Dear Partners in Travel,
George and Wilderness Tourism recently extended the opportunity to Pieter and myself to experience and view some of the product and activities available on the George/Wilderness section of the Garden Route.
It allowed us the opportunity to also fly domestically for the first time during the COVID-19 era and we could thus experience the protocols and procedures first-hand. We felt safe but was also impressed with the efficiencies the airlines implemented to make the whole process touch lite.
As you would have seen on social media postings we visited a plethora of properties (we extended to the Oudtshoorn, Plettenberg Bay and Knysna areas too) and experienced many different activities during our trip.
We will only cover the accommodation we stayed at (and some activities) on this feedback report but you’re welcome to contact us for ad hoc reports on the rest. We also managed to visit the following accommodation options: Fancourt, Escape to the Beach, Xanadu, La Plume, Emily Moon, Fairview House, The Old Rectory and Tsala Treetop Lodge. Some of the activities and sights we experienced include “Dine with a Local” in George, Redberry Farm, Harold Wines, an Art walk in Wilderness, Mountain biking, Paragliding, Acrobranch, Canoeing, Newstead Lund Wines, Barringtons Microbrewery and an exquisite fine-dining experience at Serendipity in Wilderness.
The tourism product in the region is ready and able to safely receive tourists in the COVID-19 era while adhering to COVID-19 protocols but without affecting the enjoyment and exhilaration of the travel experience.
Our borders are open for international tourist (with certain restrictions) – we hope our experiences and feedback will assist you in building confidence and reassurance with your clients to start traveling again.
We work together in rebuilding our fragile tourism industry and community.
This sanctuary of calm and tranquillity in the barren Little Karoo region outside Oudsthoorn is a truly unique property. Recharge and relax while surrounded by breath-taking mountain scenes. Unique and awe-inspiring scenery typical of the mountainous parts of the Karoo will feed your soul and invigorate the mind.
Nature trails (or runs or mountain bike) are available for those who want a bit more activity during their stay. Guided game viewing drives are on offer for those who want to explore the reserve at a more leisurely pace.
Accommodation is farmhouse chic – unpretentious yet stylish, comfortable and welcoming. Healthy and wholesome farm style meals will nourish the appetite – whether it was the activities or fresh air that stoked your appetite.
The rugged Swartberg Mountain Pass can be explored from the reserve as a daytrip. We would recommend a 2 or 3 night stay Wildehondekloof – ideally at the end of a trip. This is an alternative to a seaside retreat at the end of a holiday – with a focus on nature and mindfulness for those who just want to relax but also those who might want to work up a bit of a sweat in breath-taking surroundings.
The name really says it all – probably the best views of the Wilderness beach. Perched on top of the Wilderness dune the hotel offers majestic views of one of the most beautiful stretches of beach along the Garden route.
Glass and steel add to the contemporary style in seaside tones of aquamarine, blues and turquois. The use of wood and rich fabrics adds warmth to the mix. A well-equipped spa offers indulgent seaside treatments. The restaurant offers magnificent views while serving fresh, innovative and delectable fare.
We had some concerns about the property from past experience but will now once again confidently recommend the property.
Wilderness is an ideal base for those who are looking for an active holiday – paragliding, hiking, mountain biking, horse-riding and canoeing as well as miles and miles of beach.
Plettenberg Bay has always been the playground for the wealthy and positioned itself as the number one address on the Garden Route. With The Plettenberg occupying the top spot amongst the accommodation offering – The Grand Dame of the Bay. We’ve had concerns that the stately old girl might be losing her sparkle… Well, she’s had a nip and tuck and spruced up her wardrobe.
Unlike some of the Plettenberg set she’s not over-botoxed or garishly trying to hide her age. A classical and ageless beauty that towers with confidence and grace, shows her impeccable taste and style while effortlessly incorporating modern touches and trends. Mrs McGrath would have been impressed.
The Plettenberg certainly deserves her spot in the Conde Nast Traveler Readers’ 2020 Choice Awards – No 2 in South African and No 5 in Africa!
Jaw-dropping views across the Knysna Heads! Situated on the Knysna Heads this is the only property with a view to the ocean from the heads (compared to others that face the Knysna Lagoon). Perched at cliff-edge your eyes are constantly drawn to the view – and the property capatalises on this – from the moment you enter the front door.
You simply don’t want to leave such a spectacularly beautiful site. Sundowner drinks followed by dinner is therefore a must. The property offers a simple yet delectable dinner menu – the view will simply detract from the food otherwise. The welcoming hosts is on hand to explain an extensive and interesting wine list to compliment the unforgettable views. And you would most likely be invited into the private cellar for your choice. An unexpected treat for guests with a keen interest in wine.
There are more luxurious and design-driven options in Knysna but the luxury of Head over Hills lies in its location. The accommodation meets the required standard and won’t disappoint, however.
Not for the fainthearted – but the natural beauty of the setting might make you forget your fears and “take the plunge” – or maybe I should rephrase that to “slide away”.
Crisscrossing a spectacular gorge at heights of around 200m, the 4 Ziplines vary between 380 and 700 metres. After teasing you with glimpses of the ocean the Zipline ends at a spot which offers spectacular views of the rugged coast. Certainly worth the heart palpitations you might have had along the way.
Located between Knysna and Plettenberg Bay (probably slightly closer to Plett) in the Kranshoek National Park it is the latest Zipline in the SA Forest Adventures stable. The experience of the operator is clearly illustrated by its professional guides but also in the operational process.
The Kranshoek picnic spot that serves as starting point allows for the opportunity to do staggered departures for groups and also allows a feeling of inclusiveness to those who might not want to do the actual Zipline experience. They’ll be able to view the activity but also can walk to viewing points along the gorge and finally enjoy the same spectacular coastal view. And those who find the Zipline experience too taxing (physically or mentally!) can opt out after the second Zip. The only way to get back from across the gorge after the 1st Zip is to take Zip #2. After the second Zip those who opt out can walk to the final viewing point to join those completing the whole circuit or return to the starting point/picnic spot.
Another exciting addition to the range of adventure activities available along the Garden Route!