The George Old Car Show is an annual highlight on the calendar of old car enthusiasts around South Africa, seeing them flock to George for one wonderful weekend in February. When asked why they spend all the time and effort to drive their old and classic cars from all the provinces, the answer is always the same – to be re-united and catch up with old friends with a common passion.
So, if you have been thinking about your next trip to George in February 2018, make sure to budget time around this spectacular event to enjoy the many other attractions George has to offer. Here is a list that will help you find some old favourites, some new flavours, and some hidden gems to discover and explore during your visit.
The Garden Route Botanical Gardens are nestled at the foot of the Outeniqua Mountains. This indigenous garden aims to contain a living collection of species encountered in the Garden Route area, assisting the conservation of this rich, yet threatened, floral diversity within the Cape floral kingdom. Discover the Medicinal Mound and the Mushroom Meander, and you can tick a Park Run off your bucket list, as the George Park Run starts off here every Saturday morning, weather permitting. You can arrange a guided tour that includes the herbarium and nursery, or wander through at your leisure, take a picnic and enjoy an alfresco lunch or early dinner, or simply enjoy a cup of coffee or tea at the Tea Garden. Also keep an eye out for the Gardens' summer concerts in February. Like "Garden Route Botanical Gardens" on Facebook to keep track of their programme.
Redberry Farm, a favourite family farmstead just outside of George in the Geelhoutboom area, has now opened three new flavour journeys, making visits to Redberry Farm even more enchanting. With spectacular strawberries, and now gourmet pizza, wine, craft beer and handcrafted ice-cream, exploring Redberry Farm is the quintessential of a delicious country escape!
The route begins with an unforgettable ice-cream experience at Framboos Handcrafted Ice-Cream.
Create the dessert of your dreams by combining creamy gelato or soft serve with home-baked cookies, decadent sauce, fresh fruit and tasty toppings.
The next stop is the tasting room at Houtbosch Wines and Craft Beer, overlooking the fountain and majestic mountains on the lush lawns at Redberry Farm - a cool and casual way to slow down with friends and family. Stimulate your senses with a wine or craft beer tasting, and couple it with a delicious cheese and cold meats board, or a fudge pairing. Houtbosch Wine is locally grown at vineyards on the foothills of the Outeniqua Mountains and cultivated into the enthralling flavours that we enjoy on the tasting room floor.
The third new feast of flavour is the Noshery Pizzeria and Deli that serves classic and gourmet pizzas baked to perfection in a wood-fired oven. Your taste buds will have an experience like no other when indulging in the signature pizzas, the Nosh, Deli Deluxe, Posh Nosh and the Sweet Delight drizzled with delicious chocolate, strawberries and cream.
Visit an artist's studio. The Garden Route is an inspiration for artists with many talented individuals having settled in the George area. Make time to visit Di Marshall Pottery in York Street, home of the renowned Wonki Ware brand, Exhibit Art at Timberlake (just past Wilderness on the way to Knysna) for organic sculptures and functional art, Karen Muir Pottery in Hoekwil, or many of the fine art galleries in and around George.
Hike the Wilderness National Park. You can hike any or all of the six easy to moderate trails in the park, and as the names suggest, you are sure to see several types of Kingfishers and other birds and small mammals on your walks. Take a circular 2 km hike to the Woodville Big Tree, or the Giant Kingfisher (3 km) or Cape Dune Mole Rat (3 km) trails. If you have more time, you will find the Brown-hooded Kingfisher Trail (5 km) and the Half-Collared Kingfisher Trail (7,5 km) very rewarding. For a more challenging hike, we recommend the 10 km Pied Kingfisher trail.
Swim in the sea or a tidal pool at Victoria Bay or Herolds Bay, or if you prefer the splash of the waves, then both these beaches and Leentjiesklip (Wilderness) are perfect for swimming at this time of the year.
The museums in George are extremely popular. If you have not been to the Outeniqua Transport Museum, then put it on top of your list right now. View a variety of steam locomotives including a narrow gauge, the Emil Kessler (Johannesburg’s first steam locomotive), the impressive GL Garrett together with carriages such as a coach from the Royal Train of 1947, as well as Paul Kruger’s coach and private saloons. Various models of steam locomotives, a brilliant collection of steam locomotive number plates, makers' plates, a model train room, road motor vehicles and a private vintage car selection complete the impressive display.
This is also where you can book a trip on the Outeniqua Powervan, departing from the museum and powering its way up to the highest point to panoramic views of George and the surrounding areas. The journey is accompanied by a knowledgeable guide who narrates fascinating details, from the resident flora to the history of ox wagons traversing the hazardous pass. At points on the upward journey you can view three passes: the old dirt road, the Montagu Pass; the railway pass and the majestic new road, the Outeniqua Pass. Both these road passes are also worth a leisurely drive, if you have not done so yet.
The George Museum gives a glimpse into the past, when George was established as only the fifth town in South Africa, and flourished as a forestry town, harvesting wood for the ever-expanding Cape Colony. More recent exhibitions have been added and there is normally an outstanding local art exhibition on display in the Sayer’s Auditorium.
If you only have a limited amount of time, then the Outeniqua Family Market that takes place every Saturday from 08:00 till 14:00, will give you a perfect opportunity to sample some of the best art and food products of the area, all made fresh and locally.