Garden Route #1

We were looking forward to the sea and the wilder coastline along the Garden Route and our first leg took us to Hermanus. The small town, which is about two hours from Cape Town, is famous for its whale sightings. The Southern right Whales, as well as Humpback Whales, gather along the coast from June each year to mate and give birth. Since the sea in front of Hermanus drops steeply quite fast, one can observe the animals with some luck from the shore very well.

best time for whale watching

From end of August to mid-October is the best time, we were told. Those who want intense encounters can book one of the many whale tours offered, where you go out to sea in boats to look for the whales. Often there are interactions with the animals and there are lasting impressions with the guests. With a little luck, one can also see great white sharks, dolphins and, in rarer cases, orcas during these tours, which last several hours. 

Continue on the Garden Route to Cape Agulhas

If you follow the coastal road, you first reach Gans Baai, pass the Grootbos Nature Reserve – known to many as the venue for the Sing my Song series – and can then drive to the southernmost point of Africa, Cape Agulhas. This is where the Indian Ocean meets the Atlantic. The real place is probably further north towards Cape Town but at Cape Agulhas stands the monument where countless people have photographed themselves and continue to do so every day. Of course we didn’t let ourselves miss it and unpacked the tripod.

A surprise at Strus Baai

In the immediate vicinity is the small town of Strus Baai. We ate fish there at the harbor and it was a double success. On the one hand, the crayfish tails that Guido chose and the fresh fish that Sonja ate were of very good quality. Secondly, something seems to have changed for the better with Sonja: eating salt water fish no longer triggered an allergy. She has now eaten fish several times and has stopped taking her vitamin supplements and the red pustules and skin reactions have stopped. We are very happy about this!

We meet Rohan and Tracy in George

After an overnight stay at the highly recommended Umshanti Camp near Swellendam, our way led us to Rohan and Tracy in George. They are one of the couples we met in Bitterpan in the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park. They invited us to visit them when we were in the area. We were set for a fun evening but what awaited us was beyond imagination. In total, we enjoyed their hospitality for three nights and stayed in their cottage, which is available for guests next to their house.

They pampered us like kings

We were taken care of all around, were allowed to contribute almost nothing and were overwhelmed with friendliness, hospitality and warmth. The time with the two was absolutely terrific. It was marked by deep conversations and very good food. Tracy took the time and showed us a little of the surroundings – such as the Map of Africa in Wilderness, took us to a great farmer’s market with top products and in conclusion we would like to take our hats off and thank them for the perfect days from the bottom of our hearts. On a scale of 1-10, the two have earned an 11!

Always along the coast towards Port Elizabeth

Sometimes it is really crazy how fast things happen in life, but we quickly took them into our hearts and would be very happy to see them again. After it was time to say goodbye and we left their place, we shimmied along the coast, via Knysna, Plettenberg Bay, Tsitsikamma, St. Francis Bay to Port Elizabeth. In the Garden Route National Park we stayed several nights in Storm River Mouth directly at the sea. The seagull Jonathan helped us to look for whales near the coast (picture 1). We were lucky to spot a total of seven animals not far from the coast.

Originally we planned to meet Mark and Elsa – the other couple we met in Bitterpan – in Port Elizabeth. Mark was on his way to Knysna and told us when he would be back – so we decided for a short trip to the Addo Elephant National Park. We will report about that in the next article.

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