The amazing garden route in South Africa will take you through some of the most spectacular views and experiences that South Africa has to offer. Relatively few tourists try it, preferring to stick to the usual lineup of tourist attractions. Why not be bold and have an adventure? Hire a car and prepare yourself for a breeze through some of the most dazzling stretches of coast that you are ever likely to see. The route takes you from Cape Town through some amazing stops along the way before ending in the beautiful and famous Port Elizabeth. So fill up your tank and get ready for fun! Where to stay in Cape Town
Cape Town to Swellendam – 219km
Upon leaving Cape Town the first stop on the route is Swellendam.
This small town is over 250 years old making it the 3rd oldest in South Africa. With over 50 provincial heritage sites (most of them buildings of Cape Dutch architecture) that line the wide streets this is a perfect spot to stop for lunch. Stay in Swellendam
Swellendam to Mossel Bay – 168km
Mossel Bay is renowned for the Pinnacle Point Golf Estate which has made the town a mecca for golfers. From the course one can enjoy stunning views of the Indian Ocean. Other than golf Mossel Bay also offers those looking for an adventure so an opportunity to go cage-diving with great white sharks is not to be missed.
In fact Mossel Bay is one of only two places in South African that can offer this experience. Stay in Mossel Bay
Mossel Bay to Oudtshoorn – 92.3km
If you want to visit the “ostrich capital of the world” then take a quick detour to Oudtshoorn which is a dusty contrast to the thickly forested coastline of the Garden Route. Visit one of the many Ostrich farms and get up close and personal with these big-eyed birds.
Oudtshoorn is also famous for the Cango Caves which are regarded as one of Africa’s most important natural wonders.
Don’t leave Oudtshoorn without visiting the Cango Wildlife Ranch which is one of the world’s foremost cheetah breeding projects and also boasts rare white lions, Bengal tigers and crocodiles. Stay in Oudtshoorn
Oudtshoorn to Wilderness – 72.4km
Dust yourself off after the frenetic madness of mixing with the crazy birds and have a well deserved laze on the beach. Beautiful, secluded beaches and lagoons await you at Wilderness and will provide the perfect antidote to the bustle of Cape Town. Stay in Wilderness
Wilderness to Knysna – 46.8km
Leaving Wilderness doesn’t mean leaving behind your blissed out state. Instead you’ll be reinforcing it with a drive to the next stop: Knysna. Approaching Knysna you’ll drive alongside a giant beautiful lagoon towards the two large sandstone cliffs that stand over each side of the estuary. Stop to take in the lagoon and explore the forests before entering the hustle and bustle of the town centre. If you’re around in June or July you can visit the annual Knysna Oyster Festival. Stay in Knysna
Knysna to Tsitsikamma – 92.9km
For dramatic views of untamed rocky coastlines head further east towards the last stop before Port Elizabeth: Tsitsikamma. 80 kilometers of gorgeous natural coastline along the Garden Route National Park. Here photographers and explorers will be spoilt for choice if what they are looking for is an abundance of unmolested gorges, cliffs and tidal pools combined with thick green forests. Leave the car behind and join a walking trail. There are a variety to choose from for all types of walkers, no matter their abilities. Stay in Tsitsikamma
Tsitsikamma to Port Elizabeth – 187km
Once you have arrived at Port Elizabeth you might think that the adventure is over… wrong!
Port Elizabeth offers you the opportunity to enter the game reserves of the Eastern Cape and take in an unforgettable wildlife experience.
There are many reserves to choose from (Lalibela Private Game Reserve, Gorah Elephant Camp and Kariega Game Reserve) and the abundance of stunning wildlife including the Big 5 – lion, elephant, rhino, buffalo and leopard – as well as multitudes of other South African wildlife will remain with you forever.