Garden Route

Time needed: 1 Day(s) to 2 Week(s)

The Garden Route includes one of the most magnificent stretches of coastline in South Africa, spanning from Heidelberg to the Tsitsikamma Forest and Storms River. To the North the Garden Route is bordered by three mountain ranges, the Langeberg, the Outeniqua and the Tsitsikamma Mountains. The whole region is one of extreme natural beauty and many popular resorts have become established along the route.

The Garden Route runs parallel to a coastline featuring lakes, mountains, tall indigenous forests, beautiful rivers and golden beaches. The meandering trails and lush forests invite hikers and walkers; and spectacular lakes and rivers lend themselves to swimming, boating and fishing.

In the extreme west of the Garden Route, where the Breede River flows into the Indian Ocean, is St Sebastion Bay, an annual breeding ground for the Southern Right Whale. These magnificent whales can be seen between June and September from Whitesands.

Known as the 'floral paradise' of the Garden Route, Riversdale is a haven for nature lovers and fynbos enthusiasts. A little to the East of Riversdale is the small town of Albertinia, situated in a major sheep and wheat region. It is well known as being South Africa's main producer of red and yellow ochre and of kaolin.

The Cango Caves, a series of caverns and chambers naturally hewn out of limestone, are among the top ten most visited South African attractions. The caves are situated outside the town of Oudtshoorn, the heart of the ostrich feather industry. The ostrich farms, now involved in the commercial production of meat, leather, eggs and feathers, can be toured, with the possibility of riding an ostrich.

Mossel Bay has a history dating back to the 15th Century and derives its name from the abundance of mussels. It was at Mossel Bay that the Portuguese navigator Bartholomew Dias landed in 1488 to replenish his water supplies.

The next town on the Garden Route is George, which has a wonderful museum, mostly dedicated to wooden artifacts. Herold's Bay is George's own beach resort and is just outside the town. Here there are good vantage points for whale and dolphin watching.

Further east along the Garden Route is The Knysna National Lake Area, known as the Jewel of the Garden Route. The Knysna lagoon, bounded at its entrance by two sandstone heads, is home to the famous Knysna Seahorse and the Pansy Shell. This beautiful town offers the visitor fine shops and restaurants, hiking trails and golf courses.