Travel & Accommodation Guide to South Africa
Search this website
Browse by Region in South Africa: 
Cape Overberg  -  Cape Point Route  -  Central & Great Karoo  -  Eastern Cape  -  Free State/Karoo Garden Route  -  Gauteng  -
Klein Karoo/R62  -  Kwazulu-Natal  -  Limpopo Province  -  Mpumalanga ProvinceNorthern Cape Province -
North West Province  -  Sun City/Pilanesberg uKahlamba Drakensberg  -  Western Cape  -  Wildcoast
Safari & Game Lodges:
Addo Elephant Park Elephant Coast Game Lodges  -  Hluhluwe Game Lodges  -  Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park
Kruger National Park - Limpopo Province  -  Pilanesberg National Park - North West Province
Browse by  Option:
Car Hire South Africa Wide  -  Contact Us  -  Property Owners - Join Us -
Site Map  -  South Africa Blog  -  South Africa Photo Gallery  - South Africa Travel Guide  -  Home Page

Take a trip down the Garden Route, visit the Klein Karoo & Eastern Cape, South Africa
Travel and Accommodation Guide

Garden Route accommodation by location:
Albertinia - Brenton-on-Sea - George - Knysna - Mossel Bay
Nature's Valley - Tsitsikamma Forest National Park
Plettenberg Bay - Port Beaufort - Stormsriver - Wilderness
Klein Karoo (Little Karoo) - Route 62 Accommodation
Breede River Valley accommodation
Eastern Cape Accommodation
Western Cape Travel & Accommodation Guide
Knysna Lagoon

The Garden Route, South Africa - Travel Guide

Dramatic river cut gorges, beautiful beaches, rocky headlands and deep tangled forests are the quintessential Garden Route images. Stretching from anywhere between Stilbaai and Mossel Bay in the west, to Stormsriver or Port Elizabeth (PE) in the east, it's a gorgeous stretch of coastal paradise strung out along the N2. Purists will squash it up between Mossel Bay and Stormsriver but, as the popularity of the Garden Route grew and small towns at its edge realised the marketing potential, it just seemed to spread.
Garden Route Travel Reading:
Classic Drives - The Garden Route, South Africa
Happy Holidays on the Glorious Garden Route
Mossel Bay - a Small Harbour Town with a Lot of Muscle!
Plettenberg Bay in South Africa 210 kms from Port Elizabeth
Travel Destinations on Africa's West Cape: Knysna
Swellendam, One Of South Africa's Best Kept Secrets
Wonders Of The Garden Route

The towns generally accepted to be part of the Garden Route are Mossel Bay, George, Wilderness, Sedgefield, Knysna, Plettenberg Bay and Stormsriver. Stilbaai and Albertinia have snuck in on the West and Humansdorp and even Port Elizabeth are muscling in from the east. 

Fynbos on the Garden RouteInland, the Little Karoo and Route 62, which have no pretensions to being the Garden Route, are often treated as the same destination, as it's pretty easy zigzag between them by driving the many scenic passes over the Outeniqua Mountains. Initially the Garden Route was seen as very much a beach and/or family holiday destination, which it is, but there is also so much to do. There's great hiking, with rambles ranging from an hour to a few days covering rocky coasts, deep forests, pretty fynbos and long sandy beaches. The diving is good, as is the surfing, and there are some fun sea kayaking and flat water paddling trips. Some of the country's best mountain bike trails snake through the forests, and there are horse trails for every taste and level of ability. Tandem skydiving, paragliding, and a range of scenic flights all offer different birds eye views.

Fynbos on the Garden RouteThe Garden Route offers some of the best boat based whale watching in the world, flower lovers and birders will also have a field day traipsing off through the forest or the fynbos, and there are numerous national parks and nature reserves. For the more culturally inclined, there are township tours, museums, lovely old buildings, funky craft shops, markets, art galleries and loads of live music venues. And, of course, a flotilla of great restaurants - many of which specialise in seafood - in each town. 

The Garden Route is a golfer's dream destination - you could play a different course every day for a week and still have a few left over. There are more international standard polo fields in Plett alone than there are in the rest of the country put together. You could spend anything from a weekend to a month at a tailor-made polo clinic.

But what the Garden Route is most suitable for is relaxation - and even that's been somewhat institutionalised with almost every second hotel housing a wellness centre or spa. Not that that's a problem, mind. After a hard day on the beach you'll probably need a chocolate mud bath, colour therapy or hot stone massage.

