Garden Route Guide | Tours, Activities, Accommodation & So Much More
Garden Route Guide | Tours, Activities, Accommodation & So Much More
Title Image
Garden Route Guide | Tours, Activities, Accommodation & So Much More
There are so many things to get you going along the Garden Route, we've listed a few fun activities, restaurants & travel tips to help you on your adventure...
Title Image

Garden Route Guide | Tours, Activities, Accommodation & So Much More

There are so many things to get you going along the Garden Route, we've listed a few fun activities, restaurants & travel tips to help you on your adventure...
Title Image
Garden Route Guide | Tours, Activities, Accommodation & So Much More
There are so many things to get you going along the Garden Route, we've listed a few fun activities, restaurants & travel tips to help you on your adventure...

Welcome to one of South Africa’s most beautiful regions, the Garden Route.

Characterized by ostentatious views of ocean, the Garden Route is nestled between mountains and forests which seem to stretch off into the horizon. The occasional backpacking lodge, biltong stall and quirky cafe can be found scattered along the route which all make for the perfect road tripping adventure.

Quick Jump
How to get there
Best Time to Visit
Tours to do
How to get around
Length of stay
What to pack
Where to stay
What to eat
What’s Happening along the Garden Route
More Travel Tips
Conclusion

How to get there

The Garden Route stretches from Mossel bay in the Western Cape, spanning a distance of 300km, to the Storms River in the Eastern Cape. George is nestled in the heart of this ecologically diverse region and is a popular stop-over spot for people journeying along the coast.

Garden Route Map

Overview of the Garden Route Map
@roomsforafrica

Best Time to Visit

Ask any local and they are sure to say “all year around”. It really depends on what you want from the experience. Most popular holiday destinations (Easter, December, June, New Years) see thousands of people flooding in and out of the vibrant area. However, if you are seeking a more “quiet” vacation stretch, we recommend going in the off-peak seasons.

Tours to do

There are many tours which invite you to the pure natural wonder of the region. Starting in Cape Town, you’ll be met with wine estates, surreal landscapes, quirky farm-stalls, friendly villages and nature walks, you might even find some magical waterfalls.

Another hot topic, the iconic Cango Caves, should not to be missed, we recommend using the less-travelled Swartberg Mountain pass.

Don’t forget your camera or data for Instagram - this place is gorgeous. In addition to this, there are a number of fun, family-friendly activities to check out. Take your pick from the options!

Addo Elephant Park

A Majestic animal in it's natural habitat
@addoelephant

Addo Elephant National Park is the third largest national park in South Africa. It is home to beautiful landscapes, flora and fauna.

The park is home to the Big Five as well as 13 species of antelope and 22 species of carnivores including hyena, cheetah and wild dog. Spot lion in the southern section of the park and herds of elephant at Hapoor dam.

  • Where: R335 Paterson Road, Addo, 6105
  • More info: Website
    • Contact number: 042 233 8600

Bloukrans Bungy

Do you have what it takes?
@faceadrenalin

Experience 7 seconds of freefall when you do the highest bungy jump off a bridge. The bridge is 216 metres high but the jump is about 160 metres depending on your weight. The jump is filmed for you to watch afterwards. Conquer your fears, you won’t regret it!

  • When: Open daily, 9am - 5pm
  • Where: Face Adrenalin, Garden Route National Park, Bloukrans River Bridge, Tsitsikamma, Plettenberg Bay
  • More info: Website
    • Contact number: 042 281 1458 or 071 109 6872

Garden Route Game Lodge

Photo-bombing a cheetah in action
@gardenroutegamelodge

The Garden Route Game Lodge is an incredible experience, guaranteed to have something special that everyone in the family can enjoy.

Ranging from the mouth watering menu of the Serengeti's Restaurant to incredible Day Safari tour rides & breathtaking views from affordable lodges - there is no reason why you shouldn't have this bad boy down on your "must see" list.

