Highlights of a 2 week road trip around the Garden Route and Karoo, South Africa

Highlights of a 2 week road trip around the Garden Route and Karoo

Highlights of a 2 week road trip around the Garden Route and Karoo

Updated September 20, 2019

Over 2000 km, 3 winding mountain passes, uncountable dirt roads. We  passed through tropical greenery, arid semi-desert, and wide open landscapes stopping to see spectacular scenery, beautiful beaches, lots of wildlife and one of the natural wonders of the world – the Cango Caves. It was one of the most incredible trips we’ve ever taken.

This is a huge post with tons of photos, information, and a cool video at the bottom. You might want to take a pee or get a beer before sitting down to read. By the time you’re finished with it you’ll have sampled most of the highlights of this region.

The basics: The Garden Route starts about  4 ½ hours northeast of Cape Town. It is a thin stretch of coastline backed by the impressive Outeniqua and Tsitsikamma Mountains. Because of this it has a Mediterranean type climate with generous precipitation. Cross the mountains into the Karoo and you’ll see a totally different geography characterized  by semi-desert, open spaces, mountains, and ostrich farms.

Below: Map of the region. Click on it for a full-sized version. Many thanks to the George Tourism Office for sending me this map so I could include it here.

Highlights of a 2 week road trip around the Garden Route and Karoo. Map

Enjoy the video. Warning: some bad words. But it’s our favorite driving song.


 

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Day 1 – Cape Town to George via the Overberg

Views from Koelbaai in the Overberg. Highlights of a 2 week road trip around the Garden Route and Karoo, South Africa

Above: Views from Koelbaai in the Overberg. 

Going through the Overberg is the long way of getting to the Garden Route. Coming from Cape Town on the N2, get off at the exit for Gordon’s Bay. The R44 skirts the coast and is particularly scenic just past Gordon’s Bay when you have views like the above. This coastline is particularly popular for spotting whales (July to November is the best time) or cage diving with Great White sharks at Gansbaai. We didn’t do any of that though – this being the first day of vacation Lissette passed out in the passenger seat. I just kept on driving. Other great views: when coming back up towards the N2, the stretch from Brendasdorp to Swellendam has some incredible views of dry hills backed by the imposing Langeberg mountain range.

Want to do shark diving? This is the tour to take.

Below: Shark diving in Gansbaai.

Shark diving in Gansbaai, South Africa

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Below: Wild ostrich in Cape Agulhas National Park.

Wild ostrich in Cape Agulhas National Park, South Africa

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We had started off from Cape Town at 10 am and it was 7 pm by the time we arrived in pretty George.

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Day 2 to 4 – George and surrounding area

Wilderness beach. Highlights of a 2 week road trip around the Garden Route and Karoo, South Africa

Above: looking down at Wilderness beach from the ‘Map of Africa’.

People say that there’s not much to George. We actually enjoyed using it as a base to explore the area. George is easy to navigate with its wide, orderly streets and has points of interest in town as well as in the surrounding vicinity. I would even say that the coast in this area is the most scenic on the Garden Route.

Highlights: Go to the ‘Map of Africa‘. Located on a high hill overlooking Wilderness beach, it is a popular spot for paragliding (above). Looking the other direction, you see the scenery in the photo below (that’s why it’s called the Map of Africa). We spent Christmas day walking along beautiful Wilderness beach which stretches up along the coast as far as the eye can see. We went to the George Botanical Gardens (nice views but flowers weren’t in bloom – you can skip if you’ve seen Kirstenbosch in Cape Town) and the Outeniqua Farmer’s Market where they have lots of different food stalls and handicrafts sold by local artists (only open on Saturday mornings – but a really recommended visit). The one thing we missed was the Outeniqua Transport (railway) museum which was closing when we showed up.

George is also located right next to the mountain passes that traverse into the Karoo. More on that soon.

Below: The ‘Map of Africa’

Map of Africa in George

 .Below: Wilderness beach

Wilderness beach, South Africa

Highlights of a 2 week road trip around the Garden Route and Karoo, South Africa

 .Below: George Botanical Gardens.

