The Garden Route is a very distinct place in South Africa, green and so vibrant with its wealth in Biodiversity. It hosts over 300 species of birds and about 85 mammal species. The Garden Route stretch is 300km long, from far west at Mossel Bay in Western Cape to Storms River in the Eastern Cape. It is the gemstone of South Africa, with beautiful landscapes, Mountain passes, ever Green Forests, beautiful beaches decorating the whole stretch of the Garden Route. It is quite a marvellous experience for many travellers exploring through the Garden Route especially for Free Independent Travellers (FIT)s. The Garden Route hosts a number of guests coming from different parts of the world every year.
The top ten International visitors for South Africa as stated by the Southern and East African Tourism Update website are; United States, United Kingdom, Germany, France, India, Australia, China, Netherlands, Brazil, and Canada respectively. Among these top International visitors three off them recorded an increase in visits to South Africa in May 2018 as compared to May 2017 that is, Brazil (9% increase), France (6% increase) and China (5% increase). The rest of the countries have suffered a decrease in entrance numbers this May as compared to last year’s May. The drop in numbers is still a mystery to many. All these international travellers are the key not only to the country’s economy but as well as to many conservation efforts across the country. Wildlife Tourism being the most popular for many international travellers, indirectly promotes conservation of our natural resources. It also influences a change of mind for many travellers who pass through the Garden Route, to adopt a sense of respect for nature after experiencing a full testimony of how beautiful the world can be, if nurtured. Most of those passing through ending up as involuntary sponsors of conservation efforts not only in the Garden Route but across the world as well. The urban world takes away the eco-consciousness of many as they are spawn from a world surrounded by concrete, steel, glass, processed wood and fake plants. It only takes a visit to a place of natural beauty, a place of tranquillity and a place of recollection, that we find ourselves one with nature. The Garden Route for example, is vibrant with evergreen forests, birdlife, insects, animals and the air fully oxygenated. It is quite an awe of existence, and yet many miss it on their visit to South Africa. They fly in to Cape Town, spend a day or two there, then fly out to Mpumalanga to see the Kruger National Park or Sun City and then leave afterwards with the impression they experienced a full South African safari. Yet part of the best places in South Africa would have been missed out by nature lovers and people looking for a big break from Cityscapes. Only part of the FITs get to discover the best less targeted places in the country and most of them leave pleasant inspiring reviews on social media. They will attest to the brilliance of the Garden Route and its conservation based activities alongside its thriving biodiversity.
We have been blessed in South Africa with many Travel Journalists passing through and sharing their experiences of nice places in South Africa. One of note is André Araújo who is a passionate Tourism Consultant and a Travel Journalist based in Brazil. He travels around the world exploring less publicised intriguing places and writing about them online. He shares his stories on various social platforms to inspire the appreciation of lesser known places harbouring great experiences for travellers. He is of Brazilian origin and shares his travel stories in Portuguese, which is the main language spoken in Brazil. He decorates his travel stories with tangible media like pictures to give a glimpse of the places he visited and experienced. He has shared a number of articles since his recent visit with his step father Gilson Tavares around early May. This we believe has had an impact in the increase of the Brazilian presence in South Africa. Even the Garden Route has been recording a rise in FIT Brazilian travellers of recent late. Below is an extract from one of his articles about Tenikwa;
“Located in the rural region of the Crags, the Tenikwa is a wildlife rehabilitation and awareness centre aim to raise awareness about the preservation of several species, mainly felines. The main focus of Tenikwa is the rehabilitation and reintroduction of these animals to nature, in some cases when there is no chance of rehabilitating them back into the wild, they remain under Tenikwa’s care. They also have a animal hospital on site (not open to the public) where they heal injured wild life. They rehabilitate about 200 wild animals each year”
Translated from the original Portuguese extract below;
“Localizado na região rural The Crags, o Tenikwa é um centro reabilitação de animais selvagens e também conscientização, pois através de tours guiados visa conscientizar a respeito da preservação de diversas espécies, principalmente felinos. O principal foco do Tenikwa é a reabilitação e a reintrodução desses animais a natureza, em alguns casos quando não há condições de serem devolvidos a vida selvagem, eles permanecem sendo cuidados no Tenikwa, que também possui um mini hospital (não aberto ao público) dedicado aos animais sendo atendidos mais de 200 animais anualmente.”
On this particular article titled “4 PASSEIOS PARA CURTIR NA ÁFRICA DO SUL” translated; “ 4 SHORT RIDES IN SOUTH AFRICA” he wrote about 4 activity places he enjoyed in the Garden Route namely; Tenikwa Wildlife Rehabilitation and Awareness Centre, Two Oceans Aquarium, Horse Trails at Hog Hollow, and Birds of Eden. He also composed an alphabetical A to Z tips for a South African experience article. Each alphabetical letter featuring activity places, food and/or accommodation places he recommends from his own experience. He also composed another one on 4 unusual and spectacular themed tours in South Africa. One other article about the Garden Route was shared on a Travel English website called the ‘Out of Your Comfort Zone’ and the article is all in English.
Here below are the links of his adventurous experiences in South Africa;