Hiking along the Garden Route coastline on the southern shores of Africa

in TravelFeed6 months ago

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Greetings fellow travelers of our beautiful planet. Today I want to share with you some more views of my hike along the southernmost shoreline of Africa. This is one of the more remote parts of the planet, and it appears so particularly when I so seldom see any other people anywhere on this shoreline.

The remote and rugged south coast of Africa - where you can get in touch with nature at its freshest
The remote and rugged south coast of Africa - where you can get in touch with nature at its freshest

Even is the peak holiday tourist season now in mid summer, I might only see a handful of tourists, some from neighboring provinces up north and some from overseas. Mostly the place remains deserted and I feel like the only human to experience this far flung shore of the continent. This shoreline is simply not on the main tourist route. Nor does it even have a decent road of approach. At most there is a pot-holed dirt road that prevents most city cars from accessing these cliffs.

Epic coastal cliffs with no paths or people in sight
Epic coastal cliffs with no paths or people in sight

Nevertheless, I am able to make my way to these cliffs whenever I like and climb about at my leisure. What a pleasure to find this treasure. And it brings me joy to be able to share it with you. Not everyone has the good fortune of having this kind of environment to live in. However, if so then we should then make a plan to take a holiday occasionally, where we can visit such places as this inspiring tourist hotspot on the Cape coast of Africa, way down south.

A single fern tenaciously grows from a crack in the rock at the shoreline
A single fern tenaciously grows from a crack in the rock at the shoreline

I love the rich earthy colors of the rocky landscape, with their burnt ochre that brightens up the rock and boulders. It turns out that it’s not just mineral content but also lichen growing on the surface of the rocks that give them their impressive color. In some places the rock surface is so mottled and splattered with contrasting shades that it looks like an abstract artwork by some modern artist.

Curious color combinations of black and white add to the ochre pigmentation from lichen
Curious color combinations of black and white add to the ochre pigmentation from lichen

However, it is nature who is the artist, and the lichen simply grow all over the rock to differing degrees based on the micro-climates in each little bay along the coast. It’s generally quite damp from the sea’s influence and the mist, so the lichen find the place very accommodating. Their colors can range from orange or ochre to black.

Notice the waterfall in the center of the picture
Notice the waterfall in the center of the picture

You can see the waterfall in the background behind this tree stump of you look carefully. There was a fire that raged through here in 2017 and most of the plant life was burnt. Some dead tree stumps still remain. However, the indigenous floral species have bounced back and now all that reminds one of that devastating fire are these occasional blackened tree stumps enveloped by fresh green growth.

Waterfall in the heavenly garden - paradise on earth
Waterfall in the heavenly garden - paradise on earth

This particular stretch of coastline is found in the region of the south coast known as the Garden Route, and for good reason. It is lush and filled with forest and abundant natural surroundings that are fed by ample rainfall most of the time. Odd rare droughts do occur, though nowhere as much as inland just over the local mountain range, where we have desert conditions.

Burnt remains of a previous fire along with new life shows the stark polarities of nature
Burnt remains of a previous fire along with new life shows the stark polarities of nature 

The particular stretch of coastline that I frequent on my hikes lies between the towns of Knysna and Plettenberg Bay, which is a rugged and rocky stretch of coast consisting of high cliffs and rocky beaches that are impossible to reach by boat. One in the towns though, there are accessible beaches or a nice lagoon mouth in either town for sailing vessels. And both towns are situated on the main coastal highway that runs along the African south coast. So it’s easy to get here though harder to leave.

A neatly carved and well maintained footpath for hikers, thanks to the Nature Conservation Department who protect this coastal corridor
A neatly carved and well maintained footpath for hikers, thanks to the Nature Conservation Department who protect this coastal corridor

Once you discover the beauty of the region and the hospitable climate, you might be happy to stay all through the year. You might compare it to the Mediterranean climate of southern Europe, since it also has winter rain, no snow and sunny beaches. Actually the climate here is known officially as the Mediterranean climate due to being at the same 34 degrees latitude – only south and not north of the equator.

Come and explore this rocky shore, a wonderland awaits you
Come and explore this rocky shore, a wonderland awaits you

If you want to avoid the European winters then this is the pace to come right now, and you can bask in the summer sunshine on the shores of the Indian ocean. It truly is a healthy and life-affirming environment. Numerous international travelers have migrated here only to stay and become reluctant to leave, making this their permanent residence. Who wouldn’t want to spend the best part of their lives at the beach? I was born at the coast so have been unable to leave it all my life. And of all the coastline along Africa’s southern shores, this particular stretch called the Garden Route is the finest I have seen. Therefore I recommend it to whomever can find their way here. Paradise awaits you.

(photos my own)


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