This exquisitely pretty, pleasant and popular strip of South Africa’s Western Cape and coastline is a nature lover’s paradise and a horticulturist’s dream.
Lush indigenous forests cascade down picturesque mountain sides, serene lagoons and salt lakes, wild sandy bays and beaches, green valleys cradling quaint towns and exotic birdlife are all what characterise the suitably titled ‘Garden Route’.
Stretching almost 300km from Heidelburg to Storms River in the Eastern Cape this coast’s mild climate (the second mildest in the world after Hawaii) has cultivated a landscape of ecologically diverse flora, laid heavy with the spectacular kaleidoscope of colours when its flowers bloom. This has in turn brought an equally broad collection of fascinating fauna and marine life seen in its reserves and off its shores.
Amongst all these alluring attributes, its proximity to Cape Town and position en route to the popular safaris spots in the north-west has cemented the Garden Route’s appeal to travellers.
This scenic stretch includes the towns of Heidelberg, Mossel Bay, Knysna, Oudtshoorn, Plettenburg Bay, George and Nature’s Valley, as well as 10 nature and marine reserves such as the Tsitsikamma and Wilderness national parks.
When to go
The Garden Route has one of the mildest climates in the world, meaning it's a pleasant destination to visit all year round as the temperature doesn't drop below 10ºC (50ºF).
What to do
- Safaris in the game reserves
- Horse riding
- Snorkeling and diving
- Nature trails, trekking and hiking
- Mountain biking
- Whale watching
- Shark diving