The Ultimate South Africa Guide for Female Solo Travellers: Part II - Overberg and Garden Route

The Ultimate South Africa Guide for Female Solo Travelers: Part II - Overberg and Cape Town

The second part of this series covers the route from Cape Town to Port Elizabeth, better known as the Garden Route. What many don't know, the official Garden Route starts in Swellendam and not in the mother city, everything in between is actually Overberg. You can do day trips to the Cape of good hope or Boulders Beach, Muizenberg and Houtbay but if you want to do the whole route anyway, I suggest to actually do it as part of your road trip.


Overberg / Gardenroute

But before we go into details, lets cover some general infos as they differ from region to region and as they are all so rich with history and culture, I want to tell you something about that too. If you only wanna do this part, I would suggest at least 7-14 days, of course its always better to have more time but less is just not possible as you would miss out on everything. I met a guy who did it in three days and believe me, he deeply regretted it. If you want to turn around in Port Elizabeth, you can either drive back the same way or go through the back country with its beautiful wine lands and get back to CT via Stellenbosch. Some people also just take a flight back or skip the Wildcoast and fly to Durban or Joburg, its all a question of how much time you have as there is no other reason to skip a part. 

South Africa has a pretty unique backpacker scene and that makes it the perfect country to explore on a budget. Its also why I would say I would recommend the Garden Route as a great beginner trip for a first time solo traveller, there are so many people and the hostels are all connected, its still pretty western and you have WiFi nearly everywhere. There is the Coast to Coast where you will find literally every single backpackers, hostels in SA, its available everywhere for free so make sure to grab one on the first stop! I will include backpackers, guesthouses and a few a bit higher priced places, so no matter what you prefer there is something for everyone. And lets be honest, even the toughest backpacker likes a nice place from time to time. I checked out every place I recommend myself and checked how enviromental friendly they are, as this is an important part of how I travel and if you're reading this, probably also for you. 





How to road trip South Africa

Normally for a road trip you need to have a drivers license and feel secure enough to drive in a foreign country, but SA is an exception. 

There is the option to use the BazBus, which is basically a hop on / hop off system that takes you all the way from Cape Town to Joburg. There are different schedules for each bit, but especially on the Garden Route it is driving from backpackers to backpackers very regularly. It is a great opportunity to meet other travellers, its not that expensive as there is no time limit ( 450 USD for an unlimited one way ticket for the whole distance, 190 USD for the Garden Route ) and is enviromental friendly as its not just an empty car driving around. The negative side is the fact that if you only got a short amount of time it will probably be cheaper to rent a car, you're definitely more flexible and not bound to the accommodations working with BazBus, many travellers I met said that that was the worst thing for them. 

The classic version, and what I did, is renting a car. I paid around 600 USD plus a one way fee for my Datsun Go that I rented for five weeks all the way from Cape Town to Joburg, unlimited milage and full coverage insurance included. Please always go for the insurance, I had to many incidents in the past where I was incredibly glad that I paid the few bucks more but had help when something happened. I personally was fine in SA, but many roads have really bad potholes or are gravel, a window gets thrown in or a stone hits your windscreen. You will always meet people you can offer a ride who will pay you something so you get a bit of your money back, or you share the rental from the beginning but as a solo traveller that's probably not what you will do. I was really happy with Firefly/Hertz, they don't want to see your international drivers license but if the police stops you,  they will so take it with you. I think its the best way to explore South Africa, as you can stop at places the bus won't take you and so you're also able to escape the crowds that will be there during main season, mid December to February. Driving in SA is relatively easy, you drive on the left and if you're a secure driver you shouldn't come across a problem, especially not in this part of the country. Some backpackers or guesthouses can only be reached by gravel roads or have steep entrances, but nothing that wouldn't be possible in a normal small two wheel drive.


