Thursday, 27 August 2015

5 Scenic, Leisurely Walks in The Garden Route

Not all of us are cut out to take on a few hours or sometimes even a few days of hiking tours through forests, rivers, bushes, hills and mountains. A leisurely stroll would be more preferable to take in the surroundings, natural wonders and fresh air The Garden Route has to offer. Here is a list of 5 Scenic, Leisurely Walks in The Garden Route that can be done in an hour or two. These walks are suitable for the not-so-fit or less agile individuals and still offer the magnificent natural beauty found within The Garden Route.

1. Southern Tip, Cape Agulhas

Agulhas does not officially form part of The Garden Route, but is used a lot as a first night's stop on many Garden Route tours. Taking a walk from the lighthouse to the Southern tip is a beautiful stroll with unique vegetation, fresh ocean air and some whale spotting during winter months. And when you reach the Southern tip, you can go back home and tell your friends you've walked from The Indian Ocean to The Atlantic ocean!

2. St. Blaize Trail, Mossel Bay

This walk has the potential to become a full day event, but the distance is completely decided by each individual. Mossel Bay is the official start of The Garden Route and offers picturesque views along the coastal areas. The St. Blaize trail starts with an age-old cave where evidence of early bushmen living there was found. From here you can decide if you would like to continue onwards or turn back to the parking lot a few metres down the stairs.

3. Tsitsikamma Suspension Bridge

One of the most popular walks along The Garden Route is the Tsitsikamma Suspension Bridge. A two kilometer return stroll of a boardwalk trail takes you to the Stormsriver mouth where it leads into the Indian Ocean. A couple of suspension bridges takes you over the river mouth with incredible views into the mouth and towards the ocean. This stroll is included by many tour operators in their Garden Route tours, and those who prefer to go without the walk can relax at the restaurant and view the spectacular surroundings.

4. Tsitsikamma Big Tree

Not far from the suspension bridge walking route within Tsitsikamma Park is the trail to The Big Tree - The oldest recorded Yellow-wood Tree in South Africa which is also our National Tree. This walking route is easily found just off the N2 motorway and could even be used as a toilet stop and leg stretcher on Garden Route tours. The walk takes you on a boardwalk through thick, protected forests while the sounds of birds and nature surrounds you - a quick, beautiful introduction to The Garden Route.

5. Wilderness Waterfall, Eden Adventures

Found within Wilderness is a river running through the town going by the name of The Touw's River. You have the optional choice here to canoe up the river for about 3/4 of an hour where you then leave the canoes and hike the rest of the way through beautiful forests observing nature at its best. The Waterfall at the end of the walk is a welcome award during summer months. Have a refreshing dip, pack the picninc baskets and spend some time here away from everyday life. This walk is included in the 6 Day Garden Route Tours run by our travel partners, Earthstompers Adventures.

These walks are easy to find and won't take too much out of your back or knees! Stop at any of these hiking trails for a bit of fresh air and beautiful natural surroundings while on Garden Route tours. If any of these are of specific interest to you, feel free to let us know and we'll include time for it on our Private Garden Route tours. Visit our website for more information or to make an enquiry!

Till later!
The Cape Town Experience Crew

5 Popular Game Reserves on The Garden Route

The Garden Route provides various types of scenery - from forests, to beaches, mountains and even a semi-desert area when crossing the Outeniqua Mountains into The Klein Karoo. Wildlife is also included in this kaleidoscope of scenery and environments. Here is a list of 5 Popular Game Reserves on The Garden Route if you feel like adding some game drives or a bush break to your Garden Route tours.

1. Buffelsdrift Game Lodge, Oudtshoorn

Oudtshoorn might not officially be part of The Garden Route, but being so close to the heart of The Garden Route and offering such amazing activities, tours and landscapes it is surely a not-to-be-missed town. Buffelsdrift Game Reserve can be found in this town offering a variety of accommodation types, packages, tours and activities. The reserve is ideally situated close to surrounding attractions such as The Cango Caves, Cango Wildlife Farm and a number of Ostrich Farms.

2. Garden Route Game Lodge, Albertinia

The name says it all! Garden Route Game Lodge is found directly off the N2 motorway as you leave the town of Albertinia on your way to Mossel bay. The reserve is perfect for overnight stays, day visitors and even an impulsive coffee break if you feel like stretching the legs during Garden Route tours.

