91 Kms from Hermanus
Where: South AfricaWhat to do: A visit to Cape Town must include a hike to the top of the iconic Table Mountain. Discover the history of Cape Town by visiting Robben Island where Nelson Mandela was locked up during the days of Apartheid in the country. The Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens are a massive expanse of 52,800 sq km, offering some of the most beautiful collections of flora and fauna. Don't forget to get a pint of crafted beer at Woodstock, which is now home to Cape Town's best micro-breweries.
63 Kms from Hermanus
Next morning I went to the serene town of Stellenbosch. The place has some fine vineyards and I had registered for a wine tour with Wine Flies. Ian was our guide-cum-driver. And our group was really interesting, with fun-loving people from different parts of the world. Stories were shared over wine, chocolate, cheese and food. My host for the night was Eugene, who has a beautiful house there. He told about some secret trips and trails on the Garden Route over dinner.
267 Kms from Hermanus
The next day would turn out to be the most intense day of my trip. I went hiking on St Blaize Trail early in the morning. The trail takes you onto the cliffs overlooking the ocean and is a good 13 km long. The weather was cloudy. So, with crepuscular sun rays piercing the clouds to hit the surface of the ocean, waves lashing onto the sedimentary rock formations and a cave which is known to have housed a core population which showed first signs of modern human behavior, this trail was a surreal brush with the past.
118 Kms from Hermanus
Richard, my host at Swellendam told me about the Cango Caves and Cango Wildlife Ranch in Oudtshoorn. I made my way through the majestic Tradouw Pass on R324 and passed through the towns of Ladismith and Calitzdorp before reaching Oudtshoorn. For Port Wine lovers, Calitzdorp offers some of the best Port Wine there is. I reached Cango Wildlife Ranch around 3 pm in the afternoon and got to live my childhood dream of petting a Cheetah in there. I reached Mossel Bay by dinner time and checked into a Backpackers hostel.