Driving the Garden Route

Following a wonderful 4 days in Cape Town and checking off a major bucket list item, it was time to explore the Western Cape via the Garden Route. We set off early in the morning without a concrete destination, except for a vague understanding that we wanted to end the evening somewhere between Mossel Bay and Knysna, since that would break up our drive nicely for our safari at Shamwari Game Reserve (outside of Port Elizabeth).

The drive from Cape Town to Mossel Bay via N2 had some majestic views, causing me to pull over to the side of the road to snap a few shots. Along the way I introduced Amanda to Tim Ferriss’ podcasts, and ultimately the Four Hour Work Week audio book on the drive. I’m a big fan of Tim Ferriss, for some reason I hadn’t gotten into his stuff until February of 2015, but at this point I’m officially drinking the Kool Aid.

After 4 hours along the Garden Route, our first stop was Mossel Bay. We found a great restaurant called Kaai 4 Braai not too far from the city center and settled down for a meal on the bay. For those of you that don’t know what a Braai is, it’s the South African word for a barbecue. I had an amazing Roosterkoek w/ Biltong and Cheese. Essentially a grilled cheese with a meat jerky (Beef, Kudu, Springbok, etc.). We decided to keep moving after that meal and moved east to Wilderness which isn’t too far from Knysna. We were given a great tip by a woman who worked at the restaurant that we should check out the Map of Africa Lookout in Wilderness (named for the resemblance to the map of Africa when seen from above). We arrived at dusk, and there was nobody there to spoil the pristine view.

Wilderness is a small town with only a few restaurants and hotels, so we decided to keep moving and made our way for another hour to Knysna for the evening.

We spent the evening at a non-descript bed and breakfast in a residential area. Not crazy about the bed and breakfast I hopped on hotels.com and found a great deal at the Conrad Pezula for $130. This was easily one of the nicest hotels I’ve stayed at in all of my travels, so that was an unexpected treat.

We had a fantastic breakfast at East Head Cafe with an even better view, overlooking the Knysna Heads, and followed that up with lunch at a great bakery in town, called Ile De Pain. To split up the day and get away from the heat and explore a little we went for a hike along the Jubilee Creek Waterfall Trail. The hike was nice, but temper your expectations because it’s not much of a ‘waterfall’. We got lost looking for the Noetzie Castle and ended up heading back to the hotel to relax and catch a magnificent sunset. To close out our time in Knysna we ate at Zachary’s located within the hotel. We both liked our meals very much, except for the fact that later that evening I got food poisoning. The food poisoning lasted for roughly 12 hours, enough to make my 4 hour drive to Shamwari Game Reserve an awful experience.

I wish we had more time to explore and get lost along the way. I would surely make this trip again and suggest if you’re looking to spend some time in South Africa that you give the Garden Route and its surrounding towns a good long look.