South Africa's Garden Route showcases spectacular drives through stunning topography, picturesque towns, great safari experiences, and opportunities for action-packed activities
There’s reason enough why South Africa is on most travellers’ bucket list. It is one destination that really has it all – the best food and wine, first rate wildlife, exceptional luxury hotels and a remarkable range of topography. It also has the most spectacular drives that are packed with incredible activities. No sojourn to South Africa would be complete without a visit to the Garden Route, an incredible 200-km-stretch of road that takes you through mountains, sprawling wetlands, white-sand beaches, picturesque towns, with opportunities for hiking, whale watching, close encounters with elephant and cheetah, and more. The Garden Route also comprises a scenic stretch lined with the beautiful towns of Knysna, George, Plettenberg Bay and Oudtshoorn in Western Cape, and in the nearby cities of Port Elizabeth and East London in the Eastern Cape. Here, travellers can pack in a lot of action into shorter time-spans and engage in 3 activities per day over short distances and charming surroundings.
If adventure’s your thing, then Plettenberg Bay should be first on your itinerary. Check out Birds of Eden, outside of Plettenberg Bay, the largest single dome free-flight multi-species bird aviary in the world. Get an insight into the lives of primates at Monkeyland, just next to Birds of Eden. At the heart of Garden Route is Knysna, where you can indulge your inner adventurer. Gravitate towards Knysna Lagoon, located between two sandstone cliffs known as the Heads. Let the kids splash around in the shallow waters as you lounge around in deck chairs and marvel at Knysna Heads. Try and catch the annual Oyster Festival, where around 200,000 oysters are quaffed over a 10-day period.
Make tracks to George, located halfway between Cape Town and Port Elizabeth on Garden Route, and its largest city. Dance the night away on the Insomniac Party Bus, a 40-seater Single Decker Party Bus, complete with bar, DJ booth and bathroom facilities for group tours. Pluck fresh strawberries at the RedBerry Strawberry Farm, watch your kids ride the enchanting little toy train or navigating the largest hedge maze in the Southern Hemisphere. Visit Oudtshoorn, known as the ostrich capital of the world; be blown away by the stalactites and stalagmites in Cango Caves; brave the hair-raising crocodile-cage dive and enjoy a meerkat safari.
Move on to East London, which has a laidback charm and a pristine beauty all its own. It is also one of the few places where one can see the white lion at the Inkwenkezi National Park. Not to be missed is Port Elizabeth, which houses South Africa’s third largest national reserve, where travellers can have close encounters with hundreds of African elephants that roam around freely, making it a great safari experience. Addo National Park offers the unique combination of a marine safari searching for sharks and whales and the famous Big 5 safari. Include Nelson Mandela Bay and find Route 67 – a collection of 67 art pieces celebrating the years Nelson Mandela devoted to public life.