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South Africa's own Eden - The Garden route

The Garden Route Coast is one of the most scenically beautiful and diverse regions of South Africa.

The Garden Route is a 300-kilometre (190 mi)[1] stretch of the south-eastern coast of South Africa which extends from Witsand in the Western Cape to the border of Tsitsikamma Storms River in the Eastern Cape. The name comes from the verdant and ecologically diverse vegetation encountered here and the numerous estuaries and lakes dotted along the coast. It includes towns such as Knysna, Plettenberg Bay, Mossel Bay, Great Brak River, Little Brak River, Wilderness, Sedgefield and Nature's Valley; with George, the Garden Route's largest city and main administrative centre.

We’ve listed just a few of our favourite attractions below. Please contact us to make your bookings – or to discuss an itinerary designed especially for you.

Please contact us to discuss how we can incorporate these – and other interesting and exciting adventures and attractions – into your personal tour or your company’s incentive tour of the Garden Route.

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Garden Route Towns

Albertinia

Albertinia is a settlement in Hessequa Municipality in the Western Cape province of South Africa. Village 50 km west of Mossel Bay, at the foot of the Langeberg Mountains, and is fondly referred to as the home of the Aloe. Albertinia has two Aloe factories, as Aloe Ferox, or Cape Aloe is indigenous to the area.

Activities include:

  • Game watching at the Garden Route Game Lodge
  • Aloe factory tours

Stilbaai

  • Meet the eels at the de Jager farmstead – a school of indigenous eels in a natural pond. The people of Stilbaai Tourism feed them every day at 11:00!
  • Inverroche Distillery – which produces Gin Classic, Gin Verdant, and Gin Amber. It offers tastings and tours daily.
  • Land-based whale watching (May to September)
  • Archaeology museum – the Blombos Museum at Stilbaai Tourism explores the middle stone age of the region.

George

George is a city in South Africa’s Western Cape, on a coastal stretch known as the Garden Route. It’s known for its golf courses and the George Museum, which has exhibits on the local timber industry. The Outeniqua Transport Museum has steam trains and vintage cars. The Garden Route Botanical Garden features trails and local fynbos plants. The Seven Passes road to Knysna town winds through the Outeniqua Mountains.

George features the following : 

  • George Museum – it’s Timber Museum explains the history of the famous indigenous forests and the woodcutters of the 19th and early 20th Centuries
  • Golf: Fancourt Hotel & Country Club Estate (with three courses: The Links, Montagu, and Outeniqua), Kingswood Golf Estate (a Sally Little signature course), the Hyatt Regency Oubaai Golf Resort (where the course was designed by Ernie Els), and the George Golf Club. Also the Glenwood Short Golf Course, the Three Chameleons Short Golf Course, and the Silver Lily Klompen Golf (Holland’s popular farmer’s golf).
  • Garden Route Botanical Garden – an outstanding collection of indigenous plants. It offers pleasant walking and birding
  • Redberry strawberry farm, is a lush country garden farm overlooking the Outeniqua Mountains open for strawberry picking, lunch, ice cream, playgrounds and horse riding. 

 

Wilderness

Wilderness is a town in South Africa’s Western Cape Province, on a coastal stretch known as the Garden Route. It’s home to wide beaches and trails. The Map of Africa, a hilltop lookout point, has views of the Indian Ocean, the Outeniqua Mountains and the Kaaimans River. Nearby Wilderness Natural Park, part of the sprawling Garden Route National Park, is a habitat for wildlife including leopards, monkeys and eagles.

  • The Wilderness  National park aka Ebb and Flow is a section which offers birding, kayaking, mountain biking, trail running, and hiking.  
  • It  boasts some of the most beautiful beaches you’ll see in the Garden route. 
  • Garden Route National Park – one of South Africa’s largest reserves. An un-fenced heaven of more than 160,000 hectares.

 

 

Sedgefield

  • Garden Route National Park – the Sedgefield section of the Park is best known for its birding and hiking. And there’s CapeNature’s Goukamma Reserve, too (hiking, birding, bass fishing).
  • Paragliding – Flytime Paragliding offers professional tandem paragliding flights, as well as introductory and full license training courses.

Knysna

Knysna is a town with 85,708 inhabitants as of 2019 in the Western Cape Province of South Africa and is part of the Garden Route. It lies 34 degrees south of the equator, and is 55 kilometres east from the city of George on the N2 highway, and 33 kilometres west of the town of Plettenberg Bay on the same road.

Must do when visiting Knysna

  • The Garden Route National Park is everywhere in Knysna: the Park protects the famous Knysna Lagoon, and the mysterious Knysna Forests (visit then for forest walks, birding, mountain bike trails, and picnic sites).
  • Featherbed Nature Reserve – 4-hour long tours to the Western Head of the Knysna Lagoon, with ferry boat rides, a land-train ride to the top of the headland, a 2.2 km guided coastal walk and a sumptuous buffet lunch
  • Sailing with Springtide Charters and Heads Explorer
  • Boat trips on the Knysna Lagoon with Knysna Boating, mv John Benn, or the Paddle Cruiser (yes, it really does run on paddles – but its got propellers, too)
  • Licensed boat-based whale watching with Ocean Odyssey
  • Seafood at restaurants like 34 South, Tapas Oysters, Drydock, or Sirocco
  • The Knysna Angling Museum – probably the only one of its kind in the country
  • Golf at Pezula Golf Club and Simola Hotel and Country Club

 

Plettenberg Bay

Plettenberg Bay is a seaside town on the Garden Route in South Africa’s Western Cape Province. The sandy Central Beach and Lookout Beach both have surf breaks. To the south, Robberg Nature Reserve is a rocky peninsula with trails and the Stone Age Nelson Bay Caves. Northeast are Birds of Eden, a free-flight bird sanctuary in indigenous forest, and an elephant sanctuary. Whales come near the coast in migration season.

  • Golf – Plettenberg Bay Country Club and Goose Valley Golf Club
  • Robberg Nature Reserve – the peninsula that defines the Bay and a fine place for hiking, whale and dolphin watching, and birding
  • Tandem Skydiving with Skydive Plettenberg Bay
  • Whale and dolphin watching with Ocean Safaris and Ocean Blue Adventures
  • Sea Kayaking with Dolphin Adventures
  • Boat trips with Keurbooms River Ferries and Ocean Adventures
  • Scuba diving, surfing, body boarding, and angling
  • Monkeyland Primate Sanctuary – where previously abused or caged monkeys, gibbons, and others live in free-range peace
  • Birds of Eden – the world’s largest free-flight dome, where previously caged birds and small monkeys now live as naturally as possible
  • Jukani Wildlife Sanctuary – a home for wild cats and other apex predators
  • Radical Raptors – a rehabilitation and education centre for South Africa’s birds of prey
  • Plett Puzzle Park – brain fun for the entire family

 

 

Boggomsbaai

  • Hiking: the Oystercatcher Trail and the Hunter-Gatherer Trail
  • Fransmanshoek Conservancy – explore untouched marine and fynbos environments
  • Accommodation at Sandpiper Cottages – amidst the fynbos, and overlooking miles and miles of unspoiled, golden beaches

Tsitsikama

  • The Tsitsikamma section of the Garden Route National Park offers hiking, birding, snorkelling, and sea-side accommodation• Treetop Canopy Tours Africa’s first guided zip-line tours through the indigenous forests
  • Face Adrenalin’s Bloukrans Bungy – the world’s highest commercial bungy bridge