Garden Route Itinerary

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Sep 6th, 2005, 01:02 AM
  #1
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Garden Route Itinerary

Hello

We would be very grateful for advice on our proposed Garden Route itinerary, particularly in terms of a) where to stay (max 570 ZAR per room) b) the best things to see and do along the way :

5 Dec: AM leave Stellenboch by hire car. Drive to Oudtshoorn (with stops along the way). Visit Mossel Bay. Night in Oudtshoorn.
6 Dec: AM leave Oudtshoorn - drive to George, Victoria Bay and Knysna. Night in or near Knysna.
7 Dec: Sightseeing in / near Knysna. Visit Plettenburg Bay. Night in or near Knysna.
8 Dec: AM leave Knysna. Drive to Port Elizabeth with stops along the way. Night in or near PE.
9 Dec: Day in PE.
(10 Dec: Fly from PE to Cape Town and then 11 Dec (8.15am) fly from Cape Town back to London.)

Thank you in advance
Susie and Nik
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Sep 6th, 2005, 05:03 AM
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Hello Susie,

Take a look on www.portfoliocollection.com -- they have a large selection of guesthouses, B&Bs, and boutique hotels which will fit within your budget. I spent a month in SA using only Portfolio properties and was never disappointed.

I'd recommend a stop near the Tsitsikamma forest rather than a night in PE. The forest is beautiful, and you can do a great 'flying' treetop tour. I found PE rather ordinary and wouldn't recommend spending a night there.

Cheers,
Julian
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Sep 6th, 2005, 06:21 AM
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Thanks for your helpful reply, Julian !

Yes, I think we might give PE a miss as I've read a few more reviews on this site and it sounds as though it's nothing special - plus the route to it (after the main part of the Garden Route) doesn't sound that great.
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Sep 6th, 2005, 07:59 AM
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We loved the Treetops Canopy Tour - taken from Storms River Village rather than Storms River itself (village is a little way outside of the park and SR itself is within the park).

We stayed a night in SR Village but the chalets in the park looked lovely and the views from them were amazing!
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Sep 6th, 2005, 02:45 PM
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SusieR,

After leaving Stellenbosch I would take the R62 to Oudtshoorn. If you take this route then stop in at little villages like Worcester, Montagu , Barrydale, Ladysmith and Calitzdorp. While in Ladysmith try and sample the towns own famous cheese and when in Calitzdorp make a point of tasting the BoPlaas port from the region. If you are travelling through the village on a weekday stop in at a real hidden treasure in the town viz. the little village museum. Wonderful little exhibit. While there as the curator to tell you the very very important significance of the old South African flag hanging in the museum - hdden secret for you to enjoy

I am really unsure as to why you are travelling to Oudtshoorn as you will arrive in the town in the late evening and will be leaving in the early morning so I don’t understand why you are creating this detour unless there is something specific that you want to see or do in Oudtshoorn. If you do go to Oudtshoorn then make a point of visiting the restaurant Jemimas. Wonderful cuisine. http://www.dining-out.co.za/member_d...46&UpDateBM=Yf

In terms of visiting Mossel Bay I would suggest that you leave this town out of your plans, that is if you are going to travel to Oudtshoorn via the R62. The town does not have that much to offer anyway.

In terms of accommodation may I suggest that you take a look at the following establishments in Oudtshoorn.

La Plume Guesthouse
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http://www.laplume.co.za/

Not a great website but certainly a fabulous place to stay. La Plume is a working ostrich farm and the views from the farm are wonderful. Accommodation is very well appointed. Try and book into the room named Bellies at it is by far the best room. Excellent rates.

Also go to http://www.portfoliocollection.com/g...umeGuestHouse/ to see more of La Plume



Mooiplaas farm
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http://www.mooiplaasguesthouse.co.za/

Great guesthouse on a working ostrich farm Hanlee and Viljee are wonderful hosts and they both take enormous care and interest in the guesthouse. Well fitted out and a really wonderful place top stay. Well priced.

