- For other places with the same name, see George (disambiguation).
George is situated in the Western Cape Province in South Africa and is the main gateway to the beautiful Garden Route. It is the sixth oldest town in South Africa and very centrally situated halfway between Cape Town and Port Elizabeth. Cradled by the Outeniqua mountains to the north and the Indian ocean to the south, George is an ideal town from which to explore the area’s many scenic attractions – be it on the Outeniqua Choo-Tjoe train, on walks and hikes on the George and Cradock Peaks, on a boat fishing, or pushing a cart across the golf courses at Fancourt. Rich in historical landmarks, such as the Slave Tree and the King Edward VII Library, George retains a small-town character without compromising on a sophisticated infrastructure.
George can be reached easily with the N2 highway from Cape Town (to the west) or Knysna, Port Elizabeth, East London and Durban (to the east). You can also get to George from Oudtshoorn (to the north) via the R29.
The famous Outeniqua Choo Tjoe, the oldest steam train in Africa, runs between George and Mossel Bay. The train departs George in the mornings and comes back from Mossel Bay in the afternoon, passing through the small seaside resorts of Little Brak River, Great Brak River and Hartenbos on the way. In winter the train only operates 3 days a week (Monday, Wednesday and Friday) but in summer it runs every day ; the one-way trip takes about 2 hours. Booking is essential and you need to report 30 minutes prior to departure .
Trains do not leave from George railway station (in Station Road), but from the Outeniqua Railway Museum in Mission Street, a few hundred metres nearer the main road through town (Knysna Road).
The train used to run between George and Knysna (via Wilderness and Sedgefield) but the railway line was severely damaged in 2006 and 2007 due to landslides after heavy rain and extreme flooding . The railway line is due to be repaired and full service may resume sometime in 2009. Until such time as this happens, the train will continue to operate between George and Mossel Bay.
The main bus companies serve George regularly on their way along the Garden Route from Cape Town to Port Elizabeth, as does the Baz Bus.
Preferably by car. York street is the main artery.
There are permanent speed cameras;
- York Street
- Outside Duggies on Courtney Street (driving towards Knysna)
- At the robots outside Pick n Pay on Courtney Street (driving towards George away from Knysna)
In season, over Christmas (December and early January) and Easter (April), however, there are temporary manned speed cameras everywhere.
Driving between George and Knysna there are permanent speed cameras in the Kaaimans River Pass. The speed limit on this pass is 60kmph for a reason, the pass is very dangerous to take at high speeds, especially when wet.
- CABS Car hire, ☎ (+27)(0)44 874-0899 ([email protected]), . affordable and reliable, at all major airports in South Africa
- George Museum or the crocodile farm, both in York Street.
- The old "Moeder kerk" - the spectacular Dutch Reformed church in Mead street
- Caledon street - the most beautiful street in George
- The Anglican Church in York street.
- The old Arts theatre.
- The splendid George botanical Garden.
- The old town hall - build in 1912, in York street
- "Die Bof" - outside of George, some splendid Fynbos
- St Peter & St Paul Catholic Church - Oldest Catholic Church in South Africa
The floating dock wreck. Mosselbay is visible in the distance
- Go on the Outeniqua Powervan up the Outeniqua Mountains. It takes you from the museum 720m up into the Outeniqua mountains for incredible views.
- Enjoy Nature and Historic Trail Rides with Environmentally Friendly Motorcycle and Quad Bikes
- Experience the Historic Attakwas Ox wagon Pass Route (National Monument)
- Ride on a Private Eco Game Reserve
- Explore the beautiful Outeniqua Mountains (Nature Conservation Area) and ride where few are privileged to venture
- Go hiking
- For the more fit: George Peak or Cradock Peak for some spectacular views. 18km. Trail starts at the forestry station.
- Do the world famous Outeniqua trail which will take you through spectacular forests.
- For the medium fit: Beautiful walks from the Saasveld Campus of the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University .
- For the less fit: Lovely walks in the Wilderness area around the Ebb and Flow Campsite.
- Play golf, either at Fancourt or Ernie Els's new course Ou Baai
- Swim, surf or tan at one of the sandy beaches during summer. Parking may be a problem at many of them during peak season. To the West there are
- (closest) Herolds Bay. Lovely beach trapped between two rock cliffs. Many of the houses are owned by South Africa's rich and famous.
- Glentana. From the swimming spot you can walk East along the main beach to the remnants of the floating dock wreck (not visible from the main beach). This will take you past many caves. And the really adventurous can continue to Grotto Bay.
- Great (Groot) Brak.
- (furthest) Little (Klein) Brak.
- The beaches to the East are
- (closest) Victoria Bay. Small. Includes a restaurant. Parents with small children may prefer the well maintained lawn to the sandy beach. Popular surf spot. Watch the Choo-Tjoe go by.
- Wilderness. On your way there catch a glimpse of the Kaaimans river railroad bridge.
- (furthest) Gerickes Point. Due to the steep cliffs no development has spoilt this extended beach. At the point itself there are natural pools.
- There are many fishing spots along the coast as well as fresh water fishing in the lakes and rivers.
- Something at the huge new Garden Route Mall.
- There are many shops along Knysna Road (N9).
- The St Georges's Square shopping centre
- The Game Shopping centre
- York street (the main street of George, also has various stalls
- The Pick 'n Pay centre
- For second hand books there is a great shop in the York street arcade, near the Dulce' restaurant.
Mexican food at Coyote Caktus which also serves the best pizza in town. Enjoy a delicious "wonderpatat" at the Lila's Arms restaurant in Blanco, a suburb of George. George also has a Spur restaurant and Mcdonald's. The Upstairs at Harry's is also an excellent coffee shop. The new Garden Route mall, St George's Square and the Pick 'n Pay shopping centres also contain various restaurants. For a more Eastern taste there is a Fong Ling Taiwanese Restaurant.
There are numerous fine drinking and dining holes along this stretch of the Garden Route.
Bongos in Wilderness village overlooks the lovely beach.
- There are many hotels and guest houses throughout the city.
- Victoria Bay east of George has lots of tourist accommodation (and is a popular surf spot).