Original Cocktails takes on The Garden Route

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With summer and silly season just around the corner, we thought that the best way to celebrate the upcoming season was to take our cocktails on a little trip. Organised by the wonderfully professional and fun bunch at Stoked School of Surf in Cape Town, we embarked on a 5-day tour of the Garden Route earlier this month. Our guides for the week included, owner of Stoked Surf School and bombshell surfer, Michelle Davy, and South African surfing champion, Tasha Mentasti. We couldn’t ask for a better crew!

We first made our road trip to Port Elizabeth where we collected the rest of our group. First stop on the trip was Jeffrey’s Bay where we were introduced to our surfboards, wetsuits, leashes and the core principles of surfing, including the ‘pop up’ which would prove to be quite challenging for some of us.

While dreaming of cocktails on the beach, we had to work hard to get to our cocktail rewards at the end of each surfing session. The waves were kind to us beginners in Jbay, but we were taken to witness the ‘Super Tubes’ to see where the pros hang out. A humbling experience to see the level of skill that’s needed to surf those puppies. Mojitos were the order of the day – soaking up all the sunshine we could find.

We popped into Cape St Francis for a sundowner surf, pre all the devastation that has recently taken place. What a little gem of a place. Tucked away from the main route, we were beginning to realize how lucky we were to be on a guided tour with the pros who know all the best and most secluded spots to surf. After drying off and getting warm we all tucked into Margaritas to celebrate the success of the surf and watch the sun dip behind the mountains. This is stuff movies are made of.

Next on our tour through the Garden Route, we spent a fun filled day at Victoria Bay. Hidden between the Eastern Cape hills and valleys, we were fortunate to spend a good 4-hour session trying to master the next skill of surfing – standing on your board. The shouting from our coaches “PADDLE PADDLE PADDLE” became a mantra for the trip, making sure we paddled for our lives to catch the right set of waves heading in our direction.

After our morning at Victoria Bay we all piled into the surf van and off we headed to Sedgefield. En route, we had a very enthusiastic member of the group wanting to bungee jump. We stopped at the third highest bungee jump at Blouwkrans Bridge to experience the 216m fall. While the rest of us sat back, relaxed and enjoyed a Cosmopolitan or four, our very brave (or crazy) group member plummeted to the depths below. Yet another experience we could tick off the list.

We arrived in Segefield with a very warm welcome from ‘Beaver’ our barman for the night and immediately ran up to the roof to check out the view. We were pleasantly surprised by the backpackers we stayed in for the night, including two jacuzzis, lovely braai, drinking games and being able to leave our signed messages on the bar walls. A range of our magical cocktails was experienced that night, leaving everyone with a few stories for the following morning.

Hungover and sleep deprived the next morning, we packed the van and headed on to Arniston. 4 hours and lots of van sleeping later, we arrived at the seaside town and were presented with a gorgeous pebble beach surrounded by white cliffs and dunes. The locals proved to be very entertaining and also assisted us with procuring some fresh fish for a fish braai.

We quickly turned our private house into a surf house by unpacking our wetties, boards and all the remaining cocktails. Our days were filled with surfing, exploring the dunes, drinking cocktails and watching epic African sunsets. A moment we won’t forget was taking in the awesome view in front of us while sipping on Singapore Slings. True perfection!

We even ventured to a cave at Shark Bay where we were felt like we were entering a scene from ‘The Descent”, but no ghoulish creatures revealed themselves to us.

Our nights were filled with great cooking/ braaing, drinking our full range of cocktails and playing several very competitive games of Schithead. Some old Rhodian folk who had learnt this cut-throat card game at Rhodes University taught the group the rules and regulations, and then the competition began. We had a fantastic time chirping each other and proving who was the surf trip Schithead champion.

After 6 days and 5 nights, we’d become a bit of a surfing family and we had one last stop to celebrate the success of our tip. While some had mastered the mad skill of standing on a surfboard, others were chuffed that they had tried and realized the surfing and cocktail drinking bugs had bitten them. We wrapped up our last day with lunch at the wine estate Black Oyster Catcher. We reminisced over some of the most memorable moments from the trip, and cocktails that had helped us mark those special moments.

Looking back at the week we spent on touring The Garden Route, we are thrilled that we still have the rest of our summer ahead of us. You can also create your own special summer memories with our cocktails and we’d love to hear all about them. The next time you’re drinking an Original Iced Cocktail, why not take a pic and post it on our Facebook page?

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