The Garden Route is a coastal stretch of land running through South Africa’s Western Cape and Eastern Cape. It is famous for its lush greenery and unspoiled ocean views making it one of the world’s most premier destinations for a road trip. The route can be easily navigated and the many idyllic cities and towns littered upon it offer plenty of excuses for stop-offs. There are many wonderful ways to explore the Garden Route, and there is so much to see and do. We’ve put together an itinerary that features some of the best activities and destinations.
The ideal itinerary for all travellers!
THE CULTURAL HUB OF SOUTH AFRICA
Plenty of thrilling experiences and activities await travellers in The Mother City. There is something for everyone in the city, making it a fantastic destination for families. The city is known for its vibrant nightlife; sip on cocktails or gin and tonics at a rooftop bar, or dance the night away at one of the Cape Town’s many clubs. Families can spend the day walking through the Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden, spot sea creatures at the Two Oceans Aquarium, or visit Greenmarket Square, one of Cape Town’s oldest markets.
Fine wining and dining
Franschhoek is a must-visit if you’re a wine lover, or if you simply appreciate the finer things in life. The town is one of the oldest in South Africa, and its rich French heritage is present in its architecture, artisan cuisine and top-notch wine. Holidaymakers can enjoy wine tastings at one of the wine farms in the Franschhoek Valley, or a delicious meal at a first-rate restaurant. Those looking for an extraordinary experience can enjoy a hop-on hop-off wine tour on the Franschhoek Wine Tram. If you’re planning a Franschhoek getaway, we’d recommend a stay at Avondrood Guesthouse.
A whale of a time
As one of the best whale-watching destinations in the world, Hermanus is a must-visit for travellers who wish to see these gargantuan creatures. Families on a Garden Route holiday will find that Hermanus offers plenty of family-friendly activities. Travellers can explore the Fernkloof Nature Reserve, visit the Whale Museum and Old Harbour Museum, or enjoy a beach day at Hermanus’ Blue Flag Status beach, Grotto Beach. For an excellent 4-Star experience in Hermanus, be sure to stay at Hermanus Beach Villa.
New adventures & ancient history come together
Mossel Bay offers travellers the perfect blend of rich history and thrilling activities on the coast. The seaside town is known for its beautiful beaches, hiking trails and delicious seafood, and it is a paradise for beach lovers and outdoor enthusiasts. Travellers can visit the aquarium or the lighthouse, enjoy boat trips, and water sports at the Diaz Water Park. Must-visit places of interest include the caves of the Point of Human Origins, the Bartolomeu Dias Museum Complex and the Hartenbos Museum. For comfortable accommodation with beautiful views, look no further than
Discover the heart of the Klein Karoo
Oudtshoorn is the largest town in the Klein Karoo region and is known as the ostrich capital of the world. This town is rich in settler history and is home to the Cango Caves, a remarkable underground natural wonder. The caves, made from limestone, features dripstone caverns, tower rock formations and expansive halls. The popular Klein Karoo Nasionale Kunstefees (Little Karoo National Arts Festival), an Afrikaans arts and music festival, takes place in Oudtshoorn annually. The town is perfect for art-lovers, geology-buffs and families. Our favourite accommodation available is the luxurious Hlangana Lodge, a stunning lodge set in an exotic garden.
Find serenity in the Wilderness
For a wonderful seaside adventure look no further than Wilderness! This beautiful town is a haven for beach-goers, thrill-seekers and its proximity to George and Knysna makes it the perfect base-camp for a Garden Route getaway. There is plenty to do in Wilderness, including paragliding, surfing, hiking or just relaxing on the world-class beach with a drink in hand. The white sand beaches and sparkling water make for a picturesque view that is not easy to forget. Enjoy the scenery from the Views Boutique Hotel and Spa, a 5-Star accommodation suitable for a variety of tourists.
Laid-back living at its best
Knysna is a wonderful coastal town boasting tranquil blue waters and a breathtaking lagoon all surrounded by a lush forest and the Outeniqua Mountains. Knysna is a prime stop on any Garden Route tour with the Knysna Heads, two sea-cliffs, taking center stage. The town is also known for the annual Oyster Festival, as well as a variety of restaurants offering fine dining, pubs, and luxury accommodation. One such accommodation is the stunning African Breeze Guesthouse. The guesthouse is situated near the lagoon and offers luxury lodging and excellent views.
Sun, Sea and Sand
Plettenberg Bay is a beautiful stretch of land along the coast between Port Elizabeth and Cape Town. The town hosts plenty of fantastic activities for adventurers to enjoy, including water sports, hikes and visiting Monkeyland, as well as the largest bird sanctuary in the world. Plettenberg Bay is a wonderful destination for those wanting a beach getaway, as well as families. The gorgeous scenery is something not to be missed and guests can enjoy the views from the 5-Star Tsala Treetop Lodge. The lodge is set in the indigenous forest and incorporates wood and stone for an earthy, yet luxurious feel.
An adventure-filled paradise
Tsitsikamma is a protected area of land along the Garden Route. The forested coastal reserve promises breath-taking beauty and plenty of exciting adventures to be experienced within it. Forest hikes, kayaking and the ever-popular canopy tours can all be enjoyed in Tsitsikamma. A few nights in the area is ideal for nature lovers, birdwatchers and for those who enjoy a solid adrenaline rush. There are plenty of great accommodations in Tsitsikamma but one of our favourites is Misty Mountain Reserve.
The Friendly City
Port Elizabeth brings together the perfect mix of coastal bliss and seaside fun. As the Friendly City of South Africa, Port Elizabeth is the home of Blue Flag beaches, thrilling water sports and a relaxed atmosphere that tie them all together. There is something for everybody in Port Elizabeth and a world of safari wonder is just a short drive from the city. Located just a short walk from the sea, the 5th Avenue Beach House is the perfect accommodation for a stay in Port Elizabeth.
Home of the Big 7
The Addo Elephant National Park is home to South Africa’s largest population of elephants. At approximately 600 strong, Addo’s elephant population is not the only gem of the area. The park is also home to the other members of the Big 7. Lion, leopard, rhinoceros, buffalo, Great White Shark and southern right whale can all be found within the park’s five biomes. Nature lovers can rejoice in the many offerings but Africa’s longest double zipline is also nearby for adrenaline junkies. The Zuurberg Mountain Village is the ideal basecamp from which to enjoy Addo.
Luxury in the bush
The malaria-free Eastern Cape is home to a number of fantastic game reserves. The majority of them play host to the majestic Big 5 as well as a number of luxury lodges. A world of rustic opulence, superior service and safari wonder await wherever you choose to enjoy your bush adventure. From riverboat safaris, to nocturnal game drives and scenic bushwalks, a stay at one of the Eastern Cape game reserves is the perfect getaway for nature enthusiasts, honeymooners or families with children. Sarili Lodge at Shamwari Game Reserve is one of our favourite safari accommodations of the Eastern Cape.