Monday, 21 September 2015

The history of The Garden Route

The Garden Route of South Africa is the stretch of the southern coast of South Africa and runs from Mossel Bay to Port Elizabeth. The name ‘Garden Route’ refers to the diverse vegetation found here and the variety of lagoons and lakes strewn along the coastal areas. The Garden Route includes towns like Mossel Bay, Knysna, Plettenberg Bay, Stormsrivier and George which acts as the Garden Route's biggest city and administrative centre.

Travelling along the coast of The Garden Route, the vegetation becomes lush and evergreen compared to the inland areas, which makes it hard to believe most of the Knysna and Tsitsikamma forests were totally destroyed by early settlers of this area. What we see today is only a tiny piece of the indigenous forests that ruled this area.

The Garden Route offers mild to hot summers along with mild winters. It has the second mildest climate found in the entire world after Hawaii. Temperatures won’t often drop below 10° Celsius during winter and hardly ever climbs beyond 28° Celsius in the summer. Rain comes all year round, with a small increase during spring months, brought along by the humid sea breezes from the Indian Ocean ascending and dropping its precipitation on the Outeniqua and Tsitsikamma Mountains.

The recent history of the Garden Route is very closely connected with the development and need for wood to satisfy the growing population of the Cape. It took only a handful of years for the tiny pockets of forests in Cape Town’s Southern suburbs to be depleted, and with the arrival of the first white colonists reaching Mossel Bay in the early 1700’s the demand doubled. During the mid 1800s the forest areas around the Garden Route were targeted, but it was only until a road was built crossing the Keurbooms River that the Tsitsikamma area came under serious threat.

Today The Garden Route is well protected and visitors can enjoy nature’s untouched beauty at its best. More photos and information on the history of The Garden Route can be found in Tsitsikamma Park.

Till later!
The Cape Town Experience crew

Monday, 7 September 2015

Popular Garden Route Adventure and Adrenaline Attractions

The Garden Route has something for everyone. If you're hoping for relaxation and bare feet in the sand then you'll find it. Nature walks and hikes are available for the nature lovers and wildlife will make sure you get a good dosage of animals if that is your wish. But then you get the individuals who enjoy getting their blood pressure up a little and exploiting the feeling of 'being alive'! Yes, for them there's also a handful of interesting stops. Here's a list of Popular Garden Route Adventure and Adrenaline Attractions for those who enjoy the wilder side of life.

Shark Cage Diving
Shark Cage Diving is an extremely popular attraction in South Africa and many operators provide you with the opportunity to get in a cage and face to face with these majestic ocean predators. This activity is available as day tours in Cape Town, Gans Bay and The Garden Route. Book your early morning pickup and dive with one of the shark diving companies in Cape Town or include it during one of our longer or private Garden Route tours.
Shark Cage Diving, South Africa

Swimming with seals
Plettenberg Bay is found in the heart of The Garden Route and a large number of ocean activities are available in this popular town. Apart from whale and dolphin viewing you can also put your swimming gear and join hundreds of seals for a swim. Explore the daily routines, agility and excitement of seals as they welcome you into their world. Swimming with seals is a specialized activity and usually only available on private Garden Route tours.
Swimming with seals in The Garden Route, Plettenberg Bay

Bungy Jumping
Only for the brave! Yes, the famous Bloukrans Bungy Jumping bridge in The Garden Route surely requires no introduction. A dramatic 216 meter drop and nothing but a rubber cable to make sure you don’t ‘swim with the fishes’ in the river below. It takes a few gasps of the bravest breaths you have, but once you’re done and back on the bridge nothing will take away the feeling of that plunging moment. The Bungy bridge is included in most GardenRoute tours where the optional choice of jumping is included.
Bungy Jumping at Bloukrans Bridge, Garden Route

Ziplining Tours
Ziplining through the treetops of Tsitsikamma and The Garden Route is in fact a very relaxing activity and sometimes incorrectly categorised as an adrenaline attraction. Ziplining is for any age and a perfect family activity. The height might be a factor as anybody with a fear of heights should probably have a second thought! There’s a couple of these options available along The Garden Route.
Ziplining in Tsitsikamma, Garden Route

