The Garden Route in the Western Cape is one of South Africa's main tourist attractions and is generally thought to stretch from Mossel Bay to St Francis along the Indian ocean and also includes parts of the inland.
The central part of the Garden Route is formed by the coastline of the Indian ocean. To the north it is bordered by the Little Karoo, a semi-desert region.
South African Airways has regular flights to George and Port Elizabeth, which is reachable with budget airlines Kulula and 1Time. The nearest international airport is in Cape Town
The Garden Route is easily reached from
Cape Town : east on the N2 highway
Durban, Port Elizabeth : west on the N2 highway
Pretoria, Johannesburg, Bloemfontein : south on the the N1 then the N9
Kimberley : south on the N12
The N2 is the main highway that passes through the Garden Route, connecting Cape Town with Port Elizabeth.
The main companies offer regular services along the Garden Route from Cape Town and Port Elizabeth. The region is also on the Baz Bus route.
As local public transport between the towns is rare (except minibus services), the best way to tour the Route is by car. You can hire a car all along the Garden Route, be aware though that there is a fee if you drop the car off somewhere else from where you have picked it up.
Substantial roadworks are in progress on the N2 with the current single lane sections being upgraded to double lanes in both ways. Imagine the intro photo on this article with two extra lanes being constructed on the left of the current road. Some sections are restricted to single direction traffic flow with manned stop/go control points. Typical delay at these points are 20 minutes each. Expect delays and plan your travel accordingly.
- Go on a ride with the famous Outeniqua Choo-tjoe Train , the last steam train in Southern Africa, from George to Mossel Bay or back and enjoy the coastal scenery.
- Quad Adventures, ☎ +27 (0)723 03-9011, . Camp under the stars in the wild after a day of winding through dramatic mountain terrain of the Garden Route to the vast open spaces of the Little Karoo. Choose between 4 wheels or 2 and enjoy hours or even days of adventure. Tours range from a 25 minute introductory route through beautiful valleys to overnight all-out action deep in the wild. The adventure is here – you decide when.
- timberlake, Halfway btw Wilderness & Sedgefield (look out for wooden cabins on left if coming from George direction). 9:00-17:00. Specialist retail cabins including: Confectionary, Cheese, Wine, 100% organic Health Shop, Fairy Gem, Eden Nursery with four fantastic eateries: Cafe d'Afrique coffee shop, Zucchini restaurant, Oyster Shack and Country Deli. Relax in beautiful gardens, see our organic vegetable gardens in action and enjoy the best in local.
- GoVertical Mountaineering Adventures, Knysna Waterfront, ☎ 082 731 4696, . Abseiling, Kloofing, Paddling, Trekking, Hiking, Rock Climbing and Slackpacking adventures in the Garden Route Knysna
As a main tourist destination there are many restaurants for every taste. Enjoy superb fish from the ocean ; Knysna is the place to taste some oysters.
- hot chocolate cafe, HH 32 Holt Hill Plettenbergbay (between Plettenbergbay & Knysna), ☎ 0760544945. 9-5. delectable belguim chocolate products handmade on premises read a book, play a game, relax under our big tree 25.
- La Carla mask atelier, firstname.lastname@example.org (between plett & knysna, on N2, 6km outside plett), ☎ 082 499 6295, . 9am-5pm. The studio specializes in creating Unique Handcrafted Venetian Carnival Masks, next door to the Hot Chocolate Cafe, this is a treat not to be missed. studio and shop open to public R125 - R1500.
- La carla atelier, (N2, between plett & knysna, 6km from plett), ☎ 082 461 7731, . 9am-5pm. the fasinating craft of european mask making in Plettenberbay. unique handmade venetian carnival masks on display in the exiting shop R125 - R1500.
There is no shortage of all kinds of accommodation but book ahead on weekends / holiday. Especially during the summer the Garden Route is a popular holiday destination, not only for foreign tourists but also for South Africans.
If you are backpacking, the area has numerous hostels. Find a listing of most of them on the Coast to Coast website .
Campers will find excellent facilities at sites like the Ebb and Flow campsite in Wilderness, . The Tsitsikamma sites at Storms's River mouth and Nature's Valley are also places of scenic beauty, and out of season can be havens of peace where otters appear on the beach .
If its Elephants that you after then the best place to stay in is the Main Camp [www.sanparks.org/parks/addo/] located in the Addo Elephant National Park.
Compared with the larger cities the towns along the Garden Route are quite safe. As always use your common sense. Driving at night is fine.