Discovering the Garden Route
Seeing the Garden Route is high on most people's travel agenda when they come to South Africa. You can rest assured that this spectacular stretch of coast - from Mossel Bay in the Western Cape all the way to Storms River in the Eastern Cape - won't disappoint you. These are the highlights.
1. Oudtshoorn & the Cango Caves
Close to the ostrich farming capital of Oudtshoorn are the legendary Cango Caves, which must be on your itinerary. This incredible cave system is full of limestone rock formations and there are several different tours you can take, including the exciting adventure tour.
This area is also an ideal place to go to an ostrich 'show farm' and find out more about these exotic birds.
Tip: If you start your journey from Cape Town or the Cape Winelands you can stop off in Hermanus for some whale watching (from July to November), before driving on Route 62 through some incredible gorges and onto the Klein Karoo town of Oudtshoorn.
About 5 hours from Cape Town is Knysna, the magnificent and unofficial capital of the Garden Route. There are some stunning views to take in at Knysna Heads and Thesen Island is a pretty place to walk around. Explore the lagoon, forests and rivers and see why the town is known as the oyster capital of South Africa. The town actually hosts a well-known oyster festival in July every year.
3. Plettenberg Bay
About a 30 minute drive from Knysna is the picturesque coastal town of Plettenberg Bay, which is a popular holiday resort. There are some beautiful beaches including Keurboomstrand and Robberg 5, which both have Blue Flag status. Enjoy long walks, swimming and watching the dolphins along the coast. In the winter this is also a wonderful place to see Southern Right whales in the bay.
Tip: Just outside of Plett are many interesting attractions including the Knysna Elephant Sanctuary, Monkeyland, the Garden Route Wolf Sanctuary and Birds of Eden.
4. Tsitsikamma National Park
At the heart of the Garden Route is the beautiful Tsitsikamma National Park. It is a well-known coastal reserve with indigenous forests, dramatic coastlines and popular trails that include some breathtaking viewpoints and waterfalls. Close to the park you can find Bloukrans Bridge, which is the world’s highest bungee jumping bridge at 216 m (709 ft).
5. Addo Elephant Park, Eastern Cape
At the end of the Garden Route is Addo, a National Park close to Port Elizabeth, which is home to one of the biggest populations of elephants on the planet. It also includes many other animals and features the ‘Big Seven’ (elephant, rhino, lion, buffalo, leopard, southern right whale and great white shark) as the park includes marine habitats as well as the game park.