Our trip to Knsyna along the Garden Route was full of sun, beaches (a little getting burnt), holding snakes, beautiful viewpoints, lots of braais, lots of driving, dirt roads, and just general fun times. Out of all the things on my little list of things I wanted to do while we were in the garden route, we managed 3/4. We never got to ride an elephant because they were booked until the 10th of Jan. Bleak 😦 I won’t apologise for the image heavy post, but I will forewarn you (consider this it).
I’m so glad that we did so many different things to our last trip. We were a little worried that we’d “compare”, because last year we had such a fabulous and special time. We started our trip with a relaxing Shabbat: an early night, rummikub, a little brocha on our balcony overlooking the lagoon, naps and reading. We were practically in a food coma: eating, reading, sleeping, repeat. It was wonderful, and really the right compulsory break before the exploring.
On a colder, not beach-friendly day we explored the shops in Plett and landed up in the bar of the Beacon Isle hotel. It was so relaxing, just sitting there and talking. For hours. It’s not so often that we have that many uninterupted hours to really connect and not have to think about dinner/laundry/plans/work etc.
At the hotel we were picking up some pamphlets and found one for a snake park in The Craggs (where you’ll also find Monkey Land and other fun places). Greg loves snakes, and wanted to be a herpetologist when he was little. It was pretty interesting. Did you know that when they say a snake is “poisonous” that actually means it can shut down your nervous system, or your circulatory system? Heavy days, right? But don’t worry, most snakes don’t want to get in your way and will most likely slither away at the sight of you. And guys, I even held a snake. Two actually. I promise it was only for photographic purposes.
We braaied every night (it’s not a luxury we have in our little flat), and after discovering beautiful spots that had braai places too, we even braaied during the day (promise we brought lots of kosher meat with us from CT). I found about a place called Jubilee Creek on the internet, a beautiful creek with braai spots and a little 3km walk. So we had to check it out. Warning: it’s far (totally worth it, but far). As in, one you turn off the highway you’re going to be driving along dirt roads for about 25 minutes more. We guides at the SANPark entrance (small fee, again, so worth it) told us of the walk up ahead. We went and did the short 3km walk. But it wasn’t the flat walk I read on the internet. No, no. Jubilee Creek itself with that walk was faaaar, faaar down the dirt road, which we’d only discovered after doing the steeper walk. It’s ok, we had fun and took some pictures.
When we did eventually get down to the creek, it was so beautiful, we decided to come again on New Years Day for a braai. Our New Years braai was so great and relaxing. If you visit Jubilee Creek (and I do suggest that you do, its in between Sedgefield and Knsyna), and if you plan on braaing, you should try get there early at around 10ish, because it got really full later on in the morning. There were so many families braaing and kids playing in the creek. It was really picturesque, and I just sat on a rock with my feet in the creek read while Greg did his manly thing and braaied. There was (more) rummikub, (more) meat, and (more) marshmallows. Just how I like it 🙂 It was this day, that we also discovered panoramic photos on our cameras. Best things. Really.
We visited the Wilderness to meet a friend that Greg had made through studying for unisa (they had never met), and it’s so great to get local advice and tidbits from a local. She advised us to take a walk along the railway track at the beach, all the way around the cliff to a house of shells. Apparently you can stay there for a small donation, and were later told we should have asked for a tour (but the guy seemed a bit creepy and I was happy enough with some pictures along the train tracks. It’s all always about the photos, right?). But if you go, do ask him for a tour, I’d love to hear more.
And of course, what is a summer holiday with a bit of beach time. Here are the ones we visited and what you need to know:
- Buffels baai: The thing about Knysna is that it doesn’t have a beach, so no matter where you go it’s a bit of a drive. Buffels is in the direction of Sedgefield from Knysna. It’s a great clean, white sandy beach and very popular with surfers. We got there early (like, the same time as the life guards) and enjoyed the sun and cool water. I did get horribly burnt though that day (everywhere), so I’m pretty opposed to suntannning these days (it’s dumb.dumb.dumb)
- Noetzie: I was so excited to visit Noetzie with its beautiful castles. I just didn’t realise the dirt road we’d have to take to get there. My poor little toyota tazz didn’t know what hit her; it felt like she was going to fall apart for a whole 15 minutes. Basically, if you go to Noetzie, take a 4×4.
- Brenton on Sea: As we were heading to Buffels, the people we stayed at suggested we try Brenton on Sea, as it’s a whole lot closer. I wish we’d known about it before. It was quite a busy beach (we did go at around 5pm though) but the water is magically warm. It was a real treat. Not to mention that on the way we stopped at the most beautiful viewpoint. It’s hard not to give Knysna your heart.
Speaking of view points, you can’t go to Knysna and not visit the viewpoint at the heads (as you leave Knysna towards Plett). You take the turn off and just drive to the end, there’ll be signs along the way. The views were exquisite, and our cameras couldn’t quite capture the beauty in that light. But it was so lovely and I just wish you could see into my head.
My final highlight of the trip was our trip along the Keurbooms River. We hired a motor boat from the Plettenberg Bay Angling club and spent the day along the river boating, braaing and swimming. It was seriously fantastic and such an experience. Though be warned: Speed boats. They make huge ripples in the water. Huge ripples that might scare the living daylights out of you that maybe, just maybe, your boat may capsize. Screaming might ensue.
Panorama’s are really the best way to capture some of the beautiful views we saw. So I’ll leave you with these gorgeous panoramas from our trip (they display nicest in these circles, but if you click you’ll see the full size). I hope you go visit the Garden Route at some point in your life. It’s such a treasure on the coast. Could we be any luckier to live so nearby?