The most enchanting road trip through South Africa !
The Garden Route is known as one of the most beloved destinations in South Africa, captivating both locals and international travellers alike. And rightfully so, as it is an absolute must-visit on your South African itinerary, boasting numerous highlights for every traveller. Here, we share some highlights of this beautiful route.
The total distance of the standard Garden Route journey is 300 km. If you add a loop of 160 kilometers through Oudtshoorn, the total distance becomes 460 km.
What makes the Garden Route unique?
This coastal road stretches between Port Elizabeth and Cape Town. During our road trip from Addo Elephant National Park to Mossel Bay, we veered off to Oudtshoorn.
Over the 460 kilometers on the Garden Route, we noticed a striking contrast with the eastern half of South Africa. The landscape here is greener and rockier, with alternating wide sandy beaches. The diversity in nature makes the route extraordinary, and the numerous stops cater to everyone's interests. From stunning hiking trails for outdoor enthusiasts to beautiful national parks for nature lovers and enchanting white beaches for beach enthusiasts. The Garden Route is an unforgettable journey filled with natural beauty and diverse opportunities.
Garden Route Highlights
Compiling a complete list of highlights is challenging due to the abundance of choices, but here are some sights and activities you absolutely shouldn't miss.
Addo Elephant Park, one of the top 3 largest national parks in South Africa, offers an excellent opportunity to admire elephants in their natural habitat. The park is home to as many as 600 of these magnificent animals. Besides elephants, with a bit of luck, you may encounter other members of the famous Big Five of South Africa!
The well-maintained roads in the park allow you to explore with your own car, providing the freedom to spot animals at your own pace.
Tsitsikamma National Park, situated along the coast, enchants with impressive suspension bridges spanning various bays. The rugged coastline and powerful waves crashing against the rocks create a breathtaking spectacle. For sea enthusiasts, this park is a magical destination where you can enjoy hours of bliss.
In addition to the suspension bridges, Tsitsikamma National Park offers numerous activities for adventurous souls. From sea kayaking to challenging hikes and traversing the Tsitsikamma Mountains, the park promises a range of adventurous experiences. It is also known as an excellent spot to spot otters and dolphins in their natural habitat.
The Bloukrans Bridge, on the border between the Eastern and Western Cape, is truly spectacular. Not only due to the technical feat of its construction but also because of the breathtaking view. The height of the bridge creates a spinning effect when you look down, and the lush green surroundings of the Bloukrans Gorge offer an impressive panoramic view.
What makes the Bloukrans Bridge extra special is its worldwide recognition as the highest commercial bungee jumping location at 216 meters above the Bloukrans River. You can imagine that a jump from this bridge provides an unforgettable adrenaline rush.
If that's not quite your thing, you can simply enjoy the spectacle of fearless bungee jumpers or opt for the SkyWalk.
Knysna, nestled on the shores of an enchanting lagoon, is a true gem along the Garden Route. This town is known for its picturesque vistas, vibrant markets, and the iconic Knysna Heads, two impressive cliffs guarding the entrance to the lagoon. Don't forget to savour the local delicacy, the Knysna oyster, at one of the charming waterfront restaurants.
Knysna is uniquely surrounded by a breathtaking lagoon, lush forests, and the Featherbed Nature Reserve, a beautiful nature area. The town offers an unparalleled combination of natural beauty and culinary refinement.
Wilderness is a small town where, at first glance, not much seems to happen, but it is certainly a stop you don't want to miss during your journey along the Garden Route. Here, you can not only enjoy beautiful nature but also relax on the beach. If you're a hiker, staying for a few days ensures that boredom won't stand a chance.
An alternative is to drive inland to Oudtshoorn, where you can explore ostrich farms. For travellers who love adventure, the Cango Caves are an absolute must-visit. Explore the impressive stalactites and stalagmites formed deep within the earth.
Our journey reaches its conclusion in Mossel Bay, the adventure capital of the Garden Route with over 50 unique and thrilling experiences. Honestly, Mossel Bay may not be the most picturesque town on the Garden Route. Despite that, this village, beautifully situated by the water, is known as the historical heart of the Garden Route, with numerous old, historic buildings. The harbor of Mossel Bay retains its vibrancy to this day.
The Garden Route reveals the beating heart of the natural beauty of South Africa. With its varied landscapes, adventurous activities, and charming towns, this route offers an unforgettable experience for travellers of all ages. Whether you're seeking breathtaking views, exciting activities, or pure relaxation, the Garden Route has it all.
Plan your journey with Maîté Iphupho and discover why this route is one of the most beloved destinations in South Africa !