Travel to the Garden Route
A breathtaking combination of lush mountain ranges, golden beaches, indigenous forests and quaint little towns, the Garden Route is not only one of the country’s most scenic regions but also an adventure wonderland for the adrenalin addict. From marine and land-based activities to safari adventures, little gourmet gems to delight the taste buds and thriving crafts centres filled with artworks of every shape, form and size, this diverse haven offers a multitude of holiday options.
Surrounded by rolling hills and famous for the two craggy cliffs known as The Heads, which protect its secluded lagoon from the sea, the colourful and quirky town of Knysna combines a thriving artistic and foodie vibe with spectacular scenery and marine adventures. The rocky promontories of The Heads dominate a coastline interspersed with secluded golden beaches, set against a backdrop of rolling forests and the rugged outline of the Outeniqua Mountains. Accessible only by boat, the Featherbed Reserve on the Western Head is covered with fragrant fynbos vegetation, while the indigenous forests further inland are home to the last few reclusive Cape bush elephants.
Renowned for its annual Oyster Festival, the town is also home to a multitude of top eateries, from seafood delights at trendy Thesen Harbour Town to delicious baked goods, eclectic spicy menus and pub or bistro-style meals.
Guest can explore the Garden Route’s quiet rivers on leisurely canoe trips or take a walk through towering yellowwood forest. Browse colourful stores for souvenirs or enjoy a picnic at one of many spectacular viewpoints, gazing out onto expansive views of forested slopes, sleeping lakes and mountain peaks. Indulge in a champagne cruise on Knysna lagoon as the setting sun paints The Heads a warm shade of ochre, followed by an open-air dinner beneath a carpet of stars. Fall asleep to the whisper of waves beating on the shore and awaken to the calls of oystercatchers.
Filled with delights for both young and old, the Garden Route is the ideal destination for a South Africa tour for the whole family. Spend sunny days on sandy beaches, whether splashing in secluded lagoons and bays with younger children or watching teenagers surf the waves at hot spots such as Victoria Bay. Take to the waters on whale watching cruises and keep an eye out for the friendly dolphins. Enjoy biking, hiking or gentle nature walks in the mountains or the shady forests or watch in delight as your young ones discover the delights of wildlife in a malaria-free Big Five game reserve.
With outdoor adventures that range from the relatively tame to the adrenalin-inducing, the Garden Route is a thrill seekers’ mecca. Whether it’s testing your nerves at Africa’s highest bungee jump off Bloukrans Bridge, soaring through the treetops on a canopy tour in the dense forests of Tsitsikamma, mountain biking on some of the country’s most scenic trails or galloping on horseback along a sandy beach, you’re guaranteed to find something that’s exactly your style. If land-based thrills are not your thing, the area offers marine sports like scuba diving, deep sea fishing and yachting, as well as aerial adventures from paragliding to scenic helicopter flips.
- Head out on a road trip! Self-driving enthusiasts will delight in South Africa’s excellent road network.
- Thrill on an exhilarating treetop canopy tour in the Tsitsikamma Forest
- Devour fresh oysters by the two dozen in Knysna
- Grahamstown Arts Festival
- Knysna Oyster Festival in July
- Wildlife ranges from Southern right whales, great white sharks, bottlenose and humpback dolphins, cape fur seals and the African penguin can be spotted on an ocean safari in the Indian Ocean.
Summer (October – April)
Min 24°C/75°F Max 32°C/90°F
Winter (May – September)
Min 24°C/75°F Max 32°C/90°F
A superb all-year beach destination, the perfect time to visit is between February and May, and the whales arrive from July to December.