Hidden Gems around the Corner

Posted: October 28, 2010 in Travel
Tags: , , , ,

By Andile “Ace” Magxaki

Sedgefield is a little town situated on the world-famous Garden Route in the Western Cape, South Africa. It is cradled neatly between Knysna and Wilderness along the N2 between Port Elizabeth and George. Because the town is situated on the N2, most travellers drive right past, barely noticing the gem that is Sedgefield.

However, to the alert eye of the keen traveller, Sedgefield demands a second glance, as it boasts a beauty that warrants even the weariest eye’s attention. The town possesses the feel of a mountain resort as well as that of a coastal holiday destination. Nestled beautifully between sea and mountain, it is canvassed by forest and the hilly backdrop that makes much of the Garden Route so beautiful.

Being a small town, it does have its limitations in terms of activity, but that is all dependent on the type of holiday that one is embarking on. If it’s tranquillity you want, it has it. If it’s adventure you want, it is definitely there as one can go hiking in the forest, white river rafting, camping in the forest and of course the famous Wild Oats Community Farmers Market. Another activity-filled attraction is the Goukamma Nature Reserve, which is suitable for any kind of traveller, be it family or individual. This coastal protected area, criss-crossed with hiking trails, is a diverse range of habitats for birds, mammals and marine life.

In terms of cuisine, there are two restaurants in Sedgefield, namely ChefALMA@Groenvlei and Chattanoogas. The former specializes in contemporary cuisine whereas the latter incorporates local cuisine in their menu. Both restaurants have outdoor seating as the views from the decks serve to make the dining experience all the more pleasurable.

If one is spending a few nights in Sedgefield, there are some great places to stay. The Coral Reef Guest House is one of the most famous guest houses on the Garden Route, along with the Pelican Lodge, Pine Lake Marina and Haus Seeblick. Each of these guest houses have something distinctly Sedgefield about them to allow guests to soak up all that encapsulates this lovely town.

The Garden Route is like a puzzle and each piece of it complements the other. Sedgefield resembles a little Eden with its lush greenery and landscape. Often, with regard to travellers, it is an age-old case of not knowing what is around until you stop, take a moment and look or unlock the treasure chest. Therefore, the next time you are on the Garden Route, take a moment to stop and visit this little gem.

A little further north, parallel to the Garden Route, runs the R62 which is home to the Klein Karoo Wine Route. The Klein Karoo Wine Route in the Southern Cape is arguably the most diverse of South Africa’s wine regions. It is the easternmost wine-producing region in the country, stretching along the Cape Route 62 from Montagu in the west to the Langkloof in the east.

The Klein Karoo

The Klein Karoo is situated between spectacular mountain ranges, and its vines are mostly grown on the high slopes in the fertile alluvial soil along the riverbanks. The climate is generally drier than that of the other wine regions, resulting in healthy vineyards which are grown organically to a large extent. 

Various microclimates enable Klein Karoo winemakers to produce a wide variety of quality wines, including dry wines, fortified wines and pot-stilled brandies. World-class Port and South Africa’s champion Muscadel are specialties among the fortified wines produced here, along with a host of outstanding red and white wines, which vary from full-bodied cabernets to lighter styles for easy drinking.

More than just an excellent range of wines, the Klein Karoo Wine Route offers visitors its unique cuisine, the warmth and hospitality of its people, and the charisma of its landscape.

North of the Klein Karoo lies the vast Groot Karoo and to its south, coastal planes which spill into the Indian Ocean. Enclosed by various mountain ranges, it is known for extreme variations in soils and climate.
The botanical diversity of the region is very much like the broad range of fine wines produced by local winemakers. While allowing for appealing blends, some of the coolest wine areas in South Africa along the magnificent Outeniqua, Langeberge and Swartberg mountains, yield crispy white and full-bodied red varieties..

The Klein Karoo Wine Region is one of the most diverse of South Africa’s wine regions and a travel destination in its own right. Furthermore, the Cape Route 62 runs parallel to the Garden Route and is an alternative route to travel from Cape Town to Knysna. The different towns in the Klein Karoo region are ideally situated to accommodate day visitors from the coastal towns. Therefore 4 different Day Trips highlights the attraction in each town.


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