Plettenberg Bay Featured Accommodation:

Plettenberg Bay Game Reserve, Accommodation & Safaries, PLETTENBERG BAY
Our beautiful Plett Accommodation is a historic and charming colonial-style Safari Lodge that was built in the early 1800s by Baron Joachim von Plettenberg, an early South African pioneer and conservationist.

Plett River Lodge, PLETTENBERG BAY
Plett River Lodge offers stunning accommodation situated right on the Bitou River, just 5 km from Plettenberg Bay, one of the top holiday destinations on the beautiful Garden Route of South Africa's Western Cape.

View Google Map of South Africa
View map of the Garden Route

Classic Drives - The Garden Route, South Africa   by Rod Ritchie

The stunning Garden Route runs from South Africa’s most popular tourist destination, Cape Town, for 800 km along the scenic coastline between this city and Port Elizabeth. The area enjoys a Mediterranean maritime climate and the trip is regarded as one of the world’s truly classic coastal drives.

As you drive along the well-forested coastal plain, you’ll find freshwater lakes, lovely lagoons filled with water birds, indigenous forests of giant yellowwood trees and fields covered in colourful wildflowers. It’s easy to see why visitors are drawn to this beautiful region year-round.

4X4 in Meadow of Daisies, South AfricaOne of the highlights of a drive along the Garden Route is a stop at the sleepy coastal town of Hermanus near the southern-most tip of Africa. The town is situated next to a 12-km path that runs along the cliff top, right next to the ocean. From May to December, pods of Southern Right Whales swim to within 20 metres of the cliff as they travel along the coast.

The more adventurous traveller can try some heart-stopping shark cage diving, sea kayaking, abseiling, scuba diving, sand boarding, and paragliding. Those looking for something more relaxing to do can visit the vineyards in a nearby valley and do the short drive to the southernmost tip of Africa, where the Atlantic Ocean meets the Indian Ocean.

You will have to drive inland to visit Oudtshoorn, which was built in the early 1800s, in the centre of the Klein Karoo, a semi-desert area wedged between the coastal mountains to the south and the spectacular Swartberg mountain range to the north. The town was the world capital of the Ostrich feather industry during Victorian times, and many grand houses from that era are still standing today. There’s plenty to do in Oudtshoorn – you can try riding an ostrich at an ostrich farm, take a tour through the magnificent Cango Caves that stretch for kilometres throughout the mountains, visit the vineyards, and even stroke a Cheetah at Cheetahland.

Back on coast, the Garden Route takes you to George, located on a 10-km plateau that runs from the majestic Outeniqua Mountain to the Indian Ocean. Besides enjoying whale watching, surfing, swimming, scuba diving and paragliding, you’ll find three of South Africa’s top golf courses are also located here. The Fancourt Golf Estate is especially popular, with an 18-hole course designed by Gary Player, a golf academy, exclusive hotel and conference centre, restaurants, and numerous sporting facilities.

Further along the coast toward Port Elizabeth is the town of Knysna, also a very popular tourist destination. This laid-back town is situated between a lush indigenous forest, home to the last of the forest-dwelling elephants in Africa, and a beautiful lagoon teeming with birds and other wildlife. The oysters grown in this unpolluted lagoon are among the tastiest in the world. The closest beach is in nearby Buffalo Bay, a favourite spot for fishing, surfing and swimming, as well as whale and dolphin watching. The entire area surrounding Knysna, with its incredible biological richness and beauty, is a paradise for the eco-traveller, with plenty of places to camp, hike, canoe, kayak, and observe the unique wildlife.

At Plettenberg Bay, there are ten important nature reserves as well as marine reserves. The endangered Southern Right Whale calves in the bay from July to December, and seals and dolphins live here all year round. In the bay you can snorkel and scuba dive on unique soft coral reefs, and on the beach you’ll find a wide range of water sports on offer, including fishing, surfing, swimming and sailing. Nearby, there are superb hiking and mountain biking trails, horse riding, kayaking and canoeing in scenic Nature’s Valley and Stormsriver.

Your drive along the Garden Route ends in Port Elizabeth, on the shores of beautiful Algoa Bay.


