The Garden Route: The Where to Go

Our plan for three days on the beach was for some down time before the early starts on safari. On route we stopped in Swellendam which I’m not going to cover here as there is little to say. If you’re taking the inland route then there are many places you could stop to break the journey (Oudtshoorn is another possible, famous for it’s Ostritch farms and caves,) but we totally fell for the Hotel we stayed at Shoone Oordt which was a definite highlight. Swellendam provided the perfect place to do nothing, without feeling guilty that we were missing things that we should see.

We arrived in Plettenberg Bay in the late afternoon and after checking in to The Grand and taking some comedy snaps of me, princess-and-the-pea style on the huge bed, we headed down to see the beach. Plett is a beach resort through and through but is also a great stopping off point to explore the nature orientated area surrounding Plett, Knysna and Wilderness, in the heart of the garden route. We originally planned 2 nights in Knysna and 2 in Wilderness but you can easily drive between them all and I think that Plett is best located Beach wise too, although all of them have lagoons and coastal spaces.

After a walk on the beach we went to The Table for a chilled out dinner of Pizza cooked in their huge wood fired oven and then spent the rest of the evening totally chilled on the sofa with a DVD.

The one thing I wanted to do in Plett was to visit Tenikwa Wildlife Awareness centre. I had found out from seeing Pete’s cousins honeymon photo’s that you could visit the centre and participate in a sunset or sunrise Cheetah walk. Being a huge cat lover this was beyond exciting for me and I had been looking forward to it all holiday so we decided to book in on our first afternoon for the Sunset walk.

After a morning on the beach we headed to the centre. The Cheetah Walk and Wildcat combo costs R660, by far the most expensive thing we did whilst there, (about £50) for three hours. We arrived at three for a guided tour around the cats and animals that live there, rescued from various places and sadly unable to return to the wild. We saw a Leopard, Serval, Caracal, African Wild Cats, Baboons, Honey Badger and of course, the Cheetah’s! I wasn’t expecting it but they take you inside some of the enclosures as you walk around and I found it quite nerve wracking with even some of the smaller cats; they are after all wild animals.

When we came to the Cheetah enclosure they seemed huge and as the ranger entered the enclosure they swarmed around him purring loudly – both thrilling and terrifying all at once. He turned and motioned us to come in one at a time and I almost died. I don’t know how I thought it was different walking a cheetah on a harness and being amongst them without one, but I was terrified, almost too scared to enjoy it.

After the tour we headed back to the information centre for a safety briefing and then back out to meet our Cheetah, a beautiful boy called Dhosa before we headed out on the walk. It was pretty much, ‘the cheetah’s walk you’ and we almost jogged along to keep up with his unrelenting padding pace as he patrolled his territory. It was completely breathtaking, awe inspiring, humbling, exhilarating and terrifying, all at once but about half an hour in I managed to start relaxing and really enjoy it.

Pete even sat down with him and we got some incredible pictures. I loved every second, despite being such a scaredy cat. That night we ate in the hotel restaurant The Grand Cafe and poured over our photo’s marvelling at what an incredible experience we had just had.

For our final day we took it really easy, staying by the hotel plunge pool in the morning, having a massage with our complimentary spa credit and spent more time on the beach where we stayed to enjoy the stunning sunset and moonrise before dinner.

We ate at the beachside cafe, Lookout Deck, sharing a huge seafood platter and enjoyed eating outside in sight of the ocean and lapped up the beachside vibe.

Our final day in the area was on route to Tsala and we wanted to make the most of our night there so planned to get there shortly after check in. There’s so much to do in the area however that we decided to visit Birds of Eden and Monkeyland. For less than £20 you get entry to both (next door to each other) and can join a guided tour of the 10 different species, including Apes, primates, lima’s and even tortoises. I’m a bit scared of monkeys after getting rushed at by them in the past but they were busty getting on with tree-life so it was great to watch them. It was Pete that wanted to see the birds – housed in a gigantic free flight netted aviary and I was surprised how much I enjoyed it – we saw so many beautiful birds with amazing colours, including my favourite flamingo’s!

