Most of South Africa was busy reading the state capture report while we were bounced about above the clouds on our way to the Eastern Cape. A howling gale and overcast conditions welcomed us on Wednesday night in Port Elizabeth as we descended on the launch of the Suzuki Baleno. The new offering is the latest hatchback from Suzuki, available as a GLX with a 1.4l petrol 5 speed manual or 4 speed auto and the GL with a 5 speed manual.
Fortunately, the foul weather cleared by morning and we were off on our round trip to experience the Baleno.
We made our way to Jeffries Bay via the N2 before taking the R330 to head inland towards the mountains. The surrounding areas are littered with citrus orchards and views of the distant Quacha range. Traffic is light although the odd truck will slow you down on the twisty roads through small villages. Take your time. There’s no need to rush here. You might miss the mesmerizing wind farms or the architectural brilliance of the Van Staden river bridge.
Jeffreys Bay is a world renowned surfer spot and home to the J Bay Open at Supertubes, possibly one of the best surf spots on the planet. The calm had subsided though and the wind was making a return to the region. If time allows, make a stop at the Rip Curl factory shop and grab a bargain. We decided to push on to the next stop but when I next return, I’ll be making a stop there for sure.
No trip is complete without sampling the local specialties and this trip was no exception. A worthwhile stop on the scenic route between Jeffreys Bay and Port Elizabeth for ‘cake and coffee’ is located just off the R331 at the Padlangs Country Restaurant and Shop. A quaint little spot in Patensie with lots of atmosphere and many friendly faces.
Time and tide wait for no man they say and we had to get back to Port Elizabeth. The wind really started to howl after lunch as PE lived up to its name of the windy city. Lunchtime chatter turned to the flight back to Johannesburg and Cape Town as the members of the media remembered the turbulent flight into the Eastern Cape and started to share stories of fellow passengers whooping as the plane fell through air pockets and bounced about wildly.
A well-priced offering, attractively packaged, fuel efficient and well specced. I expect the Baleno to sell well in the local market and we look forward to reviewing it when it goes into rotation for the media.