Is the Garden Route Worth Exploring?
The Garden Route is popular amongst tourists as well as locals and once you’ve been and experienced the true local hospitality of this region you’ll understand why. This compact but spaced out route is perfect for long weekend getaways as well as lengthier holidays and has more than enough on offer to fill your days whether you are a nature lover or looking for something more adventurous.
You’ll find cool shady forests, sandy beaches, lakes, lagoons within short driving distances of each other all boasting beautiful accommodations from secluded mountain cottages to five-star hotel living.
Traveling along the garden route
A self-drive holiday is definitely the best and in my opinion, the only way to experience the Garden Route. It’s a fairly effortless route and the roads are well marked and easy to follow. The area and its places are also well visited which gives the feel of safety.
Although the routes between destinations are not as long I’d still recommend traveling in a spacious and comfortable vehicle as there will be many places you’d want to visit and it is about a 4-5 hour drive from Cape Town International. The self-drive option also gives you the freedom to explore at your own pace. Drive South Africa has a range of vehicles to accommodate your travel plans.
Things to do
If you enjoy taking a leisurely hike, the Tsitsikamma sector boasts a 6km Waterfall Trail which follows some of the same rocky shorelines as the iconic 5-day Otter Trail
For the family, Birds of Eden is a free-flight aviary and bird sanctuary near Plettenberg Bay where you’ll find several species of turaco, waterfowl, hornbill, and more. An experience you won’t find anywhere else. You will also fall in love and be entertained for hours on end by the primates in the adjacent Monkeyland which is a free-roaming sanctuary and includes gibbons, ring-tailed lemurs, and many other amazing species.
The Cango caves near Oudtshoorn are also one of those must-visit places and one of the world’s greatest natural wonders. You can visit the beautiful limestone chambers in the standard tour or opt for the intense adventure tour which will lead you through very small and narrow chambers -the latter is not recommended if you’re claustrophobic.
The Garden Route has some of the most prestigious golf courses in the country and has been visited by many pro golfers. So bring those clubs with and enjoy a round on one of these lush courses.
For those who prefer something more adventurous:
Bloukrans Bungy, Tsitsikamma gives you the opportunity to appreciate the most breathtaking view from what’s said to be the highest bridge in Africa, before leaping towards the waters of the Bloukrans river below. Not for the faint-hearted! I tried bridge swinging once (from a MUCH lower bridge) and I’m sure my (then) husband who was tied to me during this jump, lost most of his hearing that day with me screeching at an octave you’d imagine only dogs can hear… hence having a great excuse to not hear anything I say for years after. It was terrifying and exhilarating but would I do it again? I’m not too sure.
Shark cage diving, Mossel bay will allow you to get up close with the Great White Shark in its natural environment and experience the great power they exude.
For the foodies
Knysna Oyster Festival takes place yearly and stretched over a few days and also includes the famous Knysna Cycle tour and Knysna Forest Marathon.
You’ll also find some great restaurants and distilleries with a wide variety of delicious dishes and drink options that are up there with the best in the world.
Whether you are traveling alone, as a couple or group you’ll definitely enjoy this region of our beautiful country and you’ll come back feeling relaxed and rejuvenated. So yes, it’s definitely worth doing