During a particularly long drive back to Cape Town along the famous N2 Garden Route, I was, again, admiring the vista from the comfort of the rear window. It was a view that I was growing accustomed to, but by no means taking for granted.
It was then that a small voice from the front declared: ‘Mummy, South Africa has been like living in a picture…’
Thoughtful words from a six-year-old, and I couldn’t have put it better myself. Monkey was quite right. It didn’t matter whether we were exploring the city in Cape Town, or walking along the esplanade at Plettenberg Bay, each vantage point we encountered left us marvelling at the epic and beautiful scenery surrounding us.
And, not once during our 15 days there, did I ever tire of catching a glimpse of the sea, glistening in the distance, or seeing mountain ranges and endless green landscapes which seemed to go on for ever and ever.
Sometimes we’d even pass a lake or two, or find ourselves driving through a mountain gorge or passing a lagoon. The Garden Route and South Africa surpassed all expectations.
It really was like we were in a watercolour. If we could go back tomorrow, we would. No questions. So why did South Africa capture a piece of my heart? Let me show you via some of the photos I took…
Ever present in Cape Town, the majestic Table Mountain and Lion’s Head greet you at every turn. Sometimes I would forget, and then I’d look up and be wowed all over again… On the Garden Route the Tsitsikamma and Outeniqua mountains loomed large, as we navigated past this stunning natural playground.
Beaches for me are the epitome of getting away from it all – and South Africa’s Western Cape has them in abundance. Each one we encountered had its own special charm: from the affluent and popular Camps Bay in Cape Town and its powdery white snow framed by the impressive Twelve Apostles Mountains; to the sweeping panorama of Wilderness Beach and its endless carpet of sand, licked by the wild frothy waves and the promise of whales and dolphins making an appearance.
Some of our ‘bucket list’ experiences were realised in South Africa. Sure we didn’t get the chance to see whales (but it wasn’t the season), or go shark cage diving, but we had close encounters with African penguins, went walking alongside elephants, came across baboons and caught a glimpse of the ‘Big Five’ on a safari.
When I say tell you that we didn’t have one bad meal would you believe me? I will go into more detail about where we ate in a future post, but for now let me whet your appetite with just some of the delicious meals we had… If you like seafood then you’ll be in heaven – the freshest oysters, prawns, calamari and the sushi, some of the best I’ve ever had. Meanwhile, known for their braais, South Africans certainly know how to cook a piece of steak… Juicy, tender and melt-in-your-mouth deliciousness…
South Africa is the seventh biggest wine producer in the world – and when you drive through wine country such as Stellenbosch and Franschhoek, vineyards cling to the hills for miles upon miles. It’s not only staggering to see, but it also means that good wine is plentiful and at extremely reasonable prices.
Every person we encountered during our travels through South Africa was friendly and helpful. From the man at the petrol station who overheard our conversation about driving out of the city, and came over to tell us about an amazing farm shop we should go to, to the staff we met at our accommodation. We were made to feel very welcome.
Need I say any more?