Garden Route Travel Guide

Description

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.

In and Around

Accommodation near Garden Route

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

from R580
1 night, 2 adults

Gourits River Guest Farm

Sleeps 6 Albertinia Guest House in Albertinia

Three-bedroom luxury self-catering accommodation overlooking the majestic Gourits River with our own...

from R490
1 night, 2 adults

Glen House Self-Catering - Lake Brenton Knysna

Sleeps 15 Brenton On Lake Self-catering in Brenton On Lake

Glen House Self-Catering invites guest to come and share the peaceful and secluded surroundings unde...

from R400
1 night, 2 adults

Kweekkraal Guest Farm

Sleeps 34 Riversdale Self-catering in Riversdale

Kweekkraal is conveniently situated in the midst of very beautiful surroundings and is ideal for fam...

from R750
1 night, 2 adults

Stone Cottage Knysna

Sleeps 5 Gouna Self-catering in Gouna

Just 15 km from Knysna, in the foothills of the Gouna Indigenous Forest, this tranquil spot provides...

Gratitude Horse Farm
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10%
from R700
1 night, 2 adults

Gratitude Horse Farm

Sleeps 18 Riversdale Guest House, Riversdale Self-catering in Riversdale

Gratitude Horse Farm and accommodation is 267 hectares in extent, and located a short distance from ...

from R800
1 night, 2 adults

Mountain Dew Guest House

Sleeps 16 Camphers Drift Guest House in Camphers Drift

Experience one of the finest establishments in the Garden Route area, and the best choice for your s...

from R400
1 night, 2 adults

A Bit of Home

Sleeps 7 Great Brak River Self-catering in Great Brak River

A Bit of Home offers comfortable self-catering accommodation in Great Brak River, which is an ideal ...

from R650
1 night, 2 adults

Angels Rest Farm

Sleeps 5 Harkerville Self-catering in Harkerville

Angels Rest Guest Farm lies within the Greater Garden Route National Park and Floral Kingdom of the ...

Lodge 93 – Pinnacle Point Beach and Golf Resort
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20%
from R1,050
1 night, 2 adults

Lodge 93 – Pinnacle Point Beach and Golf Resort

Sleeps 4 Pinnacle Point Self-catering in Pinnacle Point

Lodge 93 – Pinnacle Point Beach and Golf Resort is a fully furnished self-catering lodge located in ...

from R600
1 night, 2 adults

Prospect Cottage

Sleeps 6 Paradise Self-catering in Paradise

Prospect Cottage is a charming, spacious, comfortably furnished three-bedroom home suitable for up t...

Knysna Loerie
Whale In Plettenberg Bay
Fynbos - Outeniqua Heather