Wonders Of The Garden Route   by Kim Mobey

Strewn along the South East Coast of Africa lie hidden a shoreline of secret coves and enchanting forests that envelope the magical Garden Route. Starting in trendy Cape Town the Garden Route takes you on a scenic journey through picture perfect beaches and unspoilt wilderness and ending off in the miniature coastal city, Port Elizabeth. Visitors from across the globe flock to our shores all year round to experience this road trip of a lifetime.

The Sights and Scents

The Garden Route is a ten day vacation ride on a guided tour safari, stopping at lazy beaches, seaside resorts and tiny seaside villages encircled with wild flowers in all the colours of the rainbow.

Whether you're a tree-hugger, bird fanatic or just looking for a peaceful time away from city buzz, the Garden Route has got to be priority on your holiday to-do list. The constant Mediterranean climate of the Garden Route allows it to be a perfect getaway destination in both summer and winter. In summer the forests are fresh and green and most of the wild flowers have already started blooming. Though much more visitors are expected in the warmer seasons, the mild winters are just as beautiful with the sweet sounds of the birds and the scent of unpolished soil just dampened from the drizzle, an ideal place to meditate.

The coastline which escorts the Garden Route lies parallel to a series of enigmatic lakes, majestic mountains and amber coloured rivers that stream close to the mountain like minuscule pathways. Three of the countries most infamous hiking trails are founded here: The Tsitsikamma, The Dolphin Trail and The Otter Trail. The twisty hiking trails mysterious appearance leaves room for plenty adventure.

The guided tour safari also takes you on a land cruise to the world's best whale watching destination, Hermanus, which boasts some of the most scenic roads in the country. You'll stop to enjoy some fine food and wine at the Cape Winelands and then pass the ostrich capital of the world, Oudtshoorn, before you eat your way through as much oysters as you can in Knysna, and witness the unbelievable sights at the Tsitiskamma National Park.

If you don't want to be restricted to a planned pleasure trip you may also opt for a Self Drive Safari where you have the freedom to explore the Garden Route at your own pace. There is no disadvantage to self drive safari's as South Africa has well constructed roads and excellent mobile phone network coverage, on the contrary self drive safari's have become even more popular than guided tours as visitors that travel the Garden Route want to be free from a planned itinerary since there are still so much sights and scents that remain uncovered.

The distance from Cape Town to Port Elizabeth is an estimated 769km but that doesn't mean that you're going to complete the trip within 12 hours. There are plenty of stops you can grab a quick bite to eat or even sit down and dine, and if you're keen on staying the night (or two) there is an endless list of cosy little guest houses available.

The Top Four Attractions

Pack your travel bag with your camera to capture all the memorable sights the Garden Route has to offer. There are four main attractions that are essential for all Garden Routers:

Cango CavesThe Cango Caves

The Cango Caves exceeds man's expectation of a natural beauty. This fortress of corridors and dripstone formations is the result of a geological flaw in the Swartberg Mountains, formed by the merging of hundreds of thousands of years of time, water and natural chemistry. Many of the hallways and caves still stand exactly as it was when created and they all carry dreamy descriptive labels such as the Organ Pipes, which is the mirror image of an actual organ.


Next stop: A hearty meal in the bubbly forest of Monkeyland. Its is an innovative primate sanctuary set up in an untouched natural forest that homes chimpanzees and ape species from all over the world. It's unique in it being the only location in the world where you are able to have your café latte while watching the primates playing. Visitors leave this thrilling venture always coming back for more.

The Elephant Park

There is a sad history about the Knysna Elephants, but one you will only learn on your Elephant Safari. Situated in the heart of the Garden Route, the Elephant Park is home to the world's southernmost elephants as well as South Africa's resident elephants, and with the help of your tour guide you will be well informed about the differences between these two species. Get a panoramic view of the lush native and exotic forests as you roam on elephant back. Guided nature walks alongside these humble mammals are also available for those afraid of heights.

Be Part Of The Experience

The best part of the Garden Route is that there are accommodation spots in almost every tourist attraction location. Apart from Knysna, the heart of the Garden Route, Montagu is at the top of our list of stunning places to stay. It is rich in rock formations and is best known for its hot mineral springs. Other top resorts include Swellendam, a rural Cape Dutch town, Hermanus, the little town on the coast where whales flock to each year, and Plettenberg Bay, known to the locals as the best beach in the Western Cape.

So whether it's a family break you're planning, a romantic getaway or honeymoon, connect with a travel operator that knows the area and make sure to experience the South African Garden Route. It's a treasure...


Copyright © Daisy Web Promotions
Latest update: November 8, 2016