Tuesday, June 12, 2012

The Beginning of the Garden Route

Day 3. We bid farewell to Archie and Hitgeheim Country Lodge. It was so far a pleasant start for our South African adventure. The bar has been raised, and we have so much to look forward to, now that the safari is over. 





It was a good thing that we started with the safari. The next part of the trip was a 700 km drive to Cape Town, passing through the famous Garden Route.


Along the Garden Route are several beautiful towns and destinations, so immersing in the Garden Route usually takes 4 to 5 days. Our first stopover is not actually part of the Garden Route, since it was still near Addo. 


The Daniell Cheetah Breeding Sanctuary was recommended to us by Archie. He said that it was a hit among kids. So, Lizzy encouraged me to visit the place. We didn't see cheetahs in our safari, so I guess this was a consolation.



There were several cheetahs in cages, but the one above was the one only open to visitors. At first, I thought cheetahs were tame animals, just like cats. But they can be ferocious as described. They are also one of the fastest creatures in the planet. 




Lizzy was able to get up close with the cheetah and even pet her. I managed to do the same, but I must admit, I was a little apprehensive. 


We then moved on to the lion cubs in another area. The cubs were cute and asleep, so we managed to cuddle with them.


After the cheetah sanctuary, we started the long drive to Cape Town. It was a road trip indeed, passing through beautiful landscapes. South Africa was amazing, its roads were flawless and there wasn't a lot of cars around. We felt that we owned the land!



Our first stop on the Garden Route was Storms River at Tsitsikamma, known to be the adventure destination of this part of Africa. Here you can do white water rafting and a whole lot of the nature adventure stuff.


We stopped at the Total gas station that had a spectacular view of the river and the canyon that it formed. It was a popular stop on this route, and you can see almost every car with tourists stop over here.



One can actually go to the bridge and walk on its edge to see the river down below. It was quite steep and definitely not for those afraid of heights.



Or you can go to the view deck beside the gas station and savor the landscape from there. The view was really amazing. There were mountains in the background, a canyon in the middle and the river way down below. 




We were already hungry, so we decided to exit in Kareedouw to grab lunch. It was a small town, and there wasn't much to see except for the dramatic mountains that loomed in a distance.


We ate at the Norma Jean's Diner which had a sign that said family restaurant. If you know music, you will know that Norma Jean is the real name of Marilyn Monroe. 


There was a bustling bar full of dirty old men, but they seemed safe. It was the only restaurant open at that time of the day (past 2PM) so we decided to settle here. After a very heavy meal, we continued our journey towards Knysna, where we would spend 2 nights in.




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