Encountering the Enchanted Castle on my remote hiking trail, south coast of Africa

in TravelFeed2 months ago

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Today’s hike along the rugged and rocky remote cliff tops of the Garden Route region in the south Cape, really felt like I was entering into some kind of fairytale. It was like Narnia and I had stepped through the wardrobe door and into some otherworldly plane of existence. I mean one moment I was on the remote rocky shores of third world Africa, way down south, far from any habitation, and the next thing you know, I’m staring at a castle popping up above the skyline on a hilltop just ahead. Private beach directly beneath the castle - a bit rough and rocky though still magicalPrivate beach directly beneath the castle - a bit rough and rocky though still magical

Actually it wasn’t a classic castle, like those epic throwbacks from the Medieval times that you find in UK and EU. But by African standards it qualifies as a castle. It certainly looked like it belonged to a nobleman or some landed gentry. It appears that some international millionaire had enough money to purchase this piece of pristine land overlooking the Indian Ocean and constructed a little reminder of his old homeland here on top of his new hilltop estate.

From what I can make out nobody really comes along this route quite this far, and today I seem to have stumbled into what might be the boundary of some private property, just west of the Robberg peninsula marine reserve on the shores of Plettenberg Bay. Since this is a top tourist holiday destination for local and international travelers, I presume that this might be the holiday house of some fine jet setter.

The dam wall containing the fresh spring water flowing down to the shore on the estate below the castleThe dam wall containing the fresh spring water flowing down to the shore on the estate below the castle

After all, the local air strip in mere meters away slightly inland. One could fly in on your jet and be at your castle within minutes of landing. From what I could see from my vantage point on the cliff edge behind the bushes, the castle was empty or closed up, although there was some person in the staff house nearby, perhaps a caretaker. I had somehow wondered along the cliff edge and now I was in the grounds of the most fascinating mansion in the bay, with the most awesome view and even a private little beach all to themselves.

If you like, you could probably hire out this castle for yourself and your entourage on your next flyby visit here. It looks like a holiday guest accommodation, if it’s not a private estate. Anyway, I am guessing and my imagination is inspired by the fantasy tales of this remote coastal castle way down south in the Cape province of South Africa. You never know what new unexpected features and landmarks are going to crop up on this kind of exploration of these hidden shores.

On this pond a frog might turn into a prince or princessOn this pond a frog might turn into a prince or princess

This would make a great set for a movie. I guess my imagination is wandering about all the possibilities around this coastal castle on the cliffs. I climbed a little closer and found myself by a little dam of sorts, where the local stream was contained in a cool pool behind an old concrete retaining wall. From there it was just a little splash to the rocky shoreline and the Indian ocean itself. This castle has itself an organized source of fresh water too. What a fortress.

This is admittedly not your usual African architecture or even remotely like any of the usual houses you might find here in this little holiday town full of holiday homes. Still, since it’s a top rate world class travel destination, you do sometimes get some of the richest people in the world passing through unassumingly. Or perhaps coming to their holiday castle for a little hideaway vacation way down south.

Indian ocean just a splash beyond the wall of the fresh river catchment area - a rare sight to beholdIndian ocean just a splash beyond the wall of the fresh river catchment area - a rare sight to behold

If nothing else, I was personally enchanted by the castle, even if it wasn’t totally enchanted itself. I could just picture the noble prince or princess on one of the balconies or looking out of the window over the Indian ocean, waiting for their trading ship to come in from far off first world shores, bringing news or supplies to this remote African shore on the other side of the planet.

Capturing a shot of a seagull in mid flight and in reflection Capturing a shot of a seagull in mid flight and in reflection 

The good news is that you too can be a prince for a day, or two. Just book a little tour to the Garden Route tourist town of Plettenberg Bay and come stay in this holiday chateau with the view facing south toward Antarctica, which you might be able to see, if you had a telescope big enough and the earth wasn’t too curved. You certainly will have all the space you could desire, and little to distract you from your peaceful retreat. The jet can stay at the air strip, or you could book a seat on the twin propeller public carrier that flies in from Johannesburg and Cape Town twice or three times a week, carrying about twenty people.

manmade rock wall in the river gorge to channel the fresh water just before it enters the poolmanmade rock wall in the river gorge to channel the fresh water just before it enters the pool

And as long as the new green health pass allows you, then you can hop ashore at the nearest port and in an instant you can be at your fantasy castle in this faraway land hardly changed in millennia. South Africa awaits you and these southernmost shores are as far as you could be from the hotspots up in the north of the planet right now, or should I say cold spots, since you are getting into your freezing winter period now, while here on the sunny shores of Africa we just live in our island style climate all year long. This is a place fit for a king – or queen. Do you feel like you’re king or queen of your castle? I certainly do, especially since – in my case – the servant of the king enjoys as good as the king when in the castle estate.

Fresh stream arriving in the pool contained by the concrete wall just beside the ocean shoreline below the castleFresh stream arriving in the pool contained by the concrete wall just beside the ocean shoreline below the castle

(photos my own)


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