History / Nature / Culture 

The Garden Route is famous for a reason, and that's because its so versatile in nature, activities and history. You can find everything from beaches, forests, mountains and wine regions along the way, go surfing, bungee jumping, whale watching or hiking. You won't really find a lot of traditional South African culture in this region, the tribes are a bit more east and you can feel the strong british influence. If you're looking for the real Africa, this isn't the place to be but keep reading as we will go there, but it also would be huge shame to not travel along and soak this beautiful piece of earth in. All the infrastructure you know from western countries can be found here and a coffee shop is around every corner, the N2 is a nice tarmac road here but not a highway.



Safety

I personally felt safer here than in Cape Town. In some parts, people don`t even close their doors and others have security systems with secured parking. If you're driving, always close your doors even though car hijacking rarely happens in this part of the country, never leave anything inside your car when leaving it as people are poor and that's leads to desperation so even an empty bag can be a reason to break the window. Don't take hitchhikers with you, especially if you're on your own and take car when driving as there are people and animals on the road. Never feed the baboons as they can be dangerous, it may sounds weird for Europeans but they are everywhere and after a few days you won't even see them as anything special anymore. Don't drive after dark and if you want to go out for dinner or drinks, always ask you're host if the area is safe, they can tell you best or organise transportation for you. If a local tells you not to do something, don't do it, they know best and it may will safe your life. If you're a first time solo traveller, this is the safest road trip you can do in South Africa, its a nice place to get used to be a bit careful but still have a lot of freedom without thinking too much. Its also completely safe to drink tap water, so please don't buy bottled water and fill up yours!

I linked you the route I will cover in this article below and marked all the spots on the map:

-Muizenberg
-Simon`s Town
-Cape Agulhas
-Swellendam
-Mossel Bay
-Knysna
-The Crags
-Stormsriver
-Jeffreys Bay




Muizenberg 

What to do

A short drive from Cape Town is this little town with its world famous surf beach. Its the perfect place to learn how to surf, and that's basically all its famous for, oh and the coloured houses. Don't go out on your own after dark, like everywhere in SA, as there are some sketchy people inside of the funky beach huts. There also is a free surf lesson every Wednesday at the surf shop right at the promenade, you can sign up via the Meet Up App, which is a great way to do things you couldn't on your own as a solo traveller and meet new people at the same time! Normally there are always good waves, but I somehow catched the only day where there was absolutely nothing going on and it was straight up flat. If you need someone to take your photos in front of the huts, there are always people around doing the same thing so just offer to help them and they will be glad to help you too!






Accommodation


Simple backpackers a five minute walk from the beach next to the railway, cute café in front and a spacious chill out area with a kitchen if you want to cook. The garden is very nicely made and its a nice, cheap place to stay if you fancy surfing in town. The 12 bed dorm was in the cellar, which wouldn't be a problem but the bathroom door was a slider and was damaged, it all seemed a bit cold in contrast to the funky vibe they had going on upstairs. Nonetheless , a decent place to stay! 


Where to eat

There are several places along the seafront that offer vegan options, there is a burger restaurant which has the Beyond Burger on the menu and the nearby surfshop has many milk alternatives offer, while another one serves you a really great Avo on Toast. You won't struggle to find plant based options here.

Simonstown

Simonstown is situated between False Bay and the Table Mountain National Park, a safe little town next to the ocean. There are some guesthouses, backpackers and restaurants in town but its probably best known for Boulders Beach, where you can visit the penguins.

What to do 

Table Mountain National Park

A 15 minute drive from Simons Town and you will find yourself at the gates of the Table Mountain National Park. The entry fee is 320 Rand for foreigners, if you're planning to visit many parks on your trip it may be a good idea to buy a wild card, which is 3 105 Rand for a single foreigner but cheaper if you buy it with a friend or if you are a South African resident. It allows you to enter every National Park in South Africa without any extra cost and can be purchased here.

