The garden route honeymoon

I never lose, I either win or learn.-Nelson Mandela

Please sit down ,grab a cup of tea, because this is going to be a long one.

What a wonderful world it would be if people would contact me to stay in their hotel or Bed&Breakfast, or eat in their restaurant so I can blog about it. For now I need to plan, book and pay for my own trips.

This trip was somewhat special as it was the first 2-week vacation with my husband, ever. Yes, it is ridiculous but he is a very busy man.
I started planning this trip maybe 6 months before we actually left. I wanted it to be perfect. I read all the blogs, I googled everything and I planned my route. “The garden route” in South Africa is a very popular route but you can customize it and make it your own. We only had two weeks and there is a lot to do. So, first thing I did was check all the famous stops and cross of all the boring ones, listened to my husband wishes and made an amazing sea-side journey with relaxation, good food, adventure and culture.

We started in Johannes burg. We arrived in the evening and went straight to the hostel called: curiocity backpackers. Thankfully, we got a big apartment type room in a new fancy building and not a bunkbed in a shared room with backpackers. We dropped of the bags and went out for dinner next to the hotel. The next morning we got up early, because we had just one full day in Johannesburg. We took the hop-on-hop-off bus and started at Constitution Hill, drove around and hopped off at the “apartheid museum”. What a mind-blowing experience that was. Of course, you learn what happened during that period in school but when you stand there and see all the television clips and newspaper articles, you feel so ashamed for being white. I never spend that much time in one museum before.
After this, we hopped on a smaller bus and they dropped us of in SOWETO. A must go, for the culture and the food! SOWETO is a cluster of townships on the south west of jo-burg. Created in the 1930’s to relocate black people from the inner city reserved for white people. It has a lot of political history, you have Nelson Mandela’s house and arch bishop, Desmond Tutu’s house. We enjoyed some music and local food before heading back to Constitution Hill. On our way there, you see so much beautiful street art, I wanted take pictures and walk around but there was no time.
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The next day we had an early flight so with a coffee-to-go, we took an Uber to the airport. The flight was short and we received our bags very quickly. We signed the papers for the car and drove off to “the river road guesthouse”. The lovely owner helped us with the maps and showed us where to buy a sim card with internet so we could navigate the route.
I wanted to see “Nelson Mandela bay” and “the red town”, which is the same place, I thought. After driving around for 1.5 hours, we could not find anything and went back. Thankfully, google exists and told us where to go, 5minutes from the guesthouse, to be exact.
Off to a good start. We, well… I walked around and took some pictures. My sweet husband was freezing his butt of… Summertime in South Africa, as if….
It was raining, windy and cold, just like the Netherlands.
We wanted something hot to drink and drove off to find a specific restaurant, again same freaking story driving around for an hour to be back at “Mandela’s bay” to find that restaurant around the corner. At this point, I am done with PE. Let us pray for a better day tomorrow…

The first safari, the main reason why people stay in port Elisabeth, “Addo Elephant National Park”. We chose to drive our-selves, so we had all the time in the world. What a cool experience that was. The elephants are right there on the road with their babies. We had some stressful moments but we survived. We did not see any lions but the zebra’s, elephants and deers were good enough for me.

The following day we woke up early to head to our next stop; “Jeffrey’s bay”. It sounds very touristy and surfy and it was exactly that. We are not into that active stuff so we just took it easy and had a lot of sea food. I will tell you all about the food in my next blog.We stayed in a B&B up the hill called; “Dolphin view guesthouse”. It had a wonderful view and an indoor swimming pool.

The next day we drove to “Stormsrivier” in the middle of “Tsitskamne National Park”. There, we found a nice place to stay called “Tube ‘n axe backpackers”. Our accommodation looked like a cabin with a big tent in front of it. Processed with VSCO with  presetAgain, a place with many activities like; Black water tubing, zip lining, and horse back riding. If you are not into that stuff, like us, you can go to one of the many wineries and go for a whine tasting. We wanted the best of both worlds. We went for horseback riding, my husband wanted to be Indiana Jones. I am not a big fan, but that is married life I guess. It was a good leg and ab workout for sure! Straight after, we did some zip lining for the adrenaline. To chill we wanted to go wine tasting. Unfortunately, it was not the season. However, “New Stead” winery took the time to select some wines for us and told us the history of how they started. They had an astonishing piece of land and excellent wines. Us being us, we bought a couple of bottles which they send to cape town so we could pick it up at the end of our trip.   Processed with VSCO with  preset

Our next stop was “Mosselbaai”,

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thankfully my husband came up with the idea to cut that one short so we had a day extra in cape town. On the way there, Mr. Babychan found a private reserve to walk with lions. It sounds scary and adventures but nothing could be further from the truth. It was liter

ally walking with two tamed lions and 6 guys guarding us. The lions knew exactly when to stop when to jump and when they got food. We took some staged pictures and that was that. I will NOT recommend that waste of money!

The “Cove Guesthouse” where we stayed was adorable, but “Mosselbaai” was freaking boring! So we spend a day inside watching television.

