WildernessTwo hundred years ago, a single farmhouse stood on this land, rightly choosing the nameWilderness. Today, however, Wilderness is apopular seaside destination for South Africans andthe once empty sand dunes are dotted withholiday homes. The town itself is tiny, with only afew shops and restaurants. For visitors, the maindraw is the Wilderness National Park, whosecoastal, wetland and forest habitats attract around250 bird species. Canoes offer a peaceful way toexplore the river and there are several scenicwalks which are particularly rewarding during theSouth African spring when the wild flowers are in bloom.www.audleytravel.com/southafrica ?01993 838 550 ?The Garden Route & Eastern Cape23Cango Caves, OudtshoornKnysna HarbourTHEDUNEGUESTLODGE,WILDERNESSThis small lodge has a wonderful position,perched atop a high vegetated sand dune withsweeping views of Wilderness beach. There arefive modern guest rooms decorated with lightseaside colours, all of which have a private sundeck with stunning sea views. A timber verandasurrounds the swimming pool and tasty breakfastsare served here each morning. Wooden stepslead straight onto the sand, inviting you to enjoylong strolls along the shore.KnysnaThis colourful town forms the heart of theGarden Route, hemmed between themountainous Knysna Forest and the glassy KnysnaLagoon. The town's streets are lined with coffeeshops, art galleries and curio shops and quaintB&Bs offer cosy accommodation. Two rockypromontories, the Knysna Heads, separate thesleepy lagoon and the ocean's crashing waves.Boat cruises bring you up close to the Heads, andprovide access to the unspoilt Featherbed NatureReserve. Alternatively, you can travel by car tothe top of the Eastern Head, which affordsfantastic views of the rugged coastline. The Thorntree Country House, OudtshoornRothman Manor, SwellendamSvartvlei Lagoon, Wilderness National ParkKnysna HeadsWaterfront Lodge, KnysnaOstrich farm, OudtshoornWATERFRONTLODGE, KNYSNAWaterfront Lodge is a tranquil and relaxing basefor your stay in Knysna, offering good value formoney. Located just outside the town centre onthe edge of the Knysna Lagoon, the views aremarvellous. The eight bedrooms are comfortableand all but one have lagoon views. Roomsupstairs have balconies while those downstairshave a patio area leading onto the garden andswimming pool. The emphasis here is onrelaxation, whether birdwatching from the gardendeck, taking a dip in the Jacuzzi or unwinding witha massage.
Plettenberg BayPlettenberg is an understandably popular stop onthe Garden Route. Visitors are spoiled with milesof pristine beaches, peaceful lagoons, swirlingestuaries and the plunging cliffs of the RobbergPeninsula. To the south, Robberg Beach stretchesinto the distance, whilst to the north, the Lookoutrocks shelter a pretty sandy bay. Further up thecoast is Keurbooms Beach, a sandy spit whichprotects a sapphire blue lagoon. Plettenberg townhas an array of seaside curio shops, cafes andrestaurants. The sea is safe for swimming and you may be accompanied by one of the residentpods of dolphins.EMILYMOONRIVERLODGE,PLETTENBERGBAYEmily Moon boasts superb views from its positionhigh on the banks of the Bitou River, overlookingthe marsh. The delightful suites are dotted acrossthe hillside and each has a balcony to make themost of the vista. The rooms are vast, with highceilings and fireplaces. All combine modernfurnishings with artefacts from Africa andIndia.The restaurant, Emily's, is renowned fordelicious food, and there are two lovelyswimming pools. Guests can borrow canoes topaddle along the river, or bicycles to explore, andPlettenberg Bay is only ten minutes drive away.PERIWINKLEGUESTLODGE,PLETTENBERGBAYPeriwinkle is a friendly beach house overlookingthe Robberg Peninsula, enjoying sweeping oceanvistas. There are seven guest rooms, decorated inseaside pastel colours and all but one have seaviews. Robberg Beach's three miles of goldensand is only a gentle stroll away, and therestaurants and shops of Plettenberg Bay arewithin easy reach. There is a lovely lounge andswimming pool but the real highlight is thespacious terrace, a perfect spot to enjoy a glass of wine while watching the dolphins swimmingout at sea. 24Plettenberg BayEmily Moon River Lodge, Plettenberg BayLAIRD'SLODGE, PLETTENBERGBAYThis charming Cape Dutch homestead is situated ten minutes drive from Plettenberg Bay,offering luxurious accommodation in peacefulsurroundings. There are 17 tastefully designedrooms dotted around the tropical gardens on this nine hectare estate. The main lodge features a spacious lounge, grand dining room,shady courtyard and wine cellar, as well as aswimming pool. There are various courtyards and lounges in which to relax, and gentle walks to explore the estate. Overall, Laird's Lodgeblends comfortable accommodation with arelaxed ambience. Laird's Lodge, Plettenberg Bay