The Garden Route
The glorious natural beauty of the Garden Route is a 200-kilometre slender stretch of attractive forest-backed coastline. Beginning in Mossel Bay in the west, the Garden Route runs east to Storms River Mouth, and is one of the most well-known and beautiful swathes of South Africa. Most visitors take their time to enjoy the route's natural beauty, which is characterised by a range of topography; sandy inlets, excellent beaches, picturesque lagoons, rolling hills blanketed in thick forest and national parks rich with flora and fauna.
The route is mapped between three small inlets: Mossel Bay, the closest to Cape Town, the tranquil town of Knysna, and the beautiful beachside town of Plettenburg Bay. Knysna is roughly the halfway stop for the entire route and is a great place to enjoy its famous freshly shucked oysters, and the dramatic views from Knysna Heads, the spectacular cliffs that are the guardians of Knysna's aquamarine lagoon.
Plettenburg Bay is one of the Garden Route’s most spectacular beach towns and offers some of the best seafood on the menu. Stop off here with a luxury hotel stay, with fine wine and dining, overlooking the remarkable ocean view. For wildlife lovers, the nearby Monkeyland Primate Sanctuary, the world’s first free roaming multi-specie primate sanctuary, is a must visit, as is the Birds of Eden, an incredible two-hectare dome which is home to over 220 species. For the more adventurous, why not bungee jump off the highest bridge in the world, Bloukrans Bridge?! Or maybe just admire the views and watch as someone else takes the leap!
There are many more little gems to stop off at along the route. Located between George and Knysna is the small village of Wilderness, which boasts some of the most beautiful sites, in particular the 'Map of Africa' an extraordinary viewpoint at Wilderness Heights, and Kaaimans River Bridge.
Oudtshoorn, is the capital of the Klein Karoo and known as the ‘Ostrich Capital of the World’ is famous for its ostrich farming. It’s a great base for exploring the Little Karoo and the Great Karoo. Situated just outside of Oudtshoorn are the Cango Caves, an important geological feature, with a series of chambers and caverns naturally hewn out of limestone. It’s no surprise that this is amongst the top ten most visited attractions in South Africa.
The Tsitsikamma ranges divide the Garden Route from the arid Little Karoo, and the dramatic beach-fringed, ancient indigenous woodlands around the Tsitsikamma Forest are the starting point to hike the awe-inspiring Otter Trail. Or take a stroll through the forest itself to marvel at its fairyland of verdant ferns, giant trees and abundant birdlife.
The Garden Route is an ideal itinerary to combine with a Big Five safari in the Eastern Cape, or a city escape in Cape Town.
I don't know where I'm going but I promise it won't be boring.
- Leslie Siben, India
- Anonymous, India
- Matthew Annable, Rajasthan, India
- Matthew Nicklin, North India
- Mr & Mrs Manson, North India
- Mr Richard Stoughton, Sri Lanka
- Jaime Benitez, South India
- Krista Weir, Sri Lanka
- Mr Geoffrey Johnson, India
- Mr David Wallace, North India