  • When: Open daily, 7am - 10pm
  • Where: N2, Albertinia, 6695
  • More info: Website
    • Contact number: + 27 28 735 1200

Africanyon River Adventures

Add extreme adventure to your bucket list
@icannotknow

Explore the different sections of the river with AfriCanyon. Abseil down waterfalls, slide down natural water slides and zip-line into mountain pools.Whether you’re a first timer or seasoned at canyoning, the qualified guides will ensure a memorable kloofing experience.

  • When: Open daily, 8am - 6pm
  • Where: The Mill, The Crags, Plettenberg Bay
  • More info: Website
    • Contact number: 044 534 8055

Shark Cage Diving

Make a new friend underwater
@sharkbookings

Shark Bookings.com focuses on quite a number of shark related activities in the Mossel Bay area. Pro-tip: This is probably the most accessible Great White Sharks point in the world, the waves are comfortable & warm temperatures are a standard all year round - making your experience a tad less terrifying.

Another positive of course, is that they offer DVD coverage of your adventure too. Isn’t it fun having to watch your near-death experience in a lounge setting whilst sipping on a warm cup of tea?

  • When: All year around
  • Where: Mossel Bay, Garden Route
  • More info: Website
    • Contact number: 082 466 4519

Tsitsikamma National Park

Casual bridge over the Storms River
@lasusci

The Tsitsikamma National Park is a section of the Garden Route National Park. Located on the south coast of South Africa, it is one of the most scenic stretches of coastline in the world.

The Tsitsikamma National Park includes the scenic Storms River Mouth and features stretches of ancient forest and a craggy coastline.The Tsitsikamma National Park offers wonderful hiking and nature walks. It is a great place to go birding, mountain biking and water activities.

  • When: Open Daily, 7am - 10pm
  • Where: Storms River Mouth, Tsitsikamma Forest
  • More info: Website
    • Contact number: 042 281 1607 or 042 281 1557

Nature’s Valley

Magnificent view of natures valley
@darrenrothmann

Nature’s Valley, known as the Jewel of The Garden Route, forms part of the Tsitsikamma National Park. It is a haven for bird-watching and hiking. The Nature’s Valley Rest camp is located in De Vasselot, 30km from Plettenberg Bay.

There are day trails in the surrounding area like the Groot River Trail and the Salt River Mouth Trail.The nearby Nature’s Valley Beach offers surfing, sailing and swimming. A great way to unwind is canoeing from the camp to the mouth of the Groot river.

Canoes can be hired from Nature’s Valley Rest Camp. Basic commodities can be purchased from the shop in the village. There is also a restaurant/pub next to the shop.

  • When: 9am - 7:30pm
  • Where: Nature’s Valley, Tsitsikamma National Park
  • More info: Website
    • Contact number: 044 531 6700

How to get around

Most people find it easiest to hire a vehicle and split the cost with fellow travellers, otherwise you always have an option to take the baz-bus which transports happy adventurers from one vibrant backpacker lodge to the next, for one set fee.

For a more in depth look at backpacking, feel free to swing on by our SA backpacking guide here.

Baz Bus

Travel in style :)
@bazbus_sa

The Baz Bus has a route from Johannesburg to Cape Town and visa versa. There is also a leg between Durban and Johannesburg/ Pretoria. The bus works on a hop-on, hop-off basis with various backpackers along the routes so you can decide where you want to start your journey.

Train

Metrorail operates in four areas of South Africa; Gauteng, KwaZulu-Natal, Eastern Cape and Western Cape. Shosholoza Meyl has lines running between Johannesburg and Cape Town as well as Johannesburg and Durban.

Car Rental

Stationary fleet of Shosholoza Meyl trains
@shosholozameyl

For those of you who want to have some independence when it comes to where you want to explore, you can hire a car. Budget-friendly car hire options include Tempest car hire and Budget car rental.

Length of stay

Depending on your level of travel experience, and budget of course, we recommend spending no less than 4 days in the Garden Route to walk-away quenched. However, to experience all she has to offer, 2 weeks should be more than enough to have your mind blown by all there is to do.