It was in this boring sea side town, I got the good news about Mr. Bouke Schouten, Cuteness overload! A bit sad I could not meet this cutie.
As always we had a strong coffee to go and drove to “Gansbaai”, this is next to “Hermanus” but much cheaper… We planned to do some sea kayaking but because of the shitty weather that was cancelled. Just our luck….
We arrived late in the evening and decided to go out for a drink, we ended up in a very crowded bar with crazy people dancing and screaming.
While we where planning our next day on the phone,  a very enthusiastic lady came up to us asking why we weren’t dancing… Well I do not dance, as everybody knows….
We started talking and she gave us the best tip ever…Don’t go to “Hermanus” for whales watching, go here in “Gansbaai”.Processed with VSCO with  preset Have breakfast and see the whales from there. Apparently, you can see them even better. After this, she was ecstatic to know we were from Holland, because her girlfriend was from Rotterdam and she could not wait to go there and enjoy the Coffee shops.
We kindly declined her invitation for a “Braai” at her moms place on Sunday.
As we were told we went to “Coffee on the rocks” the next morning for breakfast and there they were.. the whales… not as close as we thought but still pretty cool to see…
We went to “Hermanus” after, just to check the whales there. On the way there, I saw a farmers market, and I am a sucker for those things so we went and checked it…
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I found the perfect gift for Mr. Bouke. A birth Mandala made by Loes erdtsieck. Her store is called “source” they make all kinds of spiritual art. I gave her the birth information and two weeks later she sent me the mandala with information about Bouke. What type of person he will be, of course we still need to wait and see if its true…

The next day we started our route to Cape Town, we took the “Cape Whale Route” and stopped at Crystal Pools, which was closed; Gordons bay, which was closed as well, just our luck… The internet told me it was a must-see, so yeah if you ever go there let me know how it was.
We did go to Betty’s bay and found the freaking penguins, sooooo freaking cute!!

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After a photoshoot with these cuties, we drove to Cape Point. Cape of Good Hope is a nature reserve so we paid to get in. There is a map to go on the side roads, but we did not feel like it. Cape Point is a nice spot with a beautiful view. Probably a lot nicer if the weather is on your side.  pin
When we went back to the hotel, we took the other side and drove past Clifton Beach and Camps Bay. The sun was bright and setting, which made it picture perfect! Clifton beach is known for their seals and if you have time to spear you must go and take a boat ride to the island with the seal colony. We saw them from the mountainside. Even though you do not see them that well it is still a pretty cool sight.

Finally we arrived at the hotel,”The Fritz hotel”.  An authentic old house run by a nice man. The rooms are small and simple, with a nice view of the mountains. We took a hot shower and looked at my long list of restaurants to eat somewhere nice. Unfortunately, many places are closed on Sunday…..
Seriously…. We have no luck on this trip. We ended up at “Golden Brown”. After the long car ride and many impressions, we could use a good night sleep.

The next morning we were a bit late for breakfast so we went straight to the car drop off, hopped on a red bus, again.  We had a discount because I saved the jo-burg ticket. Yes, my dad taught me right.
We started at “V&T waterfront”. I will say it again, this is my least favorite way to explore the city but when you do not have that much time, you kind of have to.
When we got back to the hotel, we took a short nap and went out for dinner. This time it was a very funny restaurant, read about it here: ____.Back at the hotel, we fell into a food coma and woke up the next morning still stuffed…

This last full day I wanted to walk around and soak in the city. This is not my hubbies favorite option because, well… walking.
I gave in on the lions head trek, early morning, so this was the compensation. We went to some random place for breakfast and took an “Uber” to Woodstock. I forgot to tell him I wanted to go to “The Old Biscuit Mill”, so we ended up on some industrial area… oops….

Seriously, my husband wanted to kill me.  I thought a local Uber driver would understand. Anyways…. The old biscuit mill and surrounding area, are very hipster; hippie; artsy fartsy, and if I am allowed say it, very boring.
We ended up at a brewery and had a beer, which tasted like any other random beer. I sound like spoiled ungrateful brat, but if you call something “special”, I want it to be freaking special and not average..
Next stop!

Bo-kaap”, known for its colors, finally something that was as advertised. Cute little colorful houses Instagram worthy…
We checked the artsy shops. I did not buy anything of course; I am still Dutch you know.
We wanted to eat at “Mama Africa”, the best place to have real authentic African food. As you would expect from the rest of our journey, this was also closed. I have a special gift to choose stuff that is either closed or gone. This time, it was because they had a fire, a freaking fire. Again, if you are in the neighborhood and you eat there, let me know how it was, thank you!
This day we were lucky enough to get some sun, so we went to “Table Mountain” and took a cable car to go up. We stood in line and ordered the tickets online (they have free Wi-Fi to do that, so use it)
10min in the cable car, we were amazed by the beautiful view of “Cape Town”! We walked around and took some nice pictures while the sun was setting, bought some hot choco to heat up. To freeze again while standing in line to go down again.

The last day we took it easy, checked out and went to V&T waterfront again. I love that place. This time I had some Vietnamese spring rolls and a healthy juice. I wanted to do some shopping, so I dropped hubby off at one of the restaurants so he could work and I would not have to rush my shopping.
I had to buy nasty dried beef for some weirdo back home but after that, we picked up the bags and went to the airport.

After two weeks of traveling with my dear husband for the first time, I can tell you, we are still happily married but also extremely happy to go back to work… Just kidding.

The garden route is a beautiful route to drive. We took the coast, which appeared to be very “white” and “rich”. That is something I did not think I would say.
The nature is phenomenal, the views outstanding and the people are very pleasant, nice and friendly. I missed a bit of the culture. The things I saw in Jo-burg, you do not see anywhere else.
When I think about the history, I feel a bit ashamed to be white, and heartbroken that that shit is still happening around the world.

I do not know what I expected but this was my first non-Asian travel and it was very different. I have the feeling I missed something.

I hope you didn’t fall a sleep and you come back next time.


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