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Explore the Garden Route

The Garden Route

The best of the Cape


Discover the colourful fynbos shrubland, rolling vineyards and idyllic villages set in the rainforest, all with the backdrop of a glistening Indian Ocean. Explore the most beautiful itinerary of South Africa.

Hit the road!

300 kilometres of sheer visual delight

The Garden Route is one of South Africa's most popular itineraries. And for a good reason: the route takes you through historic fishing villages, over hills with fynbos and past beautiful lagoons - and all with a view of the deep blue Indian Ocean. The mild sea climate also guarantees sunshine and a pleasant temperature of 25 degrees Celsius. The official route runs from Mosselbaai to Storms River and encompasses around 300 kilometres, however most visitors start their journey in Cape Town. Allow for a week to take in all the highlights.

Distance: approx. 300 kilometres. 
Number of stops along the way: 6

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"The Garden Route will take you through historic fishing villages, over hills clad in fynbos and past beautiful lagoons."

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Cape Town to Mosselbaai

Rolling vineyards

The stretch from Cape Town to Mosselbaai- the actual starting point of the Garden Route - is so beautiful it deserves a stop. The road will take you along the rolling vineyards of Franschhoek, where you can sit back on the veranda of a historic mansion and sample sparkling whites and full-bodied red wines.

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Hemis / Alamy Stock Photo
Garden Route 04 Franschenhoek 1
Garden Route 04 Harvey Bay Img
THPStock

Next, continue the drive to the fishing village of Hermanus; the best time of year for whale watching is from July to November.

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Garden Route 06 Museum Boat
Ariadne Van Zandbergen / Alamy Stock Photo

Stop 1 - Mosselbaai

Historic mail tree

Pristine beaches and guaranteed good weather make the port town of Mosselbaai a beloved holiday destination. In 1488, Portuguese explorer Bartholomeu Dias landed here on the West Cape, proving the existence of a sea route to India. Learn all about this era in the Dias Museum. The display includes a replica of Dias's sailing boat, a Dutch East India warehouse and a 500-year-old mail tree, where sailors posted messages for each other.

Garden Route 06 Museum Tree
Ariadne Van Zandbergen / Alamy Stock Photo
Garden Route 06 Mussels And Oysters
Pick n Pay Knysna Oyster Festival

Mussels and oysters

Mosselbaai was named by Dutch sailors who gorged on the plentiful mussels and oysters in the bay. Even today, you can still delight in these delicacies at local restaurants such as Café Gannet in the harbour of Mosselbaai.

Stop 2 - George

A golfer's paradise

George, the largest city along the Garden Route, is nestled at the foot of the picturesque Outeniqua Mountains. A real golfer's paradise, the town is home to some of the most beautiful golf courses in South Africa. Play a round on the Fancourt course, designed by South African golf legend Gary Player, while admiring the views of the mountain range in the distance.

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Greatstock / Alamy Stock Photo
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Garden Route 07 Ostrich Img
mauritius images GmbH / Alamy Stock Photo

Oudtshoorn

A close encounter with ostriches

From George it takes only an hour to drive to Oudtshoorn, in the Kleine Karoo. In this semi-desert, the green fynbos is replaced by cacti, succulents... and ostriches! Home to around 400 ostrich farms, Oudtshoorn is known as the ostrich capital of the world. Visit the Safari Ostrich Farm for a close-up look at these large flightless birds and an opportunity to pet and feed them.

Stop 3 - Knysna

Fresh oysters from the lagoon

Knysna (pronounced: neis-na) is known as the pearl of the Garden Route; many visitors end up spending several days here. This charming town is surrounded by the stunning Knysna Lagoon, a water sports haven for swimmers, kayakers and kite surfers.

Garden Route 08 George Oyster Fest
Garden Route 08 George

The best oysters in the country hail from this region: the annual Knysna Oyster Festival in summer serves up these tasty morsels in many different dishes and varieties.

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Garden Route 09 Jungle

The star attraction however is the Knysna Forest: the largest rainforest in South Africa. Hike amidst ancient trees, ferns and wild flowers - and keep an eye out for the bright green Knysna turaco bird.

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Mitchell's Brewery

Mitchell's Brewery is the oldest micro-brewery in South Africa. After a tour, relax in the cosy courtyard over craft beers and a tasty burger.

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Mitchell's Brewing
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Stop 4 – Plettenberg Bay

Endless beaches

Ostentatious jet-setters, barefoot surfers and kaki-donning nature fans: the ‘Plett’ embraces them all. This holiday oasis boasts miles of sandy beach, a happening night life scene and beautiful national parks.

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Robberg Nature Reserve

The rocky Robberg peninsula, just south of the Plett, is an ancient part of Africa. These rocks date back to the time that Gondwanaland broke apart, around 120 million years ago. Even back then this was a favourite spot: archaeological finds in the nearby caves of Nelson Bay have been dated back to 125,000 years ago. This historic importance has earned Robberg the status of a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

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Ariadne Van Zandbergen / Alamy Stock Photo
Garden Route 13 Birds Of Eden 2
Ariadne Van Zandbergen / Alamy Stock Photo
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Birds of Eden

Birds of Eden

A birder's paradise: Birds of Eden is the largest bird reserve in the world. Encompassing 5.7 acres of indigenous forest, the park is home to 3,500 birds of 220 different species. Embark on a bird safari and stroll along the raised walkways among the trees to observe birds from around the world, ranging from African turacos to South American parrots.

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Kumar Sriskandan / Alamy Stock Photo
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Garden Route 14 Natures Valley Img
Grobler du Preez / Alamy Stock Photo

Stop 5 - Nature's Valley

Hidden oasis

The second to last stop along the Garden Route comes after a meandering drive through the rainforest. Nature's Valley is tucked away in the exuberant green of the Tsitsikamma Forest. This tiny village boasts only a handful of holiday cottages, a bakery and a store - and 20 kilometres of pristine beach along the Indian Ocean. On the other side, Nature's Valley is framed by the Grootrivier Lagoon with calm, clear water, perfect for swimming, kayaking or sailing. A great spot to spend some time and soak in the idyllic setting.

Stop 6 - Storms River

Finish with an adrenaline rush!

The end of the Garden Route is anything but boring: the town of Storms River has made a name for itself as an outdoor adventure destination. To get into the spirit, drive to the suspension bridge over the mouth of the Storms River and watch the waves of the Indian Ocean pound on the rocks. However, the most popular activities in Storms River include bungee jumping, rafting, mountain biking and ziplining through the Tsitsikamma Forest. Everything you need to end this tour on an adrenaline high.

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Greatstock / Alamy Stock Photo
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Zoonar GmbH / Alamy Stock Photo
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mauritius images GmbH / Alamy Stock Photo
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imageBROKER / Alamy Stock Photo

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