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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Wilderness Wilderness
Town of Western Cape

Wilderness as a destination
The so called 'Garden Route' basically stretches from Cape Town to Plettenberg Bay. But for us as a family it is the portion between Mossel Bay and Plettenberg Bay. Wilderness is the ideal central base from where to explore this portion of the Garden Route. The scenery is fantastic. Lots of good eateries close by. Much history. Even a large mall and airport within 20 minutes. Art. Honest warm earthy people. Lots of markets over weekends. This really is Eden; the paradise of South Africa. You will not find better vistas of sea and mountains anywhere. There is no such thing as 'bad weather' here...
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Herman Goosen
South Africa

Thesen Island Thesen Island
Suburb of Knysna

Paradise found
Stunning sunsets and sunrises, quiet and so beautiful. Easy access from Island to all other fun adventurous activities in Knysna and Garden Route!
Shirley Hunt
South Africa

Natures Valley Natures Valley
Town of Western Cape

Heaven
Nature's Valley is possibly the most beautiful part of the Garden Route. Unspoilt yet offering a few guesthouses/self-catering places, it's ideal for a few days of relaxing and fresh air. Long walks on the beach or in the forest, hiking trails to suit all ages and fitness levels, photographic heaven, views to die for, a friendly pub/restaurant and little shop for all emergency supplies - if you haven't yet spent a few days there you're missing out on something special.
Francoise Armour
South Africa

Sedgefield Sedgefield
Town of Western Cape

Sedgefield
A really quiet and picturesque village along the Garden Route. The lagoon and beaches are very attractive and there are some good restaurants for relaxing.
Colin & Margaret Jones
South Africa

Wilderness Wilderness
Town of Western Cape

Heaven on earth...
Wilderness is a paradise! The people are so chilled, and the town is so peaceful and beautiful. A must for anyone looking to get away from it all and enjoy all the Garden Route has to offer.
Amy Vice Bufe'
South Africa

Wilderness Wilderness
Town of Western Cape

Great destination! Charming!
My favourite destination out of season on the Garden Route! Quiet, peaceful and charming.
James Nel
South Africa

Wilderness Wilderness
Town of Western Cape

Wlderness in December
- Pretty- Canoeing nearby- Good restaurants- Central location on Garden Route- Avoid on Christmas and New Years Days (Crowds)
Leonard Van Onselen
South Africa

Sedgefield Sedgefield
Town of Western Cape

Desirable location
Many places along the Garden Route are accessible from Sedgefield.
Harold Wilson
South Africa

Leisure Island Leisure Island
Suburb of Knysna

Paradise in the Lagoon
Beautiful Leisure Isle is situated in the Knysna lagoon. The security on the island is excellent with our own guards. It is a bird-watchers paradise with land birds, water birds and migrants. Walks on the island are on the level and "Steenbok Park" a wonderful botanical reserve with indigenous flora.It is also so convenient for exploring the Garden Route with all its attractions. Two golf courses can be seen from the island and several game viewing parks are within easy reach, covering the most impressive "Birds of Eden" to elephant parks, wolf sanctuary and a big cats reserve.In addition ther...
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Ian Huskisson
South Africa

Wilderness Wilderness
Town of Western Cape

The place to be!
There is something about Wilderness that grabs one. This could be the scenery consisting of the ocean views, beaches, lagoon, lakes and wetlands, the forested hills and valleys. The intimate cosy village, the people, the restaurants and the general relaxed vibe. Whether one stays on the beach, in the village or in a cosy guest house amongst the lakes district, you are sure to enjoy the stay. Enjoy the beaches, walk the trails, canoe the waterways, visit the markets, cycle the backroads, try some adventure and enjoy the birdlife.Wilderness is central to all attractions of the Garden Route.
Mike & Harja Raubenheimer
South Africa

Victoria Bay Victoria Bay
Town of Western Cape

Victoria Bay
Best surfing in the Garden Route.
Magda Schoeman
South Africa

Keurboomstrand Keurboomstrand
Town of Western Cape

Keurboomstrand
This idyllic spot on the Garden Route is 5 km from the centre of Plettenberg Bay. Keurboomstrand offers you deserted white sandy beaches with regular dolphin and whale sightings and a feast of birdlife. Keurboomstrand gives you that “getting away from it all” feeling while only being 10 minutes away from all the activities of Plett. You can access mountain biking in Harkerville, a range of beach walks, a bike track to Plett and outings to Monkey Land, the Snake Park, Storms River Mouth and The Crags to name but a few. This is a terrific spot; whether you are a toddler, a teen or teetering towa...
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Linda Halliday
South Africa

