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The Garden Route

Written on: Saturday November 18th, 2006

A journal entry from: The Winter of 2006/2007

  • We?d read ? and had been told - that Hermanus is one of the best places to spot whales, so on Tuesday morning we headed there when we left Cape Town. It was a busy place but we found a parking spot and headed to the cliffs in anticipation of some good whale viewing. It was a bit of a disappointment as we only saw two and they quickly moved away from the shore. So we took to the road again and headed for George where we would spend two nights at the Romsleigh House B & B. On the way we passed through very lush vegetation.

  • Romsleigh House was very comfortable and we were made welcome by Fran, who oriented us to George and recommended a restaurant for dinner. We?d found that eating out in Cape Town was pretty similar pricing to Canada but we had a super meal in George for a reasonable price. The seafood in this area is excellent and very fresh.

  • The following morning we played golf at George Golf and Country club, a great old course and then drove down to Victoria Bay. There isn?t much there, a restaurant, beach and a bit of a walk along the bay, it?s very unspoiled and would be a great place for a quiet holiday, probably one of my ?best picks? of places to stay if we ever came back to the area. There were several apartments for rent and they were quite cheap. As we walked along the Bay we saw some dolphins swimming along, tried to get pictures but once again just took shots of vast amounts of water.

  • The next morning we packed up again and headed for Plettenberg Bay, not a great distance away so we stopped along the way at Knysna a fast growing community, again we were astounded at the amount of development going on. They?ve developed a waterfront similar to Cape Town?s but of course on a much smaller scale; there were some very ritzy areas overlooking the ocean. Had lunch at the Oyster Bar, Mike had oysters, the rest of us weren?t keen.

  • We reached Plattenberg Bay and quickly found our accommodation for the night at Fairways B & B, said a quick hello to the owners and they directed us to a lovely place for dinner overlooking the ocean. Again the food was good and reasonable. Next morning we played golf at Plett Golf and County Club ? a super course, we all enjoyed it and more importantly all played reasonably well ? Roger started off with a birdie, then went downhill but the rest of us managed to keep it all together.

  • After golf we drove to Tsitsikamma National Park. Mike had booked us into a chalet for the night, he?d tried to get two nights but it was booked up even six months ago and it was easy to see why. A magnificent coastline with huge waves crashing right in front of our chalet, some of them must have been over 40 feet high. Our cabin overlooked the Indian Ocean and there were also camping sites. Shortly after we arrived a convoy of campervans pulled in, we talked to a few of the people, most of them were from England and quite a few from Yorkshire. They told us that they?d flown into Johannesburg where they?d picked up the campervans and then had driven to Kruger and were now on their way to Cape Town so they were actually doing the same as us but in reverse. I think if we came back again, that would be my preferred mode of travel. The sites were booked for them but they weren?t encouraged to travel with any more than 3 in a convoy, so they could take their time and stop wherever they wanted during the day.

  • Tsitsikamma Park has several hikes one was about an hour long to a suspension bridge so we had enough time to fit that in before dinner. The walk took us along the ocean through heavily treed footpaths and eventually to the suspension bridge which was over an inlet. We wished we?d had two days at Tsitsikamma as there is a boat ride along the river which looked intriguing but the last trip of the day had already left and we knew that we wanted to do the waterfall hike the next day. After the hike we were ready to sit in the front of our chalet and watch the waves while we had our sundowners. The waterfall hike was super it took us 2 hours there and back on a trail that was quite different from anything we?ve ever done. Again the trail took us along the ocean and there were many ?Kodak? moments of rugged coastline and crashing waves. We clambered over boulders, climbed steps and strolled along tree-vined pathways. The waterfall wasn?t too spectacular but well worth the hike.

  • We over-nighted in Cape St. Francis that night staying in a super cottage which would have been big enough for Roger and I to live in full time ? it even had satellite TV ? no internet though. This was one of the areas that the construction boom hasn?t got to yet, but I don?t think that will last for long. A lady we talked to said one of her son?s had bought a cottage four years ago for $50,000 CAD equivalent, another son had recently bought a similar cottage for $150,000 CAD. That night we went over to the pub across the street and had pizza served by a bubbly waitress called Anya. What a delight she was, she giggled her way through the whole evening. Before leaving the next morning we strolled along the beach to the old lighthouse. The beaches in South Africa are very much like those in Mexico, you can walk for miles.

  • Time to leave the Garden Route now and move on to Addo National Elephant Park.