Cape Point

There are two areas in the park that are most frequently visited, and that's Cape Point and the Cape of Good Hope. For the first one, just follow the road and you will end up at a big parking area, just follow the masses from there on. Be aware, its really touristic and there is a small cable car that takes you up to the lighthouse, I would definitely recommend walking as its not that steep and you would miss all the beautiful views along the way. If you got enough time, there is an hour hike to the smaller lighthouse and one that brings you directly to the Cape of Good Hope or a nearby beach. Despite the myths, its not the most southern point of Africa or where the two oceans meet, that's actually Cape Agulhas a bit more east.




Cape of Good Hope

There is a small sign on the way to Cape Point that says Cape of Good Hope, turn right here and you will drive past a beautiful cliff formation on your way to the Cape. At the end, there is basically just a sign and people waiting to take a picture in front of it, you can hike on top of the cliff but that's about it. It is the place where the famous Flying Dutchman sank and where all the stories around it started.




Boulders Beach

You probably heard about it before, the famous penguin beach. In 1985 a whole colony of wild penguins arrived and never left, so you can know visit and watch them taking a swim in the ocean. While its beautiful with its sandy beach and penguins roaming around, its absolutely packed with tourists and the entry fee is a hefty 160 Rand. If you're not going any further I would recommend to visit, but if you will do the whole Garden Route and have the possibility to stop in Bettys Bay, there are also penguins, less people and its way cheaper. Also, if you're on a budget, you can see penguins just left of the parking area at the beach instead of going into the reserve itself and paying for it! 







Accommodation 


This little gem is situated a bit outside of Simon`s Town, in Glencairn Heights. Easily accessible by car, they also offer pick up at the airport or you could take an Uber. Its a bit up the hill, overlooking the bay and offers the most breathtaking view for sunset or sunrise! They got five rooms in total, one prettier than the other but each of them with a panorama window and enough space to unwind after exploring the area. They also have a lounge and a terrace where you can have your breakfast if the weather is nice. The manager is an absolute sweetheart who will do everything to make your stay as comfortable as possible, and hey, even backpackers need a nice place to relax from time to time. 

Prices start at 950 Rand per night and a beautiful, freshly cooked breakfast is included!








Bettys Bay

Bettys Bay, or Bettysbaai as the locals call it, is a small village between False Bay and Hermanus. It was named after the founders daughter and is now known for the penguin colony at Stony Point just outside of town. There are no real shops so you have to drive a bit further for shopping or already bring your stuff with you.

What to do 

Stony Point

Just like at Boulders Beach, there is penguin colony situated here. But here you got it all for yourself, there are nowhere near as many tourists as at Boulders and the entry fee is only 10 Rand. You may don't see them on a sandy beach but there are plenty of penguins around and you can even spot other birds while you're there! If you got a car and so have the chance to pass by, definitely do so and skip Boulders.






Beach walk Kleinmond

The next town after Betty`s Bay is Kleinmond, a small place with quite a few tourists during main season. You'll find a Spar and multiple bars here, you can also do a walk along the cliffs which presents you an amazing view, especially on misty days. Not much to do otherwise, but can easily be combined with a stop in Bettys Bay or if you're in the area for longer.


Accommodation 

Nomad Backpackers

The only backpackers in the region, so if you're on a budget this is your place to go. They got two communal areas, separated on two floors and a big kitchen for your own use upstairs. The rooms are clean and you get what you pay for, a really laid back vibe and if you like your occasional spliff - that's the right place, as even the owners smoke all day. 

Hermanus

Really popular as a weekend get away place for Cape Townians, Hermanus is a bit like your over polished English coast town. During whale season, which lasts from June to December, it is possible to see them from land, just sit down and keep your eyes on the ocean for a bit. You can also go shark diving here, but please, please don't support this animal abuse and stay away from this activity.

