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Only 12 people
each day are allowed
along Otter Trail, a
48km coastal trek.
The Garden Route
hugs the coast
between Cape Town
and Port Elizabeth.
converge in a
Where is it?
The Garden Route is the tourist name
for the N2 Highway from Cape Town
to Port Elizabeth. It runs 770km one
way; allow four days minimum. Many
visitors return by detouring inland
through the Little Karoo region.
Driving is on the left. Roads are well
maintained and uncrowded; watch
for potholes on minor roads.
Best time to go
The best weather is in summer
(December to March), though spring
brings wildflowers. Winter is wet.
Engaging statuettes in beadwork
costumes, and wood-carved animals.
Victoria Falls is one of Africa’s most
spectacular sights, easily reached
on a flight from Johannesburg to
Livingstone in Zambia. Apart from
one of the greatest natural shows on
Earth, this is a centre for adrenaline
sports and safaris.
The cellar doors and gorgeous
scenery of the Stellenbosch wine
region east of Cape Town, a minor
detour off the route.
Find out more about self-drive holidays
along South Africa’s Garden Route.
Contact your local RAC Travel Centre,
call 1300 655 179 or visit rac.com.au.
Be cautious with luggage at
Johannesburg airport, and don’t
accept unsolicited assistance or
Keep your valuables out of sight
and never venture into isolated or
darkened parts of cities. Tourist
areas along the Garden Route are
The Garden Route lies in a
malaria-free part of the country.
It’s advisable to apply for an
International Drivers Permit before
you leave home. Visit rac.com.au/idp
or see your local RAC Travel Centre.
Make sure you have
comprehensive travel insurance
that covers you for unexpected
medical treatment, camera
equipment and car hire excess.
on Travel Insurance plus
receive a free global SIM card.
Indian Ocean and the many lakes of
the Garden Route make water sports
available just about everywhere
along its length. Some of the coast’s
surfing spots are of international
standard, including Lookout,
Kuerbooms and Robberg beaches.
Jeffrey’s Bay is rated by some
as having the best surf in South
Africa. Its streets are lined with surf
shops, as well as whale-watching
companies and ice-cream parlours.
From Plettenberg Bay, it’s best
to momentarily leave the N2 and
instead take the R102, which passes
several gorges and leads through
forests where monkeys, duiker,
bushbuck and brightly coloured
loerie birds can be spotted, as
well as a kaleidoscope of startling
butterflies and lizards. At Storms
River Mouth you’ll find an unspoilt,
rocky shoreline and a breathtaking
campsite location near Tsitsikamma
Here you can follow nature trails
through tangled undergrowth and
overhanging trees where monkeys
roam. The best-known path is the
Otter Trail, a five-day, 48-kilometre
coastal trek that’s among the most
popular hiking routes in South Africa.
Only 12 people are allowed along
the trek each day (you’ll have to
book ahead through the National
Parks Board), so this is truly getting
away from it all.
The Garden Route finally leaves
the coast at Storms River, where the
foolhardy take a bungy-jump from
the road bridge while monkeys leap
in the trees. Still, just keep on driving
and the splendid scenery continues
until you get to the outskirts of
industrial Port Elizabeth, the official
end of the Garden Route. If the
Garden Route has one downside,
it’s that you won’t see any of the
big game for which South Africa is
renowned along the coast itself.
Turn inland at Port Elizabeth
however, and you can top off your
drive with a safari experience at
private game reserves such as the
superlative Kwandwe, which offers
the chance to see elephants, giraffes,
zebras and lions.
At the end of a day’s animal
encounters, guests gather around
the safari lodge’s boma (open-air
fireplace) to warm themselves as the
evening cools and swap stories about
the day’s adventures. Sunset flares
in a magnificent display of crimson,
pink and gold. Then it’s dark, and out
of the night an elephant trumpets: the
spellbinding call of the wild. ●
9/01/14 10:03 AM
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