Nan and Walt's 1999 - 2000 Sabbatical
Report #9 - Part IV, March 23, 2000
The Garden Route

This page contains a little information about the places we've visited on the Garden Route since the last report. I've arranged them alphabeticall for lack of a better structure.



We visited Knysna after an appointment with the hearing aid people in Plettenberg Bay, about 3 1/2 hours west of Grahamstown. Knysna is built around a lagoon. We did a boat trip around the lagoon to the "heads" at the mouth of the entrance to the sea. As you can see, it is pretty rough going!

The boat we took is owned by William B. Smith whose parents founded the Icthiology department at Rhodes. We recognized Mr. Smith from a couple of TV shows: on one he handles the math portion of a game show, on another he teaches physics. Walt told him he had a bone to pick about his presentation style in the latter. Unfortunately, we haven't seen the show since to see if he's corrected his ways! :-)

William B. Smith owns the entire peninsula at the right (facing sea) of the heads and has turned it into a private nature preserve. This is quite a holding in an area where houses start a two million rand! Apparently his father bought it for research when the area was not quite so popular.

Mossels Bay

According to some descriptions, Mossels Bay is the western most stop on the Garden Route. We stayed in a hotel there that was right on the beach and not far from the town's museums. The tree above was used to post letters (in a boot hanging from it!) as far back as the 15th century. Yes, that's all one tree!


On the left is a modern day post box shaped like a boot, commemorating the tree. On the right is a model of Vasco DaGama's boat that he used when finding a sea root to India.

We stopped back in Mossels Bay on the way back from Cape Town to see the replica of Da Gama's boat that actually followed his voyage from Portugal to Mossels Bay on the 500 year anniversary of his voyage (1488).


Swellandam is located about halfway from Mossels Bay to Cape Town. It considers itself to be the start of the Garden Route. We thought this would be a good time to take a break on our trip, especially when reading about it in the tour book solved a mystery for us. Many towns we have visited, including Grahamstown, have a building called the "Drostdy". We never understood what the name meant. Well, Swellendam has a Drostdy Museum. It turns out that a drostdy is the home and office of a landdrost, kind of a regional governor in the times of the Settlers, in the early 1800's.


Besides the Drotsdy and an old gaol, there is a small open air museum on site. The surroundings are magnificent!



Our final stay along the Garden Route was in Wilderness. I'd spotted a Holiday Inn there that is right above the sea. The left photo shows our path to the beach and the right, the hotel on top of the sand dune!


We had a picnic supper on the beach and a nice walk the following morning. In the morning we shared the beach with lots of others, walking, fishing and hunting for mussels.

I'm not sure what these children were trying to catch!

Go back to Part I - Report #9
Go on to Part V - Cape Town and Vicinity

Back toNan Schaller's and Walt Bankes' Sabbatical Page


Nan C. Schaller
Rochester Institute of Technology
Computer Science Department
102 Lomb Memorial Dr.
Rochester, NY 14623-5608
telephone: +1.585.475.2139
fax: +1.585.475.7100

27 March 2000