What to pack

Always travel light! A camera, some sunscreen, a raincoat, hiking shoes, power bank to charge your electronics, head-lamp (very convenient for night activities.)

Where to stay

There are a number backpackers, hotels and a series of cheap bed and breakfast’s to make use of - trust us, if you plan ahead they will not break the bank. Be warned though - last minute plans could be a hefty price to pay, in more ways than one. The Garden Route has various accommodation options to suit all budgets. Here are a couple to choose from.

Jeffreys Bay Backpackers

Enjoying much needed rest with friends
@jeffreysbaybackpackers

Jeffreys Bay Backpackers is centrally located in the heart of Jeffreys Bay. It’s walking distance from the main beach, restaurants, nightlife and surf spots. The backpackers have a lounge with a fireplace, a swimming pool and a braai (BBQ) area.

There is free WiFi and a central TV lounge if want to keep connected, otherwise why not socialise with your fellow travellers over a cold beer and a game of pool.Walk along the beach and enjoy the fresh sea air. Go sandboarding or horse riding across the dunes.

Learn about life in the township from a local while you take a walking tour. Take a quad bike safari on the nearby farm or spend some time at the nearby waterfall. Jeffreys Bay Backpackers is a Baz Bus stop.

  • When: Open Daily, 7am - 11pm
  • Where: 12 Jeffrey Street, Jeffreys Bay
  • More info: Website
    • Contact number: 042 293 1379

Dijembe Backpackers - Storms River

Taking it easy in true backpacker fashion :)
@treybyrne8

Dijembe Backpackers Lodge is centrally located for adventure activities in Storms River Village. Dijembe has facilities to ensure your stay is an enjoyable one.

These include a pool table, jacuzzi, dart board, a bar and braai (BBQ) facilities.

There is an in-house travel desk with a information centre to help you with your tour bookings. Take a tour through the the tree-top canopies with Tsitsikamma Canopy Tours.

Activities in the area include black water tubing, swimming and cycling around the area. Nearby places to visit include Birds of Eden, the Elephant Sanctuary and The Storms River Suspension Bridge. Dijembe Backpackers is a Baz Bus stop.

  • When: Daily, 8am - 5pm
  • Where: Corner Formosa and Assegai Streets, Storms River Village, Storms River
  • More info: Website
    • Contact number: 042 281 1842

Wild Spirit Backpackers Lodge - The Crags

Wild Spirit Backpackers Lodge is nestled in the Crags on the Garden Route. Surrounded by indigenous forests and mountains in the Tsitsikamma National Park, it caters to the open-minded and conscious traveller. Wild Spirit is a great base to explore the surrounding attractions or just gain some peace of mind.

The day hikes in the area include Robberg Nature Reserve, Salt River Mouth and Nature’s Valley. Visit Nature’s Valley Beach and Lagoon for a dip in the water or to sunbathe.For those adrenaline junkies, you can book tickets and a shuttle to do the Bloukrans Bungy jump through the backpackers. The nearby AfriCanyon adventures also offers a spectacular jolt of adrenalin. Wild Spirit is a Baz Bus stop.

  • When: Daily, 7:30am - 8pm
  • Where: R102, Nature's Valley Road, The Crags, 6602
  • More info: Website
    • Contact number: 044 534 8888

Island Vibe - Knysna

Affordable living with friendly staff & good vibes
@islandvibe

Island Vibe Knysna is located in the heart of Knysna, a small town on the Garden Route. Most things are within walking distance so meander your way through the town and discover small shops or details you would otherwise miss.

Be sure to visit the quays for some famous Knysna oysters.Island Vibe Knysna has free WiFi, a poolside bar, a common room and braai (BBQ) facilities.

Knysna has a large lagoon and is surrounded by forests. Visit the Waterfront for restaurants, curio shops and to watch the yachts in the harbour.The Mitchell’s brewery tour will have you learning more about the locally crafted beer and tasting it too. Island Vibe Knysna is a Baz Bus stop.

