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Our trip, since our arrival in Jo’burg, has been through the South African wilderness preserves, but we’re getting closer to the southernmost point of the African continent and Cape Town. Today we’re heading to a well-known backpacker lodge, but first we have to travel across some seriously paved road action to get there.

African Array Backpackers Lodge / 30 Ladywood, Plettenberg Bay, 6600, South Africa / +27 44 533 9108

The first thing one notices when arriving at the African Array Backpacker Lodge is the amazing view from the outside deck. The sun was setting over the horizon, the Piesangrivier reservoir in the foreground, with rugged steep hills showing exposed rock and wild greenery teasing the walking trails.

Far down below, several very large estates suggest interesting stories to be heard.

African Array is big, bright, colorful, and lively, with a big surfing theme throughout. The common room is white, light, and airy, with a vaulted ribbed ceiling, bench seating along a wall, with nooks and crannies and sofas to conquer.

Carmella jumped on the Wi-Fi and started searching for next places to stop along the way.

Just when you’re about to forget where you are, there’s a warning sign to keep the sliding doors closed because of baboons. How many misadventures need to happen before you get someone to make you warning stickers?


Inside, there’s activity in the kitchen; lunch will soon be served.

The food was colorful, delicious, filling, and perfectly suited for the vibe of the lodge.

We ate our meals on the outside porch, loving the hot coffee, cold salad, delicious sauces, but there were no baboons to be had. So sad, so sad.

Appealing as the indoors are, the outdoors continue to best them: sitting on the deck, in the comfortable chairs, piled high with warm wool blankets (and the two resident dogs), near the crackling fire, makes the experience. Bats fly crazy circles over the water, feasting on bugs; the sounds of crickets in the background. As the last bits of sun fade away the stars become visible, the sky rapidly turning from violet to dark black, the horizon unimpeded for 270°.

I’m tired, and all the exertions of outside give way to my comfortable pillow.

Next, we spend a night in a rail car at the Santos Express Train Lodge!

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