Our two boys were fast asleep on the backseat and I was on the last stretch of drive duty. It was a rare moment of calm during our five-hour journey from Cape Town through the Garden Route.
“I remember this stretch of road so clearly from my childhood holidays,” I told my husband.
We were coming to the end of where the N2 seems to go on forever. You may know it well too. There is a bend just before you hit Mossel Bay that gives you a first magical glimpse of the Indian Ocean. My mom, a single parent at the time, would bundle us into the car regularly for the school holidays or even the odd long-weekend road-trip adventure to visit family and friends in Port Elizabeth. Not only was this part of the journey a sort of half-way marker for us, but it was just so ridiculously beautiful to my young mind.
“Then you and I have some of the same favourite childhood road trip memories,” said my husband, recalling how the sight had made an impact on him too as a young boy travelling the route often as part of a student hiking group.
As we headed up the very bend we looked at each other, smiled and called to the backseat,”Boys, wake-up, you have to see this...”
Sleepy-eyed and slightly confused, they were not as impressed. Maybe next time. Still it felt good to start passing on these memories and hopefully a sense of wanderlust, as we completed the first leg of our family adventure up the Garden Route.
Our destination? A long-weekend of relaxing and maxing the cool, sprinkled with heaps of family quality time out in Sedgefield.
It had been a while since I’d road-tripped this route and the development and expansion of the string of Garden Route pearls Mossel Bay, George, Wilderness, Sedgefield and Knysna (We’re saving Plett for the next one) is impossible to miss – tainting some of the natural picturesque beauty here and there with the odd, ill-positioned industrial building.
But making just as much of an impact is the slow living and the measured pace of what is predominantly considered to be holiday towns. This place certainly takes you down a gear or two - without even consciously trying.
As does the N2 drive there. The roads have gone through lengthy revamps that have finally been completed, making for an enjoyable drive with rolling green fields dotted with cattle, sheep and the odd lamb as well strips of luminescent canola yellow highlighting the change of season. The busy oyster festival period has just passed and of course the end of year is looming. But with the receding nip in the early mornings and evenings, it’s the perfect time to hit the road for the Garden Route's secret season.
Here are a few recommendations, for whenever you do decide to go.
WHERE TO STAY: