14th May, 2017
We woke up on the fifth day (25th February, 2017) morning with heavy hearts. It was finally time to say goodbye to the amazing city of Cape Town. There is so much about Cape Town that we’ll never forget. The infinite Oceans, scenic mountains, clean beaches, tipsy cocktails, mouthwatering food, the energetic & fun crowd, beautiful nature reserves and so much more.
We had a long road trip ahead of us today. So stuffed ourselves with a heavy breakfast and thanked the staff and the management for a smooth and hassle free stay. By the fifth day at Welgelegen Boutique hotel, the entire staff, management and other guests had become so friendly with us, that saying goodbyes wasn’t just a formality but a deep heart-felt gesture. (It’s just the emotion that boutique hotels bring out).
Mirinda suggests! – The road trip to Knsyna is almost a 5 hour drive, we recommend you carry a lot of food, cold fluids, sunscreen lotions, hats and sunglasses. Please don’t forget to carry your SLR camera, keep it handy as the drive is super scenic and you would want to keep clicking photographs every other moment.
We bid farewell to Cape Town began our journey to Knysna along the Garden Route around 8 a.m.
MIRINDA fun facts! – It takes about 45 mins to reach the highway from the Gardens Area, Cape Town. Once you reached the highway, the road is quite straightforward. Just plug in the car GPS or use the google maps, both of them are very accurate.
THE GARDEN ROUTE
The name “Garden Route” comes from the numerous lagoons, lakes and ecologically diverse vegetation found dotted along the coast. It is the most popular and scenic stretch of the south-eastern coast of South Africa. It includes towns such as Mossel Bay (famous for shark cage diving), Knysna, Oudtshoorn (famous for Ostrich farms), Plettenberg Bay (famous for the world’s highest Bungee jump) and Nature’s Valley; with George, the Garden Route’s largest city and main administrative centre.
MIRINDA fun facts! – Knysna is located approximately 500 kms from Cape Town. While the drive would take much longer than the flight, we strongly recommend driving to Knysna via the Garden Route. The entire route is covered with abundant natural beauty.
“It is perhaps a man’s impression of heaven on earth”.
The drive along the garden route was absolutely beautiful & breathtaking. If Cape Town was a trailer, Garden route was the full movie. And what a movie it was!! “Just pick up a canvas and paint it with the colors blue, green, yellow, orange and brown – Mark a small road in between and the picture that you see will be very close to what Garden Route is”. Lush green open farms, livestock of various species, tall beautiful trees, small town houses, spotless roads – imagine all this for almost for 500 kms beneath the open blue sky.
MIRINDA fun facts! – If you are feeling hungry, need to take a bathroom break, or are out of fuel, don’t worry as there are plenty of pit stops and gas stations along the way.
Now comes the best part. (We were just about to reach Wilderness). We were driving through a long upward slope and just when we were nearing the end of it, we started seeing a small tinge of blue in front of us. As we drove over the slope, we saw the magnificent Indian Ocean in front of us. That feeling was just mind boggling. For a moment, I just wanted to stop time and stand there and admire the abundant beauty which was in front of my eyes. Throughout the remainder of the drive, there were big patches where we drove parallel to the Indian Ocean. I keep on repeating this sentence but I had never seen anything like this.
MIRINDA suggests! – Load your phone with some good music to enjoy along the long beautiful drive. Don’t forget to get an Aux cable/portable speakers as all cars may not be Bluetooth compatible.
After, a 6 hour long drive with a couple of small halts in between, we finally made to it Knysna at around 2:00 p.m.
At the end of South Africa’s Garden Route, in the Western Cape province, you’ll come upon the forested town of Knysna which grew around an extensive lagoon of the same name. The town is famous for its oyster festival, warm people and the most magnificent views from Leisure Isle to the Knysna Heads. A visit to Knysna is a sublime blend of adventure and relaxation.
We felt that it was a complete contrast from Cape Town. Cape Town is a much larger and gave us that big city kind of Feel. While on the other hand, Knysna gave that warm small town coziness kind of feeling. Everything from the road signages to the houses, from the hoardings of the shops to the way people were dressed, there was a huge contrast between both the towns. I loved it from the moment we entered Knysna. It was a proper “my kind of town” – with a population of less than 60,000 people, nice cozy restaurants, huge open landscapes, local street shopping and so much more – everything was just so much more personal. The town was well developed, but it felt as if we were travelling in woodcutter country.
MIRINDA suggests! – Knsyna has 2 areas famous amongst tourist : 1. Knysna Heads and 2. Knysna Quays. We strongly recommend staying at Knsyna Heads, located on the top most location of Knysna, you will get an overall view of the city on one end along with the unobstructed view of the Indian Ocean on the other.
