In the mesmerising country of South Africa lies a beautiful region known as the Garden Route. The 300-kilometer stretch of coastline on the Southwest tip of South Africa is popular for road trips. This interesting coastline gets its name from the Garden Route National Park, which covers luscious vegetation, lagoons, mountains, lakes, forests, and sandy beaches.
The stretch of the coast connects Mossel Bay to Storms River Mouth. The route winds between the Indian Ocean and the Outeniqua and Tsitsikamma mountain ranges, offering stunning and panoramic views.
The quaint towns and rocky shores are a sight to see and have risen in popularity among locals and tourists alike. The vast forests in the region are home to an array of wildlife.
The Garden Route has family-friendly beaches and makes for a fun road trip. On the other hand, hikers and outdoor enthusiasts can also enjoy the endless opportunities the route offers.
Here are some reasons to visit Garden Route:
1. Surreal natural beauty
The Garden Route is a huge and lavish kind of garden filled with ecologically diverse flora and fauna. The forest appears strikingly beautiful, while the aquamarine waters of the beach glimmer under the sun.
You are bound to be surrounded by endless nature in this region that cannot be found anywhere else.
2. Adventure activities
Whether you are adventurous or a nature lover, the Garden Route has a lot to offer. From bungee jumping at Bloukrans Bridge to being up close with elephants at Knysna Elephant Park or relaxing at Birds of Eden, there is a lot to choose from.
Nevertheless, every day you will find something new and exciting to discover in the region.
3. Interesting wildlife experience
The diverse ecosystem existing on the Garden Route opens up the opportunity to witness plenty of unique and unusual creatures. Along with monkeys and elephants, whales, dolphins, and Knysna sea horses can be spotted.
Bird watching is also a popular activity that is common on the Garden Route. You can also catch sight of small critters that are often unnoticed, such as the Knysna dwarf chameleon.
Moreover, the Garden Route is a malaria-free area, which means your safari and wildlife viewing experience will go as smoothly as possible. It is safe to conclude that nature enthusiasts can thrive while visiting the Garden Route.
4. Seaside towns
The beautiful and charming seaside towns of the Garden Route are nothing short of South African culture. Each with its own unique charm, the picturesque towns have famous restaurants, stunning shores, laid-back villages, and sophisticated manors and cottages.
Knysna, Plettenberg Bay, and St. Francis Bay are some of the popular towns in the region.
5. Exceptional beaches
The beaches on the Garden Route are one of the major attractions in the region. The extensive white sands and warm waters of the Indian Ocean invite sunbathers, surfers, and swimmers alike.
There are many beaches to choose from, each covered in rugged beauty and appeal. A few of them include Victoria Bay Beach, Noetzie Beach, Wilderness Beach, and Myoli Beach.
What are the top highlights of the Garden Route?
Here are some of the most well-known places you will find on the Garden Route:
The Tsitsikamma sector belongs to the Garden Route National Park and protects an indigenous forest. There are a series of breathtaking cliffs and thrilling suspension bridges across the Storm Mouth River.
The Bloukrans Bridge Bungee Jump, the highest bridge in Africa, is situated a short distance from inland Tsitsikamma.
2. Family-friendly Monkeyland
This is a private sanctuary that offers refuge to the species of monkeys and lemurs that are rescued from domestic captivity. Adjacent to the sanctuary lies the free-flight and massive aviary called Birds of Eden, which has around 3000 bird species.
Jukani, another associated sanctuary, is home to rescued lions and other big cats, including small carnivores.
3. Robberg Nature Reserve
The Robberg Nature Reserve lies next to Plettenberg Bay and has a large number of Cape fur seals. Seen commonly from the seaside cliffs are other diverse aquatic animals like dolphins and whales.
4. Knysna Town
Knysna town is one of the best places to explore and learn more about the history of the Garden Route. The famous Holy Trinity Church stands on a lagoon and appears to belong to an English village.
Eateries in Knysna town are popular and serve the most delicious fresh oysters and crafted beers. There are annual festivals held in the town that make Knysna livelier.
The town of Oudtshoorn is located in the arid Little Karoo and was a centre for trading ostrich feathers during the 19th century. The CP Nel Museum displays the history and educates visitors about Ostriches.
There are many ostrich farms in town that provide the opportunity to learn about and even experience riding these flightless birds.
Swartberg, or the Black Mountains, situated north of Oudtshoorn, has a 60-minute guided trip that leads deep underground through the well-lit Cango Caves. This exploration is one-of-a-kind and thrilling to experience.
How to get to Garden Route from Cape Town
The Garden Route starts in Mossel Bay, which is a 5-hour drive from Cape Town. You will need to travel to Mossel Bay, as it is the starting point of the route. Here are some ways to reach the Bay:
- Drive on the N2 Highway, which passes attractive sites like Hermanus, Swellendam, and De Hoop Nature Reserve
- Travel along the N1 and turn onto R62, which takes you through farming communities and spectacular mountain passes.
- Hire a professional guide who will take you to your places of interest and knows the Garden Route well.
Don’t forget to mark the Garden Route as a must-visit destination the next time you visit South Africa. Not only does the route offer an exciting road trip, but it is also a great region to explore and absorb the beauty of the country.
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