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Bridgitte Hartley

Bridgitte Hartley

Web b 1The small town of Port Edward on the South Coast is the last point before the vast spaces and rolling hills of the Transkei.

For me the place holds a dual purpose; it’s the base for a great training camp and a place to relax in the sun among the beauty of coastal forest, river, mountain, trails, spiders and a waterfall.

I spend a good month or more in this terrain, training on the river in my canoe, and my best downtime is on the mountain with an out-of-this-world view from the rocky cliffs looking onto the Umtamvuna River. There’s also the mountain on the other side, with a small piece of the sea finished off with the blue skyline and, in the evening, a setting sun in the background.

Of all the places I have visited – besides standing on Table Mountain – this is one of my best views in South Africa. There is a lovely walk all the way up the mountain, with the reward of this view. And at the half-way point theres a waterfall among the rocks.

On my non-exercising days, there is a road to the top and a short walk past the banana plantations to the lookout spot. I also love visiting the small coffee shop, Beaver Creek, among the banana plantations high up on the mountain. It’s a fabulous spot for breakfast or coffee and cake.

When I’m not relaxing and taking in the view, I love visiting Mac Bananas, which serves the best sweet and savoury pancakes and delicious milkshakes.

The seafood in the area is also out-of-this-world and very affordable, so I often order a plate of prawns for dinner at the Peg & Punter, which always feeds our training group. The town is extremely small but, for the peace found here, I would rate the area one of the most naturally beautiful spots South Africa has to offer.

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