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.
- George -- the largest town along the Route
- Knysna -- one of the most popular tourist destinations
- Storms River -- the gateway to Tsitsikamma National Park
- Plettenberg Bay -- home to Ocean Safaris. Whale Watching Mecca of SA....
- Mossel Bay -- this is where Bartolomeu Dias set foot ashore in 1488 and South Africa`s first post office was founded in 1500
- Nature's Valley -- one of the few remaining areas of truly outstanding natural beauty along the Garden Route
South African Airways has regular flights to George and Port Elizabeth, which is also 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.
The best way to tour the Route is by car. You can hire a car all the cities along the Garden Route, but be aware of one-way fees for rental cars.
Why not join a boat trip with Ocean Safaris in Plettenberg Bay. Sightings of whales throughout the year. Southern Rights and Humpbacks - July to December. Brydes Whales all year round but more prolific during the summer months. Dolphins include Bottlenose, Humpback and Commons. Cape Fur seal colony on Robberg Peninsula. Our waters are rich in life and we are frequented by visitors of all types. Orca's, Sei Whales, Turtles, Penguins, whale sharks, clawless otters to mention a few. You can contact us on +27 (0) 82 784 5729 or [email protected] .
Dolphin Adventures. A sea kayaking trip not to be missed. www.dolphinadventures.co.za or contact [email protected] .
- 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. edit
- 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. edit
- GoVertical Mountaineering Adventures, Knysna, ☎ 082 731 4696, . Guided hiking trails along the Garden Route - Fully catered trails including Otter trail, Tsitsikamma trail, Outeniqua trail, Harkervile Coastal trail edit
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.
- La Carla Mask Atelier, [email protected] (between Plett & Knysna, on N2, 6km outside Plett), ☎ 082 499 6295, . 9am-5pm. The studio specializes in creating unique, handcrafted Venetian Carnival masks. This is a treat not to be missed. Studio and shop open to public. R125 - R1500. edit
- Hot Chocolate Cafe, HH 32 Holt Hill Plettenbergbay (between Plettenbergbay & Knysna), ☎ 0760544945. 9-5. Part of the La Carla Mask Atelier complex, the cafe features delectable Belgium chocolate products handmade on premises. Read a book, play a game, or just relax under the big tree. 25. edit
There is no shortage of all kinds of accommodation, but book ahead on weekends and holidays, and especially during the summer. The Garden Route is a popular 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 it's elephants that you're after, then the best place to stay in is the Main Camp [www.sanparks.org/parks/addo/] located in the Addo Elephant National Park.
- Madi-Madi Karoo Safari Lodge (Madi-Madi Karoo Safari Lodge), Madi-Madi Karoo Safari Lodge near Dysslesdorp Village, Garden Route, Western Cape, South Africa (http://www.madi-madi.co.za/about.php#map), ☎ +27 (0) 44 696 6055 ([email protected]), . From R1900pppn. edit
- Botlierskop Private Game Reserve (Botlierskop Private Game Reserve), Botlierskop Private Game Reserve, Gonnakraal Road, Little Brak River, Garden Route, Western Cape, South Africa (http://www.botlierskop.co.za/contact-us), ☎ +27 (0) 44 696 6055 ([email protected], fax: +27 (0) 44 696 6277), . edit
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.