The Austin Healey Garden Route Tour 2022, covers the period 30th April to 6th May 2022. It includes the Garden Route Motor Club Car Show and ends in time for those wishing to attend the Simola Historic Car Hill Climb on Friday 6th May. Although the Hill Climb is not part of the Tour, assistance can be provided on request.
The Garden Route
The Garden Route stretches along the Southern coast of South Africa from Mossel Bay to Storms River, a distance of 250 Kms, and is approximately 30 Kms wide. The Outeniqua Mountains to the North and the Indian Ocean on the South, form natural boundaries. Knysna is roughly in the center, however the village of Wilderness has been chosen because of its closer proximity to the two road passes that traverse the Outeniqua Mountains.
The National Austin Healey Tour of 2020 was planned to be in the Garden Route by Lionel Hewitt, but had to be cancelled because to the Covid-19 pandemic. We are recreating the original tour with a slightly longer period and a number of additions.
As the tour will be at the Wilderness, we have secured accommodation at the Wilderness Hotel for the first four nights. The venue offers superb accommodation and is about a five-minute walk to the beach. The last four nights will be at the Dunes Hotel in Keurbooms Strand
COST of the TOUR
The estimated TOTAL COST is R19 000.00 per couple sharing (US$ 1360.00) or R11 500.00 per single person (US$ 830.00) at present exchange rate. This covers accommodation for eight (8) nights at Wilderness Resort and Spa Hotel and the Dunes Hotel and Resort on Keurbooms Strand and all meals included. Terms and conditions, applicable to the provision of meals are as follows:
Breakfast is served at Wilderness Hotel and the Dunes Hotel and is included in cost of the tour.
Light lunches, lunch picnics and Dinners are included in the cost of the tour.
If you are unable to participate in the entire tour, or you are on your own, a “personalised total cost” will be generated on your request.
The schedule below lists meals in the fee and meals payable for your own account.
All participants must submit an Entry Form ON THE WEBSITE to secure their accommodation and participation to Austin Healey Tour 2022.
For those participants not requiring accommodation an Entry Form must still be submitted, so that a Reference Number can be allocated, which will be used in all future correspondence concerning the Tour.
Payment only becomes due as per schedule below.
First deposit - R10 00.00 on the 31st October 2021
Second deposit – R6 000.00 on the 28th January 2022
Final payment 01/03/2022 [amount will be advised]
First deposit – R 5000 on the 31st October 2021
Second deposit – R 4000 on the 28th January 2022
Final Payment – 01/03/2022 [amount will be advised]
No payment is required before first deposit date. Bank details will be communicated in due course.
Day 1 Arrival - Thursday 28th April 2022
Check in time at the Wilderness Hotel is from 15.00 on the 28th April 2022
The Tour Programme including maps and navigators instruction will be e-mailed to all the participants at the beginning of April 2022 and will be put on this website. Participants are required to print their own copies and have them available on the tour.
The tour commences with a welcome address and “happy hour”. For Happy Hour each person will be given a ticket for one drink of your choosing. Dinner includes four bottles of wine per table of eight. [All included in Tour cost]
Day 2 DRIVE to SWARTBERG MANOR - Friday 29th April 2022
Drive to Swartberg Manor, which is 117 kilometres one-way. We proceed in a Northerly direction over Outeniqua pass, cross the Small Karoo, and end at the base of the Swartberg Mountains where we enjoy lunch at Swartberg Country Manor. [A cool drink or tea/coffee plus light lunch included in Tour cost].
Petrol stations are available along the way.
Oudtshoorn is known as the land of ostriches. On the way back to the Wilderness, you will pass through Oudtshoorn along Langenhoven Road. If you want to buy your spouse or partner a gift, you can stop at 133 Langenhoven road to buy ostrich leather goods (on the opposite side of the road). The locals have recommended this shop as the best location for ostrich leather goods.
Return to Wilderness hotel.“Happy hour“[Own account], followed by dinner at a local restaurant. [Tour account].
Day 3 SCENIC CIRCULAR DRIVE - Saturday 30th April 2022
The scenic circular drive of a total 240 kilometers. Make sure that you have filled your petrol tank. Proceed in a Westerly direction through undulating pasturable country. Cross the Grootbrak river bridge and at the traffic circle turn right to re-join the N2 to Cape Town / Mossel bay.
