The Garden Route Holidays

The Garden Route, which starts from Mossel Bay and ends at Port Elizabeth, is sure to seduce you. The region boasts one of the wildest and most staggeringly beautiful stretches of coastline you will ever see, while inland there are picturesque lagoons and lakes, rolling hills and soaring mountains.

A drive along the Garden Route, which stretches just over 180 miles, should ideally be spread out over four or five days stopping at the places we recommend. If you're looking to quickly drive through the region, the N2 Highway covers the length of the route, or for a more leisurely alternative, there are a network of scenic back roads. Most people drop their car in Port Elizabeth at the end of the route and then take a flight to their next port of call.

Mossel Bay: This beautiful holiday town, surrounded by the Indian Ocean, is where the first European, Bartholmeu Diaz, set anchor in 1488. Along with the many museums to visit it's also a sport enthusiast's paradise and starting point for boat trips - don't miss a visit to Seal Islands to see the Cape fur seals.

George: The Garden Route's biggest town lies centrally between Cape Town and Port Elizabeth at the base of the Outeniqua mountains. The historic town centre boasts some magnificent buildings and landmarks, including the Slave Tree and the railway station which houses a fascinating railway museum.

Oudtshoorn: The biggest town in the Little Karoo, an inland region. It's most famous for its ostrich farming with, with around 400 surrounding farms, some of which offer guided tours.

Knysna: Knysna is built around a huge natural lagoon, which is connected to the ocean by a narrow gap between two cliffs, called The Heads. The town's pretty main street is lined with shops and restaurants and is also known for the annual Oyster Festival held in July.

Plettenberg Bay: Upmarket "Plett" has golden beaches stretching for miles along the Indian Ocean, with sailing, fishing and scuba diving available. Whilst popular in the summer months, it can be surprisingly quiet, out of season.

Cape St Francis: This beautiful town's attractions include the white sandy beaches and historic Seal Point lighthouse. It's all about the great outdoors here, with an abundance of nature reserves along with fabulous watersport options.

Port Elizabeth: The fifth largest city in the country and the biggest on the coast between Cape Town and Durban. This important harbour town and industrial centre has an attractive atmosphere, wide beaches, some beautiful parks, landscaped gardens and an impressive promenade. From Port Elizabeth, it's only a short hop to some of the private game reserves of the Eastern Cape.

    Why visit The Garden Route?
  • Glorious natural scenery
  • Coastal walks & forest trails
  • Whale watching
  • Golden beaches
  • Charming seaside towns


Travel Expert

Vicky

Travel Expert

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Wide choice of tours and hotels in South Africa. Also includes Namibia, Botswana, Victoria Falls, Tanzania, Zanzibar, Uganda, Mozambique and Madagascar.

Where to stay in The Garden Route

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Essential facts about The Garden Route
Local Time

GMT +2 hours

Currency

South African Rand

Travel information

The Garden Route is only half a day’s drive from Cape Town, which in turn is approximately 12 hours flight (non-stop) from the UK. The town of George has an airport with internal flights available from Cape Town, Durban and Johannesburg.

Best time to go

The Garden Route has a Mediterranean Maritime climate, with moderately hot summers (November to March) and mild to chilly winters (June to August). It is one of the richest rainfall areas, most of which occurs in the winter months, brought by the humid sea-winds from the Indian Ocean. Any time of year is good for visiting the area, depending if you prefer a bustling summer holiday destination or peaceful retreat during the winter months.

Travelling with children

Parents travelling with children into or out of South Africa may be asked to show the child’s unabridged full birth certificate, and where only one parent is accompanying, parental or legal consent for the child to travel (eg an affidavit from the other parent, a court order or – if applicable – a death certificate). You should travel with these documents in case you’re asked to provide them. There are other requirements for children travelling unaccompanied or with adults who are not their parents. For more information, contact the South African High Commission www.southafricahouseuk.com or the South African Department of Home Affairs www.dha.gov.za.