from Outeniqua Adventure Tours:
The summer season passed by with alarming rapidity! Dec/Jan is not usually a busy time for us as most of the visitors to the Garden Route are South Africans and as such tend to organise their own holidays. This always gives us a good opportunity to have family and friends visit us and to enjoy all the amenities this beautiful area has to offer.
When the schools re-open, the crowds disappear and once again the tourists from the Northern Hemisphere seek refuge from the cold and come to enjoy some South African sunshine.
We had the opportunity to take some really pleasant tours with some slightly older guests, (single couples) who were able to enjoy the many attractions along the Garden Route.These included the Keurbooms River Cruise, Ocean Blue Cruise at Plettenberg Bay, Birds of Eden, the Knysna Lagoon Cruise, Knysna Elephant Park. All very suitable excursions for the not so energetic among us!
The CTC (a cycle touring organisation from the U.K.) once again brought a group to do what has become a bi-annual event. A nine day cycle tour of the Winelands of the Western Cape and the Overberg. This group consisted of 28 people, a few under 50’s but the majority of the group were 60+, with even a sprinkling of ‘seventy somethings!’ This was a very impressive group, most of whom have spent much of their lives riding bicycles , but also a few who only started to cycle fairly late in life. Their fitness, resilience and absolute disregard for bad weather (except perhaps
extreme heat!), was an example to those of us who are more than a little reluctant to get out in bad weather.
Some of those from this group stayed on to do an extension of this cycle tour and pedalled for another 10 days through the Little Karoo and Garden Route. Along the way, they marvelled at the splendour of the Swartberg Mountains, saw ostriches galore, tasted and enjoyed the local wines, crossed the Langeberg Mountains via the magnificent Robinson Pass, to the coast. After pedalling along the lakes area, through the charming town of Knysna, they absorbed the atmosphere of the magical Nature’s Valley and Tsitstikamma mountains and forests. This, they did, all from the seat of a bicycle. On this tour, the cycling finished in Jeffreys Bay, a well known surfing mecca, having pedalled some 1500 Kms.The guests ended their visit to S.A, with a fantastic experience at the Lalibela Game Reserve in the Eastern Cape. This is a tour well worth repeating!
One more cycle tour to some of our favorite places in the Little Karoo with a group from Durban, saw the end of what had been for us, a memorable season of cycle tours.
We are now re-grouping and planning another tour to the West Coast in the Spring, this time a slightly extended trip, which will go further north to Kammieskroon, a village in Namaqualand that comes to life in a big way in the Spring. The Spring Cycle tours are lining up, so hopefully we shall have another busy season. Now we just have to wait for some good winter rains!
The winter months in the Garden Route are sometimes a too well kept secret. The weather is kind. We do have cold fronts coming through, but they are usually of short duration and in between we have the most wonderful days. Crisp and clear with moderate temperatures. Accommodation is available at reasonable rates and there are no crowds. This is an ideal time to explore this area. Added to this is the attraction of the arrival of the Southern Right Whales along our coast, which provide great entertainment for enthusiastic whale watchers.
Hopefully the depressing rises in fuel and living costs will not impact too heavily on our tourism industry. We all just have to try to make the products we offer as value packed as possible to make the experience of a holiday in South Africa still a desirable thing
Dave and Cheryl