It was 3 years since we visited our family and friends in South Africa by the time we booked this trip! Needless to say, we were very excited to see them and the country again.
The Garden Route, on the South West coast of South Africa, is named for the diverse vegetation, lagoons and lakes along the coast and makes for a road trip with beautiful scenery, nature and wildlife. Along the way there is adventure, game and nature reserves, whale watching and good food!
We flew to Port Elizabeth from Cape Town in the late afternoon and rented a car at the airport. We stayed over at the Raddison Blu Hotel on Summerstrand and had a hearty dinner with some old friends who now lives in PE.
Since this was literally just a sleep over and starting point for our road trip, we did not explore Port Elizabeth much but had an amazing breakfast the next morning at a restaurant/bakery with lots of character, called Bocadillos.
Day 1 – We set off after our late breakfast and headed to the Tsitsikamma National Park and Storms River mouth. On the way there you can visit the Addo Elephant National Park, just 72 km from PE, or stop off at the famous surfers paradise, called Jeffrey’s Bay and smaller coastal towns, like the lovely St Francis Bay, known for it’s black and white buildings.
Lunch was at the Bloukrans Bridge above the Bloukrans River, it is the highest commercial bridge in the world from which you can bungee jump at 216 meters! We only ate, no jumping!
We drove through Nature’s Valley and continued to Plettenberg Bay. That evening we stayed over at the boutique Trogon House and Forest Spa, next to Monkeyland Primate Sanctuary. This place has a breathtaking treetop location, right in the Tsitsikamma forest.
We had drinks on the wooden deck by the pool during the afternoon and moved to the cozy fireplace in the evening. They have their own cook, who made us the most delicious Cape-Malay curry for dinner. I loved it there and it was a truly unique experience.
Day 2 – After a beautiful breakfast at Trogon House we drove to Knysna where we met up with a school friend for coffee at Mon Petit Pain Coffee shop and Deli a short distance from the Knysna Waterfront. Afterwards we spend some time at the curio shops by the Waterfront and hit the road again, to Sedgefield and Wilderness, where we stopped for lunch.
Eventually we drove through Heroldsbaai and spend the evening at Oubaai Hotel Golf and Spa. Late afternoon we took a stroll through the property and golf course, but the weather had turned rather cold on us and it even started to drizzle. We ordered room service that evening and had a lovely, cosy dinner and drinks in our huge room.
On Day 3 after breakfast we took a small detour to drive through George, the Garden Route’s largest city, then Groot Brak river and Klein Brak river and Hartenbos, a popular holiday resort.
In Mossel Bay we stopped for a quick coffee then visited a small town nearby, called Danabaai. My Aunt relocated here since we left South Africa. It was lovely to see her again and sad to leave. This time we went a little more inland, to Albertinia.
We stayed at the spectacular Garden Route Game Lodge that evening, in a private bush chalet. This game reserve has the Big 5 as well as abundant birdlife and other animals.
It was cold, and raining, so we did not take part in the free safari ride included in our package, it was in open Landrovers! Instead we headed to the main lodge for pre-dinner drinks by the fire. Some other guests DID go on the safari and returned freezing and wet. I felt really sorry for them!
Dinner at the Serengeti’s restaurant was an African-style buffet, with chefs on hand, to prepare steaks to your liking. Breakfast there was equally enjoyable. A visit to this private game reserve is definite recommendation from me!
Day 4 – From Albertinia we continued inland, on the World famous Route 62, to a quaint little town, called Montagu.
The guest house we stayed at was a delight! Montagu Vines is only 1 km from the city centre, but it is rural, quiet and peaceful in the gardens, overlooking their own olive grove.
You can walk to all the restaurants and we had some great woodfired pizzas at Ye Olde Tavern. Honestly, this guest house comes highly reccommended. The staff, property, gardens and breakfast were top quality.
Day 5 – We travelled through some beautiful wine country, including Robertson, Villiersdorp and Franschoek on our way to Stellenbosch. We met up with family at the stunning Delair Graff Estate for a magnificent lunch.
They also offer luxury accommodation at the Lodge and Spa. The views were spectacular and Laurence Graff’s personal art collection is on display throughout the Estate and gardens.
Read about our one day road trip through the Boland area of South Africa. Paarl, Wellington up to Darling and then back down the West Coast, including Yzerfontein, Melkbosstrand and Bloubergstrand to Cape Town.
We had such an unforgettable time in the Garden Route. I really want to urge you all to go there and experience something different!
Always be careful and aware of your surroundings when visiting South Africa.
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