What to do 

Whale Watching

There are several whale watching tours that start in Hermanus, some are more eco friendly while others are whale/dolphin tracking and doing what good companies don't - follow them and get way too close. I can't really give you a good recommendation as most places as whale season was coming to an end when I was there, but please do your research before going on one!


Where to eat


This place is right at the seafront and you can't miss it, its one of quite a few restaurants nestled together. They have several vegan options on the menu and the staff is well educated, so they can also veganise certain dishes. The portions are rather small, but the food is great and its really nice to have vegan options right in the center of a touristic town. Make sure you tell the staff you want tap water, as they will bring you bottled water if you just order water.

Cape Agulhas 

This is it now, the real place where the Atlantic and Indian Ocean meet, the most southern tip of Africa. 
Personally, one of my favourite places in South Africa, the power of the ocean crashing on rocks, a lighthouse, gravel roads and a shipwreck during sunset will leave you speechless. Such a small village, but so much to offer - there is one of the longest sandy beaches on the eastern side of the cape and if you're luck you can even see Manta Rays at the docks! Its a very peaceful place with loads to see, if you got time I definitely recommend to stay here for at least two nights.

What to do

Struisbaai Beach

If you turn off to the beach, you will find a nearly endless white sandy shore, perfect for a swim or sunset meditation. If you follow the boardwalk, you will end up at another beach and if may even see the Manta Rays who come back with the fisher boats most days, the biggest one is called Perrie and there is an information sign about her. How cool is that though?! Tap on the water, as this attracts them and with a bit of patience, they will appear at the surface. 


Lighthouse/ Southern most point Africa

The main reason why people come here is the fact that this is the southern tip of Africa and the exact spot where the two oceans meet. Did you know that they don't mix but are actually divided? To my surprise its actually not overrun by tourists, the BazBus doesn't stop here and its a bit off the "classic" Garden Route. The entry is free and you can park your car very close to the actual sign, the road is gravel but in a very good condition. Make sure to come here before sunset, as it is all covered in this gorgeous lilac light and you certainly don't wanna miss that!



Shipwreck

If you follow the gravel road for a bit longer, you will find the wreck of a ship called Meisho Maru 38, which ran aground 1982 and used to be Japanese fishing boat. Its mostly famous because of its very prominent location so close to the lighthouse, if you're already visiting the cape, its a nice spot for lunch or sunset. 


Accommodation 


A very special backpackers is placed in Struisbaii, and you will be in love the moment you arrive! Its easy to find and on the main road, there is a car park in front and another smaller one at the back. The whole place is actually quite big, divided into the communal area with a bar, pool, dining / chill out area and the garden which leads to the bungalow where the rooms are situated. Wi-Fi is fast and reliable, so if you need to do some work you can totally do that here. They offer dinner and breakfast, but there is also a self cooking kitchen available if you want to prepare your meal yourself. They have a fully licensed bar so you're not allowed to bring your own drink, but its very reasonable priced and I can only recommend to try their breakfast as its freshly prepared and only 50 Rand. All staff is really helpful and they will give you a map for the area, where everything is explained and you can easily find all the places I mentioned above. 

Rooms start at 180 Rand for a dorm bed,  a private rooms starts at 450 Rand.









Where to eat

There are several restaurants next to the lighthouse and there are vegetarian options in all of them, I found some pasta where the only non vegan incredigent was the cheese and just ordered without it. There also is a pizza place close to the backpackers and several fish restaurants if you prefer to eat local.

Swellendam 

Situated in the backcountry, its actually South Africa third oldest town after Cape Town and Stellenbosch. Its an incredible change of scenery if you're coming from the coast, the rough sea and stony shore turns into a lush green forest as soon as you're close to Swellendam.

What to do

Only a short drive away you will find the Bontebok Nationalpark and just next to town the Marloth Nature Reserve. Its the perfect place for hiking, there are day and multiple day hikes you can do but also horse treks if you prefer to ride instead of walking. Its a magical place with and not as dry as the surrounding areas, which is why everything is so beautifully growing around here.



