Garden Route’s winding roads to Eden of old
Although winter’s bite still seems to be lingering in springtime, summer is on the way, bringing with it all the hustle and bustle of holiday-makers, caravans, and the promise of mistletoed adventure.
The Southern Cape is a year-round holiday hotspot attracting both local and international tourists to the lazy beaches, adrenaline filled entertainment and glorious sunsets. No wonder the district municipality is called Eden, for the Garden Route’s attraction lies in much more than merely ‘places to go and things to do’. The beauty of this Eden lies in the diversity of opportunities there are to have a great time – whether you need to relax and take a load off or, to quote The Sound of Music, ‘climb every mountain’.
The name Garden Route is quite simple to understand once you cross its borders. Tall indigenous forests, amber-coloured rivers and white sandy beaches offset by the towering mountains that fence this beautiful garden, the varied ecology of the lush landscapes covering everything from the pre-Karoo wilderness to mountain and oceanscapes dotted by lakes and lagoons along the coast gives us a glorious glimpse of the splendour that must have graced the Garden of Eden. Its temperate climate is the mildest in South Africa, and according to the Guinness Book of Records, it has the second mildest climate in the world after Hawaii.
For the nature lover, this is a spectacular place to visit with no less than 10 nature reserves as well as unique marine reserves, home to soft coral reefs, dolphins and a host of other marine life. The various bays along the coast make for great whale watching, and the abundance of seals in the area make for excellent shark spotting.
Adventure seekers couldn’t be in a better spot. Between the world’s highest bridge bungee (216m) at Bloukrans River, paragliding past mountains and oceans, navigating the Otter trail hiking route or shark cage diving in Mossel Bay, your holiday will need a holiday after so much excitement. Sporting enthusiasts needn’t take a back seat here as there is so much to choose from, with immaculate golf courses and winding single tracks through mountains and forests to name a few.
Farmer’s markets, fresh produce and friendly locals beckon visitors back year after year, and then we haven’t even touched on the Fynbos Gin, the craft beers, award-winning Port or the wonderful wines and wineries the area offers.
Choosing a place to stay might prove difficult as the options are endless. Caravan, camp, B&B, backpack, hotel or spa, you will find exactly what your heart desires here. Wake up with the ocean in your ears or in the immense silence of the forest punctuated by the cry of a Knysna Loerie.
From Oudtshoorn to Victoria Bay, Calitzdorp to Stormsriver and Tsitsikamma, the Garden Route has an overabundance of things to offer avid travellers from those looking for an escape from the rush to those in search of the ultimate rush.
There simply isn’t enough prose to do the Garden Route justice. You have to experience it for yourself. So whether you walk, run, dive, cruise, lounge, jump, dangle, daydream or dawdle, the Garden Route is the perfect place to do it.