We had booked “The Alexander Guest House” located at Glenview Road, The Heads of Knysna. It was again a boutique five star B&B property with only six rooms. When we reached the entrance of the hotel, the staff showed us the parking spot and helped us with the luggage. As we got out of the car and were just counting the luggage, we observed that the garage door shut automatically with the press of a portable key. All guests were given the automated key which makes the parking very easy and smooth. (Its was actually very cool). The staff took our bags in, showed us our room and offered us a complimentary drink of our choice.
We stayed in the ‘Pilot’s View Penthouse suite’ which was located on the first floor of the property. The 300 sq.ft. room was filled with all the modern facilities and gadgets. We even had a bath tub and personal nespresso coffee machine all to ourselves. The room had an in-built music system where we could could plug the phone and play music, which created an ambient music in our room, bathroom and deck. The best part of the room though was the deck which was right in front of the bed. Just when I opened the curtains to step outside, in front of me was the panoramic view of the Indian Ocean. I was just speechless. I could see the endless Ocean in front of me. On close observation, I could spot small boats and some people sailing in the Ocean – it was beautiful. Add to this we had a small private pool on the deck. I couldn’t wait to get into my costume and just jump inside the pool, sip a few drinks and get lost in the Ocean.
This was the most romantic & relaxing place I had ever been in my life.
We were quite hungry after the long drive. After consulting the hotel staff for some restaurant suggestions, we headed to the East Head Café, which was a 5 min drive down the hill from our hotel.
East Head Café was more than just a café or coffee shop, it was like a local landmark where family and friends had a good time with good food and casual wine enjoying life. Situated on the rocks of the famous Eastern Head, East Head Café had the most spectacular view – looking directly through the Knysna Heads.
The restaurant is known for its burger, sandwiches & milkshakes. We ordered their famous Chicken Burger, a Ham & Cheese Sandwich along with a chocolate milk shake. We were so hungry that we finished the entire meal in a few minutes. Just besides the East Head Café, there is a small gelato place Ice Palazzo. It served homemade gelato. The small joint was so famous that it was always flooded with tourists. We tried the local specials coconut punch & caramel. Wow!!! I had never had such gelato before. Post a nice lunch, we went back to our hotel and relaxed for the rest of the afternoon In the evening, we plunged in the pool and enjoyed a few drinks in front of the magnificent view of the Indian Ocean. After a long hectic drive, the pool with that view was a total bliss and we felt so calm and relaxed. There was no noise around us and we could hear only the noise of the gushing waves on the shore. It felt like Paradise.
MIRINDA fun facts! – From July to November, whale spotting is quite common from the Alexander Guest House. Just before we arrived, there was a small pack of dolphins which the other guests spotted from the hotel deck.
The best part of The Alexander is that they offer a complimentary shuttle service – to and fro from the local restaurants in Knysna. The hotel staff would ask each guest what cuisine they would like to have for dinner and would provide recommendations accordingly. They even went a step further and made reservations on behalf of the guests. We were in the mood for some Thai cuisine and the Alexander had booked us a table at The Royal Siam Thai restaurant.
Our hotel shuttle dropped us at the restaurant around 8:30 pm. It was a small Thai restaurant with approximately 5-7 tables indoor and outdoor. The atmosphere at the restaurant was a complete contrast from buzzing and energetic atmosphere in Cape Town restaurants. Everything was just so quiet and relaxed in Knysna. We tried some dimsums and Thai curry with steamed rice. The restaurant did not have an official bar license but they arranged for alcohol from the next door restaurant. The best part of having the shuttle service was that we could enjoy the drinks freely. After a nice dinner and a few drinks, we called the shuttle which took us back to our hotel safe and sound.
MIRINDA fun facts! – In Knysna, most places shut by 11 pm. So make sure you plan your dinner early. Also, it does not have an Uber service and local taxis are very scarce. Further, driving back to the hotel after having alcoholic drinks is strictly not advisable. We strongly recommend that you do a prior check with your hotel about the transportation service.
As we were entering the guest house, we could smell freshly roasted dry fruits and something yummy was cooking there the smell of which had filled up the entire place. We asked the owner about it to which he replied that it was a “surprise” for us for tomorrow’s breakfast! We chilled at the bar for sometime after returning from dinner. It was a self-service bar with a large variety of offerings. We tried the local wines with a few fruits and headed to our room for a good night sleep. Just as we entered our room, we had another nice surprise for us – A nicely decorated bucket filled with ice and champagne along with a warm welcome note.
We decided to enjoy the champagne on our deck, under the stars with the cool ocean breeze.
Day 06 – Oudtshoorn Ostrich farms and Cango Caves coming up next!
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