Unlike most african countries, safari is not the only and most interesting experience in South Africa. A 300 km stretch of south-western coast called Garden Route stays high on the must-see list for those going here. Technically it counts from Mossel Bay to Stormsriver. But in fact when you travel the country most likely you’ll be covering the way from Cape Town to Port Elizabeth or vice versa.
My first stop on the way from Cape Town was Wilderness, a small coastal village in Western Cape. I have stayed in Wilderness Beach House just a few minutes from the ocean and Kaaimans Bridge. It is a paradise for surfers and paragliders. But if even if you do neither it is a peaceful place with a few hikes in Wilderness National Park nearby and just relaxing views of the ocean. If you go swimming be careful, currents are strong.
At some point in time there was a train running from George to Knysna with a stop in Wilderness. Not anymore. Due to landslide it was stopped and not restored… The nearby bridge leads to another bay and a nice cave where you can meet some guys living right inside of it :)
I have spent just one day here, which was enough to do half-day hiking, wonder around and enjoy the place. If you like doing nothing you can easily spent more :)
The next stop after Wilderness was Stormsriver. Due to long delay of my shuttle bus I arrived to the hostel late at the night and didn’t have any chance to explore surroundings on the same day. Dijembe Backpackers hostel where I stayed looked like den in the darkness of the night. However in the morning it transformed into nice and cozy place. Really recommended, the only place where I met real horse at reception, unfortunately no photos left :)
The following day was fully packed with activities. So I can recommend spending maybe two days at this place if you are into hiking or biking. The first thing on my todo list was a bungy jump, highest in the world bridge based bungy at that time — the height of bridge is 216 meters. The company that organises the jumps performed everything at excellent level, I didn’t fill insecure at any point of the process. By the end of the trip I can say that it was the most exciting experience of the whole trip!
Right after the jump I have rented a bicycle and left for Tsitsikamma National Park. The bicycle trail that leads into the park goes onto the opposite side of the gorge comparing to bus tours, so if you’d like to descend all the way to suspension bridge allow yourself a full day.
Leaving Stormsriver in the evening I reached Port Elizabeth around 10 pm. One of the main points that I wanted to visit in Port Elizabeth was Cape Recife National Park. And I wanted to go there for sunrise, so the only option was an Uber ride. By the way Uber is relatively cheap in South Africa so I used it a lot.
At the time I arrived to the gate of the park it was still closed, so I had to climb the fence and follow all the way to the coast by foot :) Luckily the views of sunrise were rewarding!
Rest of the day in Port Elizabeth were spent just wondering around the ocean shore. My initial plan included one more day in Port Elizabeth in order to see Colchester sand dunes. However I had to change my plans as I found a tour to Lesotho that I wanted to do and only possible date of the tour forced me to get a flight to Durban. Check my report about Kingdom in the Sky, which is a second name of Lesotho!
Port Elizabeth is not technically a part of Garden Route, but being one of the big cities on the route most likely you will finish in this spot. My following route lead to Johannesburg and I made one more small stop in a town called Howick. There is nothing special there… except an amazing waterfall :)
And as a final part here is a short video about the trip to South Africa…