As beautiful as winter can be on the Riviera, don’t you sometimes dream – especially in the darker months of the year – of the cosy warmth of the southern hemisphere? Like maybe a trip to South Africa?
The same time zone and therefore no jetlag and only 10 flying hours away from here. Fly like an eagle or like the swallows….all you need are sun glasses, lip balm and walking shoes – wear a smile and up, up and away!
Tourists can get lost in the beauty of South Africa, but one of the most intriguing places to visit is the Garden Route, known for its stunning native plants.
The name says it all, garden route. It comes from the verdant and ecologically diverse vegetation encountered here and the numerous lagoons and lakes dotted along the coast. The Garden Route’s largest city and main administrative centre is George, with its airport well connected to the international airports Cape Town and Johannesburg.
It has an oceanic climate, with mild to warm summers, and mild to cool winters, the mildest climate in South Africa and the second mildest climate in the world, after Hawaii, according to the Guinness Book of Records.
Not only is the Garden Route one of South Africa’s most picturesque regions, it’s also one of the easiest to explore. The N2 highway runs through the heart of the region from Cape Town all the way to Port Elizabeth and the various coastal towns present plenty of attractions to suit all budgets and tastes.
All this invites to enjoy wonderful outdoor activities under the southern sun: glorious beaches, horse riding, golf, hiking, kayaking, mountain biking etc … not to forget wine, craft beer and food … ostrich meat uniquely combines the characteristics of poultry meat (low in calories and cholesterol) with the sensory characteristics of beef (dark red, tender meat, when consumed some people even want to recognise a soft taste of game). The beautiful winelands and the food already invite the guest to linger!
The starting point for all these activities and more could be the Indian ocean resort of Wilderness, less than 15 km from the provincial capital of George. Here is where we meet Dirk and Christoph (pictured below), visual artists from Hamburg now living in Wilderness.
They fell in love with South Africa many years ago and one day decided to leave Hamburg’s rain behind and become ‘Africans’. They have taken over the B & B Guesthouse, The Tuscany. located directly on a cliff and lovingly renovated it. 4 friendly and partly very generous double rooms with sea view and balcony invite to a carefree stay! In the spacious garden with its typical and varied flora (e.g. succulents and fynbosch etc.) you can listen to Mother Nature, smell it and watch the busy and playful birdworld, and with a bit of luck catch the cheerful dolphins and majestic whales pass by, admired from its stunning viewing platform from which the vista sweeps across the Indian Ocean. A very special kind of nature experience! Right beside the property a small path leads down the cliff to the beach with its wonderful surf.
The rooms are tastefully furnished with their own paintings and those of renowed contemporaries. The two are known for their linoleum prints, which are worked with expressive drawings and gestural paintings.
Mother nature inspires in its most beautiful way to be sportive and/or creative. Who wants to can paint, write or photograph. Dirk and Christoph would be pleased to give you a helping hand to record the beauty artistically. Lived creativity, not in the museum.
And what about those who ‘only’ want to lean back, read, eat well, drink wonderful wine, go to African markets, shopping? Keen probleem, kom hier, jy sal dit graag vind.
Affordable; Fabulous climate; A vibrant mix of African culture and European sophistication; Some of the world’s most breathtaking coastline; Some of the world’s most renowed Golf courses; Responsible Tourism; Food and Wine; All this within 150 km
Be active or just relax but end the day in style with a good glass of wine!
All photos courtesy Christoph Wieynk & Dirk Halledt