Accommodation 

Marloth Lodge

This is one of the places I loved the most on this trip. The Marloth Lodge, like its name suggests, is right outside the Marloth Nature Reserve and used to be a backpackers. These days, the town doesn't have a hostel anymore and this is one of the best budget accommodations you will find in this area, and its so worth the money!  Steph, the owner, lives on the opposite side of the road and is such a lovely person, always up for a chat or a glass of wine. The place offers a lounge with a fire place, a big garden and rooms in the wooden chalets on the back, with chickens roaming around freely. You feel welcome the moment you arrive, no matter if you wanna go hiking, go riding or maybe even mountain biking, they will happily help you arrange it. Free fast Wi-Fi for all digital nomads out there and coffee/tea is included.

Prices start at 400 Rand for a double room, so basically the perfect place to wind down from all the dorms for a very affordable price!








Mossel Bay

This is the place where you will find all the tourists again, after the lesser frequented Cape Agulhas and Swellendam. Its a beach town and actually the first place Europeans went on land in South Africa. You can do several things here, the place is surrounded by beaches, a beautiful walkway along the lighthouse and there is a museum about the explorer Bartolomeu Diaz. It can get quite crowded in summer as many people have holiday houses here, but its a great spot for a one or two night stop.

What to do

Walk Lighthouse

You can either walk from town along the shore to the lighthouse, its a man made walkway and safe on your own but only lasts for about 20 - 30 minutes. There is a bigger hike you can do, but its not advised to do on your own - the St.Blaize trail which takes you to a cave and further. If you find a group and got enough time, definitely go and do it but if not, the shorter walk is also nice.

 Santos Beach

There are several blue flag beaches around Mossel Bay, but Santos is probably the most famous one. It actually lost its blue flag status several time because of the water quality, but its still a beautiful beach in the middle of town. It can get crowded during main season, but in the evening or anytime else than mid December to February, you may even have it to yourself!

Accommodation 


There are several backpackers in town, but Mile Crunchers has one very special feature: You can do indoor camping! Its just a short walk from the beach, harbour and several restaurants. A typical hostel with dorms, private rooms and as I mentioned before, tents you can rent. The Wi-Fi is really good and no one will interrupt you if you work until late at night, they got a big communal kitchen and the lounge has enough space for everyone to connect with each other, or find your own little corner if you  want time for yourself. They are also on the BazBus Route but there is also a big car park in front which you can use. 

Dorms/Camping starts at 190 Rand, private rooms are available for 500 Rand. 




Where to eat


I discovered this place by accident and you just have to visit if you end up in Mossel Bay! Its a coffee shop with a very unique ex- and interior, there are car wrecks in front and the place itself is decorated in a very steampunk meets shabby chic kinda way. If you're a coffee lover, you will find all kinds of different kinds here, freshly prepared for you. If you're more the tea person, you can also get a can of tea or a small snack here, they got vegan/vegetarian options just ask for it.





Moksa 

I had the pleasure to work with quite a few amazing vegan restaurants for this series, but Moksa is one of those places I would rate as my favourites. 
A bit hidden at the harbour in Mossel Bay you will find this little gem, where the wonderful staff will take care of you and serve you food that will change your life. White, clean interior with an outdoor seating area overlooking Santos Beach and the ocean will make you feel right at home. I'm normally not a curry person, but when they told me its their special on that day and I absolutely have to try it, I couldn't say no and my god - there are barely words to describe it. Same goes out to the carrot cake, its really heavy but oh so god and so many vegan options! They also have bowls, nachos and sandwiches if you fancy something a bit more western. 







Wilderness

Normally towns with a highway straight through them are worth skipping, but Wilderness is a big exception. An eight kilometre long white, sandy beach on one site, the town on the other side of the N2 will great you upon arrival. Local shops of all kinds and quite a few guesthouses/ backpackers are also situated in the area. Just behind town is one of many lagoons and the little village has a very unique charm with all the trees around it but being so close to the ocean its a true gem. 

