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The route to your heart: exploring Africa’s secret

Lili Marie Flax

Contributor

Travel to South Africa’s famous Garden Route, a breath-taking journey along the outline of Africa, filled to the brim with vineyards, wildlife, and beaches, starting from the Eastern Cape and ending in the beautiful, lively metropolis of Cape Town. Taking the time to explore this unique area gives you the opportunity to sample a selection of the world’s finest and oldest wines. Take a trip down the garden path and become immersed in South Africa’s diverse culture, experience its magnificent landscape, and see its majestic wildlife, including the hallowed Big Five. Beyond the unbelievable beauty of the Garden Route, there are many hidden delights to satiate your appetite for adventure. Allow yourself to be captivated by the beautiful Tsitsikamma National Park; test your daring side on Africa’s highest bungee bridge, and relax in the height of luxury at exclusive tree-top hotels. This journey to paradise has everything you need to uplift your soul, tickle your taste-buds, and quench your thirst for adventure.

Luxury wine estates

Groot Constantia, Boschendaal, and Blaauwklippen wine estates all claim to be the oldest in the country. All three estates started producing wine in the late 1600s or early 1700s. Although nobody may ever be certain as to the historic facts, these three estates all offer fine wine, beautiful sites, and rich historic tales of both their craft and their country.

The Graham Beck Methode Cap Classique is fundamental in the South African wine game. Year after year, this MCC is awarded all the top prizes for one simple reason: it is the best. Graham Beck offers an array of top-class, award-winning wines that are not to be missed. Remember to try them all when you visit their tasting room, nestled in the heart of the Robertson’s wine valley. It is extremely easy to forget to try anything else after sampling the mind-blowing MCC.  

Fine dining experiences

Serendipity Waterfront Guest House and Fine Dining Restaurant has been awarded the 2019 World Luxury Restaurant Award for South African cuisine and was the South African winner for fine dining. Nestled between the Outeniqua Forests of the Garden Route National Park and Touws River estuary, this guest house is a must on any luxury tour of the Garden Route. In addition to the beautiful forests, you will get to see fynbos, a family of fauna endemic to this region. The majestic Swartberg and Outeniqua mountains, as well as some of Africa’s most beautiful white sandy beaches, make Serendipity the perfect escape.

La Colombe in Constantia was the only fine-dining eatery in South Africa to be listed among the top twenty-five in the world. This acclaimed establishment is located in the beautiful Silvermist Organic Wine Estate. The owner and chef, Scot Kirton, has a famous style of Asain-French fusion, which is renowned the world over. He uses only the freshest, local produce and is committed to showcasing simple, clean flavours. With a view of both Hout Bay and False Bay, as well as the Constantia wine valley, this is sure to be an unforgettable stop on your Garden Route Tour.   

Culturally rich historic sites

The Iziko Slave Lodge is one of the oldest buildings in South Africa. This museum showcases the injustices of the global slave trade from the South African vantage point. This site is of significance not only to South Africans, but to all Global citizens, as it dives deep into our past and forces us to examine what it means to be human.

Robben Island is the famous prison in which South African statesman Nelson Mandela spent a large portion of his 27-year prison sentence. The island is located just off the shore of Cape Town and can be reached by a short ferry ride. In this humbling tour, you are guided by a former prisoner who suffered under the unjust Apartied laws in the old, unfree South Africa. You will not only learn about the traumatic history of South Africa, but about the country’s vibrant culture as well.

Hidden adventures

Tsitsikamma National Park is at the Eastern border of the Garden Route and it showcases majestic South African flora and fauna at its finest. Housing the storms river mouth, they offer not only breathtaking hikes, but a kayaking and lilo tour for those with an adventurous spirit. Perhaps, try out the Tsitsikamma Canopy Tours zip-lining escapade through the ancient tree-tops of the Tsitsikamma rainforest, which showcases the rare and wonderful South African birdlife. To really test your daring side, the Bloukrans Bridge located near the park offers the highest bungee-jumping bridge in Africa. 

South Africa’s majestic wildlife

South Africa is home to the Big Five: the lion, leopard, rhino, elephant, and buffalo. But this is just the tip of the iceberg of what you can see in this incredible country. Addo Elephant Park at the Eastern side of the Garden Route is the prime location in the area to see these animals in their natural habitat. The park was founded in 1931 to protect the 11 remaining elephants in the area. Now Addo is home to more than 600 of our giant friends. Allow the experts to show you the wildlife from the smallest dung beetle, the cornerstone of the Addo ecosystem, to the magical spekboom plant which not only feeds the elephants but takes in four times as much carbon dioxide as other plants, making it a prime weapon to fight global warming.  

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