Four friends on a nearly 2000km road trip following the beautiful Garden Route.
We narrowly left behind the infamous beast from the east winter storm that hit the U.K in 2018. The impacts of this storm would be felt early on in our trip though.
As we landed in Johannesburg, we were greeted by text messages notifying us that all of our luggage had been left behind in the layover in Paris due to the storm. I had started this trip with the mantra of carrying as little luggage and things as possible, to free myself up from any loads and the stress of worrying about things. For this reason I had no hand luggage, hence with the loss of my checked in luggage I was left with nothing but my trusty old jacket and the things in there. Including , fortunately the booking details of our car rental!
Anyways, what good does worrying do in this situation? You just have to deal with the cards you’re dealt with and move on!
After some useless service from Air France/KLM the focus was back on the road trip!
I had booked us a Renault 4×4 Duster, I mean you can’t do a road trip in South Africa without a 4×4! As soon as I turned on the engine and drove out, the past 14 hours of flying , and cold misery of the UK were all but forgotten. Now I was on the road to adventure and sunshine!
If you do decide to do this road trip, I highly recommend making a pit stop at Caltex Sunny hill services in Bloemfontein. The view from the hill is quite nice, and if you time it right, you’ll catch a glimpse of that beautiful African sunset.
We stayed the night in Colesberg where we had an Airbnb booked for some well deserved rest after several hours of driving.
Here Sharif and I also attempted our first ever long exposure shot of the night sky. This involved us physically standing over the garden lamps the hosts had installed and placing other objects over it to cover any other light. The results, well I’ll let you decide for yourself!
The next day off we were back again on the road towards Port Elizabeth, but today we were making a pit stop at the Valley of Desolation!
Formed over 100 million years ago as the result of a violent volcanic shift, this dry, endless formation of rock peaks is a sight to behold.
After some good quality hiking and climbing rewarded with a nice neck sunburn , it was time to move on!
Our stay near Port Elizabeth was eventful with me having to save Sharif from a roided up extremely muscular dog – she was just really aggressive about wanting attention and being petted. So after a little bit of rough play with her we were back on the road heading towards Tsitsikamma national park and the mouth of the Storm’s River on the coast.
The road winds down through thick canopies of trees and eventually to the stormy coast, aptly named.
Once you’re finished being captivated by tidal power , there’s a hiking trail up to the peak of a close by mountain that takes you through most of the forested trail, and you’re rewarded a great landscape view of the area.
It involves crossing Storm’s River suspension bridge! Which if you jump up and down on enough will shake the entire thing, something Sabrina did not enjoy!
There is a sign that mentions the maximum number of people allowed on it at once. Its up to people to count and follow the rule though. There’s a series of them interconnected to each other, which is what makes this so unique.
The mascot animal here is the South African Dassie, which always has a permanent look of surprise on its face.
About 40 minutes of hiking up past some interesting rock formations in the wall and navigating some forestry you’re rewarded with the view from the top.
From here we drove to stay the night at Knysna.
Sharif and I took day 4 to relax at a beach we had all to ourselves. It was empty because there was a shark in there but that didn’t bother us.
Susan and Sabrina meanwhile went to feed elephants.
I was excited for today because we were headed to where the Indian Ocean meets the Atlantic Sea, L’Agulhas. The most southern coastal village in Africa.
The final drive to Cape Town had begun! The Garden Route ends spectacularly with a view of Cape Town as you drive down the mountain road.
Although it can be really hot in Cape Town, around 35 degrees Celsius when we were there, the water remains ice cold and freezing! This is because of Cape Town’s extremely southern location and proximity to Antarctica. You really can’t be in there for longer than 5 minutes!
The famous Table Mountain is honestly just stunning! A very special mountain, watching the clouds literally spilling over it in slow motion, its something I wont forget!
That wraps up the road trip part of this adventure!
The next part is about facing fears diving with Great White Sharks , watching Hyenas fight a Cheetah to steal its kill and being way too uncomfortably close to Lions at the Kruger National Park! Stay Tuned!
Credits to Sharif, Sabrina and Susan for some of the pictures!