from Outeniqua Adventure Tours; December 2006
I can hardly believe that it is that time
of year already! The signs are all here, the shops are being decorated
with all sorts of festive fare, all to encourage the festive feeling.
George, and the Garden Route, is starting to get the holiday buzz,
schools are closing soon, and then the masses arrive from all parts
of the country, to enjoy what we so happily have around us all year.
Roadworks continue to plague us, making driving along the N2 rather
a challenge. There was already pressure to get the roads ready for
the summer influx of tourists before we had those dreadful August
floods! Hopefully most of the problem areas will be cleared sufficiently
for road movement to be tolerable.
The biggest casualty of those floods is, of course, the damage to
the Knysna / George railway line, which has put our precious Outeniqua
Choo-Tjoe in jeopardy. Fortunately there is now an option to take
the steam train to Hartenbos, near Mossel Bay, so that those who
are serious steam train enthusiasts will still have the opportunity
to take this unique trip.
2006 has been another
busy year for us, with Cycling Tours being our most successful product.
The format of Inn – to – Inn cycling, beautiful countryside,
interesting routes, quiet roads, with lots of support and encouragement
from us, seems to have converted quite a few people to this sort
The group from the CTC (a cycling organization from the U.K.) started
off the cycle trips for the year. This consisted of a group of thirty
riders, from all parts of the U.K, at least three of the participants
being repeat customers! Ten days of cycling around the Overberg,
finishing in Cape Town, and then most of the cyclists taking part
in the annual ‘Argus’ Cycle event, made for a memorable
We then had a smaller group from KZN, for whom we organised a delightful
‘road ‘ bike tour, taking in the Robinson Pass, Huis
Rivier Pass, Tradouw Pass (near Barryale,) and Op de Tradouw (another
challenging climb, on the way to Montagu). We finished this five
day tour in Swellendam. (remarkable about this group was that the
average age was over 60yrs of age).
There were a number of 3 and 4 day, cycle tours in the Little Karoo
(our favourite place), mostly with repeat customers. With the first
of the Spring cycle tours, we ventured up the West Coast for the
first time. We were a little late for the best of the flowers, on
this trip, but cycling through the West Coast National Park was
a great experience. After that, we took a large cycle group up the
Garden Route towards Tsitsikamma, and again, when we managed to
escape the main roads and traffic, it was as spectacular as ever.
A more challenging circular route from George, was organised for
the two stronger groups that came in October. Here the route was
all on gravel roads, and included the Montagu Pass, Rooiberg Pass,
and Cloetes Pass. (as well as a few un-named passes!). This tour
finished in George, after a detour via the coast near Mossel Bay.
The participants on these two trips all enjoyed the spectacular
flowers to be seen in the Little Karoo, fabulous after the good
rains, and the amazing land-based whale watching from our guesthouse
Another first for us this year was a Spring flower tour to the West
Coast. A small group of ladies (and Dave) explored the Cape West
Coast, and inland to Nieuwoudtville, where we saw flowers in full
bloom, the like of which, we have not seen before. We were lucky
with the weather, which was cold, but we had enough sun to enable
the flowers to be seen at their best. The only short-coming about
this trip, was that we needed at least another three days out there
to really get the full benefit of the experience. This tour is definitely
one to be repeated in the coming year.
Rovos Rail again spent some time in the
Garden Route, and it is always a pleasure to be able to assist with
these groups, both with their Rail and Air Safaris. Again,
we had visitors enjoying our guided tours of the Garden Route, taking
day trips to local attractions to enjoy our fabulous scenery, forests,
mountains and beaches. There were also the airport and hotel transfers,
which make up a good deal of the ‘bits ‘in between,
and keep us busy.
As always, the highlight of our year is always the challenge and
enjoyment of meeting interesting people from so many different places,
in the pursuit of our occupation. We continue to learn from, and
enjoy, these experiences.
2007 promises to be another busy, exciting, and challenging year.
There are already a number of cycle tours booked, of these the 22
day BAC Tour, a group from the U.S.A, being our biggest challenge.
Personal day tours, golf tours, definitely
another West Coast Flower Tour, and hopefully another few Senior
Citizens’ tours, are on the calendar for next year.
We should like
to thank all our friends, guests, and associates for their support
over the past years, and hope that they enjoy a peaceful, blessed,
and happy Christmas and holiday season.
Cheryl and Dave