Garden Route to the Eastern Cape

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The Garden Route extends from Mossel Bay in the Western Cape to the Storms River in the Eastern Cape.  The Kaaiman’s River Pass is one of many passes on the Garden Route on the way to the Wilderness region.  It is the last pass before reaching this famous nature reserve.  At the bottom of the Kaaiman’s River Pass is the black Kaaiman’s River.

 

This is a popular destination for hiking and canoeing.  The nearest towns are George and Knysna.  The self-catering cottages in the photo can be rented.

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View of Wilderness area

The Wilderness National Park is in the heart of the Garden Route and is a collection of rivers, lakes, estuaries and beaches.

We travelled on through the busy town of Sedgefield on our way to the beautiful Buffelsbaai.  To reach the hamlet of Buffelsbaai (or Buffalo Bay) which is between Knysna and Sedgefield, one has to pass through the Goukamma Nature Reserve and Marine Protected Area.    There are some permanent residents, but most of the cottages are owned by people who use them during holiday season or rent them out when not in use.  As it was a few days before Christmas, this small village was buzzing and the beach was full of holiday makers.  During the rest of the year it is peaceful and often rather deserted. There are no hotels and only one restaurant in Bufflesbaai.  The Deck Restaurant has magnificent views and you will enjoy a cold drink or ice cream there.  Do not expect good food, however, as this is purely a fast food restaurant and they have no competition to keep there standards high.

Knysna was the next town on our trip through the Garden Route.  The N2 (main highway) passes right through the centre of the popular town and thus causes it be be very busy and congested, especially in December.  Although Knysna has 51 000 permanent inhabitants, the number of people who are drawn to the popular resort causes the population to explode during the summer holidays.

We travelled through Knysna and into the Eastern Cape.  We stopped at the Paul Sauer bridge to refuel and have some lunch.  This is a concrete arch bridge that spans the Storms River in the Eastern Cape.  The views from the bridge are incredible.  It is worth stopping to explore the paths below the bridge.

Jeffreys Bay in the Eastern Cape is known worldwide for its wonderful surf.  It is considered the no 2 spot in the world for surfing.  We stayed in Funky Town which is four star self-catering accommodation that is an experience in itself.  It is filled with funky surf lore and art and is spotless and well run.

We had a wonderful seafood meal at Kitchen Windows Beach Restaurant overlooking the sea.  The restaurant got its name because two brothers, Andy and Corky Thuysman, used to look out of the kitchen windows of their aunt’s house to see if the surf was ready.  This part of the beach became known as Kitchen Windows.

When in Jeffreys Bay try to avoid the franchise fast food places and explore the quaint local eateries.  We had breakfast at this cute beachfront restaurant called Tasty Table.  The only problem was that the coffee was cold, but besides that they served a lovely breakfast and it is a joy looking around the shop.

Jeffreys Bay was a hippie surf paradise in the 1960’s and 70’s.  If you are a keen surfer or simply want to get away from a busy life, this is the place to spend a holiday.  Jeffreys Bay is a fast growing urban centre today, however, it still has a run down hippie feel about it.

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