The Garden route, Baviaanskloof and the Transkei Posted januari 28, 2011 by Administrator


After charging the battery for a day, we could finally hit the road! We checked out from the Fritz hotel and drove the beautiful coastal route through Chapmans Peak to Kommetjie which is on the Peninsula. While checking in at a campsite we met Hylton and Jane who invited us to spend the night at their holiday home and so we did. This lovely couple was spending their holiday in Kommetjie together with their son Darren. Hylton and Darren are planning to do the same overland trip in 3 years. So we had a lot to talk about.

Hylton took us out for crayfishing which was quite an experience. In order to catch the crayfish, you throw out a fishing net with bait on different spots and you go check them after 10/15 minutes. If you catch some, you have to measure them, since you’re only allowed to take the bigger ones. The ones we caught we had for lunch and they were absolutely delicious!

On Christmas day we went to Cape Point and ‘Kaap de Goede Hoop’. Quite touristic, but worth going there. Although it was a beautiful sunny day, there was a strong southeasterly wind also known as the ‘’Cape Doctor’’.

After seeing the penguins at Boulders Bay we followed the coastline to Kleinmond and Hermanus. Hermanus is being considered as the world’s best land-based whale-watching destination. Unfortunately we didn’t see any, since it wasn’t the right season.

From here we drove the Garden Route. The Garden Route is South Africa’s most internationally renowned destination after Cape Town and Kruger National Park. We spent some time together with Dutch acquaintances (Jet & family) in Stilbaai and celebrated New Years Eve with total strangers on a beautiful spot on a beach cliff with amazing view of the ocean. Camp fire, food, wine, what more do you want?

From Knysna we took the Prince Alfred’s pass and camped at De Vlugt. The owner of the campsite, Katot, made it an enjoyable place. He built outdoor flush toilets and even outdoor showers with hot water! You just had to light the paraffin. The next day we continued towards the Baviaanskloof. This 192.000 hectare conservation area, recently awarded World Heritage Site status, is home to an amazing diversity of habitat types and species. This 4WD route is a nature lover’s paradise which we really enjoyed. We crossed some small rivers, we made a beautiful walk, and we saw baboons, bucks and even turtles crossing the road. We wanted to camp in the park, but since it was already past 6pm everything was closed and it seemed we had to book up front anyway. There was no other option then just get out of the park, but the rules are that you have to exit the park at 6pm or just before sunset. Since it was already past 6pm we were quite in a hurry to get out in time. Just before exiting the park we had to tow a Kia Pride out of the mud. Finally we managed to drive out the park at 8.15pm.

The following day we drove to Jeffreys Bay and sat for a while at Potters Place, to do some (online) work. We stayed for a couple of nights at the next town, St. Francis Bay, where overlanders Bryan & Diana & family were spending their holidays. We met them 2 weeks earlier on the Peninsula and caught up again here. Bryan & Diana drove from Cape Town to Northern Cape with their Landy and just came back a year ago. So they had a lot of information to share! It’s great to meet fellow travelers.

From there we drove to Port Elizabeth, also called ‘PE’ where we met up with Malcolm. We came in contact through Jeff & Juliette who met him in Darwin last year. Malcolm showed us everything there was to see in PE, we went to visit Addo National Park, a 164.000 hectares of wildlife viewing and, for the first time, saw elephants up close & personal! It was really amazing! Besides elephants we spotted lions, zebra’s, kudu’s, bucks, tortoises, monkeys and warthogs.

We also went to visit Seaview Game Park, where we saw some lions and their cubs. Understandable they call them the King of the Jungle.

From ‘PE’ we drove to Kenton-on-Sea, where we climbed on the cliffs and watched the dolphins passing by. We ended up staying in a small village called Kasouga. To enter the village you had to go through a security gate. We camped here for 2 nights and enjoyed swimming in the salty lake and walking the sand dunes.

We drove via (the ugly town) East-London to The Wild Coast, also known as the Transkei, home of the Xhosa people. The scenery is different. Instead of fancy holiday homes, you’ll see little round houses painted in colorful colors. After spending a night at Yellowwood Forest Campsite in Morgan’s Bay, where we enjoyed their famous wood-fired pizzas we drove all the way up to Port Shepstone. It took us 9 hours and noticed the change of the humidity in the air.

The next day we arrived in Durban, which lies in Kwazulu-Natal and is the third-largest city of South-Africa. Durban is known for its mix of colors and creeds and is home to a large concentration of Indian people.

Once again we are staying with Hylton, Jane and Darren who live in Durban. They invited us to stay with them and even brought a new cover for our roof tent with them from Cape Town. Hylton and Darren are helping Don to prepare the car for our Africa Expedition at the moment. They are such a great help!

This weekend we’ll take the Sani Pass (4WD only) into Lesotho, which is a small country within South-Africa.