Budget Travel in the Western Cape South Africa

There are very few places in the country that can boast such a diversity of natural places of beauty as the Western Cape. The Garden Route follows the coastline of the Indian Ocean on the Eastern Cape Coast, between a belt of mountain ranges, the Outeniqua and Tsitsikamma mountains inland. The Garden Route enjoys one of the mildest and most equable climates, with unspoiled golden beaches, beautiful lagoons and estuaries and boasts in excess of 250 species of birds.
The West Coast
The West Coast offers some of the greatest of small town experiences in South Africa. This is a region that needs to be savored, slowly, and therefore road trips along the West Coast are a firm favorite with locals and international visitors. Not only does the area offer some of the most beautiful scenery in the world mountains, oceans and views that go on forever, this coast is also a haven for the finest South African hospitality.
The West Coast has two official wine routes, the Swartland Wine Route and the Olifants River Wine Region. West Coast seas also produce a bounty of quality seafood and line fish to accompany the fruit of the vine and some of the countrys finest restaurants are found along this coastline.
The Winelands
Just a 45-minute drive from Cape Town and youre in the mountains and valleys of the Winelands all gracious gabled Cape Dutch homesteads, cask-lined cellars, oak-treed towns and ultra fine restaurants. The towns of Stellenbosch, Franschoek and Paarl are delightful and beg to be explored and savored very slowly, like good wine.
The Garden Route
This land of lakes, bays, mountains and forests languishes on the southern coast from Heidelberg to the Eastern Cape’s Tsitsikamma Forest and Storms River. Its a nook of the country that offers inspiration to writers and artists whose presence gives the Garden Route a trendy flavour. It is also a top priority of many a foreign visitor.
This coastal drive links a series of charming towns interspersed with natural wonder. Along the way, every kind of adventure activity is possible scuba diving, abseiling, fishing and more.
The Klein Karoo
One of the most geologically interesting parts of South Africa is the Klein Karoo, with its towering mountains and sheer gorges. A notable geological feature is the Cango Caves, a series of caverns and chambers naturally hewn out of limestone, outside of the city of Oudtshoorn. These caves are among the top ten most visited South African attractions.
Oudtshoorn itself, the heart of the ostrich feather industry when it was at its zenith in the late 1800’s early 1900’s, is worth a visit. The grandiose, old feather palaces are still to be seen, while ostrich farms, now involved in the commercial production of meat, leather, eggs and feathers, can be toured, with the possibility of riding an ostrich. The town also hosts an annual music and theatre fest the Klein Karoo Kunstefees.
The Central Karoo
The semi-arid Karoo derives its name from an indigenous word meaning [thirstland], but the starkness this implies is deceptive. Dig a little below the surface and you find fossil-rich terrain, fascinating rock art, ancient stone-age sites, one of the largest varieties of succulents on the planet and star-filled skies to thrill the astronomer, no matter how amateur.
Peaceful Prince Albert at the foot of the spectacular Swartberg Pass makes a convenient base from which to venture out and explore. Its close to Gamkaskloof or Die Hel (The Hell), once home to an isolated farming community that for a century was accessible only by foot or horseback. The Karoo National Park, as the largest ecosystem in South Africa, reveals how fauna and flora have adapted to their harsh environment.
The Breede River Valley
Some 15 attractive small towns have the good fortune to nestle in the fertile Breede River Valley, wall-to-wall in orchards and vineyards.
Theres Ceres, aptly named for the Roman goddess of fertility; Tulbagh with 32 historical buildings making for the largest concentration of national monuments in the country; Montagu, home of hot mineral springs famed for curative powers; Worcester and Robertson – known for their noble vintages.
The Overberg
An hour east of Cape town ‘over the mountains’ is the Overberg, marked by a coastline of holiday-friendly beaches, picturesque seaside towns, an ancient lighthouse that has witnessed many a shipwreck (at Cape Agulhus) and a whale route that draws more whales and more watchers each year. Between June and November crowds flock to Hermanus and its surrounds to watch the great mammals court and cavort.
Inland, over the Outeniqua Mountains you will find the Klein Karoo with Oudtshoorn, which is the capital of ostrich land, and is the heart of Ostrich farming worldwide. Undoubtedly the most popular attraction of the area is the subterranean wonderland of the Cango Caves. The caves with its own museum form the tourist hub of the Klein Karoo and are a must to visit.

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