Garden Route/ Winelands help needed

Old Oct 13th, 2007, 10:22 AM
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Garden Route/ Winelands help needed

Trip to SA will be in September 2008. Currently drafted itinery is:
Day 1 - arrive Johannesburg
Day 2 - fly to Hoedspruit airport transfer to Djuma Vuyatela (Kruger area)
Days 3,4,5 - at Djuma
Day 6 - transfer to Mpumalanga airport, fly to J'berg and on to George. Transfer to Plettenberg Bay
Day 7 - pick up car, visit Tsitsikamma NP and other sites. Overnight again in Plettenberg Bay
Day 8 - Knysna
Day 9 - Knysna
Day 10 - Swellendam
Day 11 - Hermanus
Day 12 - Cape Town & turn in car
Days 13, 14 CT
Day 15 - fly home
Any & all comments about this itinerary are welcome. Questions are:
1)we want to go to Tsitsikamma NP and do the river cruise & probably the "under canopy" cable trip; does it make sense to spend the two nights in Plettenberg Bay or simply use Knysna as a base for 3 nights (eliminating 1 night)?
2) Does it look like we'll have enough time while in Swellendam to explore the northern winelands. If so, can you give me some idea what kind of roads need to be traveled. DW gets nervous when I sightsee while driving on mountainous, twisting roads. An alternative is to take a tour to the Winelands out of CT.
Thanks, Steve
SteveGC is offline  
Old Oct 14th, 2007, 03:02 AM
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hi, steve,

the main question is why you are planning to stay at Hermanus - it's a nice enough place, but if the purpose is to go whalewatching, you can do this at Plettenberg - in fact it was one of the best things we did there.

if you want to see the winelands, you'd be better off in Franschoek or Stellenbosch, than Swellendam, IMO. if you cut out Hermanus - or just called in there on the way to CPT, you could fit in a night in the winelands which you should enjoy.

We didn't make it to Tsitsikamma NP though we did stay near "Plett" for three nights, at a lodge called "Hog Hollow" which I strongly recommend - friends of ours just got back from SA and said it was the best place they stayed in thier three week trip.

we did a day visiting the monkey, bird, and elephant sactuaries, as well as a whale watching trip out of Plett, and another day visiting Knysna, where we did a boat trip out to the heads. WE got there too late to go on the Featherbed reservation trip, which looked really great, and I'm sorry we missed it.

for planning and travelling purposes I strongly recommend getting hold of the Sunbird Touring map of WEstern Cape. we had no trouble navigating with it, and the roads, though a bit windy around the winelands, were fine and easy to negotiate.

you could have a look at my trip report if you click on my name and look for "12 days in south Africa".

regards, ann
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Old Oct 14th, 2007, 08:20 AM
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Yes, you should do two nights in Plett instead of Hermanus to achieve your "lofty" goal.

Yes to Swellendam, however you would do well to drive from Swellendam south west along route 62.

That will take you through the wine region, however it will require some backtracking to get from Worcester down to Hermanus. A visit to Hermanus will allow you good close encounters with both the S/Right whales and the G/White shark, so disagree with previous post that Plett is the better option for this, it is certainly OK, though.

I would advise that you keep the car while you are in Cape Town.
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Old Oct 15th, 2007, 05:19 AM
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You say you want to do the Storms River Boat tour. I would advise Spending the first night at the Storms River Mouth (Tsitsikama)National Park. Not only is it a stunning location but you are close to the boat trip. Be aware that from the restaurant to the boat landing is a 30 minute strenuous walk. We only found out about this fact after we went on an early morning walk past it to the suspension bridge, and we did not have the time to walk back.
I would also skip Swellendam and possibly do Oudtshoorn instead or add a day in CT.
Keep your car, it will make your stay in CT much more enjoyable
All the roads you will be traveling on are well maintained and signposted
You can see some of these areas in my photos here
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Old Oct 15th, 2007, 10:21 AM
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Thanks for the information. I now plan to eliminate one night (either Swellendam or Hermanus) but visit both. We'll add a one day Winelands tour(out of Cape Town). We'll skip the Spirit of Tsitsikamma boat trip. In CT, we're staying at Welgelegen Guest House (about a block from Kloof St.) May not need the car because we'v scheduled 2 full day & 1 half day tours.
Is Knysna close enough to Tsitsikamma NP to use that as a hub rather than spending two nights at Plett and two at Knysna? Thanks again. Steve
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Old Oct 15th, 2007, 10:45 AM
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Plett vs Knysna. They are roughly an hour apart. Titsikama is north east of Plett, so staying in plett would give you an extra hour or two in the day.
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