The Garden Route, (Tuinroete in Afrikaans) is a 300 kilometer (186 miles) long tourist route located in the south of South Africa. Stretching from Witsand in the Western Cape to the Tsitsikamma Storms River border in the Eastern Cape. It is road 62 which is as mythical as Route 66 is in the USA.
Its name comes from the luxuriant and very rich vegetation that we find there. Indeed, many estuaries and lakes are scattered along this coast.
Where is the Garden Route in South Africa located?
The road starts in Mossel Bay and goes to Port Elizabeth. This famous 300 kilometers (186 miles) long road passes through forests, lakes, lagoons, and beaches. If you are planning a road trip along the Garden Route, you won’t be disappointed!
You can trace the itinerary of the road on the map just below:
What to see on Garden Route in South Africa?
The Garden Route is a scenic road in South Africa, renowned for its diverse and captivating array of plant life that lines the journey. Traversing through breathtaking landscapes, surrounded by tranquil lagoons and lush vegetation, the route offers a truly magical experience for travelers.
From towering mountains to rolling hills and pristine beaches, the Garden Route showcases some of the most picturesque and serene environments that South Africa has to offer.
Here are some of the must-visit destinations along the Garden Route in South Africa:
Known for its white sandy beaches and blue waters, Mossel Bay is also increasingly famous for its various activities and adventures such as scuba diving, shark watching, and sandboarding.
Mossel Bay is where a European crew led by the Portuguese Bartholomew Dias first landed on the shores of South Africa in 1488. The explorer had offered the then king of Portugal a new route to the Indies and their spices, which were cherished by the European courts.
And don’t miss the Milkwood in front of the museum, a real mail tree under which sailors left messages for the following ships!
Although Mossel Bay is not really the prettiest town on the Garden Route, it is still a pleasant historical stop and has also become one of the best spots in the country to see great white sharks and to practice diving.
In the heart of the Garden Route, you will find Knysna. Here you will find mystical forests and beautiful scenery.
The village of Knysna is a trendy seaside resort and its beautiful lagoon is full of family-friendly activities: a cruise on the country’s only paddle wheel boat or a sunset sailboat is not to be missed!
Take time to stroll along the Waterfront to discover the small stores and restaurants that serve the delicious oysters of the lagoon.
Other activities include swimming at Bollard Beach, exploring the Knysna Forest, diving in the lagoon, visiting the Knysna Elephant Park, and much more.
Tsitsikamma National Park:
The name Tsitsikamma means “place of abundant or sparkling water” in the Khoi language. You will find the national park between the mountains and the sea. It is a paradise for hiking and water sports enthusiasts, with its coastal scenery, reefs, rivers, and lush forests. You will also find the Big Tree and its “about 800 years” and 36 meters (120 feet) high.
Numerous hikes and walks of varying difficulty are offered, as well as activities for everyone such as kayaking, horseback riding, mountain biking, tree climbing…
It is also a stage of the Garden Route that we love because it is ideally located and harmoniously mixes lagoon, ocean, and mountain. The locals, often wealthy city dwellers from Johannesburg or Cape Tow, have their second homes here.
It is particularly popular during the end-of-year holiday period, which is also the big vacation for South African schoolchildren. Although, it remains quiet the rest of the year.
For water sports enthusiasts, you can surf, skimboard, and bodyboard, all popular activities here. But you can also do some great hiking, golfing, or cycling here. Whatever activity you choose, you will enjoy your time here.
We also recommend visiting the animal sanctuaries that collect and care for many species, as well as the Robberg Nature Reserve.
A preview of the itinerary:
If you are planning your road trip to South Africa, you should obviously watch this YouTube video to have an idea of stages on the road:
To fully enjoy all the activities on the route, it is advisable to spend at least 3 days. It all depends on how much time you have and how many stops you want to make.
The best times to go are: Summer (November to March) is the warmest and most popular time to visit. To have a better chance of seeing the whales, spring (September to October) is the best time.
Now that you know more about the Garden Route, you know what you have to do! The landscapes that will pass before your eyes will give you a perspective on this incredible country that is South Africa. This road trip along the Garden Route will allow you to discover a small facet of South Africa, and will certainly leave you wanting to see much more!
Pictures credits: Christopher Griner on flickr.com / By Bob Adams from Amanzimtoti, South Africa – Mossel Bay, CC BY-SA 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=57487221 / By Terence27 – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=50376467 / By Dariusz Jemielniak (“Pundit”) – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=85444999 / By Hurkummer at English Wikipedia – Transferred from en.wikipedia to Commons., CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=3626033
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