George Botanical Gardens, South Africa

.Below: Things for sale at the Outeniqua Farmer’s Market in George (only on Saturday mornings)

Outeniqua Farmer’s Market in George. Highlights of a 2 week road trip around the Garden Route and Karoo, South Africa

Highlights of a 2 week road trip around the Garden Route and Karoo, South Africa

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Information and resources on George

Where we stayed in George: Edenwood Guesthouse. A beautiful property on the edge of town looking up at the mountains. Very tranquil and we spent a lot of time relaxing and playing with the 4 dogs and 4 cats. Recommended (unless you have allergies). A couple of other recommendations: Inn Victori Guesthouse & Surfcamps and On the Beach (which is on that beautiful Wilderness Beach). 
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Links: Paragliding from Map of Africa: Flytime Paragliding, George Botanical Gardens, Outeniqua Farmers Market. George Tourism

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Day 5 to 7 – Montagu Pass and the Highlights of Oudtshoorn (Little Karoo)

There are 2 passes to get from George to Oudshoorn in the Little Karoo. The most obvious is the paved and incredibly scenic Outeniqua Pass. But we were saving that for our return. On this trip we took the very rough Montagu pass, the old pass built in the mid-1800’s by convict labour.

Montagu Pass, South Africa

Montagu Pass, South Africa.

Above: driving on the Montagu pass. It doesn’t look rough on this photo but that’s deceiving – the bottom of the car actually scraped the road a few times. Better driven with a 4*4.

Once across the pass (it takes about 45 minutes) the lush green of the Garden Route disappears to be replaced by semi-desert. The Little Karoo is dry and you’ll see cactus and shrubs. Impressive landscapes with red earth and majestic mountain ranges in the distance.

Below: Across the pass and heading towards Oudtshoorn. In the background are the Swartberg mountains which separate the Little Karoo from the Big Karoo.

Highlights of a 2 week road trip around the Garden Route and Karoo, South Africa

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Oudtshoorn would end up being our favorite spot on this trip. There are a ton of wildlife, adventure, and sightseeing opportunities. The town itself is very pretty and quiet. Like George it’s very easy to find your way around without getting lost.

We did all the ‘must do’ activities PLUS had an experience that would end up being the highlight of the trip. I’ll detail that further below.

The first thing to do in Oudtshoorn is to visit an Ostrich farm. We chose the Highgate Ostrich Farm.

Ostrich farm, South Africa

Highgate Ostrich Farm near Oudtshoorn

Highgate Ostrich Farm near Oudtshoorn

Above: feeding the ostriches – their pecks are very accurate and you barely feel their beaks as they snap their heads forward to pick the seeds from your hand.

Do you know that an ostrich can kill a man using its dagger-like front toe? Yup. But they only kick forward and not backwards.

Oudtshoorn is known as the World’s Ostrich Capital and was made rich with Ostrich farming. Most of the wealth was created by the export of ostrich feathers which were used in much of the fashion in Europe. Other uses: Ostrich leather and meat.

Below: Painted ostrich eggs.

Highgate Ostrich Farm near Oudtshoorn

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Below: Oudtshoorns CP Nel Museum which highlights the importance of ostrich farming to the town. They were closed due to a power blackout on the day we went – but outside are all these ladies selling painted ostrich feathers.

Oudtshoorns CP Nel Museum. Highlights of a 2 week road trip around the Garden Route and Karoo, South Africa

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The major ‘can’t miss’ attraction in Oudtshoorn are the Cango Caves located half an hour out of town. This huge cave system extends 4 km underground.

I booked the ‘Adventure Tour‘ which includes climbing up a steep set of stairs called Jacob’s ladder, going through the ‘Tunnel of Love’, up the ‘Coffin’,squeezing through the ‘Chimney’ and finally slipping through the ‘Devil’s Postbox’. If it all sounds a bit extreme well it is – I came out of it sweaty and caked with mud. Fun adventure though.

Lissette took the easier ‘Heritage Tour‘ which just focuses on the main (large) caverns.

