As mentioned in yesterday’s post, we had to cancel last night’s stay at the pet-friendly Gracelands Beach Lodge in Ramsgate. Thankfully, The Fossil’s friend, Françoise Malby-Anthony, extended our stay at Garden On The Beach (aka Sorgente 101), so I got to walk along uMdloti beach again this morning!
Yesterday afternoon, The Fossil and I drove the Toyota Corolla loan vehicle back to JLR Pietermaritzburg to fetch the Jaguar iPace. When we arrive at around 15h00, the all-electric iPace’s battery still wasn’t fully charged ’cause the Jaguar dealership had to charge all their other EV’s overnight for a demo launch today. We eventually arrived back in uMdloti at 18h00.
Then, last night another of The Fossils friends, Dean and Travis Hammerich, came to visit. I think they were more interested in the Jaguar than me, but then Huskies aren’t as easy to ride (without a sled, that is), so that’s OK.
After packing our stuff into the Jaguar iPace and sadly leaving Garden On the Beach this morning, we drove to Umhlanga Rocks to find an EV charging station. The Jaguar Umhlanga dealership doesn’t have a public EV charge station, so they directed us to the Gateway Shopping Centre, where we found the GridCars station at the entrance B undercover parking area.
After hooking the iPace up to re-energise, The Fossil tried tried to walk me through the shopping centre to get to the food court on the other side. “No dogs allowed in the centre,” said a security guard. So we had to walk all the way around the centre to get to where the pavement restaurants are located. At 09h00 most were still closed but staff at the few that were open responded with the same curt statement as the security guard; “No dogs allowed!”.
Eventually The Fossil managed to convince the waiters at News Cafe Umhlanga Ridge to allow us to sit and have breakfast at their pavement section, which was empty of patrons.
It’s weird, Jaxx,” commented The Fossil. “Restaurants here just don’t understand how being pet-friendly can attract more customers. Putting up a pet-friendly signboard, providing a dog bowl for water, and maybe a sterilised bucket and mop to wipe dog drool off the floor costs very little.” Yeah, I thought. And a doggy menu would be cool too!
After breakfast, we walked back around the Gateway centre and The Fossil popped into the aha Gateway Hotel to find out if they’re pet-friendly. The hotel’s general manager, Joseph Mgobhozi, seemed surprised at the question. “Um, no we’re not,” he said. “But if you can tell me what it means to be pet-friendly, I’ll look into it.” Uh-Oh, I thought, as I saw The Fossil’s mind working – don’t be surprised to see a pet-friendly South Africa website launching soon!When we arrived back at the EV charge station at 11h40, the iPace had finished its breakfast and displayed a satisfied ‘100% full’ message on the dashboard at startup. After disconnecting the fast-charge cable from the iPace and after paying R20 to exit the Gateway parking area, we set off along the N2 South for Ramsgate to meet Vanessa Gounden, the Tourism Marketing Coordinator at SCTIE (that’s an acronym for South Coast Tourism & Investment Enterprise).
Arriving at our pre-arrange meeting venue, The Waffle House, at 13h10, Vanessa was already there. Seated at the pet-friendly outdoor section, Vanessa and The Fossil ordered coffees and cheesecake waffles while they chatted (I didn’t have to order anything ’cause a water bowl is always provided for pooches to quench their thirst).
I won’t bore you with their discussion (or their food, which I tasted, and it was delicious, although a bit sweet for my taste buds), but rather share The Waffler House’s facilities.
There’s a signpost directing you to walk your pooch across the famous wooden bridge, through Tanglewood reserve, and onto the golden sands of Ramsgate Beach. Or you can sit next to the small bamboo forest at the river’s edge and watch your dog swim. There’s also a Deli & Takeaway to stock up on Waffle House products and a Craft & Gift Shop with a wide selection of Made-In-South-Africa products.
The Fossil’s too busy talking to Vanessa to take any pics, so I’ll share a video clip by travel bloggers Craig & Chantz Bedingfield, who captured The Waffle House in a nutshell but got one thing wrong: the best thing about The Waffle House is that it’s PET-FRIENDLY!
In the video, Chantz mentions the Ramsgate Ramble – it’s a 6.1 km walk through indigenous milkwood forests. And it’s pet-friendly (as long as your human is attached to a leash and you’re carrying poop packets – preferably biodegradable packets).
When The Fossil and Vanessa were done chatting (and devouring their waffles) I waited in the Jaguar iPace’s hammock seat while The Fossil want back to thank The Waffle House manager for hosting us. On his way back to the EV, he met the Border Collie shown in the picture below.
I was rather peeved that I didn’t get to meet Noba, but “C’est La Vie” as The Fossil often says (that’s French for “That’s Life” – an idiom to express acceptance or resignation, much like saying “Oh well”).