Saga Pearl II blog - Captains' blogs
14th March, 2019
Only just over 100 miles east along the coast from Port Elizabeth, East London is quite a different place altogether. It is apparently South Africa’s only river port city, situated on the south-east Indian Ocean coast between the Buffalo and Nahoon Rivers.
East London is regarded as one of the most attractive locations on the Eastern Cape coast, with golden beaches lining either side of the river mouths, and green countryside inland. The city was born when British-built Fort Glamorgan was constructed in 1847, and the very British named governor Sir Harry Smith named the town after the Empire’s capital, with an open declaration in mind regarding its promising position as a port.
The Captain unfortunately had a busy desk day today, as well as leading the important weekly crew drill process, and so couldn’t personally take advantage of what there was to see ashore. However, I heard many a positive comment later that day once folk had returned from trips or wanders ashore.
As well as being quite an interesting town to roam and explore on foot, of course there were several activities of interest further afield which naturally were offered as organised trips. Two more game reserves lay nearby, the Mpongo Private Reserve and the slightly less-pronounceable Inkwenkwesi Reserve. With both parks being only 20 miles distant from the port this was perfect for a short scenic drive there, and maximum time in the park with binoculars and cameras at the ready.
For those less interested in large dangerous animals in close proximity, there was also the natural history tour to consider, or a ‘cultural experience’ in a little village somewhere named Khaya La Bantu Yhosa. I didn’t ask what exactly this cultural experience consisted of, but any concerns were put to rest when I saw everyone returning to the ship: 1) alive, and 2) without spears in their hands. For those keen ramblers on board, there was also a trip through the Dassie Trail in Nahoon Valley, where bird life is apparently in abundance and a suitably qualified guide is provided, helping to ensure nobody is eaten by crocodiles or hungry hippo.
That evening, after a dinner of local delights including Kob fish and a delicious Ostrich Goulash, I found myself being thrust onto the stage with two famed ex-Masters here at Saga – Captains Spekman and Rentell – where we were to play a game named ‘Call My Bluff.’ I was new to this experience, and such newness was suitably exposed by the other two Captains of course. However, fortunately with both of them being wisened, slower-thinkers now than myself, I managed to make up some ground on that basis.
Nobody had any clue who had won or lost at the end though, but suffice to say rather a lot of laughter and fun was had – particularly when Jemma the Cruise Conductor placed Perla, my Parrot, upon Captain Rentell’s head during one of his especially infamous long tales…
Captain Kim Tanner
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