The Garden Route, South Africa
NO ADSENSE ACCOUNT SELECTED FOR
A visit to Cape Town will not be complete without spending a few days exploring
the Garden Route. The Garden Route is a scenic stretch of coastal highway that links some of South Africa’s famous
and beautiful landscape. Every now and then, visitors to the garden route will be awed by the lush, indigenous
forest on one side and be mesmerized by endless views of the sea in the horizon on the other.
The garden route sandwiched between the Outeniqua and Tsitsikamma mountains and
the Indian Ocean begins from Mossel Bay and ends at Storms River, a rustic village towards the direction of Port
Situated halfway between Cape Town and Port Elizabeth, Mossel Bay is the first
stop in the garden route for driving or touring from Cape Town. The beautiful coastal village is a busy summer
destination and an ideal winter retreat. From Maritime Museum to an 800 years old Post Office, the historical
buildings are representation of the town’s rich heritage. Mossels, sounds like mussels, which is perhaps why the
mussels gathered in Mossel Bay is rated as one of the finest in the world by gourmets.
As the sixth oldest town in South Africa, George is the Capital of Southern Cape.
George is halfway between Cape Town and Port Elizabeth and hence an ideal base for exploring surrounding towns and
scenic landscapes. While in George, discover why an ancient English Oak known as The Slave Tree embedded with large
chain and lock is a national monument. Enjoy a nostalgic ride on Africa's last remaining passenger steam train, the
Outeniqua Choo Tjoe as it meanders through the beautiful fynbos and temperature forest toward Knsyna.
Set between the Kaaimans River and the Goukama Nature Reserve, the approach into
Wilderness is a sight to behold. Lying by the border of the Outeniqua Mountains, Wilderness is surrounded by many
rivers and lakes. The National Park within Wilderness is a great place to observe many types of wildlife and is
especially ideal for bird watchers. Sport enthusiasts will also be spoilt for choice when it comes to adrenaline
pumping activities like hang gliding, paragliding and mountain biking. The rustic charm of Wilderness is further
enhanced by the presence of quaint, wooden houses perching at the edge of the cliff.
Sedgefield is a small resort town between Wilderness and Knysna. Known for its
many hiking trails and bird hides, Sedgefield is a delightful place to marvel at colourful wild flowers and fynbos.
There is even an estuary for bathing and fishing.
Knysna is Southern Cape best known holiday destination. Knysna striking geological
features ranges from treacherous channels, beautiful lagoon and a large indigenous forest, home to many ancient
trees of such as stinkwood, yellowwood, blackwood and white alders. One of the best known attractions in Knysna is
the Heads. The Heads are two sandstone cliffs guarding the mouth of the lagoon and it connects the estuary within
the sea. The lookout at the Eastern Head is a great place to watch swirling current flowing from the open sea into
mouth of the channel and eventually calming down as it blend into Knysna River. Western Head is a privately owned
nature reserve, Featherbed Bay and can be visited on a guided walking tour. There are many restaurant, cafes and
bars in Knysna selling many types of local and international cuisines. However, don’t forget to try a local
delicacy, Knysna oysters; it is reputed to be among the tastiest in the world. Shopping is also an interesting
experience in Knysna. One of the main shopping places is Waterfront which sits by the sea. It is a good place to
buy African made products and handicraft.
Plettenberg Bay is a nursery to the endangered South Right Whale. The whale comes
here to calve in winter. From July to December, you can have an opportunity to watch the South Right Whale and its
calf frolicking in the waters of Plettenberg. Like most places on the Garden Route, Plettenberg have its share of
beautiful forests and varied wildlife. The pretty town is also blessed with a varied ecosystem, one of which is a
unique marine reserve which is home to soft coral reefs and a host of marine life. There is a vibrant nightlife in
Plettenberg Bay. Pubs, clubs and fine restaurants can be found in every corner of the town. The Bay is a favourite
vacation spot for students.
The Tsitsikamma National Park is an internationally recognized nature reserve. The
forests in Tsitsikamma is home to a giant Outeniqua yellowwood tree. This enormous tree has survived unchanged for
millions of years and is one of the few true monarchs of the world's forests. The national park has many scenic
hiking trails and one of the best known is the Otter Trail, which stretches from Storms River Mouth to Nature
Valley. The Otter Trail embodies scenic landscape of lush green forest and wild flowers, rocky formations near the
sea and tranquil shoreline. There are also biking trails, hunting safaris and fishing trips for visitors to
participate. For the adventure enthusiast, try bungee jumping from the world’s highest jump which is 216ms at
Bloukrans Bridge, Black Water Tubing, Kloofing or slide from tree to tree in a Canopy Tour. Alternatively, if you
like taking great pictures, the rugged and unspoilt coastline in the Tsitsikamma National Park is a photographer’s
You can explore the scenic Garden Route through local guided tours. However, one
of the best ways to see the places is self drive. It is easy to drive to the Garden Route. The motorists in South
Africa drive on the left hand side of the road and all you need is an international license and the legal driving
age is 18. Do not rush through the Garden Route; give yourself 4 to 5 days to truly experience the South African