What to do

Beach 

The beach in Wilderness is long and sandy, so perfect for a dip or just a walk. There have been some cases of robberies during the daylight here so be a bit careful and check your surroundings, but its one of those places you just cannot skip on the Garden Route. If you wanna go for a surf, there is another beach a ten minute drive west you can try and catch a reef break, but there is no rental so bring your own board.






The Wilderness section is part of the Garden Route National Park and will cost you 152 Rand for a foreigner day entry. The Kingfisher trail is probably the most common one and its actually a really easy hike, so even if you may don't have the fitness for bigger trails, this one is definitely doable. Its 5km in total and most of it is a wooden walkway until you reach the waterfall, a bit of adventure is also included as you have to cross the river by a a boat connected to a rope where you pull yourself to the other side. You can go for a swim, eat your lunch or just relax at the waterfall, its completely fine even though the water has a brownish color from the minerals. If you fancy a bit of a more technical track, turn right at the last sign that points to the waterfall straight ahead and take the path up the hill. After around 30-40 minutes you will reach a road, follow it and you will end up at a café with officially "the best cheesecake in South Africa".




Accommodation 


Up on the hill overlooking Wilderness you will find the Wild Farm, a farm converted into a backpackers. The road is a bit steep but nothing a normal car can't handle, but it totally depends on what you can deal with, I personally thought it was nothing while others struggled with it. You either sleep in private huts, in dorms or a private room, there is a communal kitchen which is sadly not very well equipped and clean but they sell food at the bar. You can buy pizza and beer at the bar, there also is a little open chalet and few tables outside if you don't want to sit inside. The view from the terrace is breathtakingly beautiful, you can see all the way to the beach!

Dorms start at 180 Rand, private rooms at 400 Rand.




Where to eat


I actually also stumbled across this place by accident, without even knowing that it was connected to the blue Shed in Mossel Bay. If you drive through Wilderness and are coming from the N2, turn left after that big wooden restaurant and before the Italian one. You will see the rusty car in the garden on the right side, that's the green Shed. Such a beautiful interior, it looks like an organised mess with a few vegan options and they have plant milk for your coffee aswell. 




If you follow the path I mentioned in the section about the Wilderness section of the Garden Route National park, you will find yourself at this little café. You can either get one of their famous cheesecakes, rumoured to be the best in the country but sadly not vegan, or opt out for a smoothie. Its a nice stop if you're hiking in the area and don't want to be done in two hours.

Knysna

Knysna is a town between Mossel Bay and Plettenberg Bay with quite a few western tourists. The main attraction are the two big islands inside of the lagoon where parts of the town are built upon, you can safely go on a run here during the day if you feel like it. If you don't have enough time, skip it but if you do, go to Knysna Backpackers for one very particular reason I will tell you later on!

What to do

There isn't that much to do here, but you can go visit the very Waterfront which has some shops and restaurants or dive to a shipwreck that lies at the entrance of the lagoon. There is also a forest with wild elephants close by, the Knysna forest, but its a highly protected area. 

Accomodation


You wouldn't believe this place is a hostel when you arrive. A beautiful victorian villa in a nice part of town right in the centre of Knysna, a lush garden and a manager that will make your stay absolutely unforgettable. The WiFi doesn't work, the kitchen is a bit old but Jason alone is a reason to come here! Some places are special because of the people that run it - and this is one of them. His spirit is all over the house and no matter what, you won't get around having a laugh along the way. Breakfast is included and the dorms are very pretty, the whole house is incredibly charming and unique.

Dorms are 190 Rand and private rooms start at 495 Rand.







Plettenberg Bay

Between Knysna and the TsiTsiKamma lies the town of Plettenberg Bay, right at the ocean before the Garden Route brings you into the green one last time. I personally didn't stay here, but met quite a few people who did and really liked it. You can surf here, visit Robberg Island or just enjoy the sea view for a bit.

