SA Blog is exploring South Africa on the Baz Bus, following the adventures of intrepid Baz Blogger Kathy - a.k.a. "Trekker".
Leg One of the Baz Bus route has a total of 17 stops and goes through two provinces.
The Western Cape route includes 14 stops, from Cape Town to Storms River. Within this, the Garden Route - part of the Western Cape - encompasses the stops from Mossel Bay to Storms River.
From there we enter the Eastern Cape, with 3 stops, before we get to the mandatory stop in Port Elizabeth (the Nelson Mandela Metropole).
For this entry I am going to focus on activities and highlights From Cape Town to Oudtshoorn.
Hi-ho hi-ho, it's off to the Western Cape we go...
Waking up around 6 a.m., be prepared for your Baz Bus pick-up anytime between 6.30am - 7h30 a.m. But remember that sometimes traffic causes delays, so don't stress!
Be sure to have your Baz Bus ticket or number ready for the driver. Never fear if it gets lost in the shuffle, the drivers are very helpful (I should know).
BAZ STOP: CAPE TOWN
Cape Town is known as South Africa's "Mother City". Here, modern skyscrapers rub shoulders with elegant, centuries-old colonial buildings.
You can go to plays, concerts, clubs - or, if you're lucky enough, even bump into an international film crew (rumor had it that Will Smith was filming while I was there in February). Your hostel is a pick-up point for the Baz Bus Peninsula Tour , definitely one of the best city tours on offer (more on that tour later).
There is so much to do in Cape Town, that it needs an entire blog of its own. So I am just going to highlight a few of the must-sees:
- Climb/Cable Car up Table Mountain
- Visit the penguins
- Party it up on Long Street
- Haggle at the Sunday market in Green Point
- Visit the Two Oceans Aquarium
- A stroll down to the V&A Waterfront
- And when the day comes to an end watch the sunset with your friends.
- Note: Just like in other big cities, after dark please always walk in groups and never go down dark alleys (!).
BAZ STOP: STELLENBOSCH
Stellenbosch is a small university town and wine connoisseur's paradise. But you don’t have to be an expert to enjoy a wine tour; just talk to your hostel manager and hop on. It's a great day of beautiful scenery and getting a little sloshed with new friends. What more do you need?
BAZ STOP: HERMANUS
Hermanus! This is the place to come face to face with the Great White Shark, during a cage dive in Gaansbaai (just a short drive away - see South Africa's Whale Coast).
This is an intense and exhilarating experience, and is also perfectly safe (just remember to keep your fingers to yourself - and no kissing of the large carnivorous fish!). Hermanus is a beautiful coastal town with lots to offer as far as food and scenery go, and has lovely old colonial houses.
Leaving Hermanus heading east, you will stop for breakfast at a Whistle Stop restaurant at a Shell Ultra City (petrol station-cum-rest stop).
BAZ STOP: SWELLENDAM
Swellendam is a hikers paradise for those who love mountains. This tiny town is right on the doorstep of the Langeberg Range (these mountains used to be used as sundials by the old farmers), and just a hop skip and jump from the Bontebok National Park.
BAZ STOP: MOSSEL BAY
Halfway to the end of Leg One, Mossel Bay is the official start of the Garden Route, with some nice beaches - including South Africa's only north-facing beach.
It's essential to take a shuttle from George to Oudtshoorn, but don't forget to explore George, too. George is the biggest city in the Garden Route and the start of the Outeniqua Tjoe-Choo Train (a steam train running between George and Knysna).
While we wait for the Oudtshoorn shuttle its time to eat. Sit-down choices are essentially between a Macdonald's and a seafood-style take-out.
But in my opinion the best option is to go across the street to store at the petrol station. Here you can get a fresh sandwich and juice, plus almost anything else you could want for lunch, most of which make healthier alternatives.
BAZ SHUTTLE: OUTDSHOORN
Oudtshoorn is the ostrich capital of South Africa, if not the world. Want a hair-raising ride? Visit one of the ostrich farms and jump onto one of the world’s largest birds. Don’t forget to treat yourself to an adventure tour through the Cango Caves, containing tunnels with names like "The Chimney" and "The Post Box"…
For bike enthusiasts try a brisk ride through the spectacular Groot Swartberg mountains. A must-do on any cyclist's travel diary!!
That's all for today - next time we will explore the rest of Leg One before our mandatory stop!