Along the Garden Route

False Bay

One of the most beautiful stretches of road in South Africa is the R44 from Gordons Bay to Pringle Bay. It runs along the east side of Fals Bay. The Cape Peninsula can be seen in the haze on the other side of Fals Bay.

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Cross-country and past the already harvested grain fields, we make our way to the inconspicuous village with the big name “Genadendal – Valley of Grace”, the oldest Christian mission station in South Africa. Called by the local indigenous people, the colored Khoi-Khoi, the German missionary Georg Schmitt, a member of the Herrnhut Brethren, founded the Genadendal mission station in 1738.

Soon the indigenous people, the simple Khoi-Khoi, were better educated than the Boers of Dutch origin in the area – and thus a thorn in the side – and they were pulled out as quickly as possible. Not surprisingly, Georg Schmidt was soon expelled by the governor of Cape Town. Later, however, more missionaries from the Moravian Church came from Germany. Industries even began to emerge and Genadendal soon became one of the most advanced cities in southern Africa.

A peaceful, tranquil atmosphere lies over Genadendal. You feel transported back to a time long gone. A visit to the cemetery with its old graves touches the soul. What have these missionaries taken upon themselves in the name of God to do good to the Khoi-Khoi, to educate them and to give them a new foundation in a world marked by discrimination and slavery. You have our admiration.

Nelson Mandela placed the mission station under national monument protection. However, the church and some of the buildings are still used by the Moravian Brethren congregation, who are called “Moravian Bretheren” here.

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Cape Agulhas

There is not much to say about the southernmost point of Africa, except that it is here and not at the Cape of Good Hope. The last few times we were alone at Cape Agulhas, that has now changed. Cape Agulhas is now also a tourist must-see …

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De Hoop Nature Reserve

A not so bad gravel road leads to De Hoop nature reserve with its gigantic sand dunes, inland lake and beautiful beaches … Here we spend two nights in magnificent natural surroundings.

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Over the Tradouws Pass to Oudtshoorn

Or rather: through the Tradouws Pass, because the pass is like a gorge and there is no real descent at the end of the pass.

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ELNATHAN in Calitzdorp

A Swiss flag actually flutters. Homely feelings, here we stop … and get to know ELNATHAN. ELNATHAN is a farm stable – but not one of many – on the main road from Ladismith to Calitzdorp, just before Calitzdorp.

Ursula and Klaus Triebe have found their life’s work here. We can tell from her accent that “something’s not right”. Ursula is Swiss and Klaus is from nearby Swabia. They run the “Farmstall”, sell fresh fruit and dried fruit from the surrounding area, produce dried fruit bars, jams, cookies (Guetzli) and …. and solar stoves, which they also demonstrate.

The proceeds go to the kindergarten that they have built and run on the edge of the township – the black settlement. Here, the little ones receive a daily breakfast and lunch and a good pre-school education. It wasn’t chance, but God that led her to this deserted nest, says Ursula, after we ask her why here in particular. Ursula and Klaus are dependent and have also invested their own money in the project.

We can testify: the products are first class and we will be shopping there again, and would like to learn more about their work.

Oudtshoorn and the Cango Caves

The Cango Caves in Oudtshoorn are huge and a must-see from our point of view. If you’re lucky, you might hear one of the guides singing a song in the cave.

The cave was discovered in 1780 by sheep farmer Jacobus van Zyl when he was following a sheep that had disappeared in a crevice. In the years that followed, further cave systems were discovered. The largest hall is the size of three sports fields.

If you want to take photos, you can book a private tour for a relatively small fee and then have more time, which is also needed for setting up and dismantling the tripod (don’t forget the panorama head and HDR technology).

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The Tsitsikamma National Park is an elongated marine national park in which both the remaining coastal primeval forests and the wild seashore are protected.

There’s nothing going on at Storms Rivier Mouth Camp this time. The sea is calmly bobbing along – other years we had experienced it quite differently, with mighty thundering waves that shook the earth. We leave Tsitsikamme somewhat disappointed, but not without having taken a tour of the “Big Tree”. The hikes along the coast are also worthwhile – but we didn’t plan enough time for them this year.

Jeffrey’s Bay

A relatively unkempt campsite – but right by the sea! We enjoy a few days by the sea, can edit pictures and work on the website. The sun is warm but the wind is freezing cold. This coast is simply not what we are looking for across the board. Always these cold winds, in the evening after sunset already so cold that you can only stand it a little longer in the lee outside. No, we are finally longing for South African heat without cold feet.

From the campsite, you can walk in a westerly direction – via the sandy beach or the coastal road – to the excellent “Kitchen Window” restaurant in 10 to 15 minutes. When it gets dark, return by cab.

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