Cango Caves Adventure tours
The Cango Caves provide a unique experience where you step back in time to observe stalactites and stalacmites formed over hundreds of thousands, if not millions of years! The standard tour consist of very basic strolling on comfortable walkways. The Adventure tours, however is a little different and much more challenging. If you don’t mind tight spaces, crawling, sliding on your belly or getting a little dirty then give the adventure tours a go! The Cango Caves are available in almost all Garden Route tours visiting Oudtshoorn.
Cango Caves guided tours in Oudtshoorn, Garden Route

Another activity which there are plenty opportunity of in The Garden Route and along the coast! With the ocean, rivers and lakes never far away you are sure to find a few canoes lying on a river bank waiting for renters and take to the water. Canoeing in The Garden Route gets you very close to the natural beauty and tranquility of the area.
Canoeing in Wilderness Park, Garden Route

Till Later!

Wednesday, 2 September 2015

10 Awesome Facts About South Africa

South Africa has become a hotspot for travellers and tourists in recent years. We are all familiar with the turbulent history, the role of Mandela, Kruger Park, Table Mountain and other everyday familiar landmarks and attractions. There are however a few amazing facts about South Africa not known by many people. Here is a list of 10 Awesome Facts About South Africa which can be explored or included in our Cape Town and Garden Route tours.

Hermanus is the best land-based whale watching spot in the world. From June to November you can see some amazing whale action from the shores or join boat tours from Hermanus harbour. Day trips or Whale Watching Tours to Hermanus are easy to find, or you can include a stop here during Garden Route tours.

Table Mountain is believed to be older than the Himalayas. Impossible to miss this majestic rock while in Cape Town, so no need to look for it or ask directions! It’ll find YOU! She is home to more plant species found in the entire United Kingdom! 

South Africa is one of the six floral kingdoms of the world and the only one to have its entire floral collection contained within the boundaries of a single country. You can view ‘Fynbos’ everywhere in Cape Town and along The Garden Route. Our National Flower - The King Protea - comes from this special plant species. Visit Kirstenbosch Botanical Garden while in Cape Town to have a close-up look at this collection of plants and flowers. 

South Africa is one of the largest fruit exporters in the world. About an hour’s drive from Cape Town you’ll find the town of Grabouw where one of the largest cooling storage facilities can be found. This town is also the home and birthplace of the famous Appletizer drink, along with the title of the world's first biodiversity wine route.

Route 62 leading to and from Oudtshoorn is the world’s longest wine route and arguably South Africa’s most popular country road. The majority of Garden Route tours visit Oudtshoorn and will take Route 62. There are a number of interesting towns and rest stops along the way.

South Africa is also home to the Ostrich Capital of the World. The town of Oudtshoorn again makes its mark on the world with this title. The town has the most amount of ostriches concentrated within one area. Along with some wildlife activities and the majestic Cango Caves, Oudtshoorn has become a permanent fixture on Garden Route tours.

About 900 different species of birds can be found within South Africa. In total that calculates to about 10% of the entire planet’s bird species! This makes South Africa a gold pot for bird lovers along with Birds of Eden which can be found along The Garden Route. This bird sanctuary is the largest free flight bird cage in the world.

Cape Town Film Studio has become one of the most popular film studios in the world during recent years. The reason for this is the low cost of producing your movie here and the fact that we have every kind of landscape you could possibly require, including forests, mountains, beaches, farmlands, wetlands and bushes.

You can view rare African Penguins in several locations in and around Cape Town. These birds are protected and the government created parks for them where they can be viewed and observed in their natural habitat. Visit one of these colonies in Cape Point or during Garden Route tours stopping in Betty’s Bay.

South Africa is the oldest wine producing country outside of Europe and the Mediterranean. Our wines include all the famous and popular names and our sparkling wines and brandy’s compete with the best in the world. You are never too far from a wine farm in South Africa and our Cape Town wine tours or Garden Route tours include a visit for some indulgence of these products.

There you have it! 10 Awesome Facts About South Africa which you can view or explore during our Cape Town and Garden Route tours. If you have any specific interests which you would like to prioritise, give us a shout and we'll plan it for you when you come and visit!

Till later!
The Cape Town Experience Crew