Thursday, May 15, 2014

The Garden Route

The true Garden Road is from George up until just before Port Elizabeth, along the South African East Coast. The stretch of road gives you mountain views on one side of the road, and for much of the way, sweeping white beaches and lapping ocean on the other. It is easy to see why it is labelled the most gorgeous roadtrip in the world!

Once we got onto N2 from our jaunt down the Cape, we realised that we would not quite start onto the famed Garden Route that first day of our roadtrip, based on the time. We started anticipating our location for nightfall, and pulled into Swellendam to find somewhere to stay for the evening.

Coming out of Swellendam in the morning with daylight, we discovered we were facing a great big mountain range, which was hidden the night before under the cover of darkness. From here, we followed the mountains on one side to eventually return to also having seaviews on the other.

We drove into and through each big town that appeared on the passing road signs, to have a look. We saw lighthouses, beach getaways, and regular cities. Then Wilderness came up.

I was keen to try and get lost in Wilderness, just to say we did, but upon dropping into the Tourist Information Centre, we discovered there actually was a lot we wanted to see!

We found the way through the bushland to get a vantage point of the Map Of Africa - a bend in the river below that actually looks like the continent. From this spot we also watched several skydivers take off from the mountain, and float down to the beach far below.

We then returned to the N2 with the wish to find somewhere beautiful for lunch. Knysna did not present anything for us and this desire, but Plettenburg Bay delivered!

Laura spotted a sign for a lunch spot, and we could not have asked for better - a great meal on the water's edge, with the mountains as the backdrop. Stunning white sand,

So many of the roads along this path were spectacular - sweeping views, breathtaking drops between mountains, steep climbs. And the very random abundance of pine and gumtree plantations!

We also got many laughs out of trying to pronounce the many town names along the way!

So impressed with this drive, I took the chance to do the return trip back to Cape Town along the same way, stopping at the places that stood out for me most the first time. This meant more time in Plettenburg Bay and Wilderness, which were both stunning spots for opposite reasons - one being the beach views, and one being the lush forest and sense of remoteness.

The Garden Route lived up to the hype for me, and with the knowledge that I only got to see some of the many treasures it holds along the towns along the way, there still remains a desire to return and do it again. I am sure I would never tire of exploring this roadtrip!

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