  • When: Daily, 7:30am - 8pm
  • Where: 67 Main Road, Knysna, Western Cape
  • More info: Website
    • Contact number: 044 382 1728

Outeniqua Travel Lodge - George

Beautiful snap of Outeniqua lodge
@outeniquatravellodge

Outeniqua Travel Lodge is located on the historic Montagu Road in a house that is over a century old. It is just a 7 minutes drive from George airport and the lodge offers a free airport shuttle service.

There is free WiFi and communal areas where guests can socialise. If you’re a golfer, George has some of spectacular golf courses which are just across the road.

There are day trips to the Cango Caves in Oudtshoorn, you can visit an ostrich farm among handfuls of other adventure activities.The scenic Montagu Pass begins just 2km from the lodge. If you’re needing help deciding what activities to do there is a desk with tourism information. Outeniqua Travel Lodge is a Baz Bus stop.

  • When: Open Daily, TBC
  • Where: 19 Montagu Street, George, 6529
  • More info: Website
    • Contact number: 082 316 7720

What to eat

Knysna is renown for its oysters, and there's an entire festival dedicated to these molluscs in July.

Garden Route Mall

One stop shop for all things good
@gardenroutemall

So you're in the middle of nowhere, getting chased around by lions and a thought occurs to you - you forgot a bag of your most important goodies at your grandmothers place.

Well don't loose your temper, the garden route mall is your one-stop shop for all things good in this world, food, drink, appliances, bandaids etc - Anything. Make sure you've remembered to make a note of this, you have been warned. :)

  • When: Mon - Thurs from 9am - 6pm; Weekend: 9am-3pm
  • Where: Garden Route Mall N2 Highway
  • More info: Website
    • Contact number: (044) 887 0199

Bocca Dolce Coffee Shop - Wittedrift

Selection of organic food on display at Bocca
@boccadolce

On organic vegan restaurant nestled in the heart of the wild! Come and enjoy an exquisite selection of lunch, dessert, dinner & everything in between, prepared with ingredients picked from their own garden.

The staff in general are very enthusiastic and welcoming, really a must visit place for vegans and carnivores a like ;).

  • When: 9am - 4:30pm
  • Where: Quarry Lake Estate, Stofpad, Wittedrift, 6603
  • More info: Website
    • Contact number: 083 562 7236

Le Fournil De Plett Bakery - Plettenberg Bay

Sunny day as patrons enjoy an afternoon meal
@lefournildeplett

You cannot travel through Plettenberg Bay without making a casual stop by this friendly bustling cafe. The menu is just what you need, indulge in an assortment of light-hearted snacks in an environment so cozy, you might just mistake it for home.

  • When: 7:30am - 5pm
  • Where: 18 Main St, Plettenberg Bay, 6600
  • More info: Website
    • Contact number: 044 533 1390

Freshline Fisheries Restaurant - Knysna

Seafood prepared freshly everyday
@freshlinefisheries

Calling all seafood lovers in search of a friendly spot to enjoy fresh fish in an island vibe setting. The restaurant is located along the railway siding dockyard with a fun, beach-bum like atmosphere characterized by wooden benches, friendly staff & sandy floors.

  • When: 11am - 8pm
  • Where: Railway Siding Dockyard, Cnr Long & Waterfront Drive, 6570
  • More info: Website
    • Contact number: 044 382 3131

101 Meade Street Restaurant - George

Fine dining experience along the garden route
@101meade

Quite possibly one of the region’s most world-class quality restaurants, situated in Alberton George, this popular dining spot is frequented by people from all walks of life. The extensive menu is tempting beyond words, but also comes at a price, feel free to check the fine dining menu online.

  • When: 7am - 9:30pm
  • Where: 101 Meade St, George Central, George, 6529
  • More info: Website
    • Contact number: 044 874 0343

Serendipity Restaurant - Wilderness

Delicately prepared dishes for an acquired taste
@serendipitywilderness

Don’t be fooled by the relaxed, homely atmosphere - the Serendipity Restaurant is one of the few restaurants in the country with a “World Luxury Restaurant Award” under its belt for South African cuisine.

