The Garden Route is one of South Africa’s most beautiful areas with an array of modern golf courses, ancient forests, secluded artists’ communities, retirement estates, modern malls, craft centres, mountain hideaways and beach holidays. So many couples, families and travellers are drawn to this magnificent stretch of coastline for weekend getaways and holidays. Some are even lucky enough to call it home.
The main highway through the Garden Route, a highlight on most visitors’ itineraries, is the N2 stretch running from Heidelberg in the Southern Cape to Storms River Village on the Eastern Cape border. While the scenery is enough to make you stop and stare, it’s the hidden gems that can be found on the sides of the roads that are the real allure of the Garden Route.
Over time ancient woodcutter clans, fishermen, artists, businessmen and top chefs have all found their niches along the Garden Route. Hiking trails, camping spots, restaurants, harbours, museums, animal sanctuaries and the quaintness of small towns can be found along each stop of the Garden Route, making it a fantastic and beautiful roadtrip. George, Knysna, Plettenberg Bay, all the way up to Port Elizabeth are worth a visit.
Oudtshoorn (the ostrich capital of the world) also calls the Garden Route home and, for those who are interested in history, both early inhabitants and elephants have been crossing the Outeniqua Mountains, from Oudtshoorn to the coast, for many centuries.
Other surrounding towns well worth visiting include Calitzdorp, Sedgefield, Wilderness, Storms River and Tsitsikamma. Here you can tube the Storms River, go on a canopy tour through thick, lush forests of Knysna or enjoy a trip down the ancient Cango Caves.
The Garden Route National Park which connects the existing Tsitsikamma National Park’s ancient forests and wild coastline with the Wilderness National Park via a chain of lakes and preserved sections of Fynbos, is a fascinating and enchanting mix of ecosystems. This park is also famous for its secluded little bays and its year-round holiday frame-of-mind, and it’s conveniently accessible from Cape Town.
While you’re exploring all the nooks and crannies of the Garden Route, don’t forget to cast an eye out to sea where you could see the Southern Right and Humpback Whales, Bottlenose and common dolphins and even Killer Whales that have been known to frolic close to the shore, especially near Plettenberg Bay. Whatever your pleasure is, you’ll find what you’re looking on the Garden Route… even if it’s just to lose yourself in one of the most beautiful parts of South Africa, if not the world.
Whatever your pleasure is, you’ll find what you’re looking on the Garden Route… even if it’s just to lose yourself in one of the most beautiful parts of South Africa, if not the world.
Look out for our upcoming blogs where we highlight where to PLAY, STAY AND EAT on the Garden Route.
TRAVEL TIPS & PLANNING INFO
WHO TO CONTACT
WHERE TO STAY
The Garden Route has various accommodation options to suit all budgets.
The Knysna Oyster Festival (annual: July)
WHAT TO PACK
Your binoculars if you’re a birder. Your camera, and perhaps a raincoat (there’s no specific rain season here – it happens any time of year). Bring your swimming costume too.
LENGTH OF STAY
Plan to meander along this route for at least four days.
HOW TO GET HERE
The Garden Route lies between Cape Town and Port Elizabeth, both of which have airports. Or you could just fly into the middle, to the town of George.
HOW TO GET AROUND
Self-drive is the best option if you want to make the best of the scenery.
BEST TIME TO VISIT
There is no bad time to visit the Garden Route. Bear in mind, though, that this is a favourite destination over Easter and the December holidays, so it will be much busier then.