It takes quite a bit to shut me up. Ask anyone who knows/has met me. But I have to say: nothing like a glance at some of Mother Nature’s miracles, to render even this girl speechless. Those moments you can’t do anything but stare in wonder, and thank the lucky stars that led you to this place, this moment. So if you’d ask me what I did the most while traveling the Garden Route, the answer’s pretty simple. I stared. I marveled. I thanked.

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The highlights

After a stop for lunch and an afternoon lounge on the beach in Jeffrey’s Bay, we headed towards Storms River Mouth Rest Camp, our home base in the Tsitsikamma section of the Garden Route National Park (Waves, rocks & water falls!). Next, we drove further West towards Wilderness National park (kayak!), with a stopover in Knysna for a yummy Cray Fish lunch. Final stop before going down to the Cape: Hermanus, for some epic whale watching!

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the tips

Pad stalls! On the road towards Port Elizabeth, make sure to keep your eyes open for pad stalls beside the road! In these little shops you can find all sorts of pretty/yummy regional and handmade goodies. Guess where 70% of my souvenir gifts came from…

Tasty Table is definitely a solid lunch tip in Jeffrey’s Bay. Fresh yumminess (try the calamari!), beach views (hello pretty surfer boys) and super sweet service.

Surfers (Shopping) Paradise. After you’re fueled up on all that that tastiness, you might want to put that energy to use and visit some of the Jeffrey’s Bay Factory stores. Top surfer brands (O’Neil, Billabong, …) at outlet prices: score!

Kayaking in Wilderness. Wilderness appears to be a stop a lot of SA travelers skip. But if you have the time, definitely consider a detour to this beautiful piece of greenery. And while you’re at it, get yourself a kayak and your ass into that water.

Hermanus Backpacker. This was definitely one of the nicest backpackers we’ve stayed at during our journey. Beautiful pool, cosy rooms, friendly people and a nice braaj dinner. The perfect home base for your whale watching adventures.

Wild pass. If you think of doing several of the San Parks National Parks, consider buying a Wild Card. It will give you unlimited access to the parks at a very reasonable price. (Yups, we were dumb enough to pay for each park separately. But at least you can learn from our mistake ;) )

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The memories

Tsitsikamma Love. One of the most breathtaking sights of our entire trip must be the beautiful waterfall we saw in Tsitsikamma. Talk about a rewarding hike! (Or should I say rock crawl :p ). Overall, Tsitikamma National Park was definitely one of my favorite stops on our trip and one of the first things I would recommend someone to visit in South Africa (after the Bush of course <3). We stayed in the Storms River Mouth Rest Camp, which is built along the Wild Coast, with cozy, comfortable wooden huts looking out on all that rough gorgeousness. We caught some beautiful sunsets and I spent one afternoon just reading on our deck, basking in the soft sun and looking out on the crashing waves. Bliss.

Dassies! These soft and furry cuties were literally ALL around in Tsitsikamma! They’re a little shy but if you’re very very carefull (and have a top notch 200mm lens <3 Katrien) you’ll be able to approach them enough to (figuratively!!) catch them in all their melt-worthy cuteness

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GO Springboks! During our time in South Africa, the Rugby World cup was taking place, and even for a sports-noob like myself, it was hard to not get infected with the „Bokke-fever” In Wilderness we were lucky enough to catch the semi-finals in the company of some lovely South Africans. We got totally into it! (Yes, there was yelling). The fact that the Bokke didn’t win did spoil the fun a little bit (by then we felt like they were „our team”, you know), but we got to meet and chat with some very interesting people, so I guess we did win in some way…

Whale Watching Wonders. The timing of our trip was perfect for whale watching (excellent planning skills, Katrien! <3) and we got so spoiled with sightings! Can you imagine, just having lunch (Sexy Hoender burger x Hermanus brewed beer = yumz), while spotting those magical creatures right from your terrace on the shore! Crazy. On our whale watching boat tour we even came across an albino baby whale. Such a big little miracle!

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 Pics by me, Katrien and Lore

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