The Garden Route is a scenic coastal region that stretches from Mossel Bay in the Western Cape to the Storms River in the east. It’s a holiday paradise known for its glorious natural beauty, challenging golf courses, ancient forests, superb beaches and picturesque lagoons. Let’s not forget the spectacular mountain ranges of the Outeniqua and Tsitsikamma which divide the Garden Route from the arid Little Karoo.
Lose yourself in lush forests or explore numerous beaches – each one more beautiful than the last. Visit charming seaside towns or go on safari. You can do it all in the Garden Route, which is considered one of the most beautiful areas in the country.
Why we love Garden Route holidays
- This part of South Africa is full of spectacular natural beauty.
- It’s an adventure lover’s playground.
- It’s home to a diverse selection of wildlife, from elephants and monkeys to whales and dolphins.
- To explore a variety of pretty, charming seaside towns including Wilderness, Sedgefield, Plettenberg Bay and Nature’s Valley.
- There are several championship golf courses to choose from.
- The beaches are incomparable.
- There is so much to see and so many places to visit in the Garden Route.
This destination is ideal for a family holiday, a romantic getaway far from the madding crowd or chasing adrenaline-fueled thrills with your friends. Whatever type of adventure you’re looking for, you are sure to find it in the breathtaking Garden Route with an array of holiday options ranging from luxury to cheap packages in 2023.
Sun-soaked year-round, the Garden Route is a paradise for holidaymakers with its sparkling lagoons, coastal forests, panoramic mountain passes and varied attractions. With around 300km of natural beauty to explore, the Garden Route is the ideal holiday destination for families, friends and couples alike.
Take the plunge from the highest bungee jump in Africa, the Bloukrans Bridge, enjoy an elephant encounter at Knysna Elephant Park, where orphaned elephants are looked after, see the world from a bird’s eye view on a canopy tour in the Tsitsikamma Forest and discover thousands of different types of birds at Birds of Eden just outside of Plettenberg Bay. That’s just a tiny sample of things you can do on a trip to the Garden Route.
Things to do on a Garden Route trip
- Cruise on Knysna Lagoon past the iconic Knysna Heads.
- Visit the Cango Caves to see gigantic limestone formations.
- Follow the famous Otter Trail on a multi-day hike.
- Explore the Tsitsikamma National Park.
- Go canoeing or tubing on the Storms River.
- Enjoy fantastic dining in Knysna.
- Track the Big Five in Gondwana Private Game Reserve.
- Take the walking trail through Robberg Nature Reserve in Plettenberg Bay.
- See ostriches up close in Oudtshoorn.
- Drive along the adventurous gravel Swartberg Pass with its breathtaking views.
- Explore the Bartolomeu Dias museum complex in Mossel Bay.
Whatever type of activity you’re looking for, whether it’s taking the ferry boat to the incredible Featherbed Nature Reserve, abseiling in Kaaimans Gorge or experiencing the Knysna Oyster Festival, it’s all waiting for you in the Garden Route.
When is the best time to visit?
- The Garden Route is a year-round destination with a mild sub-tropical climate.
- The region is busiest in spring (August and September) and summer (December and January).
- The Garden Route is a fantastic self-drive route from Cape Town to Port Elizabeth (or vice versa).
- Alternatively, you can fly to George Airport and hire a car from there. Flight duration from Johannesburg to George: 1 hour, 50 minutes. From Cape Town: 50 minutes.
- Non-stop drive duration from Cape Town to Port Elizabeth: 8 hours (750km) via N2.
- Wherever possible, buy local food and souvenirs and support local artisans.
- Avoid single-use plastic; instead, take fabric shopping bags with you.
- If self-driving, obey the rules of the road and stick to the speed limit.
- Be safety conscious: don’t display cash or valuables.
- If valuables are stolen, report the theft to the hotel/police immediately.
- Contact the Thompsons Holidays 24-hour care line to assist.
- With hot summers and mild winters, packing warm clothing for the evenings and a windproof jacket should definitely be included.
- Comfortable clothing and shoes are essential – if you’re considering hiking throw in some hiking boots too.
- Sunscreen, sunglasses and a sunhat can be used throughout the year in the Garden Route.
- Contact the Thompsons Holidays 24-hour care line to assist in any travel related emergency.