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Garden Route

Why visit the Garden Route?

This legendary route runs roughly between Mossel Bay on the Southern Cape and Storms River west of Port Elizabeth. There is LOTS to do in this area! Combined with the temperate climate, stunning coastal scenery and indigenous forests and fantastic ”˜foodie’ spots, this makes for a memorable holiday. 
Reasons to visit the Garden Route include:

  • Take a tree canopy tour or go bungee jumping or head off on the Otter Trail or visit cultural heritage sites in Tsitsikamma National Park.
  • Hike in the Robberg Nature Reserve ”“ a World Heritage Site and an ideal spot for shore-based sightings of whales and dolphins.
  • Enjoy the endless activities at Plettenburg Bay to suit all interests, from kloofing to hot air ballooning.
  • Learn about the Xhosa culture on a township tour in the KwaNokuthula area near Plettenberg.
  • Stay in Knysna, set on an estuary where forest meets ocean and enjoy the beaches at Brenton on Sea, Belvidere or Buffalo Bay.
  • Explore Knysna Forest on foot, horseback, bicycle or by car, or visit fish, farmers’ or crafts markets or take part in any number of water sports.
  • Go whale watching, as the Humpback and Southern Right Whales present a spectacular theatre.
  • Take the Outeniqua Choo Tjoe steam train between Knysna and George.
  • Visit the spectacular Cango Caves in Oudtshoorn, take a scenic drive past the Swartberg Mountains or visit an ostrich farm.
  • Journey’s end (or beginning) in Port Elizabeth, nicknamed ”˜the friendly city’.Take a Real City Tour of the Port Elizabeth Townships, where a qualified guide brings you face to face with the harsh realities of the past and the successes of the present.

When to visit the Garden Route?

This area enjoys a year round temperate climate. It will get hotter in the summer months from November to April. The ’winter’ months are best for hiking, and whale watching season runs from July to October. The Knysna Oyster Festival is a fun and busy event in July. 

How to do the Garden Route?

Starting or ending in Cape Town or Port Elizabeth, both cities are serviced by regular international flights. From here we can organise a hire car for you to self-drive along the route, the roads are good and it’s almost impossible to get lost.

Accommodation on the Garden Route

Places to stay vary from homestays to luxury hotels, so depending on your budget, there is loads of choice here. Christiana Lodge is a lovely mid-range option in Plettenberg Bay. For a more upmarket choice, look at Lairds Lodge and Phantom Forest.

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Garden Route accommodation

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facts and information

Time: GMT +2 hours

Flight time:

There are daily flights from Europe to Johannesburg (about 10 ½ hours direct) and Cape Town (about 11 hours). There is also a good network of domestic flights connecting all main towns.

Language: English is South Africa's main administrative language and is widely spoken. There are also 11 official tribal languages.

Visas:

Visas are not required for British passport holders.

Health:

No vaccinations are compulsory. Malaria is found in certain areas (mainly Kruger and the east coast towards Mozambique), but not throughout the country.

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