Our afternoon was spent absorbing our incredible treetop room at Tsala and chilling by the plunge pool then enjoying dinner at Zinzi, the hotel restaurant ready for our Safari experience yet to come, which I am saving for next week.

I hope you enjoyed the pictures folks 🙂

Love,
Rebecca
xo

More South Africa travel posts:

Decor Updates

After spending a not inconsiderable amount of time just over a year ago painting our lounge and dining room in a sophisticated grey and white scheme, I’ve been fighting the urge to put a ton of colour back into the rooms. Over the last year I’ve just about come to terms with the fact that in actual fact, I just prefer colour and have come full circle again, having previously erased it from several areas of our house, save for the odd subtle splash.

When I last shared the living room, I had made a couple of updates since the renovation, but was holding out for the perfect accessories and I don’t believe you can buy those things in bulk, so it was still looking a little empty. We also still had a couple of accents from the old scheme; a union jack cushion that I was more than a little tired of and a red spot throw – both previously used to tie the lounge to the red wallpaper in the adjoining dining room, pre-renovation.

Since then I’ve slowly been acquiring new additions. The first item to be added ended up forming the backbone of the scheme – a huge pink flamingo watercolour that I fell in love with on Etsy. One installed over the mantelpiece I was a little un-nerved by the beady eye staring back at me, but now I love the almost Palm Springs vibe it offers. That along with a salvaged yellow ceramic bird, cemented the bright scheme I was going for.

I’m loving ikat prints right now and had my heart set on an ikat print cushion but despite them being ubiquitous on the American blogs they don’t seem to have filtered over here as yet, then I stumbled on this ikat inspired cushion in the John Lewis sale at Christmas.

I wanted an ikat or geometric blue blanket to replace the old red spot one too, but again searched high and low without success. This Frome wool blanket was the closest thing I could find to what I had in mind but was rather expensive, then in a local shop I spotted a block colour checked blanket in fuchsia pink, grey and purple. Although unsure about the purple, I went well with our room and was a bit of a snip at £40 so I snapped it up.

My final and most recent purchase was a chance finding a couple of weekends ago in Lincoln on a hen do, where I spotted a Russian Doll shop. Full of bright and colourful little dolls lined up I felt they made the perfect addition to my mantle and now it’s feeling much more finished.

I’m so happy with how the room is evolving. All that remains is to replace the vintage/salvage prints behind the sofa with a collection of more tonal artworks, which I have already started with a photographic print of surfers by Ian Baguskas from 20×200. I plan to finally get some photos printed from a couple of shoots we have had done along with some Etsy prints.

Let me know what you think readers! I do hope you like it 🙂

Love,
Rebecca
xo

PS.
Before/Afters: Our living room renovation and the dining room.

Snapshots…

This afternoon I’m taking time out to prepare for the second Dream. Find. Do. workshop – this time we are heading to London and being hosted by the super cool Hoxton Hotel. I can’t wait to meet our students and share all my blogging finds from over the last 3 years. I can hardly believe I’ve been blogging that long! (For those of you who want to know more, Sam from A Little London Wedding has just posted her review of the first workshop in Manchester and it’s great read.)

This afternoon I’m sharing some snapshots of the little things that I’m loving right now but I’m also getting discount codes through left, right and centre for the next few days so I have also included a little list of them for any of you who want to get ahead with your Christmas shopping – take advantage and get a bargain! Scroll down after the photo’s for the list.

The new flamingo joining us on my living room mantlepiece (from here)

My Dad’s old Canon SLR (that I learnt to take photo’s with) adding to the interiors books on my picture shelf.

A cute Christmas decoration from my sister that I’m making all-year-round pretty on my wardrobe door handle.

Unpacking the Alphabet bags for the Dream. Find. Do. goodie bags this weekend.

American treats we brought back from Florida…

My favourite new necklace – A ram (because I’m an Aries) from J.Crew.

Happy Shopping!

Love,
Rebecca
xo

PS!

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