The Garden Route is a seemingly mythical stretch of coastline in South Africa stretching about 400 miles from Cape Town east along the Indian Ocean. This stretch is known as a surfer’s paradise offering bay after bay of relatively warm waters abutting sleepy seaside towns where ones biggest worry is when to sleep. But since we don’t surf and I happen to be from South Florida, which makes me a spoiled little brat when it comes to all these world class beaches we keep coming across, we skipped most of the Garden Route.
The one big Garden Route activity we were sure not to miss was the Tsitsikamma National Park. As we hadn’t arranged to hike the five day Otter trail in advance in Tsitsikamma NP we were only able to spend a night there gazing at the stars, watching seals and dolphins, and hiking along some of the most stunningly violent coastline we’d ever seen.
A trip inland from the Garden Route to the Cango Caves yielded us one of the best spelunking experiences possible. These caves are hundreds of thousands of years old and are amongst the biggest in the world. The most amazing part is that they are still growing and as a result the vast majority of the known cave system is still unexplored. The reason that this tour was so wonderful was that there was an adventure option where we were able to go deeper and crawl through small little spaces, getting our clothes snagged and making us wish we’d skipped that last cookie. It was quite a workout and gave us a profound respect for the people who actually do explore caves rather than just take tours (that would be us) of big caverns. Sure swimming through the caves in Guatemala was probably more memorable but this was still pretty darn cool.
After the caves we went to the ostrich farm, although you’ll have to wait till tomorrow to see those videos.
It was in George where we most enjoyed the Garden Route while making good on an invitation we received while in Bariloche, Argentina. While we were with them we were welcomed in as one of their own, joining them on the morning bike ride, for a picnic at the beach which included ocean surfing kayaks, visiting the local market, and grilling at the local park. The most important thing we did however, was debating the merits of the peanut butter and jelly sandwich against the peanut butter and syrup sandwich…
Despite beginning the weekend with a hurt foot, (I’d had a plantar’s wart removed the day prior) banging my nose with a paddle (everyone agreed that it was actually Jill beating me) while surfing, and having a poisonous (we’re not sure so we decided it must be poisonous) snake swim toward us while we were paddling in the river, we had an absolutely wonderful time. Its times like these that we most value at this point in our travel. Not because these are things we could never have done on our own but because these are the experiences which leave us the fondest memories possible of a place. Its also good to feel at “home” once in awhile too!