The Garden Route is a popular, scenic route along the South-Eastern coast of South Africa
The Garden Route is a coastal stretch of land running through South Africa’s Western Cape and Eastern Cape. It is famous for its lush greenery and unspoiled ocean views making it one of the world’s most premier destinations for a road trip. The route can be easily navigated and the many idyllic cities and towns littered upon it offer plenty of excuses for stop-offs. There are many wonderful ways to explore the Garden Route, and there is so much to see and do. We’ve put together an itinerary that features some of the best activities and destinations.
Where does the Garden Route start and end?
The route officially stretches from Mossel Bay to Tsitsikamma, but the meander from Cape Town to Port Elizabeth is an exceptionally popular trip that has become the go-to Garden Route journey.
Which cities and towns should I stop at?
The most popular stops along the route include Cape Town, Franschhoek, Hermanus, Oudtshoorn, Mossel Bay, Knysna, Plettenberg Bay, Tsitsikamma and Port Elizabeth. Some of the less visited but still worthy stops include Stellenbosch, George, Wilderness, Cape St. Francis and Jeffrey’s Bay.
How do I travel along the route?
Owing to the many beautiful cities and towns, exciting activities and fascinating attractions found along the Garden Route, the trip is best done as a self-drive. This allows travellers to stop off at the various destinations as they wish, and explore the areas and attractions at their own leisure.
How long should I spend along the route?
Two weeks is the ideal amount of time to explore all of the main towns, cities and points of interest. Three weeks should be adequate time for those who want to explore the Garden Route more thoroughly, while ten days is just enough time for those with a short travel time-frame.
What is there to do?
The Garden Route is a melting pot of activities, natural and historical attractions, must-see sights and scenic drives. From adventurous thrills to beautiful scenery and laid-back days of exploration, the route offers plenty to choose from.
Who is it suitable for?
The route is the perfect South African destination for all types of travellers of all ages, from couples and honeymooners to friends and families. The route offers accommodation and activities tailored for couples, groups and children, ensuring all travellers have a fantastic time.
When is the best time to visit?
One of the most appealing things about the Garden Route is the fact that it’s a year-round destination. From summer to winter, the Garden Route promises good weather, breathtaking scenery and a wide variety of things to do, come sunshine or rain. The route does become increasingly popular over the Festive Period, so busy roads and some traffic should be expected.
What should I pack?
Clothing for the seasons – Light clothing and beach-wear are recommended for the summers, with a thin jacket for the cooler days. Warm, thick clothing is recommended for winters, with a heavy jacket or coat.
Camera – You’re going to see and experience plenty of beauty along the Garden Route, so your camera is going to get a lot of exercise.
Walking shoes – The Garden Route offers a wide variety of outdoor and adventure activities, so it’s important to have a good set of walking shoes. Many of the towns and cities along the way are also best discovered by foot, so comfortable walking shoes are a great help.
Sunblock and mosquito repellent – Even the coolest winters can surprise us with a scorcher every now and then, and you wouldn’t want to be caught without sunblock when the African sun shows its face. Mosquito repellent should also be on your packing list, particularly if you are visiting in the summer and/or staying in forestry areas such as Tsitsikamma.
What do we suggest?
A great addition at the end of the trip is a two- or three-night safari at one of the world-class game reserves and safari lodges in the Eastern Cape. The likes of Shamwari, Pumba, Amakhala and Addo National Park are roughly an hour’s drive from Port Elizabeth, and offer a wonderful end to an already idyllic trip.
We typically suggest four or five nights in Cape Town, four or five nights at the various destinations along the route, a night in Port Elizabeth and three nights at a game reserve.
- Sandboard down the dunes of Sunday’s River
- Lilo or kayak along Storms River Mouth
- Segway tour through the forests of Tsitsikamma
- Zipline amongst the treetops of Tsitsikamma Forest
- Bungy jump off Bloukrans Bridge
- Explore the Cango Caves
- Shark-cage diving in Gansbaai
- See rescued penguins at SAMREC
- Exotic birdlife and free-roaming primates at Birds of Eden and Monkeyland
- Up-close animal encounters at Jukani Wildlife Sanctuary, Garden Route Wolf Sanctuary and Knysna Elephant Encounters
- Visit an ostrich farm in Oudtshoorn
- Whale-spotting in Hermanus
- See free-roaming penguins at Boulders Beach
- Day trip around Addo National Park
- Hike to the 800-year-old Big Tree near Tsitsikamma
- Sunset cruise along the Knysna Lagoon
- Stroll along the secluded Noetzie Beach
- Hike up Table Mountain
- Scenic drive along Chapman’s Peak and Cape Peninsula
- Tour of Robben Island
Wining and dining
- Visit wineries along the Wine Tram in Franschhoek
- Enjoy the nightlife in Cape Town’s Long Street
- Beer tour that visits some of Cape Town’s best craft breweries and bars
Whether you’re looking for luxury sojourn or a laid-back getaway with affordable accommodation, we can make it happen!
Once we have all your information and understand the vision for your holiday, we’ll start planning your trip.
With all your plans in place, all you need to do is pack your bags, hop on a plane and travel over land and sea to your destination of choice!