Things to Do in Garden Route Garden Route Overview
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Founded in 1994, and the first of its kind in South Africa, the Knysna Elephant Park provides a home for orphaned elephants and offers visitors a glimpse of a bygone era when vast elephant herds once roamed.
Join the elephants in their controlled free-range environment where you will be able to appreciate their magnificent presence up-close-and-personal. Whether you chose a daily tour, elephant back ride; exclusive safari or overnight accommodation; this is an experience that will stay with you forever.
The Knysna Elephant Park is open every day of the year. Guided daily tours take you to the elephants every half hour from 08:30 to 16:30. Here you will have the opportunity to touch, feed and photograph these gentle giants. There are no barriers or fences to spoil your close encounter, and when the elephants chose to wander off again into the field, you are welcome to walk with them and watch them for as long as you wish.
Elephant back rides offer the once in a lifetime opportunity to sit atop these incredible creatures. As you traverse through indigenous Cape fynbos, you will enjoy spectacular views of the Outeniqua Mountain range. Booking is essential.
Bramon Wine Estate is a boutique vineyard named after the Thorpes’ children Bram and Manon. Being the first Wine Estate this far east in the Western Cape, Bramon has broken new ground by pioneering vineyards in the Plettenberg Bay area.Producing a superior Sauvignon Blanc ‘cap classique’ sparkling wine, the first and only to be produced in the country, Plettenberg Bay has subsequently been classified as a wine of origin region. A coup for the area!Other wine farms have subsequently started up and the Garden Route’s own ‘Sparkling Wine Route’ is now underway.Bramon Methode Cap Classique is a dry brut with the delicate characteristics of it’s cultivar. Green grass and asparagus with granny smith apple aromas and a zesty lingering lime finish. The addition of ‘The Crags,’ a beautiful still Sauvignon with a granadilla and passion fruit nose has added to the Bramon range. New cultivars planted are increasing the range and uniqueness Bramon has become synonymous with and will be vinified in the cellar currently being built. Vukani Empowerment wines are a hand selected collection of local cultivars. Vukani means ‘wake up’ in isiXhosa and supports developing farmers in the Plettenberg Bay area. A percentage of these sales go to The Vukani Trust which helps establish and train previously dis-advantaged farmers in the fields of viticulture and wine making where they have been awarded diplomas in their area of expertise.Land has now been secured around Kurland Village, the Crags’ Township, where they will establish vineyards under the mentorship of Bramon Wines for the Vukani Cellars. This will not only ensure an income for the community but also promote a sustainable, environmentally sound lifestyle for the area as a whole.Vukani and Bramon are committed to the upliftment, education and improvement of the community and further projects are in the pipeline.
Galleries and Museums
Dinner theatre aficionados in George have a new state-of-the-art theatre to visit for good times, delicious food and quality entertainment.
The Kalahari Restaurant and Theatre opened its doors in September 2010 to cater for discerning theatre fans and music lovers in the Garden Route. The 400 seater theatre will stage the latest productions from the main circuit in a warm and friendly environment.
The theatre complex houses a separate bar and a 120-seater family restaurant with an outdoor deck. A beautiful grand piano mounted on a circular stage steals the limelight in the restaurant which also functions as a cocktail bar and entertainment area.
Bookings for shows can be done at the theatre or through Computicket. Patrons are advised to pre-order snack platters and pizzas to enjoy in the theatre.
Explore Plettenberg Bay’s stunning coastline looking for whales, dolphins, seals, sharks, seabirds and other marine life from a twin-hull ski boat.
Ocean Safaris offer exciting whale and dolphin watching trips guided by knowledgeable qualified skippers. They are permitted to conduct close encounters with whales and are Fair Trade accredited.
Pop in to their interesting office in Hopwood Street to find out more. You'll find a warm welcome, reconstructed skeletons, whalebones, free Internet and coffee.
If you’re travelling with kids on the Garden Route, wing them straight to Radical Raptors.
Guaranteed to thrill the kids, a visit to Radical Raptors bird of prey sanctuary is a fun educational experience suitable for the whole family.
Time your visit to coincide with the flying displays that take place three times a day. Several trained birds of prey are free flown around and to you. This presents a wonderful opportunity for you to watch, interact and photograph these amazing birds in the outdoors.
Radical Raptors is a non-profit organisation and rehabilitation centre that focuses on community awareness and the rescue, rehabilitation and release of birds of prey.
+27 (0) 44 532 7537
Show times – 11:00, 13:00, 15:00
Closed on Mondays except public and school holidays.
Climb aboard Ocean Rhythm and explore the beautiful Plettenberg Bay coastline. Experience the power of the wind in the sails and the sound of the ocean lapping at the bows.
Spot whales, dolphins and seals at play in breathtaking surroundings. Take the helm and learn the basics of sailing, put out a line and see what bites or kick back, glass of bubbly in hand.
