The Garden Route: Which way to go?

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Feb 24th, 2004, 07:40 AM
  #1
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The Garden Route: Which way to go?

If going from Port Elizabeth to Cape Town by car (aprox 6 days), which road is nicer to take from George? South through Mossel Bay, Swellendam and Hermanus (N2), or north through Oudtshoorn, Prince Albert and Matjiesfontein (N1). I will spend 4 days then in Cape Town.
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Feb 24th, 2004, 06:38 PM
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Hello Estuardos,

Do read this thread in which Selwyn gave detailed suggestions for Cape Town, the wine region and the Garden Route (although his proposed itinerary goes from west to east and, as such, is the reverse of yours):

http://www.fodors.com/forums/threads...4&tid=34477003

As to your question about how to get from George to Cape Town, you might consider a third route:

- George
- Oudtshoorn
- Ladismith
- Swellendam
- Hermanus

Here is a website that shows a map of the relevant area:

http://www.wheretostay.co.za/wc/kk/default.htm

I found Matjiesfontein to be a charming little spot, but going from Oudtshoorn to Prince Albert to get to Majtiesfontein would add quite a bit of distance to your route, and I wonder if it would be worth it.

The fact is that every inch of the Western Cape is loaded with history, if you travel through it with an enquiring mind. Practically any route you could possibly take from George to Cape Town would have its own fascinations.

I rather like going inland to Oudtshoorn and then travelling through the Little Karoo or Great Karoo because the semi desert landscape, while it may not be that attractive to some people, represents for me a very interesting contrast to the lush coastline.
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Feb 25th, 2004, 08:52 AM
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Thanks a lot Judy for your suggestions, I'm realy considering your third option, since that way I get to see Oudtshoom and Hermanus. I read about Route 62 and looks like a very nice road. Do you think is possible to get from George to Hermanus on a day following this route, or should I stop half way? Thanks again.
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Feb 25th, 2004, 01:18 PM
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Estuardos, from a distance point of view, you could drive George, Oudtshoorn, Ladismith, Swellendam, Hermanus in one day. But that would almost defeat the purpose of going via Oudtshoorn. The town's hinterland has way more to offer than can be appreciated during a rushed drive through it.

I suggest you drive from George to Oudtshoorn, spend a day in the region, and then overnight somewhere there (perhaps in Oudtshoorn or Prince Albert).

Suggest you do the drive from Oudtshoorn or Prince Albert to Hermanus the following day.

From your question it sounds as if you may not have read the discussion thread containing Selwyn's suggestions that I recommended to you previously. If you have not already read it, I think you would find it valuable.

Ironically, after my suggestion to skip Prince Albert, Selwyn recommends going there after all. This was something even I had missed on a first reading of his suggested itinerary. If I were you, I would give serious consideration to anything Selwyn says about the Western Cape. He is a long time (I think perhaps even a lifelong) resident of the region while I only have been an occasional visitor.

You could, if you wish, drive from Oudtshoorn to Prince Albert and back to Oudtshoorn again. In that case the Oudtshoorn - Ladismith - Swellendam - Hermanus route would make sense for your drive the following day.

Alternatively, you could choose not to retrace your steps from Prince Albert back to Oudtshoorn, and could proceed from Prince Albert to Hermanus via Matjiesfontein, as you originally proposed.

It's up to you. As I said before, every route you could possibly take from George to Hermanus has its own merits, but I really do recommend heading into the interior AT LEAST as far as Oudtshoorn.

Here's a website about the Swartberg range that Selwyn recommended:

http://www.turtle.co.za/road-to-hell-swartberg.html

Here's a website about Prince Albert and the region in which it's situated:

http://www.patourism.co.za/index.htm

The Prince Albert website includes information on Swartberg Pass, Meiringspoort, and accommodation in Prince Albert.

If you prefer the idea of spending a night in Oudtshoorn, here is a recent discussion thread about accommodation in that town:

http://www.fodors.com/forums/threads...4&tid=34475050

I hope this helps, and I apologise for any confusion I may have caused you.
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