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Garden Route
Why Travel Here?
  • Aptly named the Garden Route because of its beauty and abundance of flora.

  • Starting in the west at Swellendam and ending at Humansdorp just before Port Elizabeth, the Garden Route follows the southern part of the Western Cape coastline.  

  • The most interesting portion of the Garden Route is between Mossel Bay and the Storms River Mouth in the Tsitsikamma National Park.

  • The coastline combines unspoilt white sandy beaches, lagoons, dunes and steep rocky cliffs.  

  • The many towns that line this route each have unique features and a special charm of their own.

  • Cape St Francis is attractive to many for its natural beauty and simple rustic quality. Fishing here is excellent because the peninsulas at Seal and Shark Point jut far out into the channel and are separated by 3km of superb surf-fishing beach. 

  • Many popular dive spots and interesting wrecks in the area.

  • The St Francis Lighthouse is a national monument and well worth a visit.

  • Outstanding surfing and wonderful terrain for walkers and mountain bikers alike.

  • Nearby St Francis Bay and Jeffreys Bay have distinctive architectural styles with colourful surf shops and restaurants respectively. 

  • Jeffreys Bay is also renowned as a mecca for surfers.

  • George is situated inland and is the capital city and business centre of the Garden Route.

  • Three of South Africa’s “Top Ten Golf Courses” are located in George: Plettenberg Bay Country Club (18 holes), Goose Valley and Turtle Creek (18 holes) and the Mashie Course (9 holes).

  • Victoria Bay is a charming bay described by many as “The Gem of the Garden Route”. 

  • The tourist capital of the Garden Route, Knysna, boasts a spectacular waterfront.  

  • Knysna is a cultural town in which three main festivals take place annually: the Knysna Timber Fair (held during the Easter holidays) celebrates Knysna’s forests and its vibrant timber industry; the Knysna Oyster Festival is a celebration of leisure, sport and outdoor adventure and the Nederburg Arts Festival celebrates the artists and performers who make up Knysna’s rich and diverse cultures.

  • Mossel Bay, a popular seaside town, is the landing place of the first European in 1488, Bartholomew Diaz, and is also where the famous “post office tree” can be found. 

  • The inland town of Oudtshoorn is renowned for its ostrich farms. 

  • Situated only 30km from Oudtshoorn are the Cango Caves, which house some of the largest stalagmite formations in the world. 

  • Plettenberg Bay and The Crags – there is a wealth of things to do in and around “Plett” and The Crags. Explore animal sanctuaries, craft centres, fine dining and wine tasting or pristine beaches.

  • Robberg Nature & Marine Reserve is a geological and historical gem, offering wonderful walks and Nelson's Cave (where the Khoi San once lived).

  • Alternative walks include: Salt River Walk, Kalander Kloof Walk, Groot River Walk, the Garden of Eden and Krantzhoek scenic spot.

  • The Arts and Craft Route is brilliant: Curiosity, The Heath, Old Nick's Arts & Crafts Village and Porcupine Raku ceramics.

  • Endless entertainment on offer including: Buffalo Hills Game drives, Mampoer Distillery, Qolweni Theatre Group, cultural tours of the townships, Keurbooms River ferries, cycling trails, bungee jumping, snorkelling, scuba diving, blackwater tubing, abseiling, canoeing, tree tops canopy tours, heritage trails, woodcutter trails, kayaking, polo (in season only), motorised glider flights and aerial flights around the bay, day flights to Shamwari Game Reserve and Addo Elephant Park – to list a few activities!

  • The wilderness, with its vast tracts of waterways and lagoons, is home to many water birds as well as the iridescent Knysna Loerie. 

  • Dolphins are often spotted not far from the shore and whale watching is spectacular at the right time of year.  

  • Sedgefield draws visitors to the banks of the Swartvlei estuary, renowned for its birding and being the largest natural inland saltwater lake in South Africa.

  • The Goukamma Nature Reserve begins here and there is excellent surfing and spearfishing to be had at Gericke’s Point.

  • The Tsitsikamma National Park has stretches of indigenous forests with giant Yellowwood trees, sensational beaches, waterfalls, lakes, mountains, rivers, streams, deep gorges, rugged fynbos and a rich wildlife.

  • The climate is mild and pleasant, the hospitality is warm, the pace of life is leisurely, the infrastructure well established and the area is safe.  

Some recommended places to stay
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How to get there

By Air

There is an airport at Plettenberg Bay, which has a direct flight from Johannesburg every day.  There are also airlines like Civair who fly from Cape Town to Plett three times a week; and there are also the charter companies which are very popular, which fly to Plett every day too.  So accessibility is very good. 

By Road or Rail

Through the “gateway cities” of Port Elizabeth and Cape Town. Rovos Rail and the Blue Train stop off in Knysna too.

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