Friday, March 27, 2009

The Didge and the Village

I've spent the last two nights in Storms River, staying at a backpacker's lodge known as Dijembe or, in more colloquial terms, “The Didge”. Of the few backpackers I've been to so far, this has to be the best. Not only does it provide good service, but the staff are the sort of down-to-earth people that you can actually hang out with. And the lodge itself has a certain personality about it.

Yes, there's hammocks in the foreground. Yes, I've slept in them. And yes, they're totally awesome.

Dijembe offers shuttle services to various daytime activities, has all the standard backpacking perks and even prepares breakfast and dinner (though at R60 a pop for the dinners, I'd seriously not recommend it unless you have the cash). In the evenings, they set up a roaring fire in the games room, an even bigger bonfire outside and open up the bar area and jacuzzi so that people may eat, drink and make merry for a while. And while I'm really, really not into gimmicky African rubbish all that much (I call it my domestic bias), I must admit that I was damn impressed at the vibe that this place managed to offer. The Didge comes highly recommended on my “places to stay” list.

Oh, and bedding at the Didge is superb. Why? Well, this:


This was not photoshopped. There really are three beds on that vertical plane. And for some inexplicable reason, nobody wanted the top one. So I instantly called dibs on it. Plus five points for decent bedding and blanketry. Plus another two points for a soft mattress. PLUS ONE HUNDRED AND FIFTY BILLION FOR TRIPLE STOREY AWESOMENESS. 9/10 in all.

Now, on to the village of Storms River itself, which has thus far gone under my blog's radar. To be honest, that's probably for a good reason.

Heed the sign's warning. You're heading for the middle of nowhere.

Storms River is rather small. In fact, you can basically stand on the road at one end and look over to the other side pretty easily. Not to say that it's an awful place: it actually has a certain touristic charm about it, and it was interesting to finally wander about a settlement like this: my journey has thus far been pretty firmly rooted in civilisation.

That's not to say that I wouldn't eventually go insane if I had to live here on a permanent basis. Half of the buildings here seem geared directly towards tourism, and frequent trips to PE are made by locals to secure anything that doesn't fit under the category of “bare bones basics”. Of course, I could easily be exaggerating about all this, so I'll let you judge for yourselves here:

Quite possibly the biggest retailer in the area.

This is Storms River's supermarket. Literally, “supermarket”. This is what it calls itself. The picture pretty much encompasses the whole store aside from the tills and tobacco kiosk. Oh, and the village's only ATM is hidden somewhere in the corner. With a draw limit of R500 per person. Reasonable, I thought. Cute, even. That's until I tried to get some money out of it and realised that it had run out of cash. Completely. I kinda just sat there for a few minutes, staring at the machine. A core paradigm shift occurred that day, and I'll never look at ATMs in the same light again. I feel a little dirty.

I returned this morning and thankfully managed to withdraw enough cash to pay for my two nights at Dijembe. After that, I said my tearful goodbyes (well, not actually tearful. That's not terribly manly) and hopped on the Baz Bus for my next leg of the trip.

I'm currently chilling out in Plettenberg Bay. I'll write about that tomorrow.

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