We went to South Africa in winter, the best way to know the place is by travelling along the Garden Route; 700 km in 10 days was all we needed to embrace a great variety of landscapes and cultural clashes.
The organized tours include the most important landmarks on that route. Having your own car means freedom to move as you please. From Cape Town we took N2, in excellent conditions, we went past a number of rural villages in a wine producing area. After 130km we got Hermanus (it keeps the architectural style of the dutch’ s colonization), where we could watch the austral whales from very comfortable view points. Every now and then a wale shows its tail and huge body above the bay waters.
Knysna was the next impressive city we visited. It is placed on a shallow lagoon of salty water which is connected with the Indian Ocean by means of a narrow passage of high walls called “Heads”. The population surroundes this lagoon in a perfect combination between urbanization and nature.
The main road is the N2 with many stands that offer crafts from all over Africa . Famous for its oysters, Knysna is also the centre of protected areas and beaches. Making the most of our time, we visited Monkeyland, a monkey reserve, and The Tsitsikamma Mountain National Park where we had a short walk along a mountain path up to a bridge over the Storm River canyon.
This park, as well as many others in South Africa , offers accommodation and paths for trekking. If you are planning to visit other parks, you’d better get a general pass instead of paying for an entrance ticket every time.
Quite nearby, we found Plettenberg, with a stunning beach we promised to visit in a future summer.
Luxurious lodges are found everywhere in this region. Of course you also find B&B usually attended by their owners.
The Garden Route is called like this because of a bushy vegetation group named “fynbos” with tiny flowers we could enjoy in spite of being in winter. By the sides of the road we found huge aloes with their red flowers. It was unbelievable to see baboons crossing the road in front of us !. You must be alert, never feed them, and above all keep an eye on your belongings…they are terribly fast!
We weren`t exempt of unusual experiences in a trip that marked us not only for its beauty but also for the kindness of all the people we came across.