Saturday, 12 January 2013

Wildlife and Wine - and a bit of spectacular coast

The Garden Route.  It's a stretch of road that hugs the South African coast and it's lovely to drive along, even the motorway.  Traffic?  Virtually none.  And if you catch someone up, they move over so you can pass.  No getting stuck behind a lorry here.

Then there are the national parks, where you can hike along trails, animal sanctuaries, adventure stuff like the world's highest bungee jump and a spectacular coast.  Oh, and weather.  Nice warm sunny weather.  Most of the time.  It does rain a bit as well, but it never lasts.

And don't forget the winery!  Bramon is the area's first winery and it produces the only sparkling wine made from 100% sauvignon blanc.  We tried some of course - crisp and dry as you'd expect and extremely drinkable at less than a tenner.  I've already mentioned the range of wines at Moreson's named after their dog Molly, the Bramon winery was named after the owner's two kids, photos of whom are on display in the tasting room.   I think that speaks volumes about how South Africans care about their wine.

Bramon's is also another example of an excellent gourmet experience.  Here you can have a tapas style lunch amongst the vines, ticking the menu boxes and waiting to see what comes to the table.  It was all delicious.

lunch amongst the vines at Bramon's
But it wasn't just about the wine.  We also visited the wonderful Tenikwa Wildlife Awarenes Centre where you can get up close and personal with South Africa's wild cats.

Cats that are captive bred, raised from young, or not suitable for  return to the wild, are used to people at Tenikwa  Wildlife Awarenes Centre
And then there's the elephant sanctuary, where they have a very small herd of rive African elephants.  These are young elephants, ie teenagers, who have only reached half their full-grown size.  You wouldn't think it - they are huge.  But they have been carefully trained, using only rewards, and are truly gentle giants.  These are Savannah elephants, which are easier to train than forest elephants, but even so, it took about three years of careful patients to train these.  The ultimate aim is to release them into the semi-wild, ie in a game park, but that will take about another eight years.  In the meantime, you can go and see them, touch them, walk with them, feed them and ride them.

Then there's the coast.  And what a coast it is.  At Storm's River Camp you can stay right by the sea and sleep to the sound of crashing waves.  Which is much needed after a day of activities, including traversing a suspension bridge, scrambling up a cliff path to see a spectacular view, or clambering over rocks marked with painted arrows while the water crashes around you feet.  There are one or two sets of wooden steps here and there, but the trails are definitely not what you'd call easy strolls - we slept very well to the sound of crashing waves!

The Coastal Footpath at Storm's River - the rocks have arrows on , so you know you are going the right way


  1. Did you see any rock hyraxes on your walk to the suspension bridge? Commonly known as "dassies" - they live among the rocks on the cliffs. Very cute ;-)

    1. Yes, we saw lots of them - thought they were wombats!


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