THE GARDEN ROUTE
The Garden Route’s name is well-known, but why?
The name comes from the verdant and ecologically diverse vegetation encountered along the way, as well as the numerous lagoons and lakes dotted along the coast. It includes towns such as Cape Town, Franschhoek, Wilderness, and Knysna. It’s not all green though, as you go via the semi-desert landscapes of the Karoo and Oudtshoorn (the ostrich capital of the world!)
The Garden Route is also famous for its hardy fynbos floral kingdom, its secluded little bays and its year-round holiday frame of mind. Combining semi-desert and oceanic climates, with mild to warm summers, and mild to cool winters, it’s a great place to visit anytime of year. It has the mildest climate in South Africa and the second mildest climate in the world, after Hawaii, according to the Guinness Book of Records. Temperatures rarely fall below 10°C in winter and rarely climb beyond 28°C in summer.
Things to see
Separated from the Garden Route by a dramatic mountain range that forms a barrier between the lush coastline and semi-arid interior you will find and area known as the Little Karoo. A mountain pass makes for a stunning drive into this unique landscape and on to South Africa’s ostrich capital, Oudtshoorn. The town has several ostrich show farms where you can learn all about these extraordinary birds. Another draw is the Cango Caves and a tour of their elaborate underground labyrinth, complete with narrow stone passageways and vast caverns dripping with stalactites. And there is the opportunity to see meerkats in Oudtshoorn too.
Knysna is a charming holiday town at the heart of the Garden Route and a favourite for locals. It sits on the shore of a shallow lagoon where grand houses tumble down the hill toward the water, boats bob at wooden jetties and the town's popular Waterfront is a trove of edible treats with restaurants, coffee shops, and bars. There's plenty to do in and around town: take the ferry to the Featherbed Nature Reserve and stroll along its cliff-top paths, go on a boat cruise to ‘The Heads’ (a pair of rocky headlands through which the tide ebbs and flows) or walk one of the trails in the surrounding Knysna Forest.
About an hour's drive outside of Knysna, you will find Tsitsikamma National Park, home of some of the most beautiful hikes in South Africa, including the world-renowned Otter trail. The Waterfall Trail is our favourite hike for day-time visitors, as the path leads you along the shoreline and through coastal forests to a spectacular waterfall that seemingly falls straight into the sea. Don't forget to stop off at Bloukrans Bridge, sight of the highest bungy jump in Africa.
See our Gardenroute sample itineraries in 3 different price ranges below. These itineraries work prefectly as they are, but can be amended around your requirements. A perfect add on on to a Gardenroute tour is a safari in the Eastern Cape. Please contact us directly for a bespoke itinerary.