The COVID-19 pandemic has put everybody’s resilience to the test and there still isn’t an end in sight. Luckily, as lockdown restrictions continue to ease and the travel industry begins its revival, there is no longer a need for people to remain locked away in their homes.
Instead, they have the opportunity to venture out in search of some hard-earned spoils to lift the spirits and melt the stress away – and where better to find them than along South Africa’s picturesque Garden Route?
A luxurious stay at The Manor House at Fancourt
Some travellers will be looking for an adrenalin-inducing adventure while others will be hoping to sit back, relax, and indulge in life’s more sophisticated pleasures. Those in hunt of the latter should plan a stay at The Manor House at Fancourt where they can savour stunning Garden Route views and warm, generous hospitality at its finest.
“The Manor House was built in the 1850s in the style of a Cotswold mansion and it has served as a restful, romantic haven for guests for many decades,” comments Peter Dros, Sales & Marketing Director of Fancourt.
“The most notable aspects of the Manor House include its gorgeous garden (complete with a peaceful gazebo), its private dining decks, swimming pool and library – just calling for you to curl up with a good book. Guests can enjoy 5-star, moonlit dinners, organise a soothing massage in their room, or stroll through the winding garden paths appreciating the sunshine, all the while enjoying each other’s company with the beauty of the Garden Route as the backdrop,” he adds.
Whimsical wine tasting
The Garden Route is earning a reputation for its expansive winelands and award-winning wines, so a tasting or two should definitely make it onto every traveller’s itinerary. Explore the wine route by hopping from estate to estate (the Manor House team can recommend their favourites) or book a picnic and enjoy platters of cheese, charcuterie and local produce.
Alternatively, try your hand (and palate) at a wine and chocolate pairing, wine and candyfloss pairing, and, of course, wine and cheese pairing.
Candyfloss and wine pairing, in particular, is difficult to come by unless you head to Jakkalsvlei, located in Herbertsdale just outside Mossel Bay. Tantalise your taste buds with passionfruit, coffee, and Turkish delight-flavoured candyfloss paired with some of the farm’s best-known wines, including its Sauvignon Blanc, Pinotage, and Muscadel.
Sunset and sunrise game drives
The Garden Route’s resident wildlife is most active at dusk and dawn – hence the reason why sunset and sunrise game drives are so popular. The early birds who don’t mind being up and about while it’s still dark will have the opportunity to observe the animals rousing from their slumber and starting their leisurely morning stroll towards the waterhole or preparing to head out on a hunt.
Sunset game drives, on the other hand, promise sights of herds retreating to their resting places and getting cosy for the night. Obviously, both options also have incredible views of the honeyed African landscape in store and with any luck you’ll have a morning coffee or sundowner in hand!
Galloping horse rides
The Garden Route is home to a variety of scenic hiking and horse trails, providing travellers with a chance to get up close and personal with nature. These horse trails, such as the Black Horse Trails which can be found at the foot of the Outeniqua mountain range, could see tourists trotting through fragrant eucalyptus forests and pine plantations before hopping off to marvel at the chatty birdlife huddled in the trees.
Some horse trails even take travellers galloping along the region’s glistening shores right up to the warm, welcoming waters of the Indian Ocean.
Oysters are one of the most indulgent treats served up by the sea. Unsurprisingly, there are plenty opportunities to sample them when journeying along the Garden Route. Travellers can make their way to a well-known seafood restaurant, like Oysters R Us in Boven Lange Valley Farm, or book a more comprehensive oyster experience, such as the Knysna Heads Oyster Experience that includes a slow cruise from Thesen Island Harbour towards the Knysna Heads, followed by a hearty seafood dinner enjoyed on-board beneath the soft glimmer of the moon.
As we head into the end-of-year holidays, everyone deserves some time off to indulge, reflect, and recover. No matter what, 2020 will be a year to remember. Head to the Garden Route, support local and make it one to remember for the right reasons!