South Africa – a High Time in the Overberg

The word Overberg is Africaans for “over the mountains.” It is an appropriate name for this remote but stunningly beautiful part of South Africa. It is near the southern tip of the country, separated from the Cape region by the Hottentots Holland Mountains. The Overberg is almost as wild today as it was when the first European settlers saw it in the 17th century.

A Land of Contrasts

Any visitor to South Africa who plans on taking a trip along the famous Garden Route should be sure to add the Overberg to the list of “must see” places. This land of immense contrasts offers wild coastline with pounding surf, beautiful beaches that you will have all to yourself, and breathtaking mountains of fractured granite. Towns are few and far between, and separating them are windswept plains, vast expanses of wheat fields, and gentle sheep pastures.

Unspoiled Beaches

This isolated part of South Africa has miles of unspoiled beaches and dunes. At present, there is no road that runs parallel to the coast, so visitors must divert inland to drive from one point on the shore to another. However, the coastal part of the Overberg is a great challenge for people who like to hike rugged trails.

Whale Watching

The Overberg town of Hermanus is one of the best places in South Africa for land based whale watching. Southern Right whales pass by here during their annual migration between June and November. One of the country’s most popular tours is the Whale Trail, a five day hike that takes you through the De Hoop Nature Reserve. You will have plenty of photo opportunities as you trek through the raw, rugged beauty of the continent’s southernmost coast. People who enjoy the Whale Trail will no doubt also want to take the Garden Route’s Otter Trail.

Picturesque Towns

The upper part of the Overberg lies north of the N2 Highway. It somewhat resembles South Africa’s Wineland region. Here you will find 18th and 19th century towns and villages tucked away in the sheltered lee of craggy mountains. South Africans and foreign visitors alike come here just to savour the peace and quiet. Beautiful hiking trails take you from peaceful apple orchards up into mountains with dramatic vistas. During holiday periods, main centres like Hermanus can become crowded, so you might like to move on to such picturesque communities as Stanford, Swellendam, and Greyton. There you will find lovely inns, and all of these Overberg towns are of historical interest.

Fantastic Clarence Drive

One of the best routes in South Africa is R44, also known as Clarence Drive. This magnificent coastal drive runs between Hermanus and Gordon’s Bay. If you have the time, follow some of the dirt roads that lead down to the sea from the highway. The views of the surf are fantastic. In some places footpaths lead right to the water, but it is best not to get too close. The waves can get very big, and under the right conditions freak waves have been known to sweep people away. This route will take you to such pretty spots as Rooiels and Pringle Bay, typical quiet communities of the Overberg.

Author Bio: Rachel Hill is a Southern Africa Travel specialist, a company specialising in luxury, tailor-made South Africa holidays, as well as holidays to other destinations in Southern Africa. Our experienced consultants will help you design your very own luxury holiday, and will be happy to provide you with a free quote.

Category: Travel
Keywords: South Africa

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