Thursday, July 14, 2016

Gliding around the Wilderness lakes on a segway

Mountain biking has become a very popular pastime of late and something I'd like to find the time for to try out.  Time and the money for a proper mountain bike.  I really wouldn't mind a proper off road bike to travel with.  You know, one of those big BMW ones.  But I can barely afford a scale model one so at the moment my favorite two wheel type of transportation is definitely a segway.  Not that I have one, for that it's way too an expensive a toy as well, but I've had the privilege to go on the segway tour in the Tsitsikamma a couple of times before.  Heading back to Port Elizabeth from Cape Town recently I decided to stretch my legs a bit at Wilderness and see what the Wilderness segway tour was all about.  

While the Tsitsikamma Segway Tour follows a route into the forest, the Wilderness tour follows the Pied Kingfisher Trail through the Ebb and Flow (Wilderness) section of the Garden Route National Park.  I was going to be taken on a private tour but just then a newly wed couple from the Middle East on their first visit to South Africa arrived and joined the tour.  So here I want to vent just a little.  They were told that I was media (I love it when I get called media) and that the regular tour was only going 30 minutes later, but they still wanted to join.  Then the man came to me afterwards to tell me he doesn't want me to publish any pictures of his wife.  Really? I understand and respect their culture but if you didn't want to be in the pictures then why agree to go along and even pose for pictures? Whyyyyyy????  But I will respect their wishes and not post pictures of their faces.  Luckily I rode at the back so all you get to see of them are their backsides. Ok, rant over and back to this great experience.

We did the obligatory training session in the training yard to make sure we knew how to steer, stop and maneuver before we headed out and hit the trails with our guide in the lead and, as mentioned, me as rear guard seeing that I was a experienced segway rider.  Yeh, love that one as well.  Experienced segway rider.  The trip basically takes you out parallel to the Touw River through varied vegetation types ranging from fynbos to coastal shrubs and wetland vegetation.  All along the way you catch glimpses of the river and lakes and, in the case of the picture above, a couple of locals fishing next to the path.

The path was very easy to follow and at the only technical bit there was an alternative if you didn't want to try it out.  The guide was never in a hurry and had all the patience in the world when I asked if he could just backtrack a bit so I could get a photo of them coming out of the trail. It was really a pleasure going out on the trip with him.  But I'm digressing.  At the turning point we took a break to enjoy the view of the lake and a part of Wilderness next to the N2 in the distance before we turned around.  The only reason this is the turning point is that the bridge is too narrow for the segways to cross over.  Pity though, and pity that SAN Parks don't allow them to go on more trails, because it would have been nice to do a circular route and not an out and back.

On the way back we did get to see the Ebb and Flow campsite next to the river. Wow, what a beautiful spot.  I definitely need to bring the family to camp here some time and take some canoes upstream.  

Having done both the Tsitsikamma segway tours (the one hour and two hour tours) before I'm going to be very honest here.  I much rather prefer the Tsitsikamma ones over this, but it is because I am a forest person and will do anything to get into the forest.  All in all I had a very enjoyable experience on the Wilderness segway tour.  I have to say that it's a different way to experience the Wilderness lakes area from on foot or in a canoe as most do and if you are in the area with some time on your hands then it's really worth the experience.  

Disclosure: I was invited to join in a segway tour by Segway Tours as I work in the tourism industry and not as a blogger, while I was travelling back to PE from Cape Town.  They didn't ask for a blog post to be written and I keep full editorial control over the post.

1 comment:

  1. Great! Segway will be promoting a safe and relaxing experience of personalised tours. The tours will be respectful and friendly with the environment.

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