knysna

Garden Route Road Trip Part 2: Groot Brakrivier to Tsitsikamma

We left our fairytale cottage in Groot Brakrivier for Knysna, a beautiful coastal city between George and Plettenberg Bay. Knysna, in my opinion, is about the only place I’ve seen that rivals Cape Town and the Cape Peninsula in terms of sheer physical beauty. The rugged coastline of the Knysna “Heads” is pretty incomprehensible. Simply put, the place is beautiful.

We spent the morning exploring the boardwalks and trails around the eastern head, and reading about the history of Knysna shipwrecks. The place is known for them, due to the rough water between the Heads.

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Can you see Chas?

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We had lunch at probably the most beautiful place a person could put a restaurant and got front-row seats to watch unexpected people get soaked by the waves. We even ended up meeting a guy from South Carolina after I spotted someone walking around with USC apparel.

After a scenic drive to do a short walk in the Knysna Forest, where—no joke—there was another guy with a Carolina shirt on, we stopped for the night to camp in a tent on a property just north of the city. The place was quaint. Among the sounds of birds, monkeys and frogs, there was also the sound of a someone’s house party blasting until late in the night. When all you’ve got is a canvas tent between you and the outdoors, it’s a little hard to fall asleep to the beats of techno music.

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It’s amazing how the scenery changes along the Garden Route—from open, yellow fields to lush, jungly forest.

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Here I am attempting to fire-dry my chair after a wine accident. Ah, the great outdoors!

The next morning we were up bright and early to drive into Tsitsikamma for one of the only things we planned before starting out on our road trip—a canopy tour. Our guides were awesome and the whole experience zip lining from high up in the trees was incredible, though I’d say I was not so good at it. I somehow got turned around and came into one landing backwards, slammed into both the safety guide and the tree on another, and was somehow the only one with any kind of…erm… “crotch pain” (to put it one way), despite being the only female in the group. HOW?

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After gliding through the trees of Tsitsikamma, we just had to stop to see the “Big Tree,” a 1,000-year-old Outeniqua Yellowwood. And yeah, it was pretty big. About 120 feet big, actually.

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After a terrifying walk across the Storms River Bridge, we moseyed over to Fynboshoek Cheese Farm for lunch. Will you be driving in or near Tsitsikamma? Go to Fynboshoek. Do you live very far away from Tsitsikamma? That’s too bad, and you should find a way to go because our lunch there was one of the highlights of our trip, and definitely the best meal we had.

Alje, the owner, has set up a restaurant in an old house on his award-winning cheese farm that is only open for lunch, only seats 20 people, and doesn’t have a menu. Dishes are prepared seasonally, and from the cheese, bread, salad and ice-cream, the only things not from the farm itself were the butter and olive oil.

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The road to Fynboshoek Cheese Farm

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Also, the farm has cats that will slowly make their way into your lap and then slowly onto the table and then slowly you are feeding them cheese from your hand. It happens.

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