The Garden Route, South Africa
“The Garden Route blows”
The Garden Route doesn’t blow. Not at all. But I don’t think it’s the “be all and end all” of a trip to South Africa. To be quite honest I enjoyed the Wild Coast a lot more, but that’s the next blog post so I’ll leave it at that for the moment. (God, I’m so behind…)
What is The Garden Route?
“The Garden Route is a 300 km stretch of the south-western coast of South Africa which extends from Mossel Bay in the Western Cape to the Storms River in the Eastern Cape.” Apparently the name is given because if the diversity in nature and the vast amount of lagoons/lakes you find along the route.
Everybody got that? Ok, so we’re good.
So, my “Garden Route”-adventure started when I departed Cape Town on the BazBus around April 28th… My first leg of the trip was non-stop to Mossel Bay and after that I stayed a few days at almost every place the BazBus stops… Which turned out to be a bit much, but how can one know before one tries, right? 🙂 True to form I’m gonna go through the places I stayed and you’re gonna read it all because you’re at work and really bored. Here we go:
I told one of my BazBus-comrades that I was staying three nights in Mossel Bay and she nearly fainted. “Why? There’s NOTHING to do there. You’ll be so bored.”
She was wrong 😉 Mossel Bay was one of my favourite places on the whole Garden Route. It’s a smaller place, sure but it has a terrific beach, shark cage diving and a hostel that used to be a train(!). In addition to that you can literally have MINUTES of fun in the “Bartolomeu Dias Museum”, so don’t hesitate, book now!
Sarcasm over the museum aside though, Mossel Bay is perfect if you want to cage dive with sharks, relax and read a book or just chill on the beach. I got myself a small single compartment in the Santos Express, the hostel that used to be a train, and I felt a bit like James Bond. The train is places right alongside Santos Beach and with my one full day cage diving with sharks I killed 3,5 days there easy-peasy.
The Santos Express Hostel
Bartomoleu Dias Museum
Shark Cage Diving (woop woop!)
George is supposedly the largest city and “something-something center of the Garden Route”. I spent two days there cuddling a cat.
The way the BazBus works there are given days it doesn’t run so you run the risk of having to stay somewhere two nights instead of one or, worst case, either one night or three nights… #LeSigh
Apparently there’s a railway museum, some churches and other local gems you can go see in George. The highlight is no doubt “Caledon street” which holds the (dubious) honour of being “the most beautiful street in George”.
Yeah, the cat was named Pansy.
Wilderness was so overhyped by everyone I talked to that I ended up thinking it was “meh”… I’ll admit it didn’t help that the hostel was pretty “meh” and my food got stolen out of the fridge there (perfect place for it as there’s not exactly a shop on every corner there), but everything about Wilderness was “ok” to me. The scenery is beautiful, but not spectacular. The village was cute, but nothing I haven’t seen many other places. The hikes I went on were cool enough…
Some highlights though, I met some really cool people there (“Second Schmoogle”, Vivienne) 😉 The Food Market in Sedgefield was pretty good, I got a taste of the best cheesecake in South Africa (5 years in a row) and the dinner made by the guy at the hostel was superb, he deserves credit… And to be fair, a lot of the people I met later on the BazBus-route really thought Wilderness was top-notch.
It takes two to tango, Wilderness might just not have had the right vibe for me I guess…
I had my birthday in Knysna. With cake. It was good.
Knysna was an ok place, nothing spectacular. I spent one day too many there because of the BazBus, but it was ok… Funnily enogh I met another Norwegian here (not often that happens), her name is Malene and she knows my cousins back in Molde(!) The world is so small…
There are some good hikes apparently, but I opted for the historical path in Knysna and went to see the mini-waterfront, local market and old church (old St. George really gets around). Good times.
There’s an awesome beach and you can go on a boat to see whales while and Indian guy vomits behind you. WoopWoop!
I celebrated Norway’s National Day in the Crags. With cake. It was good.
I stayed at the Wild Spirit Lodge. I was told it was so hippie I would die if I stayed more than a day, but I found it to be really nice. There was only 1-2 super-hippies, you know, the kind of people who not-so-silently looks down their nose at people they don’t deem hippie enough. The rest were super friendly people and the food was really good. I went for some hikes, saw another one of South-Africas “big trees” and met Danielle, saw the sunset and a miniature God’s Window in the woods. This place had a good vibe.
Last stop on the Garden Route! And where the Finnish guy tried to kill me by telling me the can of stew “wasn’t spicy”.. I almost died during dinner…
I was getting a bit fed up of the same landscape and “Garden Route”-vibe by this point, to be perfectly honest, but I enjoyed my days in Tsitsikamma. Went for a canopy tour (going from treetop to treetop on wires) and a segway tour in the woods to see my third “Big Tree” (what is UP with all these local “big trees”, South Africa, damn!)
Don’t judge me. I bet you’ve never been on a segway. It’s awesome. Me 1 – 0 You
So there you have it. An incredibly long-winded post about my trip from Mossel Bay to Storm’s River. I’m guessing nobody read this far, but at least this means when the Alzheimers kicks in I’ll be able to read it myself and remember #GoodTimes 🙂