Garden Route South Africa – Wilderness

Garden Route South Africa – Wilderness

Travel in Wilderness South Africa in 2011

Forest walk

I mentioned in the last few posts that I spent a week in the Garden Route. We took a day trip to Wilderness twice. The first time we took a relaxed approach. We had a meal and wandered around the shops. The second time we decided to paddle a canoe up the river, into the forest, for a picnic.

The river and the forest are set in the Garden Route National Park. Click on this link for more – Garden Route National Park.

I have to be a bit honest. My canoeing skills are not all that. We rowed against the tide when we went for our picnic and when we came back as the tide had turned. My arms ached. The river got a bit rocky in places and we had to get out and push our canoes to get them going again.

The river water was freezing cold. I couldn’t feel my feet. But it was fun. Once we arrived at the waterfall area we relaxed in the sun, listened to the birds and the water splashing in the rock pool. I could barely move after a while. It’s definitely one way to de-stress.

Canoe boat

The company we got our canoes from is Eden Adventures. Follow this link to find them – Eden Adventures. They have all sorts of activities for a person to do.

We passed wooden lodges and rondavels as we paddled the river. SA National Parks hire them out to visitors. Go back to the first link for our local national parks and find out more there. They even have a webcams so you can view wild animals.

What is a rondavel? It’s a unique South African word for a round dwelling. Wiki explain all here – Rondavel.

Rock pool

Wilderness area also has a long soft sandy beach. The sea water is warmer than in Cape Town. Sea water gets warmer as you head up the coast toward Durban.

The Garden route is definitely a must-see. It’s the Garden of Eden of South Africa. You can do nothing more than simply soak up the scenery. Or  you can get more adventurous and go canoeing, visit the Cango Caves nearby in Oudtshoorn or ride an elephant in Knysna. You will find plenty to suit your inclinations.

More links here – Knysna Elephant Park. Why it is not a good idea to play with elephants – elephant attacks handler. And – Cango Caves.

Go to – My Holidays and Trips – at the top of this page to read about other places we have visited. Or just click on – this link.

20 Top Money Saving Travel Tips

There was a lady from SA, who stayed three nights in Galway
She contracted an affliction, that altered her diction
And now she converses in a strange Irish way.

Guess who went through county Limerick in Ireland? For today’s blog, I thought that I would share some of the ways I use to keep costs down when travelling. I am travelling right now and likely to forget them when I get back home. So here goes –

1. Walking tours are usually cheaper than bus or mini-bus tours. The local tourism office can usually advise you. Even better is to get a brochure with a map of the walking or bus tour and do it yourself for free.
2. Use the local public transport bus to travel to the furthest point of the city or place you are visiting. A day pass is ideal as you can hop on and off at your convenience and make it a day out.
3. Keep dried fruit and nuts to snack on instead of eating at restaurants.
4. If the local tap water is safe to drink, refill a small water bottle, and keep that instead of buying water.
5. You can save on wi-fi costs by visiting a Starbucks or cafe where wi-fi is free. A great way to meet locals and get tips as well as insight into a place. The cafe might even provide a free newspaper.
6. Lonely Planet and Wiki travel have free on-line travel information about most destinations.
7. Read the local newspapers and watch the telly to get a sense of how the people think and what is going on in a country. It’s also handy to get weather predictions.
8. Stay at B and B’s. They are almost always cheaper than hotels. You get things like tea, coffee, soap, towels, hairdryer, TV and wi-fi included in the rate. The sort of stuff you should actually get for free but often don’t in a hotel. B and B’s are usually the same or not much more expensive than hostels and backpackers. And they are safer since you are not sharing rooms and facilities with strangers.
9. Only visit free museums. There are always plenty. Why pay?
10. Choose salad packs and sandwiches from supermarkets over restaurant meals. I buy cheese triangles, fresh fruit and oatcakes for a healthy budget lunch.
11. Book in advance. From flights, intercity coaches and ferries to car hire, you get great savings if you can plan and book ahead of time. I have used Megabus to get from London to Glasgow at £1 for a few years now. There is a window period in which to book. Make sure you don’t miss it.
12. A no brainer is to use a small hired car. It’s cheaper and more economical to run.
13. Check out whether your credit card offers free insurance on vehicle hire and health travel insurance. My medical insurance gives free travel insurance too.
14. Look for on-line booking discounts. I stopped using a travel agent years ago. Booking flights on-line is cheaper and I can make sure I get a vegan meal. Travel agents always forget to do it for me. Why a vegan meal? I can’t bear a heavy meal when flying and I get my food long before the rest of the people on the plane.
15. When arriving at an airport, skip the taxi. There is usually a public shuttle bus that you can take to the central district. From there you should find a bus or train to your accommodation. You can usually find an alternative shuttle service if you do an on-line search. Taxis are my worst for being ripped off.
16. I no longer use travellers cheques or travel cards. I arrange international banking with my bank before I go and draw money from a hole in the wall. The only snag is to make sure you don’t exceed your daily allowance in the local currency. Do some sums before you withdraw. And I pay by credit card as often as possible. It’s much safer and you have recourse if things go wrong. You still pay for a foreign transaction but it is often less and the inconvenience is way less.
17. If you are staying anywhere for a lengthy period then try to self cater. Many places won’t accept a few days in their self catering units but for a week you shouldn’t have a problem. Besides you won’t really save if you buy a box of cereal and a loaf of bread for a day.
18. Look at a pay as you go cellular phone card. And maybe even a wireless “dongle” to keep Internet communication costs down.
19. Check in for your flight on-line exactly 24 hours before. It allows you to whip through the check in counter at the airport and get yourself the best seats. And I mean exactly 24 hours before. It amazes me how the best seats all disappear in a matter of minutes. I once dithered over a seat and it was gone.
20. My last tip is to sit near the front of the plane and sit in the aisle. Why? You get off first after the first class passengers. Sitting in the aisle can mean you get bumped when people climb over you to go to the loo. But it also means you can move around easily to go to the loo yourself.

The last two tips aren’t money saving but what the hell, they make life on the move easier. Going to give my top 20 packing tips on my other blog. Click here – 20 top travel packing tips. For health and safety tips and advice for travel in South Africa visit our website here – tourist travel tips for South Africa.

Go to – My Holidays and Trips – at the top of this page to read about other places we have visited. Or just click on – this link.

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