Not quite sure anything else needs to be said beyond that, right? The place really appeals to anyone looking for a mouthful tasty experience without breaking the bank, see for yourself.

  • When: 7am - 10pm
  • Where: Freesia Ave, Wilderness, 6560
  • More info: Website

Carola Ann’s - Mossel Bay

Cheeky breakfast at quaint Mossel Bay spot
@lushe.f

Ask yourself, can one have a successful day without a hearty breakfast? Probably not! Don’t fret though, Carola Ann’s in Mossel Bay is in the business of delivering eggsquisite breakfasts prepared breakfast dishes at reasonable prices, second-rounds are mandatory at this quaint establishment.

  • When: 8am - 4:30pm
  • Where: Freesia Ave, Wilderness, 6560
  • More info: Website

What’s Happening along the Garden Route

All year around one can expect the Garden Route to rack in all types of events to suit a range of social needs. In the midst of all the excitement we have focused on a few to get the butterflies in your stomach going, please give a shout if you feel we should add anything else.

Knysna Oyster Festival

Food on display at Knysna Oyster Festival
@oysterfestival

The Oyster Festival is one of the most popular events on the South African calendar, family and friends come from far and wide - to attend.

The atmosphere itself caters to sports lovers, seafood ninjas and anyone in search of a good time! The premium Sport and Lifestyle Festival takes place once a year from 29 June - 9 July, be sure to save the date.

  • Where: Knysna, Western Cape, 6570 (Event Depending)
  • When: 29 June - 9 July
  • More info: Website
    • Contact number: +27 21 426 5775

Klein Karoo National Arts Festival (KKNK)

The Much anticipated KKNK takes place annually
@kknk

The festival has been rocking the country for almost 20 years now, and there’s a reason why it’s been around for this long. The small town situated in the heart of the Western Cape, Oudtshoorn, comes alive with unique sounds, colours & textures.

Home to a number of theatre performances and art installations, the festival aims to promote South Africa’s rich cultural heritage.

  • Where: Knysna, Western Cape, 6570 (Event Depending)
  • When: 29 March - 4 April
  • More info: Website
    • Contact number: +27 21 426 5775

More Travel Tips

  1. Plan your route - Become friends with Google Maps and plan your routes well. Browse a map before you leave and plan your route for the day. This will give you confidence and reduce the likelihood of getting lost.
  2. Budget - Travelling alone means that you aren’t able to cash in on group deals which makes budgeting well that much more important. Look out for great deals at backpackers as well as transportation deals.
  3. Be vigilant - Always be aware of your surroundings. Avoid walking alone at night in dimly-lit areas and don’t go off to deserted places. Ask locals or staff at your accommodation about the areas to avoid and always let them know when you are heading out alone at night.
  4. Embrace being uncomfortable (within reason) - Some of the most growth will happen when you are pushed out of your comfort zone. However, be sensible about this and don’t do anything too risky. Follow your gut when it comes to how far you want to push yourself.
  5. Meet locals and see what they get up to - Explore local culture and cuisine by making friends with the locals. They’ll have the inside scoop on hidden gems.
  6. Make copies of important documents - Make a copy of your passport and driver’s license to keep on you while you leave the originals safely in your room. That way, if something happens, the originals will still be safe.
  7. Pack light - This is a lesson in and of itself. Packing light will not only mean you have less weighing you down while you explore, but it also means that you have less to gather if you need to escape a situation quickly.
  8. Enjoy yourself! - Don’t forget to have a good time. There’s no point travelling half-way across the world to sit in your hostel room by yourself. Be alert and sensible, but enjoy the experience of exploring a new country.

Conclusion

Yes we know, holidays don’t come around as often as we would like, but we’re hoping this Garden Route guide might get you prepped for the ideal vacation! As always, if you’d like to add any other cool experiences to this guide, feel free to swing us a mail, we’d love to hear your thoughts - until then take care & keep vibing :)

QUICK
JUMP