3. Botlierskop Private Game Reserve, Mossel Bay

Botlierskop Private Game Reserve has become a very popular Garden Route stop for overnight guests along with day visitors coming for day tours, lion walks or elephant encounters. Being only a few minutes drive from the town of Mossel bay, guests have the flexible options of spending their time on the beach or in the bush. Mossel Bay also offers shark cage diving and whale boat tours, making sure you get the full package of wildlife on land and in the ocean!

4. Plettenberg Bay Game Reserve, Plettenberg Bay

Moving east along The Garden Route you'll find the town of Plettenberg Bay. About 11 km's off the N2 motorway running through the town is Plettenberg Game Reserve. The lodge offers various types of accommodation and is perfect for day visitors or those interested in horse-back safari tours. A quick drive takes you to the centre of Plettenberg Bay where you can enjoy the beaches, shopping and various other Garden Route activities.

5. Schotia Private Game Reserve, Addo

Reaching the end of The Garden Route you'll find the popular Addo National Park near Port Elizabeth. Bordering the park of Addo is Schotia Private Game Reserve. The reserve is a fantastic location for wildlife viewing, including free-roaming lions where you might even witness a hunt! With easy access to Addo and Port Elizabeth, Schotia is an ideal spot for an authentic wildlife experience in South Africa and The Garden Route.

This list should give you a handful of options and a good idea of the lodges and game reserves found on The Garden Route. These areas are all malaria-free and close to all the regular Garden Route stops and attractions. If you would like to book one of our guided Garden route tours including an overnight stop at one of these lodges, please have a look at our website and view our selection of Private Garden route tours.

Till Later!
The Cape Town Experience Crew

Monday, 24 August 2015

10 Wildlife and Animal Centres along The Garden Route

Apart from its natural beauty, The Garden Route also provides plenty of opportunity to interact, observe or get close to a variety of animals and wildlife. If you are a fan of our furry friends and would like to learn as much as you can while on the Garden Route, then this list is for you. Find here 10 Wildlife and Animal Centres along The Garden Route and do them in your own time on self drive tours or join one of our group Garden Route tours.

1. Cango Wildlife Ranch

Cango Wildlife Ranch in Oudtshoorn is a popular wildlife and interaction park and a regular stop on Garden Route tours along with visiting Ostrich Farms and The Cango Caves. Observe and interact with a large number of different animals including lions, cheetah’s, birds, bats, monkeys and, if you’re up for it try cage diving with crocodiles!

2. Jukani Wildlife Centre

Jukani specializes in different cat species from all over the world. The centre adopts or saves animals in danger or in need of a new, better home. Lions, tigers, leopards and more can be seen here. Some very rare cats, soon to be extinct can be observed here as the story of their demise will be shared by your guide. Jukani is found on the N2 motorway and easily accessible when touring the Garden Route.

3. Tenikwa Wildlife Awareness Centre

Tenikwa is another facility on The Garden Route with a variety of lesser known cats of South Africa, also in great need of assistance as their numbers in the wild are dropping rapidly. Here you can take a walk with a cheetah or go on one of the hourly, guided tours to show you around and inform you of the animals' daily routines, natural habitats and level of endangerment. Tenikwa is found within a small village called 'The Crags' near Plettenberg Bay

4. Monkeyland

Also within 'The Crags' on the Garden Route you will find Monkeyland. A living forest experience of hundreds of monkeys going about their daily lives. Visit them on guided tours in their natural habitats as they play, run a round, lounge in a tree or even come a little closer to you to inspect the welcome visitor. Guided tours depart from the restaurant on a regular basis and you can enjoy a light lunch or refreshment at the restaurant while viewing some monkeys cruising around.

5. Birds of Eden

Birds of Eden is the world’s largest free-flight bird cage and truly a highlight on many Garden Route tours. Guided tours through the park can be requested but in general visitors walk through the park in their own time and pace. Birds of Eden is truly an ignition of the senses, even if you’re not a bird lover. The sights and sounds and collection of birds in the park will surely offer something that you’ve never seen before and will probably never see again.

6. Garden Route Wolf Sanctuary

Even though wolves are not indigenous to South Africa, you can learn more about them right here on the Garden Route. Apart from wolves, you can have a look at some pigs, donkeys, goats, sheep and more. Bring the kids and let them pet some of the animals. A picnic area is available to relax and take in the glorious nature of The Garden Route.

