THE GARDEN ROUTE CONTINUES1
May 5, 2014 by DAVE JACK
After a stop in Knysna we continue on our trip along the Garden Route to get to Mossel Bay which as I said previously for me the end of the Garden Route although officially is isn’t.
The entire route from Knysna to Mossel Bay is a scenic paradise and the next town one comes to is Sedgefield which proudly claims to be “The Slowest Town in South Africa” and as you come into the little town a large board tells you this.
Not a great deal happens in Sedgefield and apart from one or two eating places not much to stop for unless you are fascinated by vintage and veteran cars. As you travel from Knysna, not long after you enter Sedgefield and on your right hand side is a fascinating “motor dealer” specialising in old cars and when last there I spent a very happy hour or more looking at everything they had on display and all the while battling to keep my credit card hidden in my pocket. The temptation was great though.
After dragging myself away from the beauty of some of these old cars (both American and European) we make our way further south being aware of all the speed cameras on that road which are actually a benefit in slowing you down to look at the scenery.
Next we get to Wilderness with its lovely beaches where you’ll find people enjoying walks along the white sand. Lots of eating places as well as accommodation along the entire stretch between Knysna and Wilderness if you want to spend a day or two in that area.
After Wilderness we climb Kaaiman’s Pass that was badly damaged by storms some years ago but which has now been rebuilt into a better road than it was before the damage. The highlight of Kaaiman’s Pass is the viewpoint at the top overlooking Dolphin Point. Turn slightly to you left and the miles of white beaches of Wilderness I was talking about.
A short stop there to take in the splendour of it all and our journey continues until about 10kms before the town of George and a left turn off the N2 and you can work your way down to Victoria Bay. A cosy little bay offering a nice beach, surfing and snorkelling as well as accommodation. Victoria Bay is certainly worth more than one day if you want to sit and stare at the ocean with a good book. Relaxation!
Back onto the N2 and not far and you get to George which is the hub of the area with large shopping malls plenty of restaurants and accommodation. If “city life” is your “thing” it’s certainly worth stopping in George. The town sits below the Outeniqua Mountains and whilst no views of the sea, the mountains are equally spectacular.
George is also home to the famous Fancourt Golf Club that has seen some of golf’s big names playing on its magnificent greens and fairways.
George is also served by a small but efficient airport that was upgraded before the World Cup in 2010 and has flights in and out on a regular basis by more than three airlines and basically to destinations all around South Africa.
On the other side of the N2 before we head further south you will find such gems as Herold’s Bay and Oubaai, playground of some well-known people but let’s get back onto the N2 and head south.
The settlements of Klein Brak and Groot Brak and are on your left before you get to Mossel Bay but it’s the views that are fantastic. You come around a corner and in front of you in the distance is Mossel Bay but it is not only Mossel Bay that you are seeing. You also see the entire coastline from where you are all the way to Mossel Bay. Places to stop and photo opportunities as you travel towards these towns and it certainly is worth the stop for a while.
After soaking in the scenery we set off again heading for Mossel Bay and all it has to offer in the way of rest and relaxation and at the right time of the year some whale watching although seals and dolphins and be seen often.
Accommodation in Mossel Bay? Plenty of it from a couple of hotels to many of the more personal and intimate guesthouses in the area. One of my favourite places to stay is in Reebok and high on the hill overlooking the bay but not too far away from the sea to be able to have a good view of dolphins and whales when they come to visit.
One of the things that I have found in Mossel Bay is the friendliness of the people who live there, whether you are in a guesthouse, a restaurant or even a shop. To me Mossel Bay is a real “get away from it all” as long as you enjoy any of the festivals held there, ranging from motorcycle rallies to cultural events. It’s one of the few places in the country I know about where one can experience real Afrikaans culture and cooking!
Before you leave Mossel Bay and head off to wherever it is you are going next, there is one trip you must do. It’s a circular drive of around a little under 200kms and if you do it correctly it is an entire day’s outing.
Leave Mossel Bay and head up Robinson’s Pass to Oudtshoorn. Robinson’s Pass is very pretty with some very good views but not well known to many. Viewpoints for those photo opportunities on the way up the pass which has very few tight bends.
Over the top and you start to get views of Oudtshoorn in the distance and at the right time of year the wild proteas are in bloom (illegal to pick the flowers) and the pass is fantastic.
Down into Oudtshoorn where there is plenty to choose from in the way of restaurants. If you decide to start this circular route in Oudtshoorn instead of Mossel Bay there are literally hundreds of guesthouses and if you enjoy the arts the Klein Karoo Nationale Kunstefees (KKNK) takes place at the end of March.
Starting and finishing in Oudtshoorn can also be a good idea if you want to take in the Cango Caves I spoke about in an earlier blog.
Leave Oudtshoorn to complete the circular drive and it’s back to George leaving curious ostriches behind as you drive out towards the Outeniqua Pass with spectacular views and plenty of rest spots for those photos.
Down into George and back to Mossel Bay and the route is done.
If you have never been to this part of the country spend a day here or rush through it and you are not doing it justice and losing out on one of the nicest parts of South Africa
I have been fortunate as I have travelled this area more thsn once. Very beautiful.