Before my mid-day flight I took a long run along the beach that climaxed with a swim in the Indian Ocean—Why not, right? I’m starting to feel much more comfortable traveling alone in South Africa—it’s not as if locals stop to cheer me on or give me water, but no one has bothered me either, and no bystander has ever yelled “Run Forest! Run!” like I constantly get in the US.
Unless you are a serious golfer, the Garden Route is not normally a first-trip stop in South Africa—most tourists visit it on their second. But I was happy to be there: it’s cooler, greener, smaller, and more beautiful than Jo-burg or Durban. The rugged coastline and prominent coastal mountain range (the Tsitsikamma Mountains, a national park) reminded me of Northern California; but the vibe of towns like George, Knysna, and Wilderness reminded me of Rhode Island’s bay towns like Newport, Narragansett, and Little Compton.