ELEPHANT PORTRAITS AND COLOURFUL SUNSETS: South Africa’s Garden Route

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Following east from Cape Town, the Garden Route covers a few hundred kilometres through all sorts of beautiful landscape – sandy beaches, deep forests and open fields. You can also spot the odd elephant and baboon.

It’s a great road trip as there are lots of nice restaurants to stop by along the way, and there are plenty of reserves and national parks in the area.

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Tsitsikamma National Park:

This is a beautiful area full of activities. We stayed at Storms River Mouth, where you can rent fully equipped cabins with amazing views, including both sunset and sunrise over the sea.

Deer and dassies lounge about, and dolphins swim in the distance. There are plenty of activities around, so we went zip-lining over waterfalls. You can also explore on foot following the many walking paths.

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Knysna Elephant Park:

This is a great place to see elephants and zebras up close. You can visit during the day or stay in their lodge to take full advantage of spending time with their rescued elephants, day and night.

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You can take part in different activities with the elephants, including feeding and walking with them. The guides are very knowledgeable and know the back story of every elephant. We stayed two nights and had plenty of time to get to know a few of the elephants.

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SCENIC VIEWS AND LOTS OF PENGUINS: Highlights of Cape Town

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We went to South Africa for a wedding and spent some time exploring Cape Town. These were our highlights:

Boulders beach: A beach and walkway where you can spot hundreds of penguins with a scenic view.

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Table Mountain: On a clear day, people rush to get the cable car up to Table Mountain. It is the backdrop of Cape Town, and from the top you get amazing views of the city and the sea. You can spend a few hours exploring and taking photos. Most people don’t go very far, so follow the path to Maclear’s Beacon and you will get most of the place to yourself.

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Robben Island: Visiting the prison where Mandela and other political prisoners were held during the apartheid is one of the most popular activities in Cape Town. You take the ferry from the V&A Waterfront, then go through a guided visit of the island and prison. The ferry journey takes one hour and the boat is followed by playful seals.

The highlight of the island tour is visiting the prison: most of the guides were political prisoners there, so it’s a unique opportunity to learn about the place from someone who experienced it first-hand. It’s best to book in advance and visit early on the day.

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Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens: These gardens are a beautiful place to spend a few hours. There are lots of native flora and you can also spot birds on the trees. A walkway gives you a great view onto Table Mountain from above the trees. We had lunch at their Tea Room which had lots of options for veggies with big and yummy salads.

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Chapman’s Peak drive: Following this scenic route along a coastal road, you get amazing views over the sea and nearby mountains – there are plenty of lookout spots along the way. Breathtaking!

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Kalk Bay: A cool area by the beach with plenty of independent shops and restaurants, including:

  • Satori: A popular Italian restaurant serving yummy pizzas and pasta.
  • Salt: A cool restaurant serving a selection of yummy pasta and mains, including vegan options.
  • Chartfield Guest House: A cool and chilled hotel in Kalk Bay with amazing views of the sea.

Mugg & Bean: a chain of coffee shops selling yummy refreshing drinks – the turmeric gingerade was a hit!

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Stellenbosch: About one hour from Cape Town, the famous wine region has impressive scenery and amazing views. We visited:

  • Wild Clover Cottages: we spent one night in this nice property. Rooms overlook a game reserve where gemsbok and zebras laze about in the distance.
  • Babylonstoren: A garden and winery with lots of outdoor space, restaurants serving locally grown vegetables and more. A nice place to spend a couple of hours al fresco.

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