Cango Caves. Highlights of a 2 week road trip around the Garden Route and Karoo, South Africa

Cango Caves. Highlights of a 2 week road trip around the Garden Route and Karoo, South Africa

Cango Caves. Highlights of a 2 week road trip around the Garden Route and Karoo, South Africa

 

Below: wedging through cracks in the ‘Adventure Tour”. You have to have a certain slimness taking this tour and there’s a story that’s known to everyone around town: A few years ago a large woman came and wanted to do the tour. Guides tried to dissuade her but she got angry and started accusing them of discrimination. They let her her do it. She got stuck in the Tunnel of Love and was jammed in there for 9 hours – at the same time making everyone who had gone through before her stuck as well (you go out the same way you come in). Full story here (notice that they give her full name, city where she comes from, her weight – and how much she cost the taxpayer. How rough is that?)

So if they tell you that you’re too fat to do this tour it’s maybe not such a good idea…

Adventure tour, Cango caves

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If you have kids, the place to take them in Oudtshoorn is the Cango Wildlife Ranch. There you can see cheetahs, white lions, crocodiles, monkeys, and even Sumatran tigers. Although touristy, the main goal of the ranch is animal conservation and you’ll see a lot of animals here that are on the endangered list. So it’s a good cause.

It’s also famous as a place where you can get in a cage and get dipped in the water next to a crocodile. I’ve seen bloggers write about it like it’s the most exciting thing they’ve ever experienced. Honestly, it seemed to us that the crocs finally figured out that they can’t get to the people in the cage because they just basically swim around uninterested. So I’d maybe skip that. More interesting though is the opportunity to get to meet and feed some lemurs. I saw them climbing all over participants and it looked like a great chance to interact with these beautiful animals. Overall a good experience.

Cango Wildlife Ranch, Oudtshoorn.

oudtshoorn cango wildlife ranch. Highlights of a 2 week road trip around the Garden Route and Karoo, South Africa

Above: Couple getting set to go swimming with a crocodile.

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But our absolute highlight in Oudtshoorn? Dinner at Buffelsdrift Game Lodge.

Just outside of town, this lodge has a restaurant looking out over a lake and the Swartberg mountains in the distance. It ‘feels’ as Africa as you can get and you’re guaranteed to see animals. On this evening we saw a giraffe (across the lake), hippo, wilderbeast, and even had nyala come and graze right next to the dining area. The food was great (I had a fantastic ostrich steak) and the setting absolutely perfect. An experience we will never forget. And you know what? It didn’t cost us any more than any other restaurant in town.

Buffelsdrift was recommended by our guesthouse host Una. She even dropped us off there and picked us up at the end of the evening.

Below: Scenery and animals at Buffelsdrift.

Buffelsdrift Game Lodge, Oudtshoorn. Highlights of a 2 week road trip around the Garden Route and Karoo, South Africa

Buffelsdrift Game Lodge, Oudtshoorn. Highlights of a 2 week road trip around the Garden Route and Karoo, South Africa

Buffelsdrift Game Lodge, Oudtshoorn. Highlights of a 2 week road trip around the Garden Route and Karoo, South Africa

Buffelsdrift Game Lodge, Oudtshoorn. Highlights of a 2 week road trip around the Garden Route and Karoo, South Africa

Buffelsdrift Game Lodge, Oudtshoorn. Highlights of a 2 week road trip around the Garden Route and Karoo, South Africa

 

Information and Resources on Oudtshoorn

Where we stayed in Oudtshoorn: Yamkela Guesthouse. Very comfortable room, has a swimming pool, great breakfast, and the friendliest hosts (Una and Charl) that we’ve ever had the pleasure of meeting. Recommend 100%. If you want to do something really special, stay at the Buffelsdrift Game Lodge

Links: Highgate Ostrich Farm, Cango Caves, Cango Wildlife Ranch, Buffelsdrift Game LodgeOudtshoorn Tourism.

 

 

 Day 8 to 10 – The Swartberg Pass, Prince Albert, and the Groot Karoo.

