South Africa: Garden Route to Hermanus

In planning for Africa, I was pretty confident we would take a tour.  Let someone else plan our days, show us around and secure our lodging.  Then we made friends with other travelers through our blog and theirs, Rachel and Nick, who recommended we do it on our own.  They helped us realize that a 2 month tour could be a long time to travel with the same people (what if they were awful?) and too long to be dragged around in a bus with little free time to go off by ourselves.  We trusted them fully.  So in leaving Cape Town, we rented a tiny Nissan Micra, smaller than any car I’ve seen in the US, to make our way along the Garden Route to Johannesburg ON OUR OWN.  No, we had not driven since leaving the US.  No, Joshua had never driven a manual with his left hand.  Yes, we were still looking the wrong way when crossing the street.  So, how were we going to make it 2,000km in Africa?  Well, when Joshua exited the parking garage of the rental agency on the wrong side—things did not look good for us.  I took on my job as navigator, but with only poor tourist maps.  All signs pointed towards FAIL.

The sites, however, were impressive.  In the first few hours of our road trip, we had visited Boulder’s Bay and the African Penguin colony, the Cape of Good Hope and Cape Point and made it all the way to Stellenbosch, the Napa of South Africa.  Although we missed the wine tasting hours, we picked up 6 bottles for the drive…or between drives.  We were moving a lot slower than we expected: we had driven a total of 370km, but we were only 100km closer to our final destination.  Driving in Africa provided new experiences—running into ostriches on the side of the road and baboons straight out of National Geographic.  Even though there was so much to see, we knew we were up against a time crunch—we had to be in Johannesburg in a week which is why we pushed ourselves to get all the way to Hermanus–South Africa’s whale watching haven–on our first day.

One thought on “South Africa: Garden Route to Hermanus

  1. yay! so glad to hear you are having a wonderful time in SA. Ahhhh so jealous of you guys right now, you have no idea! driving the garden route is in our future plans for sure. SA (and Africa in general) is a great country to do your own driving. cheers!

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