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Garden Route


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I understand that ST community is mostly purists, however masses of tourists go up and down the Garden route all year round. I want to add some of my experiences here, and possibly if anyone else has had some experiences they would like to share, it may help some other.

 

We went there last week on business, but decided to stay a few nights extra to check the good spots out.

 

Between Mossel bay and George there are masses of small game farms. You will probably see four of the big five in any of these farms. Sure its not Kruger park, but many of these places act as sanctuaries as well.

 

We stayed at Garden Route Game lodge. It is probably pretty close to what you will expect at any of the other places. Their accommodation was neat and clean and comfortable. Their prices were also very reasonable. We arrived late evening.

 

We did the game drive in the morning. They had two elephant that had come from the Knysna elephant sanctuary, and some lions in a large separate enclosure. We saw kudu, Eland, bontebok, Black wildebeest, Giraffe, Rhino, Springbok, Vaal rhebok, Zebra, Impala, Buffalo and Cheetah. Had breakfast, and continued to see their snake park, and some other cheetah that they have from the De Wild Cheetah research center.

 

I made my 11h00 meeting in Mossel bay as well.

 

I had a meeting is Oudtshoorn as well, so we ended the day there, and stayed over for the night. We had time to go and see the Cango Widllife Ranch in the afternoon. Here we had some fun clicking away at the exotic animals that they kept there. White lions, White tigers, cheetah and the list continues. This is essentially a zoo, but it is well kept and managed. I didnt find it upsetting.

 

Oudtshoorn is well visited by tourists as the Cango caves are there. I went there on my last visit. Thousands of people visit this every day.

 

I had a meeting in Plettenberg bay the next morning, after the meeting, we continued a little out of town to the Grags, and booked into a chalet at Natures valley. This is the end of the otter trail. One of SA's best kept secrets. We had time for a visit to the snake park and found the guide to be very knowledgeable. Took some photos of boomslang and Mamba. We were able to handle some snakes as well.

 

We still had time to visit to Tenikwa cat sanctuary. This was very good. We had close encounters with Caracal, Serval african wildcat, and they had black footed cat as well, but wouldn't allow anyone inside to see them. They even had a young leopard. Lovely venue, with great photo opportunities. A genuine sanctuary. By the way I got attacked by the one Caracal. He tucked into my leg. But the chameleon drew more blood.

 

Evening was a walk on the secluded beach of Natures Valley and the next morning was a walk in the forest.

 

If you choose to bungy jump, the worlds longest bungy is a short drive away. We chose to go to Monkeyland and Birds of Eden

Two absolutely amazing concepts. Both are huge walk in Enclosures. In monkeyland, all the monkeys roam free, breed and live like monkeys - they dont even now that they are in captivity. Most of them have been confiscated and I would call this a genuine sanctuary as well. The guide was superb and his knowledge was exceptional. Birds of eden was fantastic and we will go again.

 

There is so much to do on the garden route. We could have gone for elephant rides, but we chose not to.

 

The next day we had to return, and stopped at a wolf sanctuary. At first I was a little struck about what a wolf sanctuary is doing in SA, but anyway we got to see some wolves. But they had some jackals and were looking after some wild dogs that had been confiscated from a zoo. It was interesting.

 

All in all - not what many would call a Safari, but very enjoyable and good value. And we had lots of practice with the cameras.

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Dik Dik,

 

When time permits, can you please post some information regarding good "running trails" or even routes in South Africa - either Cape Town or elsewhere.

 

Will be much appreciated. It's still Africa, so I think relevant and will help many travellers.

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Thanks Dikdik, why weren't you allowed to see the black footed cats? Or did you mean you couldn't go in with them, but could view them from outside their enclosures?

 

The Garden Route has always sounded attractive, although I possibly wouldn't go there for the game, there are obviously many other attractions.

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Thanks Dikdik, why weren't you allowed to see the black footed cats? Or did you mean you couldn't go in with them, but could view them from outside their enclosures?

 

No-one has ever successfully bred a black footed cat. They dont live long, and often kill their kittens. They had a kitten.

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Thanks, so much. Very much appreciated!!!

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dikdik-

 

Purists? Sounds daunting.

 

I think the info you have provided is quite valuable. On our last trip, we were going to have two nights in JoBurg because of how I was able to get FF tickets, so I looked around for somewhere relatively nearby to spend one of those nights instead of at an airport hotel. We ended up at a place called Thaba Phuti, which was about 2 hours from the airport. It had its own 300 or so hectare area in which you could walk (had zebra, giraffe, ostrich, and waterbuck), and across the road was a 3,000 hectare farm with white rhino among other things. It wasn't the real "bush", but it beat a night at the airport hotel.

 

If I find myself on the Garden Route someday, I'll use your information.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I found a really informative website - we picked up this pamphlet while we were there and it was probably the most useful.

 

Cruise the Graggs.

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Don't forget Bontebok National Park, either. I'm not sure if that qualifies as the garden route, but Mrs P and I have stayed there a couple of times.

 

No big game (but lots of bonteboks) and it's a nice place to walk, or to go for a swim in the Breede River. Good for birds, too.

 

Also, they have the best souvenir T-shirt of any SA national park, so if you go you must, of course, get the T-shirt.

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