Exit at the Mossel Bay sign and make your way via Church Street to the Museum. A presentation will be made at the Granary Hall by archaeologist Dr Peter Nilisen who made an interesting discovery in 1997. After the presentation retrace your steps to the R102 and proceed to the N2. After about 3 Kms exit the N2 at Hartenbos, veer north and follow the R328 to Oudtshoorn to Eight Bells Country Inn for a Light Lunch with tea or coffee [Tour account]
After the light lunch for those that wish, a tortuous 10kms climb, brings us to the summit of Robinson pass. Make your way back to the hotel via the R328 and the N2. “Happy hour” [Own account] followed by a dinner at the Hotel for a traditional braai [Tour account].L
Day 4 KNYSNA Motor Show - Sunday 1st May 2022
The Knysna Motor Show is 40 kilometers one-way. Arrive at Show at 08h30 where we will be allocated our own area for the day. Snacks and liquid refreshment will be provided at lunchtime. We depart from the show at 16h00.
Should the Knysna Motor Show not proceed because of sponsorship and Covid restrictions then the organisors will schedule another event.
The day is brought to an end at 18h00 with “happy hour”, [Own account] followed by a dinner at Salinas Restaurant. Wine will be provided of four bottles of wine per table of eight persons. [Tour account] You will drive to restaurant parking which is not more than 1 kilometer away. After dinner, drive back to the hotel at your convenience.
Day 5 - Spitzkop & Knysna Forrest Monday 2nd May 2022
After breakfast, pack your car and checkout from the hotel. Proceed to Knysna and turn off at the Simola turnoff. Proceed to Simola Hill Climb where you will park your cars. A guard will be provided to guard the cars and your possessions.
A bus will take you on a scenic drive through the Knysna forests on the start of Prince Alfred’s pass. We will pass Diepwalle and the bus will stop at the entrance to walk to Spitzkop. The Spitzkop viewpoint is the highest point above Knysna. The walk is 1.4 kilometres to the top.
You will find one of the best panoramic views of the town and outlying areas. Some have described it as the best view in the country.
After visiting Spitzkop, we will walk 350 meters up the pass to Dar van Varings (The valley of the Ferns) for a late picnic lunch. (Busses are available to take you up).
After the picnic lunch, we drive down the pass to Diepwalle (Deepwalls) forestry station. Inside the museum, there is a skeleton of the original Knysna elephant.
The busses will leave Diepwalle and get you to your cars at Simola Hill Climb. From there we drive on the N2 through Knysna, bypass Plettenberg Bay to Keurbooms Strand, and check-in to the Dunes hotel.
The day is brought to an end at 18h00 with “happy hour”, [Own account] followed by a dinner at the hotel [Tour account].
Day 6 - Keurbooms Cruise and Robberg Sundowner Tuesday 3rd May 2022
After breakfast at 09h 00, we drive to Ferry jetty. We drive from the hotel back to the N2 highway and proceed to Plettenberg Bay for 1.8 kilometers from the hotel. Just before the Keurbooms River Bridge, we will turn right at the “Ferries “sign. [Entrance Fee and Ferry cost will be at the Tour Account].We will board the ferries and go up the river to “Whisky Creek beach”. On the way, we begin to snake our way up the Keurbooms gorge that is thousands of year old lined with ancient indigenous forest that is housed in the Keurbooms nature reserve, which is home to over fifty bird species, like the sought after Half Coloured King Fishers and Knysna Loeries. We land on the beach where you can relax and paddle or swim in the River. [Bar is available at Own account]
There are toilet facilities at our stop.
After visiting the reaches of the Keurbooms River we will sail down the River to ferry jetty. We will then drive back to the hotel to freshen up and have a light lunch [Tour account]. The afternoon is free at the hotel or explore Plettenberg Bay. At 16h 00, we then drive to the Robberg Nature reserve via the N2 to Plettenberg Bay and pass the first and second turnoff to the third turnoff at Piesang Valley. Go down the pass and cross the Piesang River Bridge with shops on your right hand side until you come to end of the shops (Dromedaries is a well-signed shop) at Robberg Road. The sign says Airport Robberg. Head up to Robberg and enter the Cape Nature parking area. [Entrance fee – Tour account]
We will enjoy a sundowner drink [Own account] and enjoy the view. There are walks to from the parking area and Nelson cave if anyone is interested.