7. Knysna Elephant Park

In the heart of The Garden Route, between Knysna and Plettenberg Bay you will find the signpost for Knysna Elephant Park. Take a walk alongside elephants and feed them optional fruits as they keep you company during their feeding times in the field. Group tours happen very regularly during the day, and rides or additional activities can be booked for certain times during the day.

8. Ostrich Farm

Oudtshoorn, even though not officially part of the Garden Route, is a popular stop during tours. It is known as the Ostrich Capital of the World due to the large amount of ostriches and farms concentrated in the town. Visit one of these farms, learn about the birds, their lifestyle, high quality leather and if you've never tried ostrich meat, then this is the time to try it!

9. Lanwood Snake Sanctuary

If you love them or even if you cannot stand the sight of them, snakes are awesome creatures! Stop at Lanwood Snake Sanctuary in the heart of The Garden Route for some interesting insights into our slithery friends. Live shows, tours, display boxes and even some interactions will bring you close to a wide variety of snakes while you learn the secrets to their daily lives.

10. Lion Walk

In Mossel Bay one will find Botlierskop Private GameReserve. Apart from their game drives and elephant experiences they also offer the lion walk activity on the farm next door – Zorgfontein. This activity is a highlight on many Garden Route tours but usually offered as an optional activity. Take an hour long stroll with a couple of hand-reared lions in a free-roaming area without cages or leashes.

So! There you have it! 10 Wildlife and Animal Centres along The Garden Route where you can get your dosage of wildlife found within The Garden Route and South Africa. If you would like to join us on one of our tours, or perhaps need assistance in building a customized tour which includes any of the above parks or centres, simply click and visit our website at The Cape Town Experience and get in contact!

Till later!
The Cape Town Experience Crew

Tuesday, 18 August 2015

5 Top Backpackers to use on Garden Route Tours

The Garden Route offers a magnitude of backpackers and accommodation options to choose from. If you are part of a group or decide to do self-drive Garden Route tours, you are sure to experience top quality backpackers along the way. Below is a list of 5 Top Backpackers to use on Garden Route Tours strategically placed for comfortable driving distances between Cape Town and Port Elizabeth on a 6 Day, 5 Night Garden Route tour.

1. Cape Agulhas Backpackers, Cape Agulhas

Although Cape Agulhas does not officially form part of the Garden Route, it provides a comfortable stop to explore the surrounding areas of Hermanus, Struisbaai, The Southern Tip of Africa and, if you feel like pumping some adrenaline, shark cage diving in Gans Bay. The area of Cape Agulhas is quiet, peaceful and have the opportunity to walk an uninterrupted 14km long white, sandy beach, go for horse rides and a few hiking options. Cape Agulhas is a very popular stop on many group Garden Route tours.

2. Backpacker's Paradise, Oudtshoorn

Leaving Cape Agulhas early morning after night one on your Garden Route tour, the long road is taken to Oudtshoorn bringing us closer into the Garden Route region. Oudtshoorn is known for a number of activities such as The Cango Caves, Ostrich Farms, Cango Wildlife Ranch and Elephant rides. Staying at Backpacker's Paradise puts you very central to all these highlights and you can join tours or rent a bicycle to see the town on a daily basis.

3. Afrovibe Backpackers, Sedgefield

Sedgefield brings you to the heart of the Garden Route. Here you find yourself right on the beach with peaceful surroundings and lots to do! From paragliding, to surfing, hiking, swimming and more. Afrovibe Backpackers will take care of your accommodation and adventure needs while Pili Pili bar and restaurant right next door will take care of your appetite and drinks.

4. Tube 'n Axe, Stormsriver Village, Tsitsikamma

From the beach straight into the bush! Stormsriver Village is found in the heart of Tsitsikamma forest. Here you have more activities to choose from, like Bungy Jumping, Ziplining, hiking in Tsitsikamma Park or canoeing and canyoning. Tube 'n Axe is quality backpackers option bringing you more in touch with the Garden Route forests than you can imagine.

5. Lungile Lodge, Port Elizabeth

Port Elizabeth brings you to the end of The Garden Route and no better place to relax and unwind than Lungile Lodge. A leisurely stroll takes you to nearby restaurants, bars and the beach. From here you have the option to extend your Garden Route tour into Addo National Park for some wildlife viewing options.

So! There you have it! If you're planning on renting a car and doing a 6 Day Garden Route tour, then the above options will greatly assist in budget, location and driving distance on a daily basis. If you feel like joining a group, have a look at our Garden Route Tours from our website and get in contact!

Till later!
The Cape Town Experience Crew