What to do

Robberg Nature Reserve

Even though I didn't stay in the area, I wouldn't definitely recommend anyone to at least stop and go visit Robberg Island. The nature reserve is the home of several animals like seals and maybe you can even see a shark on the hunt! There are three hikes you can do, a four hour difficult one, a two hour one over the dune or just a short 30 minute walk. There are many people doing the same thing, so you can totally do it on your own as a solo traveller and when the sand dunes open up in the middle of the island you will be blessed with spectacular views. The big route is a bit technical so make sure your fit enough and that the weather is fine as it can change quite fast.

The entry fee is50 Randand it is advisable to arrive before noon as many tourists visit the reserve everyday and it can get a bit crowded.








Where to eat


All digital nomads know what I mean when I say sometimes you're just chasing the WiFi and after not having any in Knysna, this café right outside Plettenberg Bay was absolutely perfect. They offer a wide menu of very well declared vegan options and the WiFi is reliable. There ago on toast is to die for, so if you're looking for freshly baked bread and amazing brunch or lunch, this is the perfect spot to stop on your way to TsiTsiKamma.

The Crags

Just on the outskirts of TsiTsiKamma, before you enter the national park, there is a place called the Crags with some of the most beautiful places on earth in that area. They call it Nature`s Valley and you can do several breathtaking hikes, stroll around, go wine tasting or just relax in the beautiful indigenous forest.

What to do


There is a sign on the N2 where you have to turn right and then follow the road a bit, until you arrive at the stables that belong to the hog Hollow Horse Trails. They offer carriage and horse riding wine tours, riding trails and day treks on horseback in a beautiful environment through various different kind of woods with a very knlowedgabwle guide. I'm always a bit picky when it comes to activities regarding animals, but the horses here look very healthy, are released shortly after coming back into the herd that has loads of space behind the house. Depending on your level the guide will adapt the tour so you're either safe on an easy track or can do some parts in canter on a more technical trail if you feel comfortable. The stable itself has a beautiful interior and the equipment is well taken care of, so if you consider riding in the area, this is a place you can go without having to worry about the treatment of the animals.

Prices start at 380 Rand for a 30 minute carriage tour and go up 2970 Rand for a day tour with lunch and wine, so it affordable for all budgets.







Accommodation 


You have to come here. Thats it. Without a doubt my favourite place on the whole Garden Route regarding everything, this place has such a special magical vibe that will take you in as soon as you arrive and may meet the horse freely roaming the property. Its everything you can wish for and more, a little hippie place placed in the middle of the forest and so many onsite activities that you will need more than a few nights to see it all. The food will bring you to heaven and there is always a veggie/vegan option, the self cook kitchen is so beautiful but basically everything in this place is. They just finished building a nature pool too! I could talk about Wild Spirit forever, a treehouse, star gazing during the night, a waterfall around the corner and day hikes to the beach or live music in the evening are just a few thing that await you here. For all digital nomads, the WiFi is only in the communal area but works very well. They offer dorms or safari tents, which are big tents with a bed inside and really worth it!

Prices start at 120 Rand for a dorm, 580 Rand for a private room and 360 for a Safari Tent. 








TsiTsikamma National Park

The National Park covers a huge area of indigenous forest and even a bit of coastline. Its one of Africas last forests of this kind with a wide range of wildlife and flora.

What to do

There are many activities you can do in this area if you got time and want to spend time in the woods. There are multiple hiking trails, you can do the highest Bungee Jump which is 216m and is located on the Bloukrans Bridge  or walk over the Storms River Suspension bridge. I didn't have time to do it, but other travellers recommended spending one or two days here.

