Garden route & Klein karoo
Two vastly different geographical areas running parallel together contrasting, yet complimenting each other. The lush green Garden Route hugs the Indian Ocean coastline on its southerly length and is separated by a line of rugged mountains on its northerly length which, once transversed, opens into the contrasting semidesert valley that is the Klein Karoo. A mysterious allure emanating from the Garden route tropical forests, exotic plant species, tranquil inland lakes, densely wooded mountains, pristine beaches and meandering rivers is overwhelming. A well-developed tourist infrastructure has strung the regions towns along the coast like a string of pearls. In all of them artists, writers, naturalists and nature lovers co exist to those devoting their time and energies to catering to the whims and special fancies of the area’s year-round visitors. Replete with legends of hillbillies, the seldom-seen Knysna Elephants, soft mornings drifting in on the music of a woodcutters axe, the early sun kissing the face of a perfect wave peeling off cosy Victoria bays secluded point, the entirely appropriate eccentricity of Noetzie’s beach bound castles and Belvadere’s Norman Church, the garden route is a romantic’s paradise.
Visiting the worked-out, overgrown goldmines of Milkwood, where prospectors indulged in a 19th century fortune-seeking frenzy, the graves of early pioneers seems forever fresh. A scenic drive over any of the numerous passes through the Outeniqua snd Tsitsikama mountains is reward in itself but added to this is the sight of the Klein Karoo.
Klein Karoo, a narrow valley constrained by rugged mountains north and south. It is a semidessert broken by lush river valleys. A climate dominated by the sn produces excellent wines and port in calitzdorp and De Rust areas. Locally produced dried fruit, raisins and cheese also bear connoisseurs unquestionable stamps of approval.