If a trip to South Africa is on the horizon, we really need to tell you all about The Garden Route. It’s a remarkable 150-mile long drive, which takes you on an impressive voyage past broad wetlands, striking mountains, golden beaches and much, much more. Though, with so much already to see on your tour to South Africa, we know it can be quite time consuming researching all the things you want to see and do. Which is why we’ve done all the hard work when it comes to deciding what to add to your South Africa Garden Route itinerary. With so much on offer on this majestic stretch of land, it would be a shame to miss something spectacular out. So, in a bid to help you prioritise, we’ve put together the top 10 things you simply need to see…
The enchanting town of Knysna is right at the heart of the Garden Route and is the perfect place to stop for an overnight break, or even longer it you can. Located by the shore, the town’s waterfront is a delightful spot with quaint boutiques, coffee shops, bars and restaurants. Popular activities include leisurely strolls along the cliff tops, walks through the Knysna forest and boat cruises to the rocky headlands known as ‘The Heads.’
If you want to catch sight of some exciting wildlife then The Crags has some excellent sanctuaries where you can get up close and personal with the animals. The Elephant Sanctuary is a truly unforgettable experience where you can walk adorable baby elephants that have been orphaned. Or at Monkeyland, you can immerse yourself in nature and wander through a forest surrounded by monkeys swinging through the branches.
The town of Keurboomstrand is the perfect spot to find complete tranquillity. With lovely holiday homes along a gorgeous stretch of beach, you may find unwinding there for the day is all you need. However, for a relaxing activity, you could row along serene rivers and catch sight of some unusual water birds, including the Malachite Kingfisher.
Storm River Village
If hiking through wild land excites you, then you need to make a stop at Storm River Village. When you take on the Garden Route’s rugged coastline, trails can be as short as 2 hours and as long as an adventurous 5 days. Another great activity worth making time for at Storm River is the treetop tours, where you can walk along high swaying suspended bridges amongst the forest canopy.
Perfect for the family, Plerrenberg Bay is a popular tourist spot. With a number of beaches safe for swimming, you can get the brolly and towels out and make a day of it. However, mid-summer, the town can fill up with people looking to party. So if you want to go at a calmer time, February till March may be more preferable.
This part of the Garden Route is great for relaxing breaks and when we say relaxing, we mean really relaxing. Sedgefield has been announced as Africa’s first ever Cittaslow Town. Cittaslow is an organisation encouraging society to slow down the pace of life and basically take it easy. So with this social ethos you’re guaranteed a break.
The Garden Route in South Africa is slightly separated from Oudtshoorn by a stunning mountain range. However, lucky for us there is a mountain pass that takes you through to the town. Oudtshoorn is also known as South Africa’s ostrich capital with great farms and shows where you can observe the birds.
Mossel Bay marks the start of South Africa’s Garden Route, and what a start it is. Make your way through the surrounding towns, and the moment you reach the sea, you will know exactly why you can’t miss this sight out. The sandy bays are perfect for swimming and water sports. For the brave hearted, cave diving with great white sharks is also an activity on offer in this enchanting location.
St Francis Bay
The Garden Route hosts many stunning beaches but St Francis Bay may arguably have some of the finest. Not only is it a huge hit with tourists, but locals as well, as these beaches are great for many activities. Most popular is surfing with some of the most tremendous waves along Southern Cape. Fishing is another hit with many great spots where some huge catches can be made.
Even if you don’t plan it, you may end up at Port Elizabeth on your Garden Route tours in South Africa, mainly because it is home to the airport that connects travellers to other major cities. Many simply pass through this city, not taking the time to look, but if you’re already there, you should really check out their lovely beaches. If you’re lucky, you may spot a dolphin.