-odd kilometres to Cape St Francis, where, depending on conditions, ‘Seals’ (after Seal Point) offers a variety of waves, from the pointbreak near the historic lighthouse, to the sand-bottomed rollers of the beach break. Show respect in and out of the water and we guarantee you’ll have some of the best surfs of your life.
5. Jeffreys Bay When asked which is the best left-hand wave in the world, surfers will always give you a few different answers: Desert Point or G-Land in Indonesia, Hawaii’s infamous Banzai Pipeline, or, perhaps Skeleton Bay in Namibia. When asked which is the top right-hander, the answer is always ‘J-Bay’. In fact you can’t rightly call yourself a surfer until you’ve paddled out at the keyhole (the gully in the reef where you enter the break), sat in the revered ‘Supertubes’ line-up among pros, locals, ballies (respectful name for the older guard) and grommets (surf slang for the future stars), stroked into an overhead wave and rode it all the way through the carpark section.
That all will come. First you gotta learn to stand, bru. Graduate out of the foamies with Wavecrest Surf School, situated at Main Beach, just round the corner from Supers. It’s a beachbreak, so much gentler than Supertubes.
I stepped out of my car into the cold, dark air. Mt hood towered above me to the north, but she was still concealed by the black vail of the night sky. Three weeks earlier, I had guided myself into a snow storm there while navigating to a tucked away waterfall I had seen in the distance. The sights and storm that day were beautiful and powerful and made me fall in love with the mountain that I often viewed from afar but had never had the pleasure of running directly in her shadow. I knew the weather was going to be wild but I thought it had been my last chance to run up the white river basin before it transitioned into snowshoe season. But there I was, three weeks later with glowing stars above my head and a plan to go further than the weather would allow on my previous visit.
After my first few steps, I paused to absorb the view to the south, away from the mountain. Thick fog was rolling by, swift and unending, with the sunrise beginning to paint itself in the night sky above. I turned back, now able to see the mountain as the colors reached its massive grey and white walls, still backdropped by the night. A cap of streaked clouds moved across her summit. I knew this was going to be a memorable day in the hills.
I continued running alongside the basin on a service road that thins into single track in the first mile. The light of the sun continued to spill on to the scene and light the distant path before me. But then strong winds came as if provoked by the light of the day. It lifted the dry sand and dust from the ground and funneled it down through the basin into my face and through the trees on both sides of the river. I put on glasses to protect my eyes as best as I could, but hours later I would still be irritated by the persistent grains that found their way under my eye lids. Cruising through the trees alongside the basin, I felt slow against the challenging winds but excited by the unexpected elements.
Excitement turned to fear as a nearby tree let out a roaring snap and came swinging down to collide with the earth just 20 feet from me. I abruptly changed course and sprinted straight for the riverbed as I noticed the number of deadening trees being assaulted by the strong winds. Other trees fell but I made it the hundred yards to the river before they snapped. I was now out of the path of any falling trees, but would need to combat the large jagged rocks and soft sinking sand to maintain my forward progress. I also no longer had the trees to help calm the wind and the dust it carried.
I worked my way around a bend in the river basin and was greeted by another breath taking sight. The wind had carried in a wall of clouds that glowed bright orange as if attempting to conceal a fire behind its mass. I was in awe and inspired to push through the winds that didn’t seem to want me there.
The river basin eventually split into two draws and I ascended the finger between them just as the dust turned to freezing rain. It blew sideways and struck my face without mercy. The earth beneath my feet was now like a soft sand beach, wet on the surface but dry beneath, no longer rocky, but now speckled with patches of bright green. My face stung and my legs were beet red and numbing. I noticed that the ridge was thinning further up, and I feared that once I got there, it would not be passable in such forceful, and at times blinding, weather. In order to reach my turnaround at Timberline Lodge, I knew that I would need to run back down to the basin floor and climb the next ridge over.
The fast trip down was an exciting reward for my short, challenging ascent. I was finally moving downhill with the wind and rain against my back, and the soft sand now absorbing the impact beneath my feet. Upon reaching the floor of the basin, I entered the tree line to the West where I would get on the Pacific Crest Trail to complete my run to the lodge. Miles later, through the persistent weather, I reached my turnaround, aching and cold, but completely in awe of how fortunate I was to experience such a day.
I stretched and got warm for a few minutes under a sheltered area, attracting strange looks from the warm and comfortable passers-by. I probably looked like a mangy dog licking its wounds before heading back into the wet, grey world. I stepped back outside just as the rain turned into snow, the flakes small but many. My descent was fast with the slope and wind in my favor. For the first couple miles of descent, my right quad ached and cramped–an issue I have been struggling with the last few weeks. I would have to spend some extra time with the unforgiving foam roller that night.
In the last mile, I passed a runner just beginning his journey. I wanted to stop and tell him all he had missed that morning, but I knew he would find adventures of his own. The day was brutal at times, but the unexpected can always turn an ordinary run into an extraordinary adventure.