This past weekend I went on a field trip on the Garden Route. The Garden Route is a 300-kilometra stretch of the south-eastern coast of South Africa, which extends from Mossel Bay in the Western Cape to the Storms River in the Eastern Cape. It was a three day trip, in which I will detail below!
The first day was an early one – we had to be up and on the road by 5:45am! We drove east on a coach bus through the mountains and semi-desert along the N2 highway, which was a beautiful sight to see. After about three hours of driving, we stopped for a quick breakfast in Swellendam. The breakfast ended up not sitting well with me, and I was sick for a quick moment. However, after taking some medicine, I was good after about an hour.
After departing from Swellendam, we drove for another three hours to Wilderness, a coastal town where we would have lunch and then embark on our canoeing trip! Well…we would have gone on a canoeing trip, if it hadn’t rained! This was very unfortunate because I was looking forward to going canoeing for the first time. Yet safety comes first, always!
After leaving Wilderness, we drove to our hotel to relax and eat dinner, which was delicious if I may add!
Another early morning – we had to be up and at breakfast by 7am so we could leave by 8am to enjoy a day full of festivities. After driving for approximately two hours, we arrived at Tsitsikamma National Park where we visited the Tsitsikamma Suspension Bridge. We saw some amazing views, and walked along the beach. We then went to a café to eat lunch.
Next, and one of my favorite parts of the trip, we went to Plettenberg Bay where we went on an animal experience. Of the four options to choose from, I chose to see the cats (i.e. – the indigenous wild cats of South Africa, including leopards and cheetahs); the other options were elephants, birds, and monkeys. As a result, myself and a large group of curious students went to the Tenikwa Wildlife Awareness Centre. I saw a white lion up close, and captured some amazing pictures of the lion and other African cats!
After touring the Centre, we drove another three hours to Oudshoorn where we slept at a country lodge and had a hearty meal.
The last and final day! After having breakfast at the lodge, we drove along Route 62, the longest wine route in the world, as well as the Klein Karoo, a semi-desert with strong links to the Khoisan hunter-gatherer groups who have inhabited South Africa for thousands of years (IES). After driving for about 30 minutes, we arrived at the Cango Caves. At the Cango Caves, we could have chosen one of two options – the Heritage Tour, which is an easy underground stroll through the various massive halls of the Cango Caves, or the Adventure Tour, which consists of crawling through narrow passages and climbing up steep rock formations guided by small lights. Being the adventurous person that I am, I chose the Adventure Route. I conquered some fears as I went through some challenging obstacles; yet I was victorious at the end, though I thought it would be impossible to finish the course!
Lastly, we visited the Cango Ostrich Farm where we toured the farm and had lunch. All-in-all, ostriches are the most adorable birds in the world! They were very friendly, and…this sounds awkward…but they also tasted good! I tried ostrich for the first time and was super impressed (note: they are one of the most healthiest red meats in the world).
We then drove about five hours back home to Cape Town. Aren’t you just exhausted reading this? Imagine living it – I got some nice sleep on the bus!