Or explore with a multi-centre tour

The Garden Route


Linking Mossel Bay and Storms River Mouth, the roughly 150-mile coastal Garden Route is one of travel’s great temptations. It’s also one of its finest misnomers – for while you’ll find tracts of greenery and wildflowers (fynbos), there are also primeval forests, mountains, beaches and lakes to relish, and even Big Five game parks for those without time for Kruger. Nor is is actually a single route: the real joy comes in deviating from the main N2 artery and unearthing hidden gems.


The indigenous forests near Wilderness are an adventure playground, with walking, zip-wiring and canoeing among the activities. Birdwatchers come too, hoping to spy the scarlet Knysna turaco. South Africa’s most popular hike, the five-day Otter Trail, begins at the Route’s equally wooded eastern end. Knysna and Plettenberg Bay are busy towns with lovely accommodation and are perfectly positioned for exploring the area.  ‘Plett’ is famous for surfing and also has a great beach, while Knysna has a lagoon with delightful sunset booze cruises. Local game parks include Kwandwe, Shamwari and Amakhala all offering unique experiences. But it’s really all one big highlight, with whale-watching, secluded coves – Victoria Bay, Nature’s Valley – great golf courses, rolling hills and artist communities all here.

Getting there

Most visitors hire a car in Cape Town and drive eastwards via Hermanus or the more scenic Route 62.  Typical itineraries include 3-5 days along the Route, but many travellers like to be less hurried. Port Elizabeth, to the west, is where the majority deposit their vehicle, and from where one can fly on to the next adventure.

Best Time To Visit

With a temperate climate even in winter (June-September) – the mercury rarely drops below 16°C – your decision can be based on other factors. The Christmas holidays are busiest, while beaches quieten between February and April. Summer can be too stifling for hikers. Whale-watching season runs from July to October, peaking in September.


Eastern Cape Game Reserves
Mosaic Private Sanctuary
knysna lagoon and heads
outeniqua garden route
outeniqua garden route

The Best of South Africa Travel map displays the locations of the destinations and accommodation that we have selected and visited; for each item, hovering over or clicking the marker will display a short summary and photo of that place or hotel, and hotel pricing. Follow the links in the info box to the full page listing which has much more information.

Note that the online map offers both a satellite view (click satellite in the top right) and, for some locations, a street level view (Drag the person in the top left onto the map). These let you explore the country; and when you wish to explore in person, or if you have any questions about the places you see, give our staff a call, or request a quote. Our staff regularly visit the places and accommodation that we feature.

When you book a holiday with us we will provide full driving instructions for reaching your accommodation, where necessary; these can be used by yourself, or you could enjoy the luxury of a driver. Alternatively we will arrange private (car rather than coach) transfers for you; helicopter transfers are also possible for some destinations.


Fugitives Drift Lodge

Exceeded our expectations

Dear Ash
We are home safely from our wonderful holiday. We had the best time and cannot thank you enough for all your perfect organisation. Each part of our itinerary was fabulous and so different. Everyone we met was kind; nothing  was ever too much trouble at the lodges and on the tours; the food and drink were excellent and ...


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