Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Ideal Accommodations Along The Garden Route

By Sheryl Grossman

The Garden Route is in fact rather appropriately named. It brings to mind images of what the Garden of Eden would look like, all along the south-eastern coastline of South Africa. The name originates from the magnificently diverse plants here and the many lagoons and lakes along the coast.

There are many little towns and villages all along the garden route. It starts at Witsand and continues through to The Crags, right there at the Tsitsikamma National Park. A few of the most well known and popular towns are Stillbay, Mossel Bay, Hartenbos, George, Wilderness, Knysna, And Plettenberg Bay, just to name a few. And at every stop you will find enjoyable things to do, wonderful bistros and pubs, and some of the sweetest little guest houses and hotels you will discover. All in all, the garden route accommodation choices are practically endless. You can discover just about anything you feel like, whether it be hotels, B&B, guest houses or guest lodges, and everything else in between.

Below are a few of the towns, the kinds of accommodation found in that town, and a couple of things of interest to do.

The town of George is well known for golf, so if you are in the mood for a peaceful round of nine or eighteen holes, then this is the town for you! You can play at the George Golf Club or at the Fancourt Hotel and Country Estate. For those who are not interested in the sport, you can always check out the George Museum where you will discover displays on the growth of the wood industry, a collection of souvenirs associated with PW Botha, the last nationalist leader of South Africa, as well as the AK47 rifle carved from ivory as a gift to Botha from Jonas Savimbi. For those who find museum tours a little too boring , there is canoeing, mountain biking, paragliding or abseiling instead.

As for lodging in George, there is so much to select from. It just depends on whether you are camping, caravanning, want a bush lodge, prefer self-catering chalets or feel like staying at a guest farm. The options are endless and each has its own special beauty.

There is a resort right on the banks of the Hartenboss river which is really popular, specifically during December and January. The most popular by far is what the Afrikaans call the ATKV- Afrikaans Taal en Kultuur Vereninging, which translated means The Afrikaans Language and Culture Organization, which was founded in 1936, along with the Hartenbos Resort.

The Great View Guest House is a sensational little gem that has five en-suite bed rooms and each has its own exclusive entrance. It has something for every taste from huge living areas, braai areas, a sundeck and splash pool and is child and wheelchair friendly. If you are more interested in self-catering, then there are a few to pick from, all with spectacular views and stunning surrounds. Most have one hundred and eighty degree views of the ocean.

Then there is Wilderness. Wilderness is located between sheer high cliffs and lush forests and hills on one side and lakes and lagoons along the coast. In the middle of the Wilderness National forest is a camp site with a small store, you can hire row-boats and canoes and relax for the day on the lake. Hiking and walking tracks are all over so for those who prefer dry land, there are spectacular trails that can be followed for miles. And for the less adventurous, there is likewise the Garden Route Shopping center.

There are way too many towns to mention and list the incredible locations you can stay for the night, and even a few days. Lip service cannot do the Garden Route and any of the accommodation any justice. It is something that you have to experience for yourself.

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