The region sweeps eastwards along the coast of the Cape, running from Mossel Bay to Port Elizabeth. See pristine beaches along the rugged coastline flanked by dense forests, mountain ranges and wild flowers. Discover charming towns and villages and enjoy fantastic hospitality. This journey has been inspiring travellers, artists and writers for generations and is certain to give you memories to last a lifetime.
Garden Route holiday highlights
Famed as the ‘Ostrich Capital of the World’, Oudtshoorn is home to an abundance of these amazing birds and most visitors will stop to take a tour of one of the farms, or alternatively, morning routine. The Cango Caves and Wildlife Reserve are another reason for the area's growing popularity. The caves offer visitors the opportunity to visit vast caverns with amazing stalactites and stalagmites, while the wildlife reserve also allows you to get close to some of its big cats with a catwalk over their enclosures, as well as a cheetah encounter. Oudtshoorn is also the start of the Route 62 wine route, and some of the best South African port wines are produced in this area.
Knysna is renowned for its oysters and seafood cuisine. Nestled beside a great lagoon, between the Tsitsikamma National Park, the Outeniqua Mountains and the Indian Ocean, it is popular with food connoisseurs and wildlife enthusiasts alike. The lagoon is protected from the sea by the sandstone ‘Heads’, and they are best viewed from either a catamaran or from one of the many hiking trails that can be found within the Featherbed Nature Reserve. The climate here is comfortable all year round, making it a popular destination with both locals and tourists. It is also becoming a great destination for golfers, with a collection of world-class golf courses including the Pezula Golf Course, Knysna Golf Course and Simola Golf Course. If you are a big fan of seafood, try and be around in late June/early July as this is when the Knysna Oyster Festival is on.
Plettenberg Bay is a must for fans of nature, with a large Cape fur seal colony, a seasonal penguin colony and a chance to spot whales from either the shore or out on a boat excursion. The beaches here are also pretty good and the coastline is scenic and great for walking and hiking. Robberg Nature and Marine Reserve, which is on a peninsula south east of Plettenberg Bay, is home to some particularly scenic coastal walks and is often teeming with sea life. You can also head out to sea to spot dolphins, and if the season is right, a variety of whale species and sharks. This is also a great area for surfing and there are also plenty of opportunities to go diving. Nearby you'll also find Birds of Eden and Monkeyland, the former is the largest enclosed aviary in the world, the second is a large primate sanctuary.
The main gateway to the Garden Route, George is the sixth oldest town in South Africa and ideally situated halfway between bustling Cape Town and Port Elizabeth. Here you'll find a great sense of community, a real sense of character and a welcome that encompasses all who stop off here. There's plenty to see and do, with hiking and walking on the peaks a popular pastime. The Outeniqua Mountains provide a beautiful backdrop, and the Outenique Choo-Tjoe train is also a great experience. Here you'll also find plenty of history, with the George Museum and the old Moeder kerk, a Dutch reformed church, two of the most popular stops for visitors. Another must is a visit to the Outeniqua Railway Museum and of course the mountains themselves. You'll also find a great collection of beaches here, perfect for simply kicking back and relaxing.
Wilderness offers a wonderful year-round climate with warm sunny temperatures throughout. It’s an area of outstanding natural beauty renowned for its welcoming atmosphere and its charming people. Set between the Kaaimans River and the Goukama Natural Reserve, with the impressive Outeniqua Mountains on its border, it is a naturalist’s paradise with plenty of hiking and biking available. There are also the beautiful beaches and tranquil seas, whilst the lagoon is ideal for watersports. Out to sea you’ll find whales and dolphins, whilst the reserve is famed for the amount of birdlife present.