There are two ways to get from Oudtshoorn in the Little Karoo to Prince Albert in the Big Karoo: over the Swartberg Mountains via the Swartberg Pass or, taking a detour, along the river valley of the Meiringspoort Pass. On this day we were taking the Swartberg Pass.

driving the Swartberg Pass, South Africa

The Swartberg pass runs for 27 km, most of it hairpin bends looking straight over the edge. It can be hard passing cars going the opposite way in some spots (see the video further below for proof). It will take about 90 minutes to cross the pass so it’s a bit of an adventure…but the views are amazing and something I’ll never forget. In fact, the reason many people go to Prince Albert in the first place is to cross the pass, have lunch, then come back over the pass.

driving the Swartberg Pass, South Africa

driving the Swartberg Pass, South Africa. Highlights of a 2 week road trip around the Garden Route and Karoo, South Africa

lizard in South Africa

driving the Swartberg Pass, South Africa. Highlights of a 2 week road trip around the Garden Route and Karoo, South Africa

Above: nearing the end of the pass, the road snakes between huge cliffs on either side.

Prince Albert is an old-fashioned one street town. No kidding, it reminds me of what an old west town would be. There are a few cafes, a museum, a church, and a beautiful 50’s style theatre. And in the middle of town, at the center of everything, the colonial style Swartberg hotel. At night, when most of the tourists have left, locals wander into the hotel’s bar (the ‘ladies bar’) and have a drink while watching cricket or rugby or discussing politics with other clients. It’s just that kind of place.

Below: the Swartberg Hotel.

Swartberg Hotel, Prince Albert, South Africa

 .Below: Along the main road, Prince Albert.

Pretty Prince Albert, South Africa

Views in Prince Albert, South Africa

sunset in Prince Albert, South Africa

Highlights of a 2 week road trip around the Garden Route and Karoo, South Africa

Highlights of a 2 week road trip around the Garden Route and Karoo, South Africa

Prince Albert. Highlights of a 2 week road trip around the Garden Route and Karoo, South Africa

Prince Albert. Highlights of a 2 week road trip around the Garden Route and Karoo, South Africa

We didn’t do much in Prince Albert, mostly because it was incredibly hot (the desert heat was oppressive). It really is the kind of place to just relax and soak in the culture. Although we really liked this little town for most people 1 night would be enough.

 

Need to rent a Car? We use Rentalcars.com for our car rentals. They dig up offers from all the major car companies so you get the best deals.

 

Information and Resources on Prince Albert

Where we stayed: The Swartberg Hotel. Big beautiful hotel that belongs in another era. Incredibly comfortable, fantastic breakfast. The place to stay in town.

Links: Prince Albert Tourism

 

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Days 11 to 14 – The Meiringspoort Pass, the Outeniqua Pass, and on to Knysna.

For those traumatized by the Swartberg Pass (like Lissette), there is an alternative to getting back to Oudtshoorn:  the Meiringspoort pass. This paved pass cuts through the mountains along a river valley. And although it is a bit of a detour, requiring you to drive north-east into the Groot Karoo before getting to the pass, the actual driving time is actually the same as the Swartberg Pass.

Below: the landscapes of the Groot (large) Karoo.

landscapes of the Groot (large) Karoo, South Africa

landscapes of the Groot (large) Karoo

.Below: Going through the Meiringspoort Pass.

landscapes of the Groot (large) Karoo, South Africa

.Below: Halfway through the pass, you’ll come across the Meiringspoort Waterfall where you’ll see kids diving into the deep pool at the base of the falls. An easy 5 minute walk from the road and a nice break from driving.

Meiringspoort Waterfall, South Africa

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Having passed through the Meiringspoort Pass and through the Little Karoo, we this time crossed the scenic Outeniqua Pass to get back to the coast (and the Garden Route).

Below: There are lots of viewpoints along the Outeniqua Pass.

viewpoints along the Outeniqua Pass. Highlights of a 2 week road trip around the Garden Route and Karoo, South Africa

 

Knysna is considered to be the tourist center of the Garden Route. I’ll be honest – the town itself didn’t hold much appeal to us. As towns go, we actually preferred George as a base than Knysna which, during our stay, was continuously traffic-clogged. BUT: Knysna makes a good base to explore 1) the Knysna Heads (one of our highlights along the Garden Route) and 2) the many tourist attractions on the Eastern end of the Garden Route.