Accommodation 

Tube`n Axe

A mix between a boutique hotel and a backpackers, it offers various rooms on their property and a dorm for everyone on a tighter budget. The place itself is beautiful, so much green everywhere, a fire in the evening and a pool to swim with. They also have a bar and a restaurant, you sadly have to order at the bar but are not allowed to eat outside which is a bit of a shame as its so pretty, but they offer vegan dishes which taste really nice. If you're looking to connect with other travellers, this maybe is the wrong place as most people here are booked into private rooms and aren't the average backpacker, but that also means that the view that are here with you are even easier to approach. A nice place for every kind of traveller in the middle of Storms River.

Dorm is 190 Rand and private rooms start at 600 Rand per person.





Jeffreys Bay

Every surfer knows about JBay, its the spot for some of the best tubes worldwide. But this little town right by the ocean isn't only for the pros, there are several nice beach breaks for beginners at the long, sandy beach. This place is seriously all about the surf, there is a surf village, multiple surf schools, hostels and restaurants that are all living that beachy surf vibe. Its definitely  one of my favouritesplaces, I do love that laid back feeling and all the organic cafes after a good day surfing.

What to do

Surf 

Obviously, surfing is the main thing to do. There isn't much going on besides that, but if you want to try getting on the board or just catch some waves, this is the place to be. There are many schools you can choose from, or just rent a board if you don`t have your own one with you and paddle out. Some hostels have their own schools/rentals for a decent price or even included in your room fee.




Accommodation


Island Vibe has three backpackers in SA, one in Knysna, one in Jeffreys Bay and one in Port Elizabeth. This is by far my favourite, its beautifully situated above the beach with direct access, you can chill in a hammock, get a surf lesson and play some beerpong after eating break at the fire pit. Its the perfect place to meet people and have a nice night, it may isn't the quietest place but also not a party hostel. There is always something going on, but you can also just chill and relax. The have a in-house restaurant where you can eat for a decent price, a bar and offer different tours like the township tour, horse riding at the beach or sand boarding. I would always come back, its where you will meet all the people you met at different stops along the route again as most turn around here or use it as their last stop.

Dorms cost 200 Rand, private rooms start at 550 Rand. 





Where to eat


Nina`s is the place to go for a big variety of delicious vegan/vegetarian meals, but they also offer meat and fish dishes. They have a huge vegan selection, everything is absolutely delicious and beautifully arranged in a restaurant with a diner like interior. Perfect breakfast spot, or dinner, I did both as it turned out to be such a great place. Its easy to find just next to a gas station and a few shops, at the main road of Jeffrey`s Bay. A must go if you're in the area, even if you just drive through there is no better place to stop for food and a coffee!







These two places belong together, and there are also two coffee shops called Coffee Society and Coffee Roastery that are part of the Infood family. They offer an amazing range of home-made food, vegan options are available at all places and their bakery is truly a gods send, everything tastes so good that you can't really stop once you started making your way through their range. There also is a deli inside the bakery where they sell all kind of food, mostly organic and even vegan cheese! The owners are absolutely lovely and are happy to answer any questions, they even opened a health oriented place a while ago with even more vegan options. 

The restaurant is just at the mainroad, close the police station and is an experience in itself. Beautifully decorated with every area in a different theme, a bully where you can sit inside and yummy fresh food. If you see something that isn't vegan, they happily help you out by adjusting. They cover everything you can wish for and are with a stop!







Now you're ready to start your road trip along the Garden Route! If I missed anything you really want to know, please comment and I try my best to add it. 

You can find the other parts here:


The Ultimate South Africa Guide for Female Solo Travelers: Part 3 - Sunshine Coast & Wild Coast

The Ultimate South Africa Guide for Female Solo Travelers: Part 4 - Drakensberg, St.Lucia, Eswatini & Krüger


Best,

Faye









Comments

  1. Amazing. Informative. And simply elegant! Hopefully we'll get to see you soon again. SA trip - round 2. I say there are many places you've not seen yet! Thank you Faye-faye!

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