The Garden Route thoroughly deserves its reputation for enchanting beauty. The name refers to this superb stretch of coast between Mossel Bay and the Storms River. It offers a spectacular coastline of dramatic headlands which give way to white sandy beaches. Behind lie placid lagoons and wetland lakes. Behind lies soaring mountains covered by indigenous rainforest, magnificent twisting passes, waterfalls and wooded ravines.
Garden Route holidays are perfect for those wanting to relax in beautiful surroundings. Or for those seeking adventure. There are walking and hiking trails by the lakes, along the coast and in the mountains. Adrenalin-junkies are spoilt for choice with bungee jumping, bridge swinging, tubing and Great White Shark cage diving.. Horse-riding, canoeing, mountain biking and excellent golfing are readily arranged.
There are plenty of boutique hotels on the Garden Route to choose from. Two being Kanonkop House in Knysna or Hog Hollow Country Lodge close to Plettenberg Bay. Our favourite luxury hotels on the Garden Route are Kurland and Tsala Treetop Lodge, both close to Plettenberg Bay.
The Garden Route is an ideal self-drive destination. With good roads, signage and lots of things to do and country restaurants to enjoy. However we can also arrange guided touring on request.
Best time for a Garden Route holiday?
We recommend several days for a Garden Route holiday during the summer and autumn months (November through to May). There is so much to enjoy in the glorious sunshine. You may like to base yourself at two different spots. On the western side (Wilderness or the Little Karoo) and on the eastern side (Plettenberg Bay or the Crags near Tsitsikamma). Alternatively Knysna makes the perfect central base to stay at one place.
(From the Garden Route, it is an easy drive to the malaria-free game reserves of the Eastern Cape. This makes for a great way to end a holiday.)
In winter and spring, due to it’s high rainfall, the Garden Route feels lush and abundant. By all means visit, but perhaps spend less time?
Why Visit the Garden Route?
There’s a vast amount to see and do on the Garden Route so filling your days will not be a problem. Choosing what to leave out may be more difficult. There are more suggestions on the area pages but these are some of the highlights:
• Whale and dolphin-watching by boat in Plettenberg Bay
• Cruise the Knysna Lagoon to Featherbed Nature Reserve for a guided excursion & walk with glorious views
• Visiting the primates & birds at Monkeyland & the Birds of Eden
• An alfresco lunch of champagne and oysters in Knysna
• Enjoying the walking trails in the forest, on the coast or through the wetlands
• Swimming and surfing off the Garden Route’s glorious beaches
• Enjoy immaculate golf courses at Fancourt and Pezula
• Canoeing or boating up the Keurbooms river
• Exploring the Cango Caves, perhaps on the Adventure tour
• Exploring the Tsitsikamma forest on the innovative treetop canopy tour
• Plenty of adrenalin activities from bungy jumping to tubing to kayaking
The Garden Route is a solid 4-5 hour drive from Cape Town and is quite a large region to explore. If you are short of time, you may want to head to Hermanus for a couple of days as it is closer to Cape Town.