coastal region in southern South Africa

The Garden Route in the Western Cape is one of South Africa's main tourist attractions and is generally considered to stretch from Mossel Bay to Storms River along the Indian ocean.

Garden Route


Map of Garden Route

The Garden Route is bounded on the south by the coastline of the Indian ocean, and to the north by the Outeniqua and Tsitsikamma Mountains.


  • 1 Mossel Bay — this is where Bartolomeu Dias set foot ashore in 1488 and South Africa`s first post office was founded in 1500.
  • 2 George — the largest town along the Route.
  • 3 Knysna — one of the most popular tourist destinations, famed for its forests and lagoons.
  • 4 Plettenberg Bay — popular with beach-lovers
  • 5 Nature's Valley — one of the few remaining areas of truly outstanding natural beauty along the Garden Route
  • 6 Storms River — the gateway to the Tsitsikamma National Park.

Other destinationsEdit

  • 1 Tsitsikamma National Park — encloses one of the most beautiful coasts in South Africa between Storms River and Nature's Valley.
  • Tsitsikamma — one of the Cacadu District's seven wonders, the area is covered in large tracts of indigenous forest and Fynbos with deep river gorges
  • 2 Wilderness — a holiday resort renowned for its tranquil sea, seemingly endless beaches and natural lakes and lagoons


Get inEdit

By planeEdit

South African Airways has regular flights to George and Port Elizabeth, which is reachable with budget airlines Kulula and Mango. The nearest international airport is in Cape Town

By carEdit

The Garden Route is easily reached from

Cape Town : east on the N2 highway
Durban, Port Elizabeth : west on the N2 highway
Pretoria, Johannesburg, Bloemfontein : south on the N1 then the N9
Kimberley : south on the N12

The N2 is the main highway that passes through the Garden Route, connecting Cape Town with Port Elizabeth.

By busEdit

The main companies offer regular services along the Garden Route from Cape Town and Port Elizabeth. The region is also on the Baz Bus route.

Get aroundEdit

The best way to tour the Route is by car. You can hire a car all the cities along the Garden Route, but be aware of one-way fees for rental cars.

Classic Rail is working to restore service on the steam train line between George and Knysna.



  • Otter Trail, Storms River, +27 12 428-9111, . The Otter Trail is a hiking trail along the Garden Route coast and is named for the Cape Clawless Otter which occurs in this region. This trail is widely regarded as one of the finest in the world and stretches from Storms River Mouth in the east to Nature's Valley in the west, is 26 km long as the crow flies and 41 km as the hiker walks. Walking the trail takes 5 days, and the 4 nights are spent in comfortable huts with superb views. Booking is necessary months in advance.
  • Tsitsikamma Mountain Trail, Nature's Valley, +27 42 281-1712, . The Tsitsikamma Mountain Trail journeys through lush forests and mountain fynbos. Ancient river gorges and abundant rivers and streams provide plentiful swimming opportunities. Beginning in Nature’s Valley and ending 60-km further at either the Storms River Bridge or Village, this six day, unidirectional trail takes hikers through the heart of the Tsitsikamma Mountains. Shorter variations (2,3,4 or 5 days) are possible as each of the five overnight huts has its own unique access route. Advance booking is usually necessary.
  • Outeniqua Trail, Beervlei, +27 42 281-1712, . This spectacular trail can be conquered as a series of day walks or over a full seven day period, starting at Beervlei in the upper reaches of the Park and ending at Harkerville in the East between Knysna and Plettenberg Bay. This trail carves its way in the cool shade of undulating indigenous forest with rustic huts, a stop-over, for those endeavouring the seven day trek, or as an alternative starting point for those day walkers relative to the level of challenge you desire. The overnight cabins are regularly stocked with firewood. Water and rudimentary bedding are supplied to complete that outdoor experience. A portage service may become available in the near future at an extra fee. A minimum of two to a maximum of 24 hikers are allowed on the trail at any one time. Advance booking is necessary.
  • Ocean Safaris, Plettenberg Bay, +27 82 784-5729, . Sightings of whales throughout the year. Southern Rights and Humpbacks - July to December. Brydes Whales all year round but more prolific during the summer months. Dolphins include Bottlenose, Humpback and Commons. Cape Fur seal colony on Robberg Peninsula.
  • Quad Adventures, +27 72 303-9011. Camp under the stars in the wild after a day of winding through dramatic mountain terrain of the Garden Route to the vast open spaces of the Little Karoo. Choose between 4 wheels or 2 and enjoy hours or even days of adventure. Tours range from a 25 minute introductory route through beautiful valleys to overnight all-out action deep in the wild.


  • Timberlake, Halfway btw Wilderness & Sedgefield (look out for wooden cabins on left if coming from George direction). 9:00-17:00. Specialist retail cabins including: Confectionary, Cheese, Wine, 100% organic Health Shop, Fairy Gem, Eden Nursery with four fantastic eateries: Cafe d'Afrique coffee shop, Zucchini restaurant, Oyster Shack and Country Deli.
  • La Carla mask atelier, (between plett & knysna, on N2, 6km outside plett), +27 82 499-6295. 9AM-5PM. The studio specializes in creating Unique Handcrafted Venetian Carnival Masks, next door to the Hot Chocolate Cafe. studio and shop open to public R125 - R1500.


As a main tourist destination there are many restaurants for every taste. Enjoy superb fish from the ocean ; Knysna is the place to taste some oysters.

  • Hot Chocolate Cafe, HH 32 Holt Hill Plettenbergbay (between Plettenbergbay & Knysna), +27 760544945. 9-5. delectable Belgian chocolate products handmade on premises. 25.


There is no shortage of all kinds of accommodation but book ahead on weekends / holiday. Especially during the summer the Garden Route is a popular holiday destination, not only for foreign tourists but also for South Africans.

If you are backpacking, the area has numerous hostels. Campers will find excellent facilities at sites like the Ebb and Flow campsite in Wilderness, [1] [dead link]. The Tsitsikamma sites at Storms's River mouth and Nature's Valley are also places of scenic beauty, and out of season can be havens of peace where otters appear on the beach [2] [dead link]. If its elephants that you're after then the best place to stay in is the Main Camp [3] located in the Addo Elephant National Park.

Stay safeEdit

Compared with the larger cities the towns along the Garden Route are quite safe. As always use your common sense. Driving at night is fine.

Go nextEdit

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