5 cool things to do on your Garden Route holiday
1. Climb on a Segway in Storms River village
The latest craze in the little village of Storms River in the Tsitsikamma is a Segway tour of the town or even into the nearby forest. Segways are those nifty two-wheeler devices originally invented to make it easier for us to get around. The tours are offered at the Tsitsikamma Backpackers, where you will first be given a 20-minute lesson before setting off. It's really easy: lean forward and the Segway moves forward, lean back and it will reverse. It's really intuitive once you get the hang of it. You can pick from a one-hour tour of the village or a two-hour ride into the forest with a stop at an 800-year-old yellowwood big tree. Pre-booking is essential.
2. Eat in an all-American diner
Elvis Presley and Marilyn Monroe (aka Norma Jean Mortenson) are alive and well and living in Storms River! Well, not really, but here on Darnell Street you'll find the Marilyn's 60s Diner, which also sometimes plays host to the Elvis Festival Africa. The menu features American classics like hamburgers, steaks, shakes and apple pie. But the real star of the show is the decor. Expect chequered floor tiles, sugar shakers on the tables and walls covered in posters featuring these two screen icons. There's also a real jukebox that plays tunes from the 1950s and 1960s, and a funky seat in the form of a sawn-off Oldsmobile at the entrance.
3. Sleep on a train next to the beach
At the Santos Express in Mossel Bay you can sleep on a train right next to the beach. Some of the carriages are backpacker dorms, while there are also some private suites located in beautiful wood-panelled, vintage 1920 coaches, originally purchased from Rovos Rail. These luxury suites have their own private decks looking out on to Santos Beach, which is just a hop and a skip away.
4. Go whale watching in Plett
Plettenberg Bay is a popular spot for dolphin- and whale-watching boat trips. Ocean Blue Adventures at Central Beach has a close-encounter licence, which means it is allowed to approach whales within 50m. Aside from several species of whales, you might also see dolphins, penguins and the inevitable seals of Robberg Peninsula. Robberg (which means 'seal mountain') takes its name from the Cape fur seal that has a colony on its rocky shore. The trip also ends with a bit of a bump as the boat beaches directly on to the sand.
5. Dangle on the end of a very long rope
A prime tourist attraction on this stretch of coastline is the bungee jump at Bloukrans Bridge. This adventure, run by Face Adrenalin, is billed as the highest commercial bridge bungee jump in the world, but it's only when you watch the jumpers from the view site that you get a real feel for exactly how far this drop is (216m to be exact). Certainly not for the faint-hearted.