Set on South Africa’s Western Cape, George is perhaps best known as being the gateway to one of the county’s most famous and best road trips, The Garden Route. The #CheapflightsExplorers had 48 hours to explore George and the surrounding area, including some of the popular stopping points along this driving route. And what was the result? Epic adventure activities, awe-inspiring scenery and some brilliant foodie moments – all handily documented in the #CheapflightsExplorer’s blogs, with some great photography and in one wanderlust-inducing video (see below).
Returning from our latest #CheapflightsExplorers challenge were Lauren McShane and her husband Vaughan of The Travel Manuel, who were joined by local expert Colleen Blaine, Rose Bilbrough of Gotravelbug and Sarah Dirsuwei of Chasing the Rainbow (along with husband Ralph and sons Jacob, Luke and Cian).
Here is what they discovered around George…
Flights to George
“A sunrise at Vic Bay is not to be missed. The east facing bay captures this moment perfectly and upon arrival we found a couple of sleepy surfers are already kitted up and all set to take on the crispy ocean. You cannot describe sunrise to people, you just have to soak it in and watch as the day unfolds into another picture display of colour. I understand why people love this place so much, it’s a personal feel, almost like a community of surf babes and dudes, of ALL ages, then throw in a couple of fisherman with tall tales, as few holiday makers and organise a “braai”. That’s Vic Bay!”
- To read Rose’s full blog post, click here.
“Dolphin Point overlooks the Kaaiman’s River Mouth and the rusty remembrance of the Kaaiman’s train bridge that has piggybacked many tourists along this old scenic track. The dark waters of the Kaaiman’s and the ocean blues meet here at the base of its foundations, along with pods of dolphins and a few paragliders that hang over the point during the summer season, you only can imagine what it must be like to see this sight for the first time. A definite must see, it’s like an introduction to the George area.”
Kaaiman’s River and Waterfall
“We hopped into our kayak and paddled slowly past rocky cliffs revealing water reflections, through a narrow tunnel of rock only to find a rushing waterfall where fellow blogger Sarah was abseiling down beside it.”
“After gearing up in hard hats and mountaineering harnesses we scrambled up a steep mountain path to a rocky ledge surrounded by trees. Don’t look up, don’t look down – “I got this” I thought again. And I did have it… until the rock face disappeared and it was just a looooooong sheer drop below. I couldn’t help it, I had to look down. There were little people in little canoes way down below. “Oh dear”, I thought…”What have I done?” And there was no way back up. The guy told us before we left the top – once you start there is no turning back. So I gritted my teeth, and watched my rainbow feet step into thin air. I didn’t expect to spin around which was terrifying, but as I twirled I noticed where I was for the first time – next to a moss covered waterfall tumbling into the most magnificent red rock gorge and black tanin-stained water below. I motored it down the rope and into the canoe waiting at the bottom, shaking like a leaf. I did it!”
Timberlake Organic Village
“Turns out there are so many adventures to be had in this village including aqua branching. I however decided that rain and a cold were not going to deter me from venturing out into the first with Lindsey from Saddle Up Horse Trails. My steed Rachel Rose was a gentle beauty who followed the lead of our fellow horse and led me through the wet forest, up allow the sandy trails and beside a giant sand quarry. Even whilst sick, this was the most peaceful I’ve felt in a long time. There’s only you, the horses and the outdoors. So saddle up, exhale and enjoy the ride.”
“Now that we have a child, we’re always on the lookout for great places for him to have fun and play. Redberry farm in George is one of those places. Perfect for picnics on the lawns (and at tables), with opportunities to go strawberry picking, ride on a kiddies train (parents allowed too) and best of all… work your way through their gigantic maze.”
Outeniqua Nature Reserve
“Famous for some of the most pristine indigenous forest in the country, there are many hikes one can do throughout the length of the Garden Route. One of the most spectacular ones is the seven day 109km Outeniqua Trail from George to Harkerville. While we didn’t have seven days to spend on this trail we chose to take a short stroll along the start of the hike from the Beervlei Hut towards the Windmeulnek Hut. This can be done as a full day hike in and out or you can choose to go in only part of the way as we did taking in the sounds of the forest and gazing up at towering yellowwoods.”
- To read Colleen’s full blog post, click here.
Hops Valley Farm
“Situated alongside the N9 to Outdshoorn, this farm stall offers the usual selection of locally produced fare but is especially worth stopping at for their pizza.”
“It’s not a typical farm stall. First of all, it’s smack bang in the middle of hops country, so everything you drink has some form of fermentation and beer aspect to it. I immediately grab a ginger beer, as it appeals to the old fashioned farm girl in me, but there is a variety of other interesting fermented drinks you can try out, among them the famous Khoi “karrie” beer that is made from honey, so pick and choose your favourite flavour as you go along. ”
“On the north facing slopes of Cradock Peak in the Outeniqua mountains is Herold Wines, an old hop farm that began producing wine in 2003. Many of the farm’s vineyards are rooted almost 650m to 700m above sea level and the farm produces 6 different varieties of pinot noir. In an almost idyllic mountain setting we were treated to a wonderful laidback tasting of seven of their wines and left with their two 2015 pinot noir vintages to enjoy over dinner that night.”
Garden Route Botanical Garden
“The botanical gardens beneath the Outeniqua mountains can be accessed through the large main entrance or via the cute Getafix Garden Café tea garden (which looks like the perfect place for a pre- or post- garden cuppa). The aim of the gardens is to conserve, promote and research the floral diversity of the Garden Route. The gardens themselves are not very large but there is lots to see and quite a bit to do too.
We fast-walked (the clock was ticking) around a pretty dam and checked out a bird hide overlooking a reed pond before spotting an interesting looking green hill with a spiral path going up. All regard for time evaporated as we twirled up the path and discovered a gorgeous mosaic circular bench at the top with George’s best view of the mountains.”
St Mark’s Cathedral
“We were enchanted by how old and quaint St Mark’s Cathedral is. We were expecting an imposing domed building, but instead found a warm and welcoming looking stone church that would be right at home in the English Cotswolds.”
Outeniqua Transport Museum
“Museums are not usually at the top of our teenage kids’ wishlist, but even they perked up when they saw the huge warehouse full of old trains, classic cars and historical modes of transport.
We whizzed around, climbed in some trains and took loads of photos. What a fascinating, larger than life collection of all sorts of vintage transport.”
Wilderness Beach and Map of Africa Viewpoint
“I’ve sat, swam and enjoyed many a beach day on the long Wilderness beach. But this was the first time I got to see it from above. Take a walk just across from the Map of Africa viewpoint to where the paraglider launch from and behold the majestic stretch of wilderness beach. Stand on the grass, feel the wind in your hair and look down over this epic part of the Garden Route.”
Robertson Brewing Company
“I love beer, and the Robertson Brewery is right up my alley, sipping on the tasters and rolling them around in your mouth until you find one that agrees with your palate. Then, of course, ordering tall ale and having a chat to Kevin Robertson about his beer making and all the craft beers that are popping up in the area. It definitely is such a treat enjoying this simple pleasure of ancient nectar and the philosophy behind it. A good way to end a day…
- Going to George? Take a look at 8 Perfect Hikes to Do When Visiting George
- Want more travel tips from bloggers in the know? Then take a look at South Africa’s Hidden Gems as discovered by bloggers