Wanderings in South Africa - 4 - The Garden & Wine Routes

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November 18th 2014
Published: November 19th 2014
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We headed away from Cape Town in an easterly direction through the Western Cape Province towards the Garden Route. We passed through mountainous terrain and then out on to flat 'fynbos' plains covered wirh low scrubby vegetation and into arid semi-desert land. We arrived in Oudtshoorn, a small town famous for ostrich farming. Our first visit is, naturally, to an ostrich farm - we now know all there is to know about ostrich farming and our evening meal is of course - ostrich steak - very tasty!

Next day we set off up the Swartberg Pass - a gravel road which took seven years to build by convict gangs in the 1880's - which ascends between high mountain peaks to an altitude of 1640m. The weather was perfect with clear blue skies allowing expansive views into the far distance. Protea, in full bloom, and many other flowering plants including asters and yucca created a colourful scene.

We moved on, now along the 'Garden Route' to Knysna a seaside town on the South East coast. The Garden Route is named, not because of many wonderful gardens or flowers but because the area has a high rainfall, part of which we experienced the next day, and is consequently always green, lush and fertile. Our first thought was 'if there are no gardens on the garden route - we certainly hope there is going to be wine on the 'wine route'!! We visited seaside towns, Cango caves and went on a harbour cruise.

We arrived on the 'Wine Route' after a long six hour drive and were staying in the picturesque wine town of Franschhoek. Next morning we boarded a trolley bus for a 'Wine Tour' - we started our tastings at 10.30 - a little earlier than normal for us, but we are on holiday - tasting a variety of white and red South African wines - they certainly have plenty wine on the 'Wine Route'!! We will be doing more wine tasting in Stellenbosch today - before heading to the airport for our flight home, away from the lovely warm weather and wine of the Cape provinces.

Accommodation - Knysna - The Graywood Hotel

- Franschhoek - The Franschhoek Hotel & Spa

Weather - Knysna - Cold 10c, cloudy & raining improving to sunny & cloudy

- Franschhoek - Hot & sunny 28c - the best days of our holiday

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