The Garden Route, South Africa. Feb 2023

Poor Omah, our trusty South African local guide got fed up of us asking ‘are we on the garden route yet?’ I think. The reality was that the majority of our journey from Cape Town to Knysna wasn’t on ‘the garden route’- but it really didn’t matter. The scenery rivalled the Peruvian Andes. We travelled through spectacular mountain ranges and past fields and fields of farm lands. We saw wild ostrich’s roaming and had one of the best coffees I’ve ever had en route.

The journey to Knysna by coach was long- but truly spectacular. As we neared the start of the Garden route, we visited an ostrich farm. We were presented with a delicious bbq (ostrich obviously!) and then went to meet some of the ostrich’s- we even got to feed them.

Being up close to an ostrich is quite an experience, especially when you’ve got some pellets in your hand. I hadn’t deemed my jewellery to be that sparky, but let’s just say my bling caught the attention of one enthusiastic ostrich and I soon got even closer than I’d anticipated 🤣It was a fun experience and we all learnt a lot about this gigantic birds.

On arrival at Knysna, Omah wanted to take us all to the waterfront to see the sunset. It was a great view over the harbour and out to Featherbed nature reserve- where we were visiting tomorrow. We stayed out by the waterfront and enjoyed dinner with some of our group. It was a lovely evening and we enjoyed their company, along with fantasticly fresh fish and white wine.

The next day, we had a lay in – unusual for GRJ tours – so Keith and I went for a shop around the waterfront area. We picked up some souvenirs and watched the locals who were playing water polo. 

At 11am we met the group and we’re taken to Featherbed nature reserve, a boat journey first, then a jeep uphill, then a delightful walk down again. The views were just astounding. Really really beautiful. We took part in some seed planting via catapult- and really enjoyed the descent by foot.

We enjoyed another fabulous lunch before making our way back to the main harbour via boat.

The itinerary gave us an afternoon at leisure, but we took the opportunity to visit a local township with a couple of others from our group and Angie our TM. What a humbling experience this was. We were driven to a large township on the edge of town and shown around. We met some of the locals including the children and dished our sweets to their delighted little faces. We met the hairdresser and saw the chicken man going round selling chickens in advance of their Sunday family lunches. We were then taken to a safe house, a sort of orphanage so to speak, ran by a lady who had fostered 16 children over the years. This was the hub of the charity and we met many of the children. We’d taken out there pens, pencils and colouring books. Small games and bouncing balls. The family sang to us and we joined in with them on African drumming. These children have very little in terms of material possessions but goodness me, they could light the world up with their smiles and laughs. We could all learn a lot from the people here and we enjoyed our visit- if that is the right word.

Our evening was spent at another cracking restaurant.. can we just have Omah as our personal restaurant guide please?! I got to try my first South African gin which was exciting – a local Knysna gin, and it was great.

We really liked Knysna, and thought it was well worth a couple of days visit. 

From Knynsa we continued round the garden route and made our way to Port Elizabeth, where we would say bye to Omah and Denver our driver and catch an internal flight to Durban. Before that though, we did some wine tasting which was fun. 

We’d found the scenery in the area lovely and had enjoyed our time here.

We were sad saying by to lovely Omah, who shared a lot of his background with us- you could hear a pin drop when he was explaining his history. Such terrible history in this part of the world, but the people here are happy and optimistic despite the challenges that they’ve faced over the years.

Omah on the left, Angie (tour manager) middle, Denver (coach driver) on right


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