Road tripping: First stop, Knysna

  • Miles travelled: 6288
  • Driving theme song: Alberta, Eric Clapton
  • Highlight: Leaving the Huguenot tunnel and emerging into the incredible Du Toitskloof mountain scenery
  • Lowlight: The first Knysna sign – 400km to go

We’re writing this while sitting in the sun on the beach at Plettenberg Bay, some 260 odd miles from Cape Town. Road trip part one, complete!

What a beautiful journey so far. We left Cape Town in good time yesterday morning and headed up into the mountains to take the scenic way round to the Garden Route.  Six wonderful hours of winding mountain and coastal roads with just us, the odd bakkie and lots of baboons.

Before we left, we raided the family stash and found some of Margaret’s old CD’s. Luckily, she had excellent taste. A six CD changer and singalong classics such as Clapton, Meatloaf and Simon and Garfunkel and we were all set.

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We arrived into Knysna early afternoon yesterday and checked into our guesthouse (80 on Main, nothing special and some amusing/disturbing sound effects coming from the room above us this morning,  but great value). Heading out to explore, our first stop was, naturally, to try the locally brewed Mitchell’s beer.

Knysna town itself was a little disappointing, although the views were beautiful. The waterfront area is a bit on the kitsch side, full of chain restaurants and tacky gift shops. It was also eerily quiet down there for a Saturday, it’s out of season but still seemed strangely deserted. Thesen Island was also all shut up, although we tracked the locals down eventually, all holed up in Tapas and Oysters watching the Currie Cup Western Province v Stormers final.

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Later in the evening, however, we stumbled across an absolute gem for dinner and spent the evening happily sampling the famous Knysna oysters at Freshline Fisheries. Such a beautiful place in the most random of locations, in a care park opposite a waste disposal centre. Sandy floors, candles, fire pits and an impressively large selection of fish for the braai.

We’d both spent the car journey working out our budget and went a little too far down the money saving route by ordering starters for main. Luckily it was Bring Your Own Booze so we didn’t have to make any sacrifices on the wine. Phew.

This morning we headed to the extremely popular East Head Cafe for granola, coffee, beautiful views and a walk around the Head. Queuing for brunch felt a little too familiar after London..

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A little amble around the rocks and we set off for Plettenberg Bay as a stopover en route to Natures Valley where we are camping tonight.

Driving out of Knysna, the devastation of the recent fires was even more obvious. Rows on rows of trees in their beautiful forests have been destroyed. I imagine it will take years for them to return to normal, sadly. The guesthouse owner showed us where the fire stopped right outside our window, some of the tree branches were still singed.

A relaxing start to the trip and we’re off to attempt a swim in the sea now. I’m used to the freezing Cape Town waters so looking forward to being able to get in above ankle height!

(Scratch that, just attempted it and it’s bloody freezing).


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