“So where is the Garden Route?” you might ask. It’s a 200km section of the South African coastline stretching from the town of Mossel Bay to just the other side of the Tsitsikamma National Park.
Just recently I took some time out to revisit the Garden Route, this time to research what fun exciting things one can do on the Garden Route. It’s a fabulous destination and a definite “must see” for anybody visiting South Africa. To summarize the Garden Route, I would call it “the outdoor adventure activities and golf Mecca of South Africa!” I have put together some suggestions here for your trip down the Garden Route.
Scenic Drives: Well, there are a couple of lovely scenic drives on the Garden Route and depending on how much time you have and where you are staying the night you could include these on your itinerary.
1. Swartberg Pass and Meiringspoort near Oudtshoorn – a gorgeous day trip to be enjoyed with a picnic lunch stop at a beautiful waterfall in Meiringspoort, dramatic mountain landscape and scenic vistas.
2. Seven passes road, the original road between George and Knysna – dense indigenous forest, tannin rich black water rivers, steep gorges and a prolific bird life.
3. Montagu pass – traversing the majestic Outeniqua Mountains between George and Oudtshoorn, the original route built in 1848 with convict labour.
Shark Cage Diving – an exhilarating experience I would recommend to anybody! Mossel Bay has the most accessible great white shark experience in the world, offering a shorter more comfortable boat ride on calmer waters than the competition at Gansbaai near Cape Town. You will leave with a newfound respect for these magnificent predators.
Oudtshoorn – great place to visit especially if it’s raining everywhere else on the Garden Route. Oudtshoorn is the capital of the Little Karoo which is classed as semi desert so you can count on the weather being pretty good most of the year round.
Cango Caves – an underground wonderland with the most spectacular dripstone formations
Cango Ostrich Farm – learn about the ostrich farming industry that made Oudtshoorn famous and take a ride on an ostrich!
Cango Wildlife Ranch – a sanctuary to endangered wildlife species. Get up close and personal with a cheetah or go diving with the crocs.
Wilderness – a tranquil seaside village offering an array of outdoor activities such as Paragliding, Canoeing up Touws River, Hiking trails through the enchanted indigenous forests, Kloofing and Abseiling.
Knysna – a bustling happening little town with much to offer!
I can recommend the 4 Hour Eco Experience at Featherbed Bay, which includes a boat ride across the lagoon, a guided tour in the nature reserve, a tractor-trailer ride and a tasty lunch in a classy restaurant under the old milkwood trees.
Quad biking, Mountain biking in Harkerville and Knysna forests, Abseiling off the Knysna Heads, Canoeing on Knysna River, Hiking in the Knysna Forest
Plettenberg Bay – another bustling town to include on your itinerary offering a huge selection of outdoor activities, something for the whole family. Many children activities on offer as well.
Elephant Sanctuary – where you can walk with these gentle giants and even ride one
Birds of Eden – a magnificent display of birds from all over the world!
Monkeyland – fascinating and informative!
Adventure activities such as Sea kayaking, Canoeing up the Keurbooms River, Boat cruises to view marine life such as dolphins, seals and whales in season (Jul to Dec)
Sky diving, Abseiling, Hiking in the Robberg Nature Reserve, Bunji Jumping off Bloukrans Bridge (the highest bunji jump in the world at 216m)
Plett has become well known as the “polo mecca” of South Africa. Exciting polo tournaments are being played at Bitou House and Kurland during Easter, December and January with polo practices throughout the year.
Tsitsikamma National Park
The Big Tree – largest Outeniqua Yellowwood tree in the area with a circumference of 8.5m and a height of 36m. This is one of the largest tree species we have in South Africa and of the most beautiful in my opinion.
Tree Top Canopy Tours – offering fun and adventurous cable sliding from one big tree to the next, a great way to be introduced to our beautiful indigenous forest and its little inhabitants!
Hiking trails along the rugged coastline
Of course don’t forget that this entire stretch of coastline has a myriad of gorgeous beaches, most of them having “blue flag” status. Heralds Bay, Glentana and Victoria Bay near George, Wilderness beach, Buffels Bay, Noetsie Bay, Plettenberg Bay and Natures Valley, all offering the warmer waters of the Indian Ocean and beautiful stretches of golden sand. This makes the Garden Route a superb summer destination!
Golfing is a huge activity on the Garden Route with some of the top golf course in the world based here such Fancourt Country Club Estate offering 4 courses built by Gary Player, our South African golf icon, George Golf Course, Simola Golf Estate, Pezula Champioship Golf Course offering the most spectacular scenery, Knysna Golf Course and Goose Valley Golf Course in Plettenberg Bay.
So all in all, a great destination to include on your itinerary when you come to visit our beautiful South Africa!