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at Mos­sel Bay, then cruis­ing through Ge­orge, Vic­to­ria Bay, Wilder­ness, Sedge­field, Knysna, Plettenber­g Bay, Na­tures Val­ley, and Tsit­sikamma For­est to the Storms River Mouth. It’s good to be back.

This has long been a pre­ferred hol­i­day spot for Capeto­ni­ans but in­ter­na­tional tourists now come to en­joy one of the world’s most spec­tac­u­lar drives.

Our el­e­gant, lux­ury sa­fari tent over­look­ing the Mo­ord­kuil River at Botlier­skop Pri­vate Game Re­serve near Mos­sel Bay is a far cry from a mattress in a Kombi.

Raised wooden walk­ways con­nect tents to the main lodge with its open wooden deck of­fer­ing panoramic vis­tas. This malaria-free game re­serve is one of many that have sprouted in the East­ern Cape dur­ing the past 20 years.

Botlier­skop of­fers four of the Big Five and we are for­tu­nate to see rhino on our game drive, en­joy a cham­pagne pic­nic with the ele­phants, take a horse­back sa­fari and hear the elu­sive Knysna lo­erie bird nest­ing in the tree above our tent.

Back on the road, we pass through the Gar­den Route’s main ad­min­is­tra­tive cen­tre, Ge­orge, and head east, mak­ing a quick stop for old time’s sake at Vic­to­ria Bay. Vic Bay, as lo­cals call it, is pop­u­lar with surfers for its right hand reef-like wave which rolls over small boul­ders for about 200m. The sea is lively to­day, break­ing only about 12m from the lit­tle row of Vic Bay cot­tages. We’re not un­happy that we’re headed for the calmer climes of Knysna La­goon.

The lovely Kaaimans River Gorge is on our right as we wind up the Kaaimans Pass to­wards what we know will be a mag­nif­i­cent view of Wilder­ness at Dol­phins Point. The Touw and Kaaimans rivers empty into the ocean along Wilder­ness beach which is re­vealed as we crest the hill. There are still daisies (rock hyraxes) beg­ging for food at the look­out, but it’s all eyes on the view.

Wilder­ness has the sea to its front and a placid la­goon, the Ser­pen­tine, to its back. The Ser­pen­tine winds be­tween the Touw River, Is­land Lake and Ron­de­vlei and is a choice spot for wa­ter­ski­ing, not to men­tion hik­ing, bird­watch­ing, angling and horse rid­ing.

Th­ese lakes and la­goons form part of the Wilder­nessSedge­field Lakes com­plex within the Wilder­ness Na­tional Park and Goukamma Na­ture Re­serve. They are South Africa’s only warm-tem­per­ate coastal lakes with a ma­rine

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