Garden Route South Africa ~ Best Road Trip Ever

  Click here to access the Garden Route South Africa slideshow – on Flickr

I’m a big fan of road trips. I’ve driven back and forth across the United States in all sorts of directions from Red Rock Country in the Southwest to Skyline Drive in the Northeast; along the rim of the Grand Canyon to the floor of Zion Canyon

Up until recently the best road trip I’d ever taken was from Los Angeles to Anchorage.  The scenic coastal drive from LA to Vancouver was followed by an adventurous drive from Vancouver to Anchorage via the Alaska-Canadian Highway, more commonly known as the ALCAN.  The drive was breathtaking in a variety of ways.  The Northern Lights were breathtaking because the beauty was unimaginable. The black bear that approached us as we tried to fill the car with gas was breathtaking for another reason altogether. But I’ll save that story for another post…

On a recent trip to South Africa the honor of Best Road Trip Ever was taken from the infamous ALCAN and was bestowed upon another series of highways on the opposite end of the globe, the Garden Route. Stretching from St. Francis Bay in the Eastern Cape to Mossel Bay in the Western Cape, the Garden Route is a coastal drive along the Indian Ocean on the southern coast of South Africa.

After a visit to George, South Africa I opted to make the 6 hour drive to Cape Town as opposed to taking the 1 hour flight.  I was initially nervous about the prospect of driving a left handed stick shift car down the left side of the road (or as I like to call it the wrong side of the road). As an American this would all be completely backwards to me but backwards driving turned out to be surprisingly easy and opting to drive versus fly turned out to be one of the happiest travel decisions I’ve ever made.

The water in the Indian Ocean, which was the brightest of blues, was contrasted by the green mountains rising up from the water’s edge. The view was simply stunning. After reaching the traditional end of the Garden Route in Mossel Bay we continued west en route to Cape Town and made an overnight stop in the coastal town of Hermanus. This quaint coastal town of 49,000 inhabitants has the claim to fame of being the world’s best destination for land based whale watching. My visit took place in the off season, so I can’t verify the claim, but I can say that this was one of the most scenic towns I’ve ever visited.  Check out the slideshow above to see the boardwalk along the rocky coast. Located just 1.5 hours east of Cape Town this coastal town is definitely worth a day trip from Cape Town if you find yourself in capital city.

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