Day 12: Swellendam to Struisbaai

The Fossil’s sprained knee swelling is better now. So, we we can continue our Walk 4 SOS Huskies journey. But he wants to walk the coastline, so we’re sadly leaving the pet-friendly Arumvale Self Catering Country House in Swellendam and heading for Struisbaai today.

The Fossil (aka Desmond) drove the Mahindra PIKUP along the R319 towards the coast. The road winds through pretty countryside with huge patches of yellow fields. The Fossil says they’re Canola flower crops and the oil is used for cooking and baking, as well as for biodiesel and aquaculture (not that I asked – he just comes up with these anecdotes). Anyway, I was more interested in the huge flocks of sheep that we passed!

After an hour and a bit (I needed a pee stop) we arrived in Struisbaai and Cape Agulhas Backpackers (CAB) – our host for tonight. They don’t promote the backpacker as pet-friendly, but the owners, Erin and Malan Conradie, are animal lovers and they were willing to “maak ‘n plan” to host me. We’ve been very lucky to have stayed at hotels, guesthouses, and farm-stays during my journey from Plettenberg Bay, but this is the first time that I’ll be staying at a backpackers!

Erin sent the Fossil a WhatsApp video on how to find the ‘Snowgoose’ room ’cause there’s so many rooms here (I thought there’d be snow and geese to chase, but there wasn’t). The ‘Snowgoose’ room is like a hotel suite – only more casual and homely. It even has a courtyard where I can lie in the sun!

The Fossil says that self-catering backpackers work on a system of trust. “The owner trusts guests to follow the rules, respect other guests food provisions stored in the common kitchen, and to clean up after themselves. They used to be called ‘hostels’ or ‘youth hostels’ back in the 13th century and became known as backpackers due to the fact that backpackers – people who travel or hike carrying their belongings in a rucksack – are their main customers,” he says. Sounds like us, I thought!

The pic above is the ‘common’ kitchen / dining room of our section. And that door on the far left? That’s the ‘Snowgoose’ room where we’re staying. It’s a big room – sleeps four guests, has an en-suite bathroom with shower, a bar fridge, a desk (for the Fossil to work on), and a coffee station (the Fossil is addicted to the stuff).

And then there’s a lounge “chill” area with a big fireplace…

… and big social area with a pool table, and a swimming pool, and more “chill’ areas…

…and a pub, and weird signs (but no ‘No Dogs Allowed’ signs, thankfully)…

… and another common kitchen in another hostel section. Sheesh, this place goes on forever! Erin runs CAB with her her left- and right-hand assistant, Stefne Conradie, who also has two dogs. I met them. The sheepdog was kinda territorial but we did the butt-sniffing thing and he seemed cool – the other dog I barely saw, he took one look at me and ran away!

Anyway, that’s my bit for today Husky loving folks. Wanna talk to us? WhatsApp the tall fossil hanging onto my leash. Here’s Des’s number: +27 (0)82 374 7260. We’d love to hear from you!


PS. That extra X on the end of my name is supposed to be a kiss (yeah, I know it’s soppy).

BTW: if you happen to be anywhere along our walking route between Plettenberg Bay and Cape Town during late July to mid-August 2021, look out for us. We’ll be walking along the beach (or not), or on a hiking trail (unlikely), or along the side of a town road (most likely) – but definitely not along the N2 motorway! Come over to say “Howzit Husky Boy!” (and ” Hello Fossil Man” if you want).

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