Wednesday 24 September Cape Town to Oudtshoorn

Today was a travelling day. This morning, we left Cape Town and drove along the Garden Route, which is a popular scenic road along the south-eastern coast of South Africa. It stretches from Mossel Bay in the Western Cape to the Storms River in the Eastern Cape. The name, the Garden Route, comes from the lush and varied foliage through the coastal and forest landscapes. It includes towns such as Mossel Bay, Knysna, Oudtshoorn, Plettenberg Bay and Nature’s Valley; with George, the Garden Route’s largest city and main administrative centre.

We left Cape Town, which was overcast, cool and threatening to rain and after we had climbed over the mountains, the day became clear and sunny and much warmer than the coast. We travelled along the inland Route 62, through an area of wonderful landscapes, vineyards, orchards, steep cliffs, scenic passes, lagoons and lakes, stopping at Rooiberg for morning tea. Some of the group went for a wine tasting experience while the rest of us had a cuppa and a delicious pastry and then climbed up onto the biggest chair in South Africa and had our photo taken.

We continued our drive through some rugged scenery and stopped to take photos of some interesting rock formations that had vertical strata and an Old English Fort built in 1899 on the top of one of the outcrops.

We passed through the Traddou Valley and stopped again for lunch at the Country Pumpkin in Barrydale. From there we drove through the Klein Karoo wine area and the Huis River Pass, which was quite spectacular – very windy, steep and with massive rock-faces.

We drove through Oudtshoorn, which is the largest town in the Klein Karoo Region in the Western Cape province of South Africa and is home to the world’s largest ostrich population, with a number of specialised ostrich breeding farms.

We stayed just outside Oudtshoorn at De Opstal Country Lodge, where the farmhouse, stables and milking parlour date back to 1830 and have all been converted into modern, quaint bedrooms – different! Our room has a queen bed with an old fashioned quilted bedspread, rugs on the floor, log ceiling beams, old, quaint but comfortable furniture and a huge ensuite, which includes a spa bath and a shower big enough to hold a party in. Our fridge and tea making facilities are out on the verandah with a table and two chairs.

We went for a wander around the buildings, checked out the restaurant, lounge, bar and swimming pool, before getting dressed for dinner.

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