To see the start of our road trip from Cape Town driving the Garden Route click here.
After our great evening sailing and chowing down on some amazing seafood in Mossel Bay, we started to make our towards Knysna via a place called Oudstroon. Armed with a list of suggestions from Este and Jacque, that was about a mile long, we headed off early to try and get as much done as we could. After about an hour of driving, we pulled into our first stop of the day – Cango Wildlife Ranch. We’d heard a lot of good things about Cango from both locals and other travellers alike, and we were keen to check it out. Cango was originally a crocodile show farm, and although it still houses a large number of them, it is mainly focused on conservation of endangered species, including a number of the big cats. Although we wanted to see all the animals, one of the draws for us was actually cage diving with the crocodiles, and after having a look we decided it was something we’d like to do. So we did!
We both found it really cool to see the crocs up close and personal, and neither one of us were scared despite a lot of people telling us we would be. It was a really neat experience, and I would defienetly recommend it as it’s something a bit different, and not too expensive either. We ended up spending probably about 25 minutes in the water with them, and it was easy enough for both of us to be in the cage at the same time, although you can also do it on your own.
Once we’d dried off from that, we wandered around the park for a look at all the other animals. Cango focuses a lot around the conservation of animals and the education of the people that visit. There were a lot of interactive displays, as well as numerous tours that you could go on. As we had more things we wanted to do in the afternoon, we decided to wander around on our own before leaving instead of taking an organised tour to save us time.
After looking at our full of the animals, we got back in the car and started back on the road again. As it was getting near to lunch, our next stop was – you guessed it – a vineyard! We’d been recommend to go to Karusa Wines for a wine tasting and the best cheese platter around, and we decided we just couldn’t ignore that advice, so wine and cheese it was. They had a huge selection of wines tastings to try, so we ended up going for two different tasting platters and sharing them to maximise our experience. We ordered the cheese platter as well, thinking that we had some snacks in the car to munch on later if we needed to; however, we needn’t of worried as it came out and was huge! Unfortunately, we were so hungry and it looked so good that we dug in and were eating the last crumbs off the plate before we realised we hadn’t got a picture, so you’ll just have to go order it yourself to see.
For the afternoon we went a little further up the road to visit Cango Ostrich Farm as we’d been told you could ride an ostrich and we kind of wanted to do that. Once we arrived, we were informed that they no longer do ostrich riding, and that most farms in the area had also stopped, due to the safety on the animals and guests. Although disappointed, it is understandable, and as ostriches fascinate Rich we decided to take the tour anyway. It was pretty neat seeing them up close and learning a little bit more about them as well. We were also offered an ostrich “massage”, which was essentially us hoĺding a bucket of food and a bunch of ostriches eating it over our shoulders, eek.
I’m not going to lie, it was slightly terrifying; however, the guide assured us they are complete vegetarians and don’t bite people, so we gave it a go. We also saw a nest of ostrich eggs, and learned that ostriches mate for life (will you be my ostrich?). It was a neat experience; however, I’m not sure I would have missed it if we hadn’t of gone (but Rich would have certainly been disappointed). We had wanted to get to Cango Caves as well, but last entry was ridiculously early and we ended up not making it in time. I think if we’d had time to do all of it, it would have been okay; however, I was disappointed that we ended up doing the ostrich farm over the caves as we didn’t have time to come back and do them. If you’re in the area, defienetly do a bit of planning to make sure you can get to everything in time.
After finishing with the ostriches, we started our drive to the town of Knysna. We stayed in a beautiful Air B&B overlooking Knysna and the river, which came with an outdoor BBQ, or braai as the South Africans call it. We had a relaxing evening cooking on the braai, sipping wine, and enjoying the view.
We woke up to clouds and a bit of rain the next morning, but as we’d planned to go kayaking and hiking to a waterfall, it was okay as it wasn’t too hot. We drove to a small village called Wilderness and rented our kayak, and paddled along the river to the hiking trail. It’s a pretty popular spot, and there were kayaks lined up along the shore already by the time we got there. We beached the kayak and grabbed our bags, and started the roughly 45 minute hike to the waterfall. We’d packed a lunch to eat once we got there, and we seemed arrive between groups (you could do it as a tour as well), which meant it was pretty quiet. I’m glad it was cloudy, because it was pretty hot as it was and it would have been killer with the sun out as well. If you’re around Wilderness and Kynsna, it’s worth doing and it’s not a terribly hard kayak or hike. We ended up renting from Wilderness Backpackers, but there were tons of options in the area if you look around.
The next morning we woke up and it was once again a glorious day in South Africa, not a hint of clouds or rain in sight. We packed up as we were heading on to Plettenburg Bay for the next 2 nights, and we wanted to explore Knysna before we left. We drove down to the harbour and walked around town for a bit before stopping for some fresh oysters and beer right next to the water.
After lunch, we drove to the lookout point on the other side of Knysna, which overlooks the town as well as the ocean. It was very pretty, especially on the clear day we had.
As it had turned into afternoon by this point, we decided to head to Plettenburg Bay and spend the rest of the day wandering around there. By this point we were getting towards the end of our time in SA, but not before we did some Kloofing, surfing, and bungee jumping. More on that in part three of our garden route trip.