Part Two: Our Garden Route Experience
Day 5: Oudtshoorn to Knysna
This was the start of our Garden Route Experience. The drive to Knysna was an idyllic combination of snaking mountain passes, deep ravines, beaches, lagoons, rivers, lush vegetation, vibrant towns and of course the Indian Ocean.
Along the way we stopped at the lively town of Wilderness, where we enjoyed a cup of coffee and a walk next to the lagoon. We then continued our road trip toward the main town of Knysna.
Knysna has its own magic and captivating beauty. The modern waterfront development is located on the lagoon and is a popular attraction. Here we enjoyed lunch and of course the local delicatessen – oysters. Surrounded by water, expensive boats, shops and people, this place has a rhythm of its own.
After lunch and souvenir shopping, we drove to Bradach Manor, our home for the next two nights.
This place has spectacular views across the lagoon and many parts of the town.
After enjoying a relaxing afternoon at Bradach Manor we headed out for dinner. We decided to have dinner at a recommended seafood restaurant, 34 Degrees South. It turned out to be an excellent choice as the seafood was some of the best we ever tasted.
After a great night out we returned to Bradach Manor and retired for the night.
Day 6: Whale watching in Knysna
After a delicious breakfast we headed off to Thesens Island. This was the morning of our whale watching boat trip. Once every one was at the meeting point we were given life jackets and boarded the high speed catamaran. After the skippers welcome and briefing, he steered the boat toward the Knysna Heads and out to sea. It requires skill and experience to navigate the treacherous waters of the Knysna heads. Fortunately our skipper was skilled and experienced.
What a wonderful experience it was. We saw a group of four whales and it was amazing to watch them swim in the ocean, breach and flip their tails. We also saw whale prints that look like oil spills on the water. These water impressions are caused by the movement of the whales tail under the water. Whales were not the only sea creatures around. We saw a group of penguins and many sea birds. Did you know penguin can swim up to 18 km an hour? They enjoy to float out to sea and catch the tides back to shore.
On our way back to the harbor the skipper steered the boat between waves and rocks right to the entrance of the needle caves. This was a little scary but truly amazing. These pristine caves are only accessible by boat and takes some serious seamanship to get so close to the entrance.
We then made our way back though the heads and the safety of the harbor. After this exhilarating experience we enjoyed a light lunch and a soothing drink at one of the restaurants on Thesens Island.
We then headed back to Bradach Manor for our last night in Knysna. Late that afternoon we enjoyed a few drinks at the bar and played a few games of pool. Soon it was dinner time and bed time.
Day 7: Knysna, Tsitsikamma, Woodall
After a hearty breakfast we continued our road trip and made our way to the Tsitsikamma Nature Reserve. This is a place of breathtaking beauty. Rugged shore line, pristine beaches, wild sea waters, dense forests and mountainous terrain all come together to create this wonderland. Here you will find places like Natures Valley ans Storms River mouth. There are plenty of things to do including short hiking trails, canoeing and zip lining.
We only had time for lunch but vowed “we will be back” to experience this awesome and beautiful place more fully.
Once we had enjoyed our lunch we bought a few souvenirs at the small curio shop next to the restaurant. This shop has a comprehensive range of authentic gifts to choose from and we considered it one of the best curio shops we visited.
After taking some scenic photos we left Tsitsikamma behind and made our way to the Woodall farm lodge. We arrived at Woodall late afternoon. Everything was 5 star, from service to food, from rooms to amenities. Facilities include a gym and spa.
We enjoyed a drink on the patio which overlooks a small lake, rich in bird life. After drinks we were shown to our spacious and well appointed room. We even had our own private slash pool. That would be nice in summer.
Dinner was a 7 course feast.
Day 8: Addo Elephant Park
Today we went on a safari to the Addo National Park. We did expect to see elephants and were not disappointed. Apart from Elephants we saw Cape Buffalo, spotted Hyenas and a variety of Antelope. After our morning game drive we enjoyed lunch at one of the restaurants in the park. We returned to Woodall for our final night of the tour. We really enjoyed every minute of Woodall and wished we could stay another day but our tour had come to an end and it was time almost to go home. So we decided to retire for the night as we had an early departure in the morning
Day 9: Woodall to Port Elizabeth.
We made an early morning start as we had to drive to Port Elizabeth airport to and we also had to return the car we had rented for the trip. We did have time for a sit down breakfast so Woodall provides us with a packed breakfast.
Once at Port Elizabeth airport we sat down for a cup of coffee and discussed our tour and the various highlights.
Some things we will never forget include time spent in Cape Town, the two oceans, the whale watching boat trip, the beauty of the Garden Route and the true hospitality of the hosts at the various guesthouses.
Soon it was time to board for our fight back to Johannesburg.
Read our post regrading the first leg: