The Garden Route
Why should you visit the Garden Route?
We’ll let this list of our ten favourite attractions do the talking.
Some people say it stretches from Witsand to Tsitsikamma, some say it stretches from Cape Town to Port Elizabeth - but whichever way you look at it, it’s called the Garden Route because it’s Nature’s Garden, and it’s probably the most scenically beautiful stretch of the South African coast.
And Mossel Bay, where the Oystercatcher Trail begins, is it’s mid-point, because it’s exactly 400 km from Cape Town on the national route (N2) - and 400 km from Port Elizabeth, too. So it’s the prefect breakaway destination - for a week, or a weekend.
Our Ten Favourites
Listed from west to east, but in no order of preference:
Point of Human Origins Tours, Mossel Bay
Discover the caves that have revealed the earliest evidence for modern human behaviour - and learn from the past to ensure a sustainable future: www.humanorigin.co.za
Weekly Farmers Markets & Community Markets
Home-grown food and arts & crafts - and a great way to meet the locals. Here’s a selection of our most popular Saturday morning events:
Redberry Strawberry Farm, George
Outdoor fun for the whole family on a farm that produces 400 tons of strawberries every year. Hedge maze, paddle boats, a playground, strawberry picking, and regular events and activities: www.redberryfarm.co.za
Garden Route Botanical Gardens, George
Discover the fynbos of the Western Cape. South Africa’s youngest botanical garden boasts a herbarium, walking paths, a tea garden, and great birding: www.botanicalgarden.org.za
Outeniqua Transport Museum, George
Unique collections of old trains and classic cars: www.outeniquachootjoe.co.za
Knysna Fine Art
Probably South Africa’s best commercial art gallery. Friendly, knowledgeable staff - very welcoming to visitors: www.finearts.co.za
Knysna Heads & the Knysna Estuary
Visit The Heads for spectacular views of the Estuary, which is protected as part of the Garden Route National Park.
- Sailing tours through The Heads with Springtide Sailing Charters: www.springtide.co.za
- Boat-based whale watching, and marine tours of the Estuary and The Heads with Ocean Odyssey: www.oceanodyssey.co.za
- Tours of the Western Head, and other boat trips on the lagoon with The Featherbed Company: www.featherbed.co.za
Robberg Nature Reserve
CapeNature - the Western Cape Province’s conservation organisation - bills Robberg as “A national monument steeped in history, with prehistoric rocks and Stone Age artefacts.” But it’s also a World Heritage Site with awesome day hikes, birding, and whale-watching and dolphin-watching.
- The interpretive centre at the Nelson Bay Cave explains this important Middle Stone Age and Later Stone Age archaeological site. (Plettenberg Bay) www.capenature.co.za
Tsitsikamma Canopy Tours
A guided, 3-hour wilderness adventure in the indigenous forests of the Tsitsikamma section of the Garden Route National Park. Strap into your harness, and glide from platform to platform along a series of steel cables high above the forest floor. A unique experience of a natural environment that’s usually quite inaccessible (Storms River Village) www.stormsriver.com
The world’s highest commercial bridge bungy jump - off the 216 metre Bloukrans Bridge. A very personal journey from fear to elation - with a drop of around 160 metres followed by a huge pendulum swing as you rebound. Situated in the Tsitsikamma section of the Garden Route National Park and is billed as the smoothest bungy on the planet: www.faceadrenalin.com