Klein Karoo to the Garden Route - Dry & Arid to Lush & Green

A few days ago my daughter and I embarked on a "mommy & me" adventure from the Klein Karoo to the Garden Route. The reasons I won't go into in this post, but we were fortunate to be only a few hours drive away from my sister's holiday house in Knysna - where we'd call home for a while.

I haven't driven any long distance for quite some time, had never driven this section of road before (I like finding new roads that I've not travelled) so it was exciting not knowing what we'd see.

After packing and getting Lory strapped in her car seat, we were off and on our way. It was late afternoon, little traffic, nice weather, clear passage.

Leaving the Little Karoo, we got onto the highway and then the world just seemed to stretch out before us like a wild canvas of patchy, sparse vegetation and deep red earth - for miles.

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Breathing Room

It's quite a weird feeling I got as soon as we were on the open road. It felt expansive, inviting and fresh - like I could finally breathe. Unfortunately I wasn't able to get as many photos as I would have liked - I was driving, but the scenery was spectacularly beautiful.

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Transitioning from the Little Karoo to the Garden Route is like watching a National Geographic video. The colours tend to change gradually at first, but then all of a sudden you are driving over passes with deep green valley, rock formations that keep going forever, winding roads that are an absolute dream to drive. This is the kind of road that would have been featured on Top Gear.

I was well impressed with my little car. She's not young anymore, she's battered and bruised, sun weathered and dusty, but she's still got spunky under that bonnet. We've been companions for 14 years now.

Apart from the few horrendously impatient drivers I encountered behind me, hurrying to get somewhere faster (why I cannot fathom), the road was pleasant. I drove about 80kms/h most of the way, well below the open road speed limit because it was comfortable to do so and allowed Lory and I more time to take in the scenery. We switched the music off a short way into the trip and just had a conversation about the Moo Moos that she spotted, the mountains, the cloud formations, the odd farming truck carrying a tractor.
It was great bonding time.

The Outeniqua Pass

Panoramic at the Picnic Site.jpg

There are so many mountain passes in South Africa and especially the Western Cape that are scenic and provide a pleasing view, but the Outeniqua pass has stolen a place in my heart permanently after our safe passage along her. The road is in excellent condition and the winding curves are easy to meander. We stopped briefly at one of the picnic spots along the way to snap a few photos and enjoy the view which explains it's popularity in the area.

Little Picnic Site with Mice.jpg

Lory has a keen eye and could become a good field guide having spotted a pair of Striped Field Mice living along the rock wall. We were able to get right up to them before they scurried away into a hole in the wall. Sweet looking little critters, but bitey - not advisable for a toddler (or adult) to handle.

Outeniqua Pass.jpg

While I personally would have chosen to stay longer, I didn't want to delay our departure too much and arrive in Knysna after dark. I also wasn't too sure about the safety factor of this pass, so soon after the photos we tumbled back into the car and were back on our way.

I would definitely recommend this drive to anyone visiting the area, it is well worth setting aside an hour or two as there are a few picnic spots along the way to choose from.

Lush valleys.jpg

Sunshine Tree.jpg

Knysna Welcomed Us

We arrived safely in Knysna and found our accommodation, then had to fetch some keys a while away at a house tucked into the side of the mountain along a winding road, set close to springs and creeks where frogs and toads could be heard in their numbers. Unfortunately it was starting to get dark and photos took least priority over getting into the house.

After unpacking the car we were treated to our first lovely muted Knysna sunset. Calming colours which brought the perfect day trip to a soft and welcoming close.

Great Drive for anyone who enjoys natural scenery. I'd highly recommend it.

Our First Knysna Sunset.jpg

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