The Garden Route Begins Here...

Trip Start Aug 25, 2009
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Trip End Sep 07, 2009


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Flag of South Africa  , Eastern Cape,
Friday, September 4, 2009

Day 10, we started our Garden Route journey early in the morning at 7am. To our surprise, we can see the Table Mountain clearly this time… that tempted us to turn around to go up there. We kind of regretted why we didn't choose to stay in Cape Town that day. Because we're greedy, even if we stayed behind and managed to go to Table Mountain, we'll always be wondering the rest of our life how Garden Route looks like and how beautiful it is. That's us, the want-it-all couple. But we hold on to our decision as Sarah have to fly back to KL from Port Elizabeth tomorrow. The Garden Route is from Cape Town to Port Elizabeth and beyond. The stretch from Cape Town to Mossel Bay will be inland passing through a lot of greeneries while Mossel Bay to Port Elizabeth will be along the coastline. Originally Garden Route is meant for a minimum 3 day trip but we intend to cover maximum distance in shortest amount of time. Hence, we shorten it to 1 day… covering 1000km in 1 single day. That's optimization (craziness…). We skipped the stretch from Cape Town to Mussel Bay because Sarah wanted to go to Oudtshoorn, the Ostrich town where everybody's life is related to Ostrich. So we first go on the Cape Route 62 (famous for it's landscape of barren land and majestic mountain) to Oudtshoorn then join back Garden Route at Mossel Bay. The first stretch will be passing through mountains, pine farms, deep valleys and wineries. Make sure you always have your tank full cause petrol station is not something easy to come by in this area. Some of the petrol stations do accept credit card, it very much depends on your luck, so make sure you have enough cash as well. We arrived at Oudtshoorn at about 1pm and we went straight to Cango Ostrich Farm (http://www.cangoostrich.co.za/) and had our tour. The tour was very good… we learnt things like it took Ostriches more than 2000 years to migrate from Sahara to Oudtshoorn (from top of Africa to the bottom), they are farmed for their skin and meat (best red meat), ostrich egg is a cholesterol bom, breeding and etc. We even get to meet Betty the Friendly Ostrich (Ostriches are hostile by nature, she is the only friendly one so that spares her from becoming ostrich burger), feed and took picture with Betty. We even tried to Ostrich ride where you must weigh less than 75kg (if you're too heavy, the ostrich won't move) to ride and it's pretty horrible according to Sarah (see her video on the ride). You hold on the ostrich wings where they STOMP forward… that's pretty scary. Sarah managed to hold on the ostrich more than 15 sec while I only managed less than 10 sec.

After Oudtshoorn, we rush to our first stop on Garden Route, Mossel Bay. The place is famous for it's fresh lake grown mussel andd they claimed to be one of the best in the world. The scenery is also nice as well, most people overnight there before moving on with their journey. In Mossel Bay, we went to the light house and the view is great at the top of the hill. You can also get to feed the army of rock hyrax at the cliff, just remember that they have sharp teeth. By the time we reached Knysna, it already dawn. The view and the tranquility really blows all the stress and tiredness away. Driving at night is not recommended cause the wind is so strong that your car will be swaying most of the time. There's no light along the way and the road is winding cause it's in the mountain area. We reached Port Elizabeth around 10pm at night, enjoyed our meal at Nando's and Sarah get packed up for the return journey back home tomorrow.

Day 11, sending Sarah off to airport at 9am. Amazed that their airport does have dedicated firearms checkin… that's a WOW! Sarah wished that she could have stayed on longer cause she didn't realized that the following Monday is a public holiday so she don't need to go back that early… sob sob. After that, it's me and myself again. First I head out to check out the Summerstrand (strand is beach), get a coffee and have a stroll on the beach. It's packed with people, especially during weekends. After that, it's me and myself driving back to Knysna to stay for a night. This time I'm breaking my journey back to 2 legs, leg 1 Port Elizabeth to Knysna and leg 2 Knysna to Cape Town. Some may ask why didn't I return the car in Port Elizabeth and fly back, yes, it's entirely possible but you have to pay about R800++ additional cause you're returning the car at different places. So I thought, why not I just drive back instead and enjoy my drive in between.  I stopped by Aston Beach in Jeffrey's Bay and enjoyed my sunset there. I stayed at Island Vibe Hostel which is affordable and near to all the amenities.

Day 12, started early to cook my own Combo! 3 breakfast (bacon+egg+bread) then straight to The Heads, two great sandstone cliffs guarding the mouth of the lagoon which connects the estuary with the sea. A lookout has been erected on the Eastern Head, commanding spectacular views of the lagoon. The is a must for those who come to Knysna. After that, straight to Plattenburg Bay which I didn't managed to go yesterday. Originally christened "Bahia Formosa" (beautiful beach) by Spanish explorer, this is one the well known beach along Garden Route. Being at the beach early does has one advantage, there's no one there except me and a few surfer. Next stop, Wilderness. It's a long long stretch of beach without the crowd and strong wind. There's a place along the highway near Wilderness where you can stop and take a panaroma view of Wilderness (must go but watch out for it cause if you missed it, it'll be a long drive ahead before you can turn back).

I turned off the highway at Swellendam to go to L'Agulhas, the southern most tip of the Africa continent, not at Cape Point as many people believe The area from the turnoff till a small town called Bredasdorp are a vast fertile land. Along the way, you'll see huge if not enormous plains of wheat or canola. The way the wheat sway along the wind, it's just as if the wind was blowing on a piece of silk. The shadow of the cloud creates various shades of tone on the field. In Malaysia, the equivalent are the palm oil plantations along the highway. Wonder if Westerner will awe at the sight :). 30mins from Bredasdorp lies L'Agulhas… the town itself are just like those in travel magazine. There are benches along the entire coastline for you to sit there and enjoy the sun and sight. I wish Sarah was here with me… she would have love it. Upon reaching the southern most tip, you'll see a plaque declaring the separation of Indian Ocean (left) and Atlantic Ocean (right). According to some, if you look carefully, you'll see the difference between the two (to me, what the heck~). Also, don't get blown away by the strong wind there. I reached Cape Town around 7pm and of course, Cape Town is raining again… I stayed at Cape Town Backpacker again, for the convenience of course. The next day will be my last day in South Africa.


~By Philip
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Comments

vermaakjeanne
vermaakjeanne on

You've taken some great photos of SA. Love them!!

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