Garden Route Trip Day 5: Swellendam and Hermanus

By 17:24

We woke up really early to say goodbye to a very dreary Knysna. I wasn’t particularly looking forward to the 450km drive to Hermanus as I do long trips like that from Joburg to Durban all the time and it’s really tiring.

Not too far from Knysna, we drove into Wilderness and managed to find our way to a residential beach. There were a couple of people standing on the shore fishing and a few others standing on the rocks for a photo shoot. Now I’ve seen so many beaches on this trip but this was a stunning beach. The waters here just gush in pretty quickly and before you know it, the waves come crashing to your dry feet and the water’s almost halfway up your legs.

After picking up some shells, we hit the road again for a few minutes until my boyfriend drove in to a look-out point along the N2 – of the same beach we just standing on! Looking at the beach from up high, it looked so tame in comparison to the strong current we experienced earlier. From up high, we could see all the way down the long stretch of beach and the river mouth feeding into the beach. With the bright sunshine, it’s amazing to see the different colours from far into the ocean though to the shore and where it meets the river. It was definitely the best view of the garden route along the N2.

We headed off again and this time the dreary weather gave way to rain so we didn’t stop anyway else for a very long time. After battling against the sleep that was tempting me, we stopped in Swellendam for lunch. There aren’t many restaurants in the area and we eventually settled on a very quiet place called The Old Mill restaurant. Granted, the entire area is very quiet – it’s like everyone prefers to stay indoors. The Old Mill had a beautiful outside area that feels like Spring. We settled on a burger and a pie and hit the road again.

Finally, we arrived at the offramp to Hermanus and while we were still 30km away, it was still exciting. After all, I was most looking forward to this part of the Garden Route trip. But the excitement was delayed by road works where we drove for about 15km on a gravel road in a little Figo. It appears that new roads are being developed and old roads need to be re-tarred. So if you are heading to Hermanus from Knysna, try using the next offramp to avoid the off-road drives.

I was so happy with our room when we arrived at 78 on 5th. It was clean and white and spacious. It’s a mountain-facing room which I wasn’t too happy about earlier. I since realised that Hermanus is quite flat so unless you’re living on the beach, the sea-facing rooms generally look out to other houses between you and the beach. The view of the mountain was amazing and the heated pool was right outside my door.

While there were a few hours of sunlight left, we decided to check out the old harbour. Spectacular views again around the bay except this time the rocks are so big and flat that you can walk on them and feel like you’re at the edge of a cliff.

Supper was at the fancy La Pentola. Situated along the waterfront, it has stunning view of the bay. What I like most about this restaurant is that you don’t have to sit at the window to get the best view. As in proper fine dining, portions here are small so feel free to have all 3 courses.

This day ended with me walking to my car frozen! Even in summer, the winds are cold in the Western Cape so be sure to carry a jacket in case you need it. 

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