Well now travelling on the garden route is something that I’ve done about as much of as a person can. It’s an unusual place, beautiful in a way that few places are. Years ago I cycled the old seven passes road, took a heavy old clunker bicycle up the montague pass and found the Herold guest house owned by a man named Michelle. A frenchman. Beautiful quiet place full of hand made really exquisite furniture. Wasn’t a television in sight. Wonder if they’re still there? Ended up in oudtshoorn on that trip with a buckled wheel and in those days I was so green to cycling that I didn’t even have a spoke spanner to fix it myself and oh yes I remember now the shop said they had no stock of those spokes. Waited three days.
More recently I cycled from Port Elizabeth up into the Baviaans reserve to spend a night in a favourite spot. There are two brilliant places to eat in that neck of the woods. (Food becomes important if you ride bicycles really far) The one is on the other side of the mountains in a tiny town called Steytlerville and the other is in Patensie. I’m not quite sure but I think they might actually both be called the Royal Hotel. Hmmn.
Further along the coast in the direction of Cape town we find the garden route though and that’s where the fun starts. If you have time and money, or even if you don’t, the place is a pleasure paradise. Rich living coastline and Protected natural forest areas surround towns with the most diverse culture to be found in Africa. Cuisine and customs from all over the world meld together in a cultural stew that is unique to the garden route.
It wasn’t always like this, in the days of the timber industry I’ll take a fair bet that vetkoek and mince was about as close to fine dining as Knysna and the surrounding garden route got in the old days. (Vetkoek is a kind of fried bread dough. Not unlike a doughnut but coarser and meant for savoury rather than sweet.)
Since the advent of international tourism however the tummy fares rather better on the garden route. Cuisine has gripped the people of Knysna in particular like a fever. I spend a few weeks on the Garden Route at least once a year and I have a few observations to make. Big business is moving in and many of the interesting developements in the fine art of food are feeling a lttle left out in the throes of this developement. That’s what this blog is all about. I want to tell everybody about all the fantastic places that are in danger of being drowned out amidst all the noise and bustle of a modern and rapidly developing community.
I say let’s make a fuss. Let’s tell the story of the garden route and all it’s wonderful foodies.