Tag Archives: hartenbos

Driving over the Outeniqua Pass outside George (2018-06-28) Photo Gallery | Travel Attractions 26 SEP 2018

Whilst in Mossel Bay with the girls and my folks for a bit of the June school holidays this year, we were rather hoping to catch a ride on the Outeniqua Power Van – a 2.5 hour return trip aboard an old Transnet railcar up into the Outeniqua mountains via the historic Montagu Pass. Of course, my severe aversion to planning, let alone making reservations of any sort, resulted in us not getting a spot – though it did facilitate a madcap race through to George just in case some seats were left open on the morning!

There were none. So instead, we camped outside the George Botanical Gardens in order  to take a photo of the Power Van as it powered on by, following which we immediately hopped back into dad’s car for an impromptu drive over the famous Outeniqua Pass, the mounain pass that was built to replace the Montagu Pass as the primary route connecting George and the Garden Route coastal plain with Oudtshoorn and the Little Karoo.

Built over a period between 1943 and 1951 (and undergoing more than a few upgrades along the way), the stunning Outeniqua Pass contains over 40 bend, corners and curves, and along the way you are able to spot four other passes in the area, not to mention gain an aerial view of George and the sea down in the distance.

As it turned out on the day, the weather was perfect for the drive (due to the elevation, the pass is often subject to mist and rainfall – and the occasional truck breakdown), and we were even lucky enough to hear and watch the Power Van chug along the Montagu Pass on the opposite side of the valley from one of the lookout points that we were stopped at!

After driving over the pass, turning around and then driving back over it (the best views – and lookout points – are in the Oudtshoorn to George direction), we next headed down into rural George, for a coffee, cake and ice cream with strawberries stop for the kids at Redberry Farm – a firm favourite family hangout for both tourists and locals alike.

And yes, of course the girls went for a spin on the mini train while we were there.

From there dad randomly selected a dirt road to follow, and eventually we ended up back home. Exactly how a day out and about driving should be enjoyed.

Related Link: Outeniqua Pass | Outeniqua Power Van

A Visit to Hartenbos via the Diaz Express from Santos Beach, Mossel Bay (2017-01-02) Photo Gallery | Travel Attractions 06 AUG 2017

At the start of this year, while away for a bit of a break in Gouritz, I took a drive out to Mossel Bay in order to treat the girls with a ride aboard the cute, tourist friendly Diaz Express.

In a nutshell, the Diaz Express is a fun rail experience that takes a resurrected Type 40 Mark II Wickham Inspection Trolley and then sends it along for a run on the existing Garden Route Transnet rail network, between the seaside resorts of Great Brak River and Mossel Bay.

During peak holiday season, the Diaz Express runs the shorter hop from Mossel Bay to Hartenbos, and this then was the one that the girls and I caught a ride on.

The day that we headed out was unfortunately a bit of an overcast, drizzly affair, though that said, the slightly gloomy weather was nowhere near strong enough to dampen the excitement of the girls when they first laid eyes on the cute little blue ‘train’ sitting next to its station deck outside the venerable Santos Express train lodge above Santos Beach.

The short ride was a blast (the girls LOVED it), and once deposited at the Hartenbos train station, the girls and I then strolled down to the main entertainment hub of this iconic Afrikaaner seaside holiday escape, where we mingled with the crowd, taking in the sights and sounds of a LOT of people who, despite the weather, were clearly enjoying their December break!

Unfortunately for us, the weather was just a little too gloomy to allow for some play time down on the beach, so instead we found ourselves wandering around a bit more, snacking on treats here and there, and of course, watching everyone else, seeming impervious to the weather, having a holiday ball.

(Seriously, there was parasailing of all things on the go!)

Finally, we stumbled across a funfair ride that the girls simply wouldn’t let me pass (I tried), and most importantly, one that I would let both of them ride. In other words, the highlight of the day’s outing then.

Watching the clock, we made our way back to the Hartenbos platform, just in time to catch our ride back aboard the Diaz Express. (This time around, the journey was slightly wetter but a little more noisy – thanks to our friendly conductor having a great time entertaining all the kids by pressing the hooter every time someone’s nose got touched!)

All in all, a fun outing that I’ll definitely be doing again with the girls (and probably grandparents) I imagine.

Bonus: While grabbing some links for this post, I came across this nice little video detailing the longer and much nicer Mossel Bay to Great Brak excursion, courtesy of local South African travel writer “Travelbug” Rose Bilbrough.

Looks fantastic!

Related Link: Diaz Express | Hartenbos | Mossel Bay