This Knysna-built 44 foot sailing catamaran offers a high level of luxury, comfort and space. Options include sunset cruises, day cruises, overnight charters, fishing, and exclusive parties and functions. For more info contact 082 881 2937.
Set within the stunning Wilderness National Park and on the shores of Langvlei, the Malachite Bird Hide is definitely worth a visit for twitchers and nature lovers. Spend some time watching the numerous waterfowl, kingfishers and other birds in this beautiful environment.
Ancient rock pool fish traps, built by the Khoisan up to 3000 years ago, visible at low tide.
These traps are still being regularly maintained, extended and utilized by a group of local enthusiasts.
Five minutes from Stilbaai with parking close to the beach. Good afternoon for kids and adults alike. See if you can spot an octopus and remember to take fish nets for the kids!
Following an old mining path along the Forest Creek, the Circles in a Forest Hiking Trail beckons hikers to explore the loveliness of the Goudveld Forest. This genuine forest experience is suitable for families and people of all ages, offering two trail options starting at Krisjan-se-Nek.
Feel dwarfed as you pass the towering 600-year old Outeniqua Yellowwood trees. You can almost hear them whisper Oupoot, the name of the long lost heroine and matriarch elephant made famous by Dalene Matthee.
This is truly the heart of the Knysna indigenous forest typified by giant Yellowwood trees, three-metre high tree ferns, Red-billed Wood-hoopoe, babbling streams, ancient ironwood trees, arum lilies, colourful mushroom and bracket fungi. Evidence of baboon, bush pig, porcupine and bushbuck can be seen everywhere. Keep glancing up to the treetops and you might spot a Knysna loerie.
Formerly called the Woodcutters Trail, this route is named after one of Dalene Matthee’s famous novels. The three and nine kilometre trails range from easy to moderate and are manageable for anyone over the age of five.
Mountain Biking Trails
Get on your bike to experience the stunning scenic single track and jeep track trails through indigenous forest, plantations, fragrant fynbos and dramatic cliff tops overlooking the ocean.
The four colour-coded Harkerville routes offer a range of routes to suit all levels of riders ranging from an easy family ride to fast-flowing single track through plantations, costal fynbos and indigenous forest.
The 14-kilometre Yellow Route is an easy ride along fairly flat gravel roads and is just right for slackers. The Blue Route is also an easy 12-kilometre option with some single track, through indigenous forest and a section of enormous redwood trees.
The more difficult 15-kilometre Green Route offers exhilarating glimpses of the craggy coastline and dense coastal forest. Diehard cyclists can’t resist the 24-kilometre Red Route for the incredibly scenic and dizzying coastal cliff top cruise with some downhills and uphills that guarantee to get your pulse racing.
Cyclists have the option of a two-day ride with a stay at an overnight hut. Please be aware that all the trails except the Yellow Route may be closed if heavy rain has fallen.
All routes start on the N2 opposite the Garden of Eden Department of Water Affairs and Forestry kiosk. Maps are available at the Garden of Eden kiosk.
Garden of Eden Department of Water Affairs and Forestry +27 (0) 44 382 5863
Tenikwa Wildlife Awareness Centre offers guests the opportunity for a close, safe, inter-active encounter with indigenous cats of South Africa.
Guests will meet leopard, cheetahs, caracal, Serval, African wild cats and black-footed cats. The Tenikwa encounter is a great follow-on to a game reserve or safari experience to study these beautiful creatures at close quarters.
Tenikwa also has a Meerkat Meander where visitors can see meerkats and tortoises and there is also a variety of indigenous waterfowl, Blue Cranes and Marabou Storks to delight bird watchers.
Programs include one hour guided tours and cheetah walks. Entrance fees fund Tenikwa’s NPO Wildlife Rehabilitation and Release Programme.
Open 09:00 – 17:00 daily 365 days a year, including Christmas Day and New Year’s Day. Amenities include a tea garden for light meals, parking, wheelchair friendly, Mothers Corner and liquor licence.
+27 (0) 44 534 8170
+27 (0) 82 486 1515
The unspoilt beach of Glentana offers a wonderfully scenic hiking trail to an atmospheric old shipwreck. One of the main attractions of this coastline is the prevalence of whales, dolphins and seals in the surf. Southern Right Whales can be seen from July through to November.
Galleries and Museums
Watch renowned local artists at work while you shop to your heart's content. The Craft Art Workshop in Mossel Bay is committed to empowering township folk though transferring skills and creating opportunities. You'll find beautiful gifts made of paper, cardboard, glass, ostrich eggs, shells, feathers, wood, pearls, fabric, wool, recycled material, porcupine quills and lots more.
A personal, interesting and touching tour into the daily lives of folks in an African township.
Visit a pre-school, consult a sangoma, and taste traditional beer. As an exciting option, clients can have a traditional Xhosa lunch with a family.
Daily tours start at 10:00 and 14:00.
This two-day circular route is easy to moderate and is a total of 24 km long. The trail starts and ends at Witelsbos State Forest. Permits must be obtained and overnight resting places are situated next to the water. Please enquire.