The Garden Route, South Africa

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Dear reader,

It’s Saturday morning in Boston, on March 2nd, and it’s blizzarding outside. Currently I’m regretting my choice of signing up for a FlyWheel class this morning, forcing me to trek out into the snow. So instead, I’m reliving sunnier times in SOUTH AFRICA.

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Fairy Forest in Swelledem, the first stop on the way to the Garden Route

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The Garden Route was the last leg of our South African trip, and I was probably least excited about this part because it sounded like it wasn’t anything special. In the end, we did run out of time to do as much of the Garden Route as possible, but we were still able to squeeze some major activities in. The first stop on the Garden Route is FAR from Cape Town! In retrospect I would’ve flown to George, and out of Port Elizabeth, rather than wasting almost an entire day driving from Cape Town to Mossel Bay. I also took fewer pictures here than usual, since a lot of our activities were adventurous/water-based and I didn’t want to take my DSLR.

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transport museum in George – M’s happy place! 
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model train set of the entire garden route – so cool!

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DSC_0275DSC_0252DSC_0250DSC_0268In Mossel Bay we went on a shark diving tour, but great white sharks are really difficult to see this time of the year so I felt like it was a VERY LONG, sea-sickness-heavy boat ride (the boat ride itself was not that long to get to an island full of seals, but we anchored nearby and chummed the waters, and the waves were super strong. M and I took a nap for three hours waiting for a great white to appear). Overall, not sure if this experience was worth it – it was pretty expensive, but we’re glad we went!

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the kite surfers were pretty badass

We stayed in an old train lodge in Mossel Bay, which was quite charming since it was right on the beach, and we woke up to a sunrise over the crashing waves. The lighthouse area in Mossel Bay was beautiful, and we did some great ocean swimming and a hike, complete with lots of dassis (“rock rabbits”).

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the train was a hostel, but we got the “Royal Suite”

The next night we stayed at Botlier’s Game Reserve, which was a last minute addition since we loved our safari in Kruger so much. We’d booked a horseback riding safari, but decided that we wanted to splurge on another tent experience! This was a game reserve so it obviously didn’t feel as wild as KNP, but we had a fabulous horseride and even saw some white rhinos. One of the best parts was when we came super close to a giraffe…and I thought it was going to knock me off my horse. Our meals were delicious, and the service impeccable – we wish we could’ve stayed longer!

We only made it as far as Wilderness and missed out on some of the national parks out east, but we made the mot of our time in Wilderness. The beaches were beautiful (but wild), the town super quaint, and Wilderness National Park breathtaking. We kayaked through canyons, went paragliding, and overall enjoyed our last few days in South Africa before heading over to Mauritius.

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paragliding! Wilderness was extremely windy, which made for perfect gliding conditions

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