We will then leave Robberg and go to the Dunes Hotel where a bus at 18h30 will pick us up to a local restaurant in Plettenberg Bay for dinner [Tour account]. Bar service will be available [Own account].
After dinner, busses take us back to the hotel.
Day 7 The CRAGS - Wednesday 4th May 2022
After breakfast we leave at 09h 30, proceed along the N2 to the Crags. You will pass The Crags and there will a sign for an Engen Garage on you right. Turn right and make your way to the Animal Alley. At this point, the Tour has organised a visit to Monkey Land and Birds of Eden, which will take approximately 120 minutes [Tour account].
The Monkey Land and Birds of Eden tour.
At Monkey Land which is a free-roaming multi-specie primate sanctuary. The guests will view the 450 primates in the forest home. There is 128 meter suspended canopy walk. The tour will last an hour and you will move on to the Birds of Eden alongside Monkey Land.
Birds of Eden which is alongside Monkey Land is the largest single dome free-flight bird sanctuary 50 meters high covering 23 000 square meters of forest. There more than 3500 specimens of more than 280 species with the main focus being African birds. multi-specie primate sanctuary. The guests will view the 450 primates in the forest home. There is 128 meter suspended canopy walk. The tour will last an hour and you will move on to the Birds of Eden alongside Monkey Land.
Elephant Sanctuary Tour Optional
The tour will take 60 minutes with 20 guests at a time. [Own cost R550.00 per person]
The Knysna Elephants are the hallmark of the Garden Route and situated at the Knysna Forest to Hakerville. There have been a few sightings of the elephants in the forests because they are very shy. Parcipants are guided on foot through The Elephant Sanctuary. Guides will provide in-depth information and insight into African elephants. You will be introduced to the elephants in the forest area, and here you will be able to touch and interact with the elephants. You will see the special relationship that the elephant handlers share with their elephants and become a part of it. You will be able to walk with the elephants with trunk in hand. This tour will last one hour.
After the visit to the Monkey land and Birds of Eden or the optional Elephant sanctuary, we return to the N2, go back to The Crags, and turn off to the Newstead Wine farm. There is approximately 300 meters to sand road. A light lunch will be served [Tour account]. Wine tasting and purchase will be available [Own account].
After the lunch, the rest of the afternoon will be free for exploring the Crags or Plettenbergbay.
The rest of the day is brought to an end at 18h00 with “Happy Hour”, [Own account] followed by a dinner at a local restaurant. [Tour account]. After dinner we make our way back to the Dunes Hotel and Resort.
Day 8 - Natures Valley and Groot & Bloukrans Passes Thursday 5th May 2022
We leave at 09h00 in the morning for a trip of 75 Kilometers in total for this excursion. We proceed along N2 to the Crags. Turn off the N2 to [R102] and continue through Groot Rivier Pass. Turn off the R102 at the N2 highway [Tollgate - Own account].
Proceed on the N2 highway slowly enjoying the scenery until we turn off to Storms River Villiage and go to the Tsitsikamma Villiage inn for a light lunch with tea or coffee at the de Oude Martha Restaurant [Tour account].
Bloukrans River Bridges Old & New
After the light lunch, we head back to the N2 and drive all the way on the N2 going over the new Bloukrans and the Toll Plaza [Own account] and the Grootrivier Bridges to until you reach Keurbooms Strand.
Afternoon free for shopping or enjoying the pleasures of the Garden Route. “Happy Hour” and Farewell Dinner at the Dunes Hotel Restaurant. For Happy Hour, each person will be given a ticket for one drink of your choosing. Dinner includes four bottles of wine per table of eight. [All included in Tour account].
Day - Time to say Goodbye Friday 6th May 2022
After breakfast, it is time to say goodbye with members departing for home. Those wishing to attend the Hill Climb for Classic cars, proceed to Simola along N2 to Knysna. The Friday is Classic Car Day with over sixty Classic Cars going up the hill. Saturday and Sunday is King of the Mountain for modern cars including some Formula 1 cars.