Western Cape Garden Route Travel
The Garden Route is not named for cultivated gardens as many travellers expect, but rather for the magnificence of its wild, unspoilt coastline and natural “gardens”, as described by the French explorer, Le Vaillant, in the 1780s. The Khoi San people called it “Outeniqua” meaning “a man laden with honey”, a reference to the scent from the wild flowers. The magnificent forests at Tsitsikamma, sweeping beaches of St Francis Bay and beautiful Plettenberg Bay, the bustling town of Knysna and lovely Lake District of Wilderness and Sedgefield are all to be found along the way.
The Garden Route includes one of the world’s most beautiful stretches of coastline. Officially extending from Mossel Bay to the Storms River, its starting point is constantly contested with towns such as Witsand, Stilbaai and Albertinia affiliating themselves to the route so that winds its way for some 200 km via George, Wilderness, Sedgefield and Knysna on to Plettenberg Bay and culminating in the Tsitsikamma Forest - a fairyland of giant trees, ferns and bird life.
Use our Garden Route map and the informative tidbits of info below to plan a fairytale visit to this exquisite part of South Africa.
In the Western Cape, the Garden Route extends from Stilbaai to Nature’s Valley. Use our Western Cape Garden Route map and the informative tidbits of info below to plan a fairytale visit to this exquisite part of South Africa – be sure not to miss out on Brenton-on-Sea, The Crags, George, Knysna, Mossel Bay, Nature’s Valley, Plettenberg Bay, Stilbaai, Victoria Bay and the wonderful Wilderness.
Brenton-On-Sea - A great family beach, away from it all. Featherbed Nature Reserve - Across the lagoon, offers day tours with or without lunch to spot sea horses and Knysna loeries.
The Crags – Plenty to see and do in this exciting region between Plett and Natures Valley, especially for nature and animal lovers. Walk hand-in-trunk with an elephant or ride through the forest on the back of one of these magnificent beasts.
George Railway Museum - Experience a day down memory lane, visiting this museum in George, where 13 original steam locomotives, including Paul Kruger’s coach and private saloons are on show. Photographs, crockery and cutlery from the steam era are on display, as well as a private vintage car collection.
Harkerville - Hiking and mountain biking trails through the indigenous forests, starting from Harkerville.
Herold’s Bay – A quiet, unspoilt, coastal paradise, Herold’s Bay lies 15 km West of George offering a sheltered beach and fynbos-rich coastal walking trails from which one can see dolphins and (in season) whales. The unspoilt coastal fynbos makes it a popular spot for birders and nature-lovers.
Knysna - Follow the crowds to Knysna’s Waterfront for shops, galleries and restaurants, and Knysna’s famous oysters. Book a sunset or lagoon cruise. Knysna’s Oyster Festival in July is a very popular gastronomic event when thousands of oysters are consumed.
Mossel Bay - The first inhabitants of the area were nomadic Khoisan. Visit one of the Khoisan caves at the starting point of the walking trail to the nearby town of Dana Bay, now a national monument. Portuguese explorer Bartolomeu Dias arrived here on February 3, 1488. In 1601 the harbour and surrounding area were renamed Mosselbaai (Bay of Mussels) by a Dutch navigator.
Nature’s Valley – On the border of the Eastern Cape. The scenic drive is worth it on its own, and an additional reward is the fresh fish at Rafiki’s, on a deck on the beach, with a sundowner to end the day.
Plettenberg Bay - Hike the Robberg trail or walk the magnificent unspoilt Robberg beach. Outside Plett, take the family to lunch at Enrico’s on the beach at Keurboomstrand.
Rheenendal - Outside Knysna, Bushpig Fabrics on the road to Rheenendal do fabric painting and screen-printed T-shirts. Nearby, visit Millwood the original site of early gold mining.
Riversdale - A serene country town famous for its pretty Sleeping Beauty mountain peak and fynbos.
Sedgefield - Buy farm fresh produce and everything from biltong to preserves at the Wild Oats Community Farmers’ Market on Saturday mornings, including the best breakfasts.
Stilbaai - Famous fish traps, dating from the early Strandlopers, are seen on the beach, while whales wave their tails in the bay.
Victoria Bay – Beloved of surfers, Vic Bay as it’s affectionately known is a beautiful, hidden gem of a beach between George and Wilderness, offering a gentle beach for safe bathing and big waves further out for board riders
Wilderness - The unique Friday night market has a bistro-type atmosphere with craft and food stalls. Monthly Saturday market.
Portfolio offers a wide range of quality Garden Route accommodation options including farm stays, B&Bs, guest houses, boutique hotels and country houses in Brenton-on-Sea, The Crags, George, Knysna, Mossel Bay, Nature’s Valley, Plettenberg Bay, Stilbaai, Victoria Bay and Wilderness. Contact us for all your Garden Route accommodation requirements.