Herolds Bay Herolds Bay
Town of Western Cape

A jewel of a place, small and beautiful,
It is a wonderfully beautiful little Bay with a unique charm. Friendly people and out of season it is a very quiet, restful place. In season it has all the hustle and bustle that people enjoy. It is very near to George and Mossel Bay and the splendors of the Garden Route. So there is so much to do and see, if you like exploring. It has a wonderful History as most small bays do.
Anne Barnes

Thesen Island Thesen Island
Suburb of Knysna

Tranquil and charming
We stayed on Thesen Islands for the first time over Easter this year and fell in love with it. The soft colours and uniformity of the buildings are very soothing. The waterways and small bridges make it a magical place. We took long walks around the islands and our kids (aged 7 and 9) loved the various play areas and small beaches. Thesen Islands is the perfect location to explore all that the Garden Route has to offer.It was great to have restaurants within walking distance. The food at Tapas wasn't the best we've ever had, but the location, atmosphere and good service made up for it. The...
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Retha Van der Wattt
South Africa

Glentana Glentana
Suburb of Great Brak River

Relaxation on a stunning stretch of beach
Glentana is conveniently located at the start of the Garden Route, close to George airport and just 4 hours from Cape Town.Great location for relaxing beach holiday and looong walks/running on the beach.There are also some great MTB trails in the area.
Nicolien Booysen
South Africa

Stormsriver Village Stormsriver Village
Town of Tsitsikamma

Adventure capital of the Garden Route
The adventure capital of the Garden Route is what Stormsriver is! A great destination for the young and young at heart to enjoy amazing outdoor activities and staying in a beautiful little village. Enjoy your meals at Marilyn's Diner ... a treat in a little place like Stormsriver.
Lynette Hiscock
South Africa

Rondevlei Rondevlei
Town of Garden Route

Rondevlei in Wilderness Lakes area Garden Route
Rondevlei, is the name of one of five bodies of water that form the protected Wilderness Lakes area in the Garden Route of South Africa's Western Province.They are surrounded by the Indian Ocean, the Outeniqua Mountains and the beautiful holiday towns of Wilderness and Sedgefield. he area is listed on the Ramsar List of Wetlands of International Importance, especially as a waterfowl habitat.Wilderness Lakes comprise a lagoon and the floodplain of the Touws River, linked by a natural channel called the Serpentine to the three lakes Elandsvlei, Langvlei and Rondevlei. These lakes, together with...
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Sharon Brits
South Africa

Robberg Ridge Robberg Ridge
Suburb of Plettenberg Bay

Robberg Ridge from Driftwood Cottage
Robberg Ridge is such a lovely area, away from the madding crowds. It is lovely and warm in the winter, getting both morning and afternoon sun and much cooler in summer, catching the gentle breezes on the ridge. It is so conveniently situated for the magnificent Robberg Beach in the front, the stunning Robberg Peninsula to the south and all the attractions of the town to the north east. Also within easy reach are the Plett Country Club and the N2, thus making it so convenient for all aspects of Plett's attractions and is only a short ride to the beautiful forests, mountains and Crags to...
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Dawn Pearce
South Africa

Wilderness Wilderness
Town of Western Cape

Anything but a wilderness!
Wilderness is quite the opposite to the meaning of its name - it is not a dry, wild, uncultivated place. Wilderness is a breath-taking holiday resort in summer and the ideal retreat in winter. Its panoramic views and the beauty of its fauna and flora is a visual experience to behold. Holiday accomodation caters for everyone's needs - from self-catering cottages, which are ideal for familes with children, to hotels for business people and the occasional break-away from home for couples. The hospitality and friendliness of hotel, guest house and self-catering staff is definitely a draw-card to...
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Shirley Herman
South Africa

Thesen Island Thesen Island
Suburb of Knysna

Pure Bliss
I stayed at Blue Rooms at Thesen Island in summer last year. It was my first stay on Thesen Island and I must admit - I WILL BE BACK!! I stayed at various places along the Garden Route for a week, starting in Mossel Bay, then George, Wilderness, Knysna & ended off on Thesen Island. This was my best idea ever, cause of all the activites and adventures we had for the week, we needed a break and this was pure bliss to end off the holiday. Its like a quaint little town on its own. The restaurants are gorgeous, I especially loved 'Sirrocco' who has the best fish & chips in town I suppose. Blue Room...
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Chantal Bosch
South Africa