The Garden Route – Part One
Wilderness Bay. South Africa.
The Garden Route was a nightmare. Drunk, shrieking, over privileged, young white South Africans partying from the time they got up to dawn the next day. Camp sites that turned out to be postage stamp sized with tents joustling for position. Couples having sex in one of the two only the showers. Communal kitchens littered with left-over food and sinks overflowing with dirty dishes. Having travelled extensively in Southern Africa I can truly say that South African hostels had the dirtiest kitchens of all. The Mamas had the thankless task of cleaning up after them all the time. I don’t think I had one night of uninterrupted sleep in 3 weeks.
Luckily the scenery was amazing but you could have been anywhere in the world – the towns were sterile, public transport non existent and food expensive. My advice would be to travel out of season or give the whole coastline a miss and head up to the Wilderness Coast which is truly spectacular.
The first stop was Swellendam, a twee inland Germanic town, where we hoped to catch up on some sleep. Fat chance the walls were so thin they could have been transparent. I could hear every grunt, sigh, footstep and intimate toilet habits of the occupants next door. The owner, a sour faced white South African, who clearly had had enough of the trade, ticked guests off for asking for more washing up liquid and smoking, She woke us up early in the morning by shouting at her staff in front of our door.
However, the scenery was lovely but it was expensive to walk in the national park. There were a lot of houses of sale – the type of place someone night retire to and then realise that there was more life in a cemetery
Next stop Mossel Bay. The beginning of the Garden Route.
Sterile, over-crowded, no public transport to beaches close by. A bird park that had me contacting the equivalent of the RSPCA in England and a dodgy member of staff who took an acquaintances money for accommodation, gave them no receipt then denied he had ever received it.
We moved onto Wilderness Bay which was stunning and will be the subject of my next post