Garden Route 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. No problem - it spread to some cool places.

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. Inland, 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.

The 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. Steam buffs will love the narrow gauge Outeniqua Choo-Tjoe. 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.

Of course, this is not all good news as golf courses use an exorbitant amount of water and take up vast amounts of space but, as long as the golf-estate-building spree fizzles out soon, there should be sufficient space remaining between the fairways for a bit of forest, perhaps some shops and even a house or two. But that's not your problem, is it? If you fancy a round in paradise, get in now before it closes down. And if golf is too slow for you - 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.

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Accommodation near Garden Route

*Distances are shown as the crow flies and not necessarily the actual travelling distance.

from R500
1 night, 2 adults

B my Guest

Sleeps 28 Old Place Self-catering in Old Place

Conveniently situated 2 km from the town centre and within walking distance of the Lagoon Walkway, B...

from R950
1 night, 2 adults

26 Oaklands on the Knoll

Sleeps 3 Knysna Central Self-catering in Knysna Central

Knysna is considered to be one of the top holiday destinations in the Western Cape, and 26 Oaklands ...

from R500
1 night, 2 adults


Sleeps 10 West Hill Self-catering in West Hill

Situated in Knysna, Hide-a-Loerie is a beautiful and comfortable self-catering house. A heaven of sa...

Owls Roost Knysna
from R490
1 night, 2 adults

Owls Roost Knysna

Sleeps 5 The Heads Self-catering in The Heads

Owl’s Roost Apartments is surrounded by typical coastal bush vegetation they have prolific bird life...

from R550
1 night, 2 adults

Mountain Breeze Log Cabins

Sleeps 13 Tsitsikamma Self-catering in Tsitsikamma

Mountain Breeze self-catering log cabins in a tranquil environment on a working Protea farm, can be ...

from R600
1 night, 2 adults

Lagoon Lodge

Sleeps 15 Paradise Lodge, Paradise Self-catering in Paradise

If you need a break away to an elegant and romantic setting, we are ready to treat you and your love...

from R1550
1 night, 2 adults

Sparrebosch Views

Sleeps 6 Pezula Golf Estate Self-catering in Pezula Golf Estate

Sparrebosch Estate is situated on the award-winning Pezula Golf Estate, with its spectacular views o...

from R460
1 night, 2 adults

Storms River Guest Lodge

Sleeps 39 Stormsriver Village Bed and Breakfast in Stormsriver Village

Storms River Guest Lodge is located in the peaceful village of Storms River, in the heart of the Tsi...

from R500
1 night, 2 adults

Garden Route Island Guest House

Sleeps 16 The Island (Sedgefield) Guest House in The Island (Sedgefield)

Garden Route Island Guest House offers affordable bed and breakfast accommodation for families and g...

from R700
1 night, 2 adults

Panorama Lodge

Sleeps 10 Hunters Home Self-catering in Hunters Home

Panorama Lodge is perfectly situated for you to explore the Garden Route, also to take advantage of ...

Knysna Loerie
Whale In Plettenberg Bay
Fynbos - Outeniqua Heather