The town is located within a huge lagoon. At the mouth of the lagoon, two huge cliffs protect the entry to the lagoon. These are the Knysna Heads. You can drive to the top of the Heads, park your car, and wander along the many scenic viewpoints looking back at the lagoon as well as out over the Indian Ocean.

Below: Views from the Knysna Heads.

Views from the Knysna Heads, Knysna, South Africa

Views from the Knysna Heads, Knysna, South Africa.

Views from the Knysna Heads, Knysna, South Africa. Highlights of a 2 week road trip around the Garden Route and Karoo, South Africa

You can also drive down to the beach below. That’s what we did. We spent all of an afternoon doing all the above and it was the highlight of our time in Knysna itself.

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The Easternmost part of the garden Route has some fantastic wildlife parks as well as national Parks. Lots to see and do. We didn’t have a chance to see everything but here are highlights of what we did do.

Birds of Eden is the largest aviary and bird sanctuary in the world. The facilities are fantastic, with suspended walkways, lakes, and a waterfall. They rehabilitate birds and provide them with a safe place free of predators. What they’ve done here is incredible.

Birds of Eden, Garden Route

Birds of Eden, Garden Route, South Africa

Birds of Eden, Garden Route

*note: right next door (sharing the same parking lot) is Monkeyland Primate Sanctuary. We would have gone if Lissette wasn’t deathly afraid of monkeys. But if you’re here you can spend almost an entire day seeing birds and monkeys at the two different sanctuaries.

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A highlight for us, again close to the above, was the Lawnwood Snake Sanctuary. Here we learned about different snakes, their habitats, and their behaviour. We saw Puff Adders, Cape Cobras, Black Mambas, Green Mambas, Boomslang, as well as a variety of large pythons (which we had the opportunity to hold). The hour tour was excellently done and hands on. We had a bunch of kids in the group and they loved it.

lawnwood snake sanctuary, the crags

lawnwood snake sanctuary, the crags. Highlights of a 2 week road trip around the Garden Route and Karoo, South Africa

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Within a few hundred meters of the snake sanctuary is the Bramon Wine Estate. We finished a day of visiting animals by having a late lunch with a bottle of wine. It’s the only winery in the area as far as I know and it was perfect finish to the day.

Bramon Wine Estate. Highlights of a 2 week road trip around the Garden Route and Karoo, South Africa

Bramon Wine Estate. Highlights of a 2 week road trip around the Garden Route and Karoo, South Africa

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What’s better than a walk on the beach after a late lunch and a bottle of wine? This is Keurbooms beach right outside the town of Plettenberg Bay.

Keurbooms beach, Plettenberg Bay.

 

Information and Resources on Knysna

Where we stayed: Russel Hotel, centrally located, right in town – nothing fancy but comfortable, great people, and really good breakfasts. Or, a fancier option is Azure House. It has a pool and great views of the lagoon.
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Links: Birds of Eden, Monkeyland, Lawnwood Snake Sanctuary, Bramon Wine Estate, Knysna Tourism.

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More Information on the Garden Route and Little Karoo: A couple of years ago my South African friend Tony contributed this very detailed guide to the Garden Route and Little Karoo. It is the bible to this area as far as I’m concerned. On this 2 week trip we visited many of the places in his guide, even added a few of own – but we also missed a few big ones. So between this post and his guide you should have everything you ever need to know about this region of South Africa.

 

Don’t want to drive? This 6 day tour covers many of the highlights I’ve covered above, it’s all-inclusive, inexpensive…and you don’t have to drive.

 

I promised a video on our driving experience. Driving in South Africa is quite easy, the hardest thing for me as a part-time (North American) driver was driving on the left hand side and roundabouts. But I got used to those fast. Roads are good, drivers generally not aggressive, and I love the ‘car guards’ and full-service gas stations. They make life easy for you in South Africa.

 

 

If you made it all the way down here, thanks for reading the post!
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So, what do you think? What would be your highlight in the region?

