South Africa’s Garden Route: What’s the Big Deal?

by Sandy Salle on August 8, 2017

If you’re into wildlife and nothing else, head straight for the Kruger or the Okavango Delta in Southern Africa, or go to Kenya and Tanzania for the Great Migration. But if you desire a much more diverse African travel experience, mix your game parks with a journey along South Africa’s Garden Route.

The Garden Route starts about a four-hour drive east of Cape Town and stretching roughly 200 miles along the Cape coast between Mossel Bay and Storms River. The name derives from its lush vegetation, a blend of forest, wetlands and native fynbos vegetation — a colorful mix of shrubs and heath found only in South Africa.

Landscapes aside — and the region is gorgeous — the Garden Route presents a tantalizing mix of nature, history, beaches and adventure, with a few classic African animals thrown in.

The region is now world-famous for close encounters of the great white kind, the adrenalin-packed act of crawling into a shark cage that’s lowered over the edge of a boat into the home waters of the planet’s most fearsome marine creature.

Even if your not keen on coming eyeball to eyeball with Jaws, there’s plenty of other animals to ogle off the Garden Route coast including whales, dolphins, sea lions and soft corals.

Adrenalin junkies can also spike their heart rate by leaping off the Bloukrans Bridge on the world’s highest commercial bungee jump — 709 feet of freefall as you race headfirst towards the Bloukrans River. Before bouncing back, of course.

There are amazing hikes too. There are easy day walks in Robberg Nature Reserve, as well as the 25-mile Otter Trail along the coast. The challenging Tsitsikamma Trail entails six days of hiking through the forested mountains behind the coast and sleeping in national service cabins scattered along the path.

Plettenberg Bay (or simply “Plett” to locals) is the Garden Route’s most celebrated beach resort. But there are plenty of other places to catch a little sun, sea and sand including a little slice of paradise called Nature’s Valley where yours might just be the only footsteps in the sand.

Some of the town are pretty cool too. In particular Knysna (silent “K”) with its funky waterfront area, lively arts and culture scene, outdoor adventure outfitters and annual events like the Pink Loerie Mardi Gras, Oyster Festival and Rastafarian Earth Fest.

The Garden Route really is a big deal. An unusual side of Africa, for sure. But very much in keeping with the diversity of landscapes, adventures and people that makes South Africa such an exciting place to visit. And Hills of Africa the people to plan your visit there.

{ 0 comments… add one now }

Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: