Garden Route


The Garden Route has a well-developed tourist infrastructure, making the region popular all year round. At the Aloe Factory at Albertinia, aloe juices are extracted for medicine and high-quality skin-care products.

Nearby, bungee jumping on the Gourits River Gorge, hiking, mountain biking and angling are popular pastimes.

The Grootvadersbosch Nature Reserve outside Heidelberg comprises the popular Bushbuck Trail, a wilderness trail and two mountain bike trails.

The Pont at Malgas is the only remaining pont in the country, ferrying vehicles and livestock across the Breede River. Whale-watching attracts tourists at Witsand and Port Beaufort from June to November. The area also has a few free-range ostrich farms.

At the historical Strandveld Architectural Heritage at Stilbaai, visitors can watch tame eels being fed. Ancient fish-traps can be seen at Morris Point and the harbour.

Other popular coastal towns include Buffels Bay, Victoria Bay and Herolds Bay.

George is home to the Church of St Peter and St Paul, the oldest existing Roman Catholic Church in South Africa. The George Museum has the timber industry in the southern Cape as its theme, and is also the starting point of the Timber Route. The Outeniqua Choo-Tjoe winds through forests and along the coast to Knysna.

The Montagu Pass is a national monument, offering spectacular views and several hiking trails. Bird-watchers flock to the Langvlei and Rondevlei bird sanctuaries and the Wilderness National Park.

Knysna is a very popular tourist destination. There are many art galleries, craft shops and furniture factories. The Knysna forest offers hiking, biking and horse-riding, scenic drives, picnic spots and abundant fauna and flora.

Other activities include oyster-tasting, bird-watching, snorkelling, scuba-diving, deep-sea fishing cruises and canoeing.

The Tsitsikamma National Park offers many scenic walks and trails, including the world-famous Otter Trail. It also boasts the only underwater trail in Africa. The Park was South Africa’s first proclaimed marine reserve.

There are several bungee-jumping spots in the area, including the highest bungee jump in the world at the Bloukrans River Bridge. Other popular activities include boat cruises, trout-fishing, diving, sea-kayaking, gliding and golfing.

Great Brak River offers many opportunities for whale and dolphin-watching (in season), bird-watching and water sport.

At Mossel Bay, the Point, a well-liked area for surfers, also features a natural pool formed by rock ­ a popular swimming place at low tide. The St Blaize trail starts here and it is the ideal spot to watch the whales and dolphins at play in season.

The harbour at Mossel Bay is one of the most modern commercial and recreational harbours on the southern Cape coastline. The Mossgas Information Centre informs visitors about the project and the production of synthetic fuels from Mossel Bay’s offshore gas fields. Other attractions include the Attequas Kloof Pass, Anglo-Boer/South African War blockhouses and the Bartholomew Dias complex.

The Historical Route at Plettenberg Bay takes the visitor to many interesting historical sites, including the Old Whaling Station, the Old Timber Shed and Forest Hall. The Keurbooms River Nature Reserve at Plettenberg Bay offers a canoeing trail, and the Robberg Nature Reserve is a treasure trove of land, marine, geological and archaeological wealth.

Riversdale is one of South Africa’s most important fynbos export areas. Other attractions include the Julius Gordon Africana Museum.

Sedgefield borders Swartvlei Lagoon, the largest natural inland saltwater lake in South Africa. Activities include beach horse-riding, hiking, angling and bird-watching.

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