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Highlights of a 2 week road trip around the Garden Route and Karoo
Highlights of a 2 week road trip around the Garden Route and Karoo
Highlights of a 2 week road trip around the Garden Route and Karoo
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55 Comments

  1. On one of our many trips to SA we were fortunate to be taken by dear SA friends from Jo’Burg down thru the Garden Route. How beautiful! Rode an ostrich and bungeed at Bloukran’s! Cape Town is so different – the art, architecture, food, wine, people, etc. and all along the accommodations were unlike anything we have in the States. Being close enough to a lion to touch them – a feeling that can’t be explained by a photo. Smelling them before you see them. Favorite place has got to be the wild Cape of Good Hope. Love standing there where the storm winds blow! Sad because the violence is now outweighing all of this.

    1. Oh boy, that’s a tough one. Oudtshoorn was great, going over the Swartberg pass was impressive (and a little scary), the coast and beaches were amazing…so much varied geography and beauty. It was all fantastic.

    1. Hi Chantal,
      Oudtshoorn and the drive to Prince Albert were our highlights (I’d try to stay a night in Prince Albert). We missed Montagu (heard great things though) and passed through Tsistsikamma on the drive to the Bloukrans bridge (it looked really wild and beautiful) but we didn’t stop to explore. We didn’t actually like Knysna much except for exploring the Knysna heads which were pretty stunning…If I would add something it would be Wilderness, the town seems nice (and you should see the views from the Map of Africa) and the beach is gorgeous.

      You might want to check out the very indepth guide to the area written by my South African friend Tony: https://bbqboy.net/garden-route-little-karoo-travel-tips/

    2. Hope you bungeed on your honeymoon on Bloukran’s Bridge – the highest bridge in the world! 800 ft, 8 sec free fall! ☺️ Would be something to remember! I did and would recommend!!!

  2. Good day

    What a lovely read. Thanks for getting word out there that South Africa does have so much to offer. Relatively cheap with our current weak currency. One spot worth mentioning, when in Wilderness, is Hoekwil Country Cafe. Famous for our delicious coffee and Best voted cheesecake in SA. Welcome to find us on Facebook and TripAdvisor.

    Cheers, Richard

    1. Thanks Richard. That’s a bit of a plug but I don’t mind it, I love a good cheesecake. Honestly, South Africa should be on the blogger list of foodie destinations – we had so much excellent food (and wine) over 3 months there at good value.

  3. Oh My You Missed The Best Part of the Garden Route Sedgefield,Africs’s first and only Citta Slow Town! It offers 5 Beaches, a fresh water lake, Estuaries, Tortoises, 47 Mosaic Statues and lets not forget the Saturday Markets and the Friendly People.

    1. Thank you Belinda. Unfortunately we didn’t have time for everything – but I appreciate you pointing those out, we’ll make sure to check out Sedgefield next time around! 🙂

  4. Frank, I believe you used the word Incredible to describe this trip. It is totally inadequate and you’re going to have to come up with something bigger, better, and more descriptive. I recommend using the word Incredible but maybe WOW!!! would work equally well.

    1. I’m glad you think so, means I conveyed it well! We have been so impressed by the beauty of South Africa. I hope you and Macky get here one day 🙂

  5. I really like caves. There is a cave in Trang whereby you travel thru in a boat and the stalactites from the roof nearly hit your nose. You have to lie down flat and only go on low tide. Lasts for about 500m.

  6. What an exciting road trip, and it’s so good to see a side of South Africa that I haven’t heard much about! I’m with Lissette on the cave tour – I think I’d have a panic attack squeezing through all of those tight spaces. I’m also with her on that mountainous drive with the steep drop offs – nope! Lol. I would really love to visit the ostrich farm – I think they’re so cute. I also really love your pictures of the views from Knysna Heads…simply stunning! I’m curious to read your next post to see what you guys got into. Man, South Africa is such a gorgeous country!

