GARDEN ROUTE ROADTRIP: part 1

It all started with a little band from Colorado called The Lumineers. I absolutely love their music but sadly missed their concert when they came to South Africa about 3 years ago. But, as luck would have it, they decided to come back for another visit and I knew this was my chance to see them! Husband surprized me with tickets to their Cape Town show and that’s how this whole trip came about.

I started planning immediately. The more I planned the more I realised what a mammoth roadtrip we were undertaking and my excitement got a little overshadowed by nerves. This is a long time to be driving and we only had two and a half weeks to do it. Nevertheless, we were committed.

our final route:

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Thursday morning, 20 April, we woke up super early and hit the road for our first leg of the trip: Transkei / Coffee Bay. You can’t beat the Transkei. All the worries at home immediately disappear the moment you step your foot onto the beach sand. There’s a sense of freedom in the Transkei. I will admit (warn?), the locals are quite in your face with always trying to sell you ‘things’ or trying to be your tour guide etc. You just need to be firm with them from the word go and they will leave you alone. This works, most of the time…We only stayed for one night as we’ve spent lots of time in the Transkei before and rather kept our days for other places we haven’t been. We stayed at Coffee Shack which is a super awesome backpackers with really awesome facilities. Upon arrival we received a very welcome complimentary drink which we gulped down. If you decide to stay there, make sure you take the 8km hike to Hole in the Wall. Sadly we didn’t have time to do that but did manage a quick drive to this amazing beach.

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We set off the following day towards Hogsback which is inland. This place was our biggest surprize of the entire trip. We’ve never heard of it and am so glad we found it! What a magical place. Really. The backpackers we stayed at was called Away with the Fairies and what a delight this place was! Backpackers is such a winning form of accommodation. Its affordable, (we camped mostly), the facilities are great and you always meet the most interesting people. Our first night we arrived just before sunset and managed to get our camp going before complete darkness took over.

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We made a little braai and drank delicious wine before setting off for bed. It’s pretty much cold all year round so make sure you pack ALL your warm clothes. In the middle of the night I got woken up by footsteps which set me into a panic. We were the only campers so who’se fussing about our tent in the middle of the night! Then I heard the snorting and the grunting and the chewing of sticks. Pigs! We had wild pigs pay us a visit which was at first, terrifying because we shoved all our food in our tent (first mistake) but was also so excited because we had wild pigs sniffing around our tent. I did secretly wish for them to go about their business much further from our tent but they seemed to like our spot. The next morning we woke up and went on a little scavenging hunt looking for any signs of the pigs but couldn’t really notice anything. So instead we went and had breakfast at the most amazing view ever.

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We threw on our shoes and set about on an adventurous hike! It’s about 5 hours long and the walk back is mainly just on a dirt road which is very average but if you have the energy you can head back the way you came instead.

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This hike sapped all of my energy out of me and I was completely exhausted. Luckily, this place has the best spot to unwind and soak up all of their beauty after an exhausting day like we had:

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Jip, a real bath for you to enjoy any time of the day! Now I just need to make a point of how amazing this bath is: Husband is not a bather. He’s bathed once in the 7 years that I’ve know him and only because he had stitches in his leg and had no other choice. So getting him in the bath took a lot of persuasion (bullying) but once i got him in, I could not get him out. That’s how amazing it is.

After our amazing bath we felt completely rejuvenated and vibey, so we settled ourselves in next to the fire pit and had a couple of drinks. 8 hours later we found ourselves with two student Germans and a ginger Irish guy (best kind of Irish folk id say) with way too many drinks behind us and me nearly losing my wallet to the raging fire with about 50% of our holiday money inside it. Needless to say, the drive on the next day was a very very long drive.

Off to the next stop: Knysna! We took a very chilled drive to Knysna on the next day (for obvious reasons) and decided to stop over in P.E. for a quick bite to eat. This is a beautiful route to take and although the drive was a bit longer than we expected, we thoroughly enjoyed it. It’s an easy road to drive with loads to see. Our GPS deceived us however by taking us on a private road to the place we were staying at, only to arrive at a locked gate at the end of the road. This delayed us by an hour and we only got to our place after dark. The road did lead to us seeing a Caracal which is a very rare animal to see and it aaaalmost made up for the terrible road we’ve had to endure. What did make up for it, was the amazing place we stayed at! We stayed at Diepwalle which is in the Knysna Forest. You camp on wooden decks which has been erected in between the trees, so you are literally a couple of meters above ground, in and amongst the trees!

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What I loved about this place is that each deck has it’s own braai, bar counter area and electricity! I’m all about camping with electricity. It was a unique experience and I 100% recommend you pay this place a visit! Its only about 15mins to Knysna CBD as well. We spent two nights here. We decided not to do any of the hikes but rather go out into to the town and see what’s on offer. I must admit, I was slightly disappointed with Knysna. Don’t get me wrong, the place is exquisite with a very interesting landscape but I found it very commercial and 100% aimed at the foreign market. But if you do happen to find yourself in Knsyna, make sure you go to Il de Pain which is on Thesen Island for the most delicious food and pastries!

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We set off for Cape Town after Knysna which was such an awesome drive! There were loads of padstalletjies along the way. We stopped at a few to buy some homemade treats for our friends which we were staying with in Cape Town. If you have the time: stop at each and every one! They have so much character and you will guaranteed pick up some delicious treats for the rest of your trip.

I’ve decided to break this blog up into a few posts. So keep an eye out for part 2!

 

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