The Yot Club
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http://www.gardenroute-yotclub.com/index.htm

Don’t be put off by the name of this wonderful little guesthouse which is located right in the middle of Oudtshoorn. The guesthouse is well appointed, has a fabulous garden area and two most hospitable hosts in the form of Des and Liz White. Rates are excellent too

When leaving Oudtshoorn I would give George a cursory glance as there is not too much to see or do in the town. If you have an interest in steam trains then the railway museum is an absolute must. On leaving George you could visit Vic Bay as it is a scenic little place however I would rather forego Vic Bay and spend more time in the Wilderness. This is a fabulous part of the Garden Route and it really is worth driving around the village and taking in some of the breathtaking scenery. Also try and get to a spot called the Map of Africa. Go take a look at this and enjoy the surprise.

On your way to Knysna stop in at the Scarab factory in Sedgefield and go take a look at how paper is made out of Elephant dung. Yup you are reading correctly.

Knysna has much to offer and I suggest that you speak to your hosts at your guesthouse to guide you through what the town is known for. Whatever you do don’t miss a short visit to the village of Belvedere. Wonderful experience. If you do visit Belvedere then also visit the little round church on Belvedere. Unique little place of prayer.

In terms of where to stay in Knysna I would suggest the following places.

Overmeer guesthouse
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http://www.overmeergh.co.za/

Tried tested and always works. FANTASTIC views of the lagoon. Friendly hosts. Well appointed venue. Mention my name to the owners and tell them that you are a Fodorite as this will see you obtain a good discount.

Heron Water Lodge
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http://www.heron.co.za/about/index.html

Great little guesthouse right on the Knysna lagoon. Well appointed. Franc and Penny are wonderful hosts and Penny makes a pretty mean cooked breakfast for her guests. Highly recommended.


Elephant Hide
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http://www.elephanthide.co.za/guest_lodge.htm

This establishment might be a little bit expensive for your pocket but it still remains a great guesthouse. Believe it or not I as a local learnt about this guesthouse from fellow Fodorites and when I did a recognizance at the venue about 8 months ago I found out that it was a stunning venue. The rooms are superbly appointed and certainly are unique in their layout and view. Overall a stay at this guesthouse is a special event.

In terms of where to stay on the way to PE I would suggest that you take Jasher and Kavey's advice and stay in the Stormsriver area. DO NOT MISS OUT on the Treetop safari along the way. If I were you I would sleep over at the Stormsriver Village inn.. http://www.village-inn.co.za/about/ Ask for the honeymoon rooms they are cheap and great to stay in.

I would then suggest that on your last day you start the morning with black river tubing whereafter you can travel on to PE so as to catch your plane back to Cape Town.

I would also like to add that if you have not booked flights as yet I would NOT travel back to Cape Town from PE, I would rather travel from George as your car travelling will be reduced radically and the flight to Cape Town will be quicker AND cheaper. With that all said rest assured that you will not be missing out on anything if you do not visit PE.

OK SusieR the above should give you quite a lot to think of.

If you need any furthert help just ask.

Hope that you stay in SA and amongst others on the Garden Route is a fabulous one.

Very proudly part of the wonderful nation of South Africa







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Sep 6th, 2005, 08:01 PM
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This forum is always such fun.

I came to Port Elizabeth for 1 week 10 years ago and have been there ever since.

It is 160 kms from Stormsriver 1 ¼ to 1 ½ hours the journey is not exciting unless you visit St Francis or Jeffery’s Bay along the way. Jeffery’s Bay is one of the world’s best surfing beaches.

Port Elizabeth itself is a working city but with magnificent beaches (20% of the countries blue flag beaches are here) Apart from the main beachfront there are some magnificent coastal walks.

The restaurants here are also excellent and inexpensive The Old Austria is my favourite but there are plenty of other to choose from.

Part of the magic of P.E. is that it is extremely close to the Addo National Park (1/4 of the size of Wales) with the worlds highest density elephant population, lions that were reintroduced 2 years ago have just had cubs.

There are an increasing number of big 5 Game Reserves. Shamwari is the most well know and has been voted Africa’s leading safari for the past five years and the world’s greatest conservation program.

Great for seeing lions is Schotia Safaris they were the first to reintroduce lions that hunt for themselves. Pumba Safaris is also excellent a brand new five star reserve, and Darlington Lake lodge is one of South Africa’s travel bargains full board 2 Game Drives for 650 Rand per person.

As you can see as Selwyn (I love Cape Town .com) keeps telling people there is not much to do.!!!!