  7. What an epic post on your Garden Route trip! (your ostrich photos are cute) Cape Town, the winelands and the Garden Route are an area we’d love to visit. (Our one-and-only South Africa visit was focussed on a safari in the Sabi Sand Game Reserve – no time then, unfortunately, to visit Cape Town.) Interesting that you mention the great white shark diving (from a cave). When we first heard about this years ago, it seemed awesome to do (we’re scuba divers). Now we’re not so sure – it doesn’t seem right to attract sharks with bloody bait so we can see them thrash about in all their wildness. And then we villify them when they happen to bite humans who are surfing or swimming.

    1. You’re right, I don’t like the idea of them putting chum to attract them. It’s like those trophy hunters, basically everything is set up so that the only thing left is pulling the trigger. The idea is to see them in ‘nature’, not contrived circumstances.

      I still can’t believe you guys are shipped in to places like Sabi Sand to write a review. I’ve got to find out your secret.

      The Western Cape is incredible and we’ve seen so much beauty. I think we’d like to be back one day.

    1. During our 2 weeks on the Garden Route I would say the average would be $80 US/night. Cape Town you get get in all price ranges, including some really exclusive luxury stuff. So yes, not cheap at all.

  8. Haha poor Veronica – not! I feel sorry for the people she trapped though. I would love to go in a shark cage in the ocean, but I don’t see the appeal of being in a croc’s toilet… ugh. We all know you’re both sad to leave South Africa, we’ll miss seeing the post too. What a great place 🙂

    1. Thanks so much Paula! I don’t know how they got her out. I would have cut off her clothes, greased her up with whale blubber, and gotten a couple of big guys to pull her out by her ankles.. Would have cost less then 50,000 R.
      Hope you get here sometime Paula, it’s a beautiful country!

    1. Cape Town has actually been our most expensive destination in a year and a half of full time travelling, mostly because of rents and the short supply of furnished, short-term apartments (we use Airbnb). Rent alone has been approx $1700 USD/mo, averaging out the 2 places we’ve been. Would be a lot cheaper anywhere else in SA but Cape Town has booming real estate prices.
      Other than that everything in line with Eastern Europe, maybe even cheaper. Bottles of wine in the $4-6 US range (generally), grocery shopping like Budapest (or Bangkok)…it’s really the rents that are absurd. Totally everything, monthly costs came to about $3000 USD excluding tours. Excluding rent, that’s in line with other places we’ve been.

  9. Wow, Frank – What a ‘marathon’ ! I felt completely bushed when I reached the end of the post – but at the same time, I was still wanting for more, and was sorry when it was over ! And your photos as always – terrific ! But where the hell did you find that cruddy, punk noise for the video ? At my stage of Life, something like “Drive” by The Cars would have made the “trip’ nicely …. ! (-: And we thought you two were “Slow Travellers ???
    It all seemed pretty ‘speedy to us . Whew … But must say you left very little unturned – a really great post of (almost , absolutely ) everything the Garden Route has to offer (assume theres more on the eastern end of the GR to come ?) So glad Lissette enjoyed her ‘intro’ to the game reserves . Now she must be biting at the bit to really visit one , no ? We’re so glad you had such an enjoyable and ‘full’ trip . Some really great experiences . Its is a lovely part of the world – a part we never get tired of (Knysna – especially in tourist season – excepted .. though. its really a pretty quiet ‘burg’ out of season ) . Dynamic post.

    1. ‘Drive” by the Cars? No, I like my driving music to keep me awake. Don’t worry Tony, listen to it about 10 times and you’ll be writing me back saying that you bought their album 🙂 And you’ll get a mohawk and be attending punk rock concerts at Foufounes Electriques!
      Actually you’re right about Buffelsdrift, Lissette got so excited seeing if she could spot animals on the other side of the lake. That giraffe was actually way across the lake and she somehow saw it in the distance. So yes, we’ll have to go on a real safari sometime next year. Plan at this point would be to come back next winter and see more of the northern part of the country.
      I’m actually sad to be leaving 🙁
      Thanks Tony.

  10. Aaaaah! The ostrich! Love them. Your pics are so awesome. I love the collage of birds. Looks like you had a great time.

