Plettenberg Bay scenic beauty

A Garden Route holiday is one of the most scenic trips to take in South Africa. The Garden Route stretches some 200km’s from Mossel Bay to the Storms River / Tsitsikamma Forest area.

This is one of the most beautiful stretches of coastline; which is sandwiched between the Outeniqua and Tsitsikamma mountains. Along this spectacularly scenic stretch, are many interesting and beautiful places to stop or overnight. Some of the attractions are the Cango Caves in Oudtshoorn, Knysna Elephant Park, and the Heads in Knysna; together with the beautiful beaches; all along the coastline.

The Garden Route has a Mediterranean climate; with moderately warm summers; and mild to chilly winters. It is the perfect South African self-drive holiday for visitors; with something to offer all ages.

Wine tours and craft beer tastings are a newish attraction along the Garden Route but well worth it. There are even horse-drawn carriage wine-tasting trails to experience.

Popular towns along the Garden Route:

Knysna

Knysna is set between lush forests and the shores of the estuary and beaches. It is approximately 510km’s from Cape Town International Airport while George Airport is a mere 65 km away. Port Elizabeth airport is approximately 280 km from Knysna. It is also home to some world-class golf courses; such as Pezula Golf Course and Simola Golf & Country Estate.

Pezula Resort and Golf on Garden Route
Pezula Golf Resort on Garden Route

The Knysna Heads flank a deep channel through which the sea pours into the breathtaking lagoon; at the mouth of the Knysna River. The area is one of the most scenic in the world and offers beaches, lakes, and lush forests.

Knysna Heads on Garden Route
Knysna Heads on Garden Route

Knysna Holiday Activities

Come and explore the Knysna forests and dive into outdoor adventures; for example; horse riding, hiking, yachting, fishing, and canoeing. More extreme sports of abseiling, paragliding, scuba diving, or water skiing and; some of the best mountain bike routes in the country.

Knysna Elephant Park on Garden Route
Knysna Elephant Park on Garden Route

Other attractions in Knysna include the Featherbed Nature Reserve which is accessible only by ferry; Knysna Elephant Park, Knysna Forests; which offer excellent hiking, bird watching, whale watching, houseboat holidays, etc.

Knysna boasts an array of unique species including the Knysna seahorse, Knysna Loerie, endangered dwarf chameleon, and Brenton Blue Butterfly. The area also hosts some of the biggest wildlife creatures; Humpback and Southern Right whales; who visit the coastline between May and September; to breed in the warm waters of the Indian Ocean. In addition;  it is home to the only forest elephants in South Africa.

It is also famous for its oysters and hosts the annual Knysna Oyster Festival.

Knysna is the ideal base for exploring the rest of the Garden Route with all the attractions nearby. Distances from Knysna to:
Mossel Bay: 105 km
Wilderness: 50km
Oudtshoorn: 120 km
Plettenberg Bay: 30 km
Stormsriver: 90 km

Plettenberg Bay

Plettenberg Bay is 540km’s from Cape Town International Airport and only 30km east of Knysna. With beautiful beaches, majestic mountains, forests and so much more; it is a perfect holiday town and a photographers / artists paradise.

Garden Route holiday
Garden Route holiday

Plettenberg Bay offers its visitors a host of activities including scuba diving, snorkeling, sailing, fishing, bungee jumping; at the highest commercial bungee jump in the world at a height of 216m; hiking, canoeing, sea kayaking, paragliding, hang gliding, mountain biking, horse riding and abseiling. Scenic drives along the coast and through Nature’s Valley, Tsitsikamma Forest, and the Robberg Nature Reserve are spectacular. At night, Plettenberg Bay has lots of pubs and fine restaurants to keep you entertained.

About 15km’s from Plettenberg Bay; is the seaside village of Keurboomstrand with its beautiful unspoiled beaches and lookout points to spot dolphins and whales.

Oudtshoorn

Oudtshoorn is accessible via 2 scenic drives; The Robinson Pass from Mossel Bay or the Outeniqua Pass from George. It is situated about 420km from Cape Town and approximately 55km from George.

It is the ostrich feather capital of the world and famous for the Cango Caves and the ostrich farms.

Cango Caves

The Cango Caves is one of the world’s great natural wonders and a series of 80 dripstone caverns; filled with stalactites and stalagmites. The variety of natural colored limestone formations creates a beautiful underground fantasy land.

The Standard Tour is suitable for most ages and lasts approximately 60 minutes. Tours depart every hour on the hour.

The Adventure Tour departs every hour on the half-hour and lasts approximately 90 minutes. The Adventure Tour covers the Standard Tour and then leads deeper into the cave. There is some ‘squeezing’ and leopard crawling in parts.

Cango Caves in Oudtshoorn
Cango Caves in Oudtshoorn

Ostrich Farms

Being the Ostrich capital of the world; you will find a lot of ostrich farms here. Tours are on offer to see the farm and many ostrich egg and feather souvenirs are available for purchase.

Cango Wildlife Ranch

The Cango Wildlife Ranch is well worth a visit in this area. This is a sanctuary for many endangered animals from around the world; such as the ring-tailed lemurs and pygmy hippos. For the adventurous crocodile cage diving is also offered here. Have your photograph taken with a white lion or cheetah plus many other attractions.

Your guided tour will take you through the alligator and crocodile enclosures and then off to meet the big cats. A tour will last anything from 45 – 60 minutes. We recommend visitors set aside at least 2 hours to experience everything we have to offer.

George

George is dramatically situated between the Outeniqua Mountains and the ocean. It is approximately 450 km from Cape Town and 320 km from Port Elizabeth. There is also a domestic airport here with convenient connections from Johannesburg, Cape Town, and Durban. George is home to some of the best golf courses in South Africa; including George Golf Club and the famous Fancourt Country Club. Fancourt has 4 golf courses; namely The Links, Montague, Outeniqua & Bramble Hill.

One of the most popular activities in George is the Outeniqua Powervan; where you can experience the forest and four passes, waterfalls and tunnels, fynbos and proteas, bird and animal life. The trip stops for about half an hour at a panoramic picnic area. Passengers bring their own picnic baskets. The Outeniqua Powervan are special railbuses that can fit through narrow tunnels.

The Outeniqua Transport Museum is the starting and ending point for the Outeniqua Powervan; and also houses a large collection of steam locomotives and carriages dating back to the bygone years. The Museum offers hours of exploration and intrigue.

Mossel Bay

Mossel Bay is approximately 400km from Cape Town International Airport (about halfway between Cape Town and Port Elizabeth). This small coastal town boasts some fantastic beaches, good surfing, nature trails, and great historical sites and museums; including the 500-year-old Post Office Tree. Originally a fishing village, it has now become a bustling holiday town and port.

Storms River

The little village of Storms River is in the heart of the Tsitsikamma and is named after the powerful river; that winds its way through the Tsitsikamma Mountain Range and into the Indian Ocean. The Tsitsikamma National Park is one of the oldest marine reserves in the country; as well as one of the biggest.

Adventure activities abound and the birdlife incredible. There are several short walking trails. Furthermore; the Otter Trail begins here; a strenuous five-day hike exploring the deep ravines, gorges, and cliff edges of this rugged coast. Canopy tours, fishing, biking trails, Black Water Tubing, and Kloofing are all available; with the Bloukrans River Bridge Bungi jump nearby. This is assumed to be the world’s highest jump at 216 meters.