Inspection Visit to South Africa
Joe’s Garden Route Diary
When picturing South Africa, it’s hard not to imagine the deep blue ocean meeting the miles and miles of golden sands. And that’s exactly what you get along the Garden Route.
It’s 200 kilometres of beautiful coastline with a sprinkling of wine and wildlife. Between Tests, you can unwind by taking in some glorious scenery wherever you are stopping on the Garden Route. But, just to be sure it meets the needs of our loyal Supporters ahead of our tour to South Africa 2021, our very own Joe checked it out for you first.
From Cape Town to The Garden Route
Waving goodbye to Cape Town was a tough ask for the Inspection Team. It wasn’t just Laura that left a piece of her heart in the Mother City. But fear not fellow travellers! Your heartache is short lived with what lies ahead along the Garden Route.
After a brief, one-take pause for filming on the toes of Chapman’s Peak, onward we went to check out the site of our post 2nd Test Sunday Social – Cape Point Vineyards in Noordhoek. The setting alone ensures that you will be blown away. Nestled on the slopes of the aforementioned mountain range, the estate prospers from the cocktail of cool sea breezes and ancient soils.
I made sure the wine was good enough to invigorate the tastebuds of our Supporters by sampling some of the world class Sauvignon Blanc on offer. Oh, and I made sure the location was up to scratch, too. Vistas of the Atlantic Ocean a mere 1.2km away made that wine taste a whole lot sweeter.
One of the most common questions that we field is “How long is the drive from Cape Town to the Garden Route?” The answer really depends on two further questions! How often you can resist stopping to admire the view and take photos? How soon can you peel yourself away from the coast?
Trust me, it’s tough to resist stopping at all the Instagrammable spots along the way when we’re up against the clock inspecting every place, hotel and venue on the checklist.
The official Garden Route begins at its most western point in Mossel Bay (uncoincidentally where many of our MSG family will be staying at our premium hotel, The Point). Leaving the coastline for the N2 at Gordon’s Bay and you’ll arrive in a shade over 4 ½ hours. With the stunning scenery on offer, that flies by all too soon. If anything, it is not long enough. Once checked in, the Cape St. Blaize Lighthouse and the wide Santos Beach must be checked out!
Knysna and Simola Country Club
Centrally located along the Garden Route is the quaint town of Knysna. Famous for its oysters and seahorses, it sits on the edge of a vast estuary that flows from the mountains, through the lagoon and out to the Indian Ocean via two gigantic limestone heads.
We arrived as night was falling so I had to wait a little bit longer to see the town’s famous lagoon in all its glory. Through the Knysna Forest was our home for the evening: Simola Country Club and Spa. In a word; wow!
The room keys were distributed and we went to our respective suites to freshen up prior to our last supper. You know that giddy feeling you get at the door of any hotel room? Intrigued as to what awaits you on the other side. This place takes the biscuit and then some. A personal palace of indulgence and relaxation that combines open plan living with a private patio.
It really is 5 star all the way here and the perfect place for our final night in South Africa. I’ll never forget drawing the curtains in the morning to reveal the sunrise over the Knysna heads, lagoon and the golf course at my feet. I will return with my clubs to tackle the signature Jack Nicklaus course someday soon!
The Garden Route was a breath-taking journey from start to finish. I’m not sure you can really call it a location transfer when the whole journey is as much of an included excursion. You will not be disappointed stopping off and waking up at these salubrious South African spots.
Recently, we went live in the MSG Tours Lekker Lounge, talking all things South Africa with some very special guests. Check out and catch up with our first live episode below.