    1. Thank you very much!! I can’t recommend South Africa more highly, we’ve been here almost 3 months and sad to be leaving 🙁

  11. Wow, what a read. Sure it’s a woolly mammoth of a post, but perfect for anyone heading to the area. So disappointed you didn’t try ostrich riding though Frank, I’d have enjoyed a laugh 🙂 We did the Garden Route a few years ago but stuck to the coast and missed out on a whole lot of what you did, our mistake it seems. It’s seriously much more stunning than I realised, and I’d love to drive those passes (granted, in a 4×4 and with hubbie behind the wheel). Driving in South Africa is mad on occasion but definitely the best way to get around. Agree that Knysna isn’t quite the town it’s made out to be, we stayed there a few days and quite frankly got a bit bored. Some nice forest trails though (Knysna is famous for it’s woods and the elephants that once roamed there). We’ll definitely be checking out Wilderness, and that game lodge (what a lunch!) on our next trip, thanks for doing all the research for us! Phew. Now time for that beer!

    1. I had an out with the ostrich riding – I was too heavy 🙂 The limit was 70 kg.
      Yes, we weren’t crazy about Knysna. Traffic bad, no breeze because of the protected lagoon, the waterfront is really kitchy…didn’t find it that pretty except for the heads. But we’re glad we chose a base on the Western end of the garden Route (George) and another on the Eastern end (Knysna) because it allowed us to break up the sightseeing. Would have been a lot of driving just using one base and having to commute back and forth. Just Knysna to the Crags took an hour so distances deceiving.
      Yes, if I have one recommendation it is to have dinner at Buffelsdrift. its actually a game lodge and they have accommodation within the reserve as well as tours to see the animals. It’s only about 6km out of Oudtshoorn and we’d actually consider sleeping there next time just for the experience. The place was FANTASTIC.

        1. We didn’t actually go into Plettenberg Bay, we drove right past it on the way to the attractions a bit further north-east. But I hear it’s very nice, more upscale than Knysna where we stayed, plus also closer to many of the more interesting sights on the garden Route. Knowing what we know now, we would have stayed in Plettenberg Bay (Or thereabouts) instead of Knysna because we found ourselves driving a lot. So I think you did well.

          There are also some nice attractions around George which I’ve mentioned. We enjoyed having that as a base as well (we used George and Knysna as bases). As I say, knowing what we know now, would have used George and Plettenberg Bay.

          2 months! Lucky you!

  12. Looks like you had a great road trip. Not my kind of travel, but l love, love, love the painted ostrich eggs as well as the ostriches and giraffe. I wouldn’t have them eat out of my hand though 🙂

    1. I thought you had dogs Kemkem? We passed the whole holiday getting licked by other people’s dogs. I had a Lab who spent 5 minutes licking the gap between my toes (felt pretty good too). It went back to licking its balls when it was fed up with that. What I’m saying is that compared to having a dog licking you all over being pecked by an ostrich is the most hygienic thing that’ll happen to you.
      You’re such a princess. Wait until you find out what we did next, we actually had you in mind 😉 You’ll freak out.

  13. Oh Wow, what a terrific road trip! I’d have to go diving in the Great White Shark cage… just too unusual of an opportunity to pass up. And it would scare the P out of me but you’re in the water anyway…

    1. I hope that P stands for pee and not poop 🙂
      I’d actually be more afraid of drowning under water than seeing a shark coming at me while protected by a cage.
      Thanks for taking the time to comment Rebecca.

  14. Australia has plenty of hills and mountains but mostly under 2200m. No real high ranges. Lots of deadly creatures but most of them are shy and avoid humans. SA would be similar climate and the beaches look the same. Australia has about 5000 great beaches to choose from. I met a Frenchman who drove around the entire country twice. That is some effort.

    1. Do you have those kinds of Mountain Ranges in Australia? I know about the Blue Mountains but generally mostly flat, no?
      Yeah, I think I’m more afraid of Australian animals than African. Seems everything, on both land and ocean, will kill you in Australia.
      But I think you are right there are many similarities. South Africans are tough and have adapted to the environment: very sports orientated, friendly, many (especially in the Karoo) blast around in their pickups…they actually remind me of most Australians I’ve ever known.

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