Packed with an assortment of attractions from family beaches, charming seaside towns, whale watching, nature reserves, forests, fynbos and the Karoo hinterland, the Garden Route is made for relaxing holidays.
Fear not if you have an aversion to the tweeness of landscaped botanical gardens with quaint cobbled pathways, pram-friendly bridges and "keep off" signs pegged into inviting lawns. The Garden Route is not like that.
Travelling east along the coast from
To the backdrop of Table Mountain, Cape Town's white beaches and café culture, world-class restaurants, working harbour, urban nature reserves and vineyards have earned this African city a season ticket to all the "World's Favourite City" polls.
More... , the Garden Route starts where the vineyards of the Cape Winelands Cape Winelands
If the game reserves are the eastern bookend of the Garden Route, the Cape Winelands are the western bookend. And what a bookend with charming country towns, vast mountain ranges, beautiful nature reserves and of course the ever-so-picturesque vineyards.
More... - somewhere around Swellendam. For the next several hundred km the road hugs the coastline bringing you beaches, nature reserves, whales, mountains, forests, rivers, lakes, lagoons and officially the second mildest climate in the world*.
Or you can make a detour via Route 62 through the Klein Karoo - a sparsely populated semi-arid hinterland of one-horse towns and amazing scenery - and rejoin the seaside fun a little further down the road.
The highlights along the Garden Route include:
- Whale-watching season from Hermanus (not technically the Garden Route but a good place to start) all the way up the coast to Plettenberg Bay
- Beautiful beaches with slightly warmer water than Cape Town
- Charming seaside towns: Hermanus, Mossel Bay, George, Knysna, Plettenberg Bay, St. Francis Bay and many smaller holiday towns and villages
- Magical nature reserves: Nature's Valley, Tsitsikamma Forest, Storms River
- Coastal hikes and outdoor adventure
- Oudsthoorn and Route 62 over the Outeniqua and Tsitsikamma Mountains
Most of the action along the Garden Route takes place outdoors be it hiking, kayaking, cycling, golf, lazing on the beach or on any number of adventure activities. And everything comes with a green label - it being the sacred garden and all - so eco-friendly tours and nature experiences are the order of the day.
*Hence the Garden Route moniker: temperatures range between 10°C and 28°C and moderate rainfall occurs year round. Oh and in case you're wondering the Garden Route is second only to Hawaii for its mild weather.