There is something to be said about our "world in one country" and I
thought I would give you an idea of what you can see and do outside the boundaries of the Mother City of Cape Town.
Until a few years ago I was co-owner of Radio Travel Guide, that was also linked to Fine Music Radio (yes, I do appreciate good music!) and had a business in the Stellenbosch winelands that included graphic design, copy writing and marketing, and so produced many tourism and travel guides. I thought I could share with you, some of my accumulated knowledge about travel in our vast and diverse country.
Starting from Cape Town with its wonderful vistas over sea and vineyards, a journey over Sir Lowry's Pass takes you to the Overberg (Over the mountain) where the scenery changes dramatically. Here you treated to fields of golden wheat undulating in the wind for as far as the eye can see. The mountains are higher than our beloved Table Mountain and form a majestic backdrop to farmlands, rivers and streams.
This is the start of your 600-kilometer journey along the Garden Route; a mosaic of mysterious forests, lakelands, wetlands, pristine beaches and winding mountain passes, that is home to a myriad birds and wild flowers. Some 8 000 species of plant life and an abundance of bird and animal life can be found along this route.
Hermanus is a seaside town that doesn't fall strictly within the Garden
Route, but it is a beautiful town and a favourite destination for whale
watchers. Those mighty marine mammals, the Southern Right whales, frequent our coastline between July and late November each year, choosing to calf in the warm waters of the Indian Ocean, before returning to the icy waters of the Antarctic. Hermanus boasts the only whale-crier in the world, or so they say!
Just a little further is the seaside town of Malgas where the only manually operated ferry in the country can be boarded to cross the Breede River (Wide River).
Small towns along the way are charming and several of the guesthouses, B&Bs and self-catering accommodations are situated on farms in the district, making it a unique experience and a way of getting to know the locals better. About 160km into your journey, you can visit Cape Agulhas, the southernmost point of Africa, where the mighty Atlantic and Indian oceans meet. There are many small towns, seaside resorts and wildlife or game farms worth visiting along the way. Many visitors to our country are unaware that the Big five and other wild animals can be found throughout the Western and Eastern Cape.
Once you reach Mossel Bay (Mussel Bay), the Garden Route takes on a new and exciting scenic cloak, with endless stretches of pristine beaches to your right and majestic mountain ranges and forests to your left.
Photo By: Jacques Cronje
|From George it is worth a scenic 30-minute trip over the Outeniqua Mountains to the Karoo, known as the ostrich capital of the world. Many ostrich farms, ostrich products and "ostrich palaces" homes of the wealthy ostrich farmers of the 18th and 19th century.
Left Image is a typical scene in the Overberg with its wonderful mountain ranges, undulating hills and wheatfields.
Photo By: Anton Cronje
| Oudtshoorn is also home to the magnificent Cango Caves one of the world's natural wonders. Three systems of spectacular limestone caverns have been discovered,
covering a distance of 2 600 meters. There are also crocodile farms and cheetah outreach farms, where you can make friends with this most gentle, yet magnificent big cat that is on the endangered species list.
Left Image: Featherbed/Knysna Lagoon.
Back to George and on with the coastal Garden Route journey.
Once you reach the Wilderness and continue on to Knysna, Plettenberg Bay and the Tstsikamma Forest, the magic of the region envelopes your very being. It is indescribably beautiful.
There is a publication that is considered the best guide to the region,
that gives both mileage and travel time between towns from Cape Town to Tsitsikamma and beyond. It also gives accommodation outlets in each town, restaurants, tourist attractions, adventure sports, hiking trails, art routes, wine routes, game farms and game reserves, national parks and golfing routes. Also invaluable is information on requirements for visiting our country and information on everything from our currency to the cost of a phone call.
I immodestly admit to having designed and produced the first of these
120-page guides in 1995!
Next time I will take you on a journey through some of our game reserves that really are the experience of a lifetime. Only in Africa can you get this close to nature!
'Till then, totsiens en mooi bly.
(Goodbye and take care).