In July we made the trip of a lifetime to South Africa. Capitalizing on the fact that one of our best friends is from the region, we set off on an epic tour of the Garden Route – the most jam packed 2 weeks of my life to date! Our itinerary:
Cape Town – Frankschhoek – Oudtshoorn – Mossel Bay – Jeffreys Bay – Gaansbaai – Cape Town
Our adventures were worthy of their own, separate blog, but I’ll use some of my favorite photos to summarise my highlights and top tips if you’re planning a trip yourself (and if you’re not, you should be.)
1. Table Mountain, Cape Town
Table Mountain is obviously a must. Seeing it in real life, and then going up it, was a dream come true for me. A big tick on the bucket list and the experience was absolutely magical. My top tips? Ditch the cable car in favour of your own two legs to propel you up the steep path and go early. The views are worth it and nothing beats having the rock to yourself.
Otherwise there’s not really much to hang around for in the city – and with so much on offer just an hour or two away, hit the road and delve into the wine country! Scenery like this had me asking for more time spent in the car.
2. Franshhoek and the wine region
The landscape and wine are well worth the one hour drive from Cape Town to Stellenbosch.
Franschhoek is an adorable little town in Stellenbosch, full of artsy café’s, galleries and shops so leave time for a little wander before you get stuck into the vineyards – because once you pop, it’s very difficult to stop. There are just SO many to choose from and they are all excellent. One of the things I loved about the winery tours was the actual tasting room buildings themselves. The architecture in general in South Africa was really up my street – modern, clean lines, accenting the stunning landscape. We visited:
- Avondale – totally organic winery with free range ducks to clean the vines!
- La Motte
- Rupert & Rothchild
- JC Le Roux
- Chocolate Box
We also ate some of the best pizza I’ve ever had (Bacon and Banana – don’t knock it until you’ve tried it) at the Spice Route. Also home to one of the best sunsets I’ve seen (there were a lot of “best evers” on this trip) and this place has it’s own winery, brewery and chocolate making facility which had just closed when we arrived but I’m told it well worth a visit.
You could spend a week in Stellenbosch but we were on a tight schedule and after just 2 days we were back in our mini-bus.
Famous for it’s caves, Ostriches and nature reserves. We ticked off all 3.
If you're tight for time there are lots of wildlife parks that will give you taste of one of the large Safari parks further north - and some of them are working in conservation, breeding cubs that are available for cuddles.
5. Extreme sports
The World’s Highest Bungy Bright - THE FACE at Bloukrans
And swimming with sharks in Gaansbaii (pronounced Hansbay)
Before getting up close and personal with these little fellas:
The scenery and wildlife in South Africa was just overwhelming. Every turn of the head delivers a National Geographic worthy scene.
South Africa, you are awesome. I will be back.