Cape Town is a wonderful City as is the Garden Route, the Tsitsikamma National Park close to Storms River is also stunning, but the Black Water Tubing will finish at the end of September.
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Sep 7th, 2005, 12:41 AM
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Colin,

You are 100% correct - The Fodors forum is great fun.

C'mon buddy I am not against PE as a city after all I spend at least 10 days a year in your town when I do some of the activities that you speak of such as Addo, Schotia, visit Old Austria (Dont throw Whickerwoods away as a restaurant either). My problem with PE is that I dont visit the city for the city's sake; I only travel to PE with my visitors so as to be able to use the airport facilities of the city or otherwise to enjoy the game viewing at Addo and Schotia in that we dont have this facility in the Cape Town region. Furthermore needless to say it is pretty handy being able to do the above in a malaria free zone. What I have to point out is that all these experiences, as well as most of the others that you mentioned, are all 90 minutes outside of PE by car. Thus to me PE central holds little value and when someone like SusieR asks for advice on a very tightly planned schedule starting from Stellenbosch to PE, due to her only having what seems to be one day free, my suggestion stays in saying "enjoy more of the Garden Route and fly from George as opposed to doing the extra 1-2 hour drive from Tsitsikamma to PE". It's not a case of there being anything wrong with PE it simply is a case of in my opinion with SusieR's one extra available day there is much more that she can accomplish by staying in the heart of the Garden Route area such as Knysna and thereafter departing to Cape Town from George.

In jovial response to your comments, yes you are correct when you say that I do love Cape Town and I wont deny that I have a bias towards my city and its surrounds, however may I suggest that you ask those who have visited my city in the past and ask them whether I am justified in my love for the city where I was born and raised. Just my Capetonian twopence worth.

Very proudly part of the wonderful nation of South Africa



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Sep 7th, 2005, 01:41 AM
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Strange as it may seem we get repeat visitors who have been to Cape Town like it very much, but feel one or two visits is enough and return year after year to Port Elizabeth, which they believe has so much to offer.

On your next visit give us a call and we will show you around, have you been out with Raggy Charters and seen the whales and penguins, taken a Township Tour with Wiclif and walked the Sacramento Trail ?

You would be amazed the number of overseas visitors that have purchased accommodation in P.E. and spend the European Winters here.

They like the lower property prices, and better weather than Cape Town and the fact that we have the big 5 on our doorstep.

My house in Walmer to the Addo Gate is 50 minutes.

Never been to Wickerwoods will give it a try.

P.S. it seems we have a new, new mega Park in the offing at Graaf Reinet 3 hours drive from P.E.
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Sep 7th, 2005, 08:56 AM
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Yes, this forum is fun! Can I set another cat among the pigeons?

Selwyn extols the virtues of Cape Town, and Colin champions Port Elizabeth.

Now, for me, there's no place like Jo'burg! Yes, it has car-jackings, gang shootings, taxi wars, but man, it's vibrant! Theater and restaurants, money and power, fashion and style like no where else, and neighborhoods with vibes that combine Paris and Chicago, Harlem and Soweto -- it's fabulous!

(Sorry, SusieR, to highjack your thread, but I can't leave all the city defending to Selwyn and Colin.)
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Sep 7th, 2005, 09:06 AM
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SusieR,

After all our individual bits of city boasting you can at least rest assured about one factor and that is that you are going to have a grand time in our great country. You just cant lose out no matter what you do when you visit South Africa and I am sure that Colin and Celia would totally agree with me in this regard.

Very proudly part of the wonderful nation of South Africa


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Sep 8th, 2005, 06:17 AM
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I have traveled through Johannesburg countless times over the past 10 years but have not stayed many times.

I find it very difficult to know where to visit and am wary particularly at night but always had the feeling it was extremely vibrant but have never been sure where to go.

I will be requesting help from the forum before my next visit.
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Sep 8th, 2005, 11:08 AM
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Susie, Selwyn mentions Calitzdorp and Montagu, among other places. I heartily agree that both these towns are charming! Montagu has hot springs, and a wonderful ambiance that recalls the days when people came to "take the waters". Now you can get a massage and other spa treatments there, and enjoy the springs. Caltizdorp is a tiny town, but quite interesting. Do stop there and taste the port at BoPlaas. And if you like pot-still brandy, BoPlaas does an excellent one, according to my husband. We always bring home a few bottles from there.
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