A SHORT BREAKAWAY WITH LIMITED TIME (3-4 DAYS) MAKES GEORGE/WILDERNESS AN EASY AND EXCITING DESTINATION TO EXPLORE, RELAX AND JUST ENJOY…
About 5 hours from Cape Town, this is a great route to take if you don’t want to wake up with the chickens! Tackling the N2 just after peak time traffic, Somerset West whizzes past and excitement sets in along the scenic Sir Lowry’s Pass (passengers can take full advantage of the panoramic views but drivers need to be alert on the sharp bends and a lot of trucks).
1st stop: Peregrine Farmstall (Padstal), Grabouw
The Peregrine Farmstall serves up spectacular coffee and fresh goods (the pies are heavenly) to kickstart the adventure… and there are so many treats to buy that you will be pretty much set for snacks for the journey.
2nd stop: Ou Meul Bakery, Riversdale
Pastry heaven for an early lunch and to stretch your legs. You can also fill up with fuel at the nearby petrol station.
After Riversdale you pass Mossel Bay, which is a chilled spot with activities including the longest zipline over the ocean, the Point of Human Origin, and some superb restaurants and accommodation options.
Destination George reached
It’s always a marvel to note how clean the streets of George are. Gone are the days when George was considered as a bit of a retirement village – there is loads to do here, be it outdoors, shopping, or dining and exploration. It is also a fantastic spot to get to areas like the Wilderness, which can only be described as breath-taking.
3rd stop: Buff and Fellow (accommodation)
An eco-game farm about 10km from George airport and near Glentana Beach, the architectural elements are novel. We stayed in a “coconut” pod that was a two-bed self-catering unit that has a spiral staircase around the dam.
It’s George, but aesthetic-wise it feels like you are in Bali. (There are other room options such as the luxury cabins and cabanas.) After checking in we did a quick drive to the shops for our braai dinner.
Activities on offer:
• Enjoy an interesting breakfast – walk to the chicken coop to get your fresh eggs
• Game drives – spot some buffalo, rhino, buck and more. There is also a Shetland pony that you can feed.
• Fishing – catch and release
• Board games
• Chilling near the water or at the dam
4th stop: Garden Route Botanical Gardens
A short drive from Buff and Fellow, you can literally walk for hours exploring indigenous flora, a maze and discover the owl sanctuary. A great lunch spot here is the Marshmallow Garden Café, which serves up positively sinful milkshakes.
5th stop: Outeniqua Transport Museum
Showcasing a variety of steam locomotives and a charming miniature town with trains, the museum is also home to ox wagons and restored vehicles.
It is also at this venue where you can hop onto the Outeniqua power van – a rail trip that takes you back in time with insights into our rail history, and journeys through the OuteniquaMountains, which were originally inhabited by the Khoi San.
6th stop: Victoria Bay
Situated between George and Wilderness, this tucked away cove enclosed by cliffs offers frolicking and superb waves to surf. For those not interested in water activities there are walks and trails in addition to a viewpoint to take in the majestic surrounds.
7th stop: Backline Lounge, Wilderness
Trendy and cool, this lounge has an extensive cocktail menu that is perfect for a chilled afternoon of sundowners.
8th stop: Redberry Farm
It’s a berry celebration all year long! A great spot for the family or people who love berries – everything has a strawberry flavour – the pizza with the strawberry balsamic is divine. There are also activities such as pony rides, bumper boats, gift shops and a maze to explore.
9th stop: Kaymans River, Wilderness
Time to get serious about nature and adventure. On offer is abseiling, which looks easy enough but in reality can be quite daunting (unless you are a complete adventure junkie). For a more leisurely pursuit, there is canoeing which offers picturesque views and feels quite peaceful.
10th stop: Wilderness
For a novel way to experience Wilderness, try e-biking, which does not require a lot of peddling. The route takes you over the mountain where you can stop off at a café and experience nature. The path gives you full panoramic views of Wilderness, and the tour guide is a fountain of information.
There is plenty more to explore in this region, but if you are on limited time a lot can be done in a short while!