The world-famous Garden Route in South Africa deserves its reputation as one of the country’s most beautiful stretches of coastline. From Port Elizabeth to Cape Town, the changing landscapes will reward you with breathtaking views and unique experiences, from the Tsitsikamma Forest and the Knysna Lagoon to the Cango Caves in the Klein Karoo.
Here’s why we love the Garden Route, and why you will too!
Oysters in Knysna
The heart of the Garden Route, Knysna is known for its extraordinary scenery. Here, ancient forests tumble in shades of pine-green towards a quaint and quirky village perched on the shores of an azure lagoon. It’s quite a sight.
Not to be outdone by its surroundings, Knysna’s food scene is as much a feast for the senses as the town’s imposing sandstone “Heads” are a feast for the eyes. Dine on fine cuisine, tuck into fresh takeaway seafood or sup on Knysna’s most iconic foodie attraction: oysters!
Ostriches in Oudtshoorn
Nestled in the Klein Karoo between the Swartberg and Outeniqua mountains, Oudtshoorn is the ostrich capital of the world. But the world’s biggest bird is just one of the many attractions in this area of extraordinary contrasts and natural beauty.
Oudtshoorn is an adventure. Its unique blend of culture, colourful locals and semi-arid landscape make it a one-of-a-kind destination. It’s also fast gaining a reputation as a foodie paradise, with venues such as the Surval Olive Estate serving fine cuisine with local flair.
Whales in Hermanus
The heart of the whale route, Hermanus has been named as one of the twelve best whale watching locations in the world by the World Wildlife Fund (WWF). It’s also one of the Western Cape’s most popular destinations and features excellent restaurants, art galleries and more.
Explore the unique cliff paths of Hermanus and gasp at the outstanding views of Walker Bay. During whale season, you will have the opportunity to see Southern Right Whales, which frolic offshore between July and November.
Giant Trees in the Knysna Forest
“Like a mighty king, it stood towering above the white alder and mountain saffron, stinkwood, assegai and hard pear. As if God had planted it long before the others. Its giant roots anchored it to the ground like giant arms…”
Dalene Matthee – Circles in a Forest, 1984.
The famously giant Outeniqua Yellowwood Tree at Krisjan-se-Nek, named the “Dalene Matthee Big Tree” at the unveiling of the author’s memorial, is some 880 years old and 40 meters tall. The Big Tree reminds us that Mother Nature was here long before we were, and will still be here long after we’re gone.
Humbling and astonishing, it’s a sight not to be missed – and half the fun is strolling through the ancient forest. Follow on of two “Circles in a Forest” hiking trails, starting at Krisjan-se-Nek, which take you deeper into the indigenous forest, past centuries-old trees, tall tree ferns, babbling streams and exquisite fungus.
Stalactites and Stalagmites in The Cango Caves
The Cango Caves is one of South Africa’s most incredible natural wonders. Just 29 km from Oudtshoorn, at the head of the picturesque Cango Valley, the spectacular Cango Caves will leave you marvelling at dripstone caverns, with their vast hallsand towering formations.
Different tours are on offer, including wheelchair-friendly tours, and heritage and adventure tours. Don’t leave without a visit to the restaurant, which serves up mouth-watering Ostrich fair, succulent Karoo Lamb, Line Fish and Traditional Bredies.
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