• Tsitsikamma Forest Garden Route

Garden Route Holidays

Embark on one of the worlds most spectacular drives with a Garden Route holiday. Explore 300km of breathtaking coastlines, mysterious forests, golden beaches, peaceful lagoons, sprawling wetlands and picturesque towns on a road trip that uncovers some of the best sights of South Africa.

The world-famous Garden Route is overflowing with unforgettable hiking trails, forest adventures, wildlife encounters, relaxing beach days and insightful opportunities to learn about South Africa’s incredible history.

The iconic Garden Route

There are many natural wonders to explore on this stunning coastal drive and the Garden Route National Park is not to be missed. With a marine conservation belt that stretches over five kilometres out into the ocean, dramatic river gorges, rugged mountainscapes and vast stretches of sandy white coastline, it will take your breath away. Visit the Knysna Lagoon area, well known for its fresh oysters, walking tracks, lagoons and more. Spend your morning on a relaxing walk taking in the sights of this stunning location and then head into town to unwind with a delicious fresh-off-the-boat seafood lunch at Knysna Waterfront.

Our Garden Route highlights tour is a four-day journey which takes you to the magical Cango Caves of Oudtshoorn, the Knysna Elephant Sanctuary and Tsitsikamma National Park. Why not extend your stay with an exciting Big Five safari at one of our luxury safari lodges? Alternatively, opt for a self-drive tour and explore at your own pace and combine Cape Town, the Garden Route and Eastern Cape through our A Tale of Two Capes itinerary. With so much to see and do in this location, we recommend giving our Destination Specialists a call, they will help you put together a Garden Route holiday to remember.

Destination Highlights
  • Explore the open waters on a Hermanus whale watching tour, or spend a day kayaking, taking in the stunning views of the coastline
  • Explore the diverse natural beauty and wildlife of Tsitsikamma National Park
  • Get close up with one of Africa's Big 5 at Knysna Elephant Park and learn all about the history of the Knysna Elephants
  • Visit Outsdhoorn in the Karoo, explore the mystical caverns of Cango Caves or meet the biggest bird in the world at an Ostrich farm

Our favourite hotels

There are a wide variety of Garden Route hotels to choose from. We’ve listed some of our favourite places to stay below however, our Destination Specialists would love to assist you with any personal preferences.

a bridge over a body of water

The Plettenberg


H&J Rating
The Plettenberg
Belvidere Manor

Belvidere Manor


H&J Rating

Guide Price

 £1,999  pp

Belvidere Manor
a close up of a flower garden in front of a house

De Opstal Country Lodge


H&J Rating
Average: 3.5 (1 vote)

Guide Price

 £1,199  pp

De Opstal Country Lodge
a house with trees in front of a building

Hacklewood Hill Country House

Port Elizabeth

H&J Rating

Guide Price

 £1,399  pp

Hacklewood Hill Country House

Time Zone

GMT +2 hours

Flight Time

Approx 11 hours and thirty minutes by British Airways directly from London Heathrow to Cape Town; accessible by road from Cape Town


ZAR - South African rand

Visa Information

British citizens do not need to obtain a visa for South Africa for stays of up to 90 days. However, strict entrance policies apply for passengers travelling with children under the age of 18.


English is widely spoken

Health Information

Some special vaccines are required for travel to certain areas of South Africa. We recommend that you speak to your GP about the latest medical advice as soon as you have booked your trip.
  • a person sitting next to a body of water next to the ocean


    First named Bahia Formosa or 'beautiful bay' – and it's easy to see why – Plettenberg is home to stunning beaches and wonderful coasts, making it the perfect stop-off for some relaxation and sunset-chasing. Located just 600 kilometres from Cape Town, you'll find attractions such as the Robberg Peninsular Nature Reserve and the Birds of Eden aviary here, along with the chance to embark on a whale-watching or sea kayaking trip. Be sure to make a pitstop in Plettenberg for outdoor thrills and beautiful views.

  • a close up of a pier next to a body of water


    So perilous to seafarers that it never became a major port, the entrance to Knysna's blue-green lagoon is guarded by the towering natural defences of the Knysna Heads. Like buttresses of sandstone, they funnel the Indian Ocean through their narrow channel, sheltering the waters in their rocky embrace. Spend time on the lagoon on a catamaran tour or soak up the views from the hiking paths above.

  • Oudtshoorn


    Holidays in Oudtshoorn offer fantastic up-close encounters with nature. From the semi-desert Karoo and Cape thickets to the Fynbos, there's a spectacular diversity of flora and wildlife spread throughout the unique natural landscape of this Garden Route town.

  • a bridge over a body of water

    Tsitsikamma National Park

    Dramatic river gorges, indigenous forests and stunning coastline make Tsitsikamma National Park absolutely beautiful. With adventure activities that will see you soaring with birds and diving with dolphins, explore the serene wonderland high above the forest on a canopy tour, gently gliding from treetop to treetop amid the giant Outeniqua Yellowwoods with Knysna loeries, Narina trogons and vervet monkeys.

  • Christie, Destination Executive


    Destination Executive

    “Drive Route 62; the longest Wine Route in the world. This road trip provides a window to the Karoo, an extraordinary semi-arid landscape that runs parallel to the lush landscapes of the Garden Route.”

  • a person wearing a red shirt and smiling at the camera


    Sales Performance Leader

    “Outdoor enthusiasts will absolutely love Storms River. With an abundance of raw natural beauty and endless scenes of splendour, this location has so much to offer it’s worth staying a night or two. Thrill-seekers may enjoy a bungee jump off Bloukrans Bridge, or for something a little less wild, try the canopy tour and zip lining in Tsitsikamma.”

Garden Route Events & Festivals

The Garden Route offers a huge selection of fun events and festivals held throughout the year that can be enjoyed by everyone. Here’s a couple of our top suggestions.

  • Knysna Oyster Festival

    One of the most popular annual events in the Western Cape. Enjoy oysters, served naked, cooked or garnished at over 30 local Tabasco Hotspots throughout the festival. There will be live music and comedy, bike races and marathons. This event is held in June and offers a fun day out for everyone.

  • Knysna Timber Festival

    Ideal for DIY enthusiasts! Enjoy workshops and talks on woodworking tools and wood joining techniques. This is a family-friendly event where kids can take part in woodworking activities and learn about the world of timber.

  • Knysna Motor Show

    Aimed at entertaining the entire family, the 2019 Knysna Motor Show is a one-day event where you can check out a wide range of impressive vintage, veteran and classic cars, as well as classic motorcycles and rare modern supercars.

Local cuisine

Along with many traditional South African dishes such as Braai, curries and stews, fresh seafood is the main attraction. From classic fish and chips to fresh-off-the-boat seafood platters and Cape Malay seafood curry, you’ll find the food on the Garden Route will be a highlight of your holiday.

  • Cheese

    With many of the Winelands towns situated on the Garden Route, there is no shortage of opportunities to fill your boots with cheese whilst sampling some of the best wines in the country. Fynboshoek Cheese in Tsitsikamma has no menu, you are simply greeted with warm doughy rosemary focaccia bread and a huge variety of award-winning cheeses accompanied with crunchy fresh salads. For dessert? Cheesecake of course.

  • Seafood

    Indulge in fresh-off-the-boat oysters, prawns, crab and lobster, washed down with a delicious ice-cold glass of South Africa’s finest wine. The Garden Route is renowned for its sophisticated seafood restaurants and they do not disappoint.

  • Ostrich

    Headlines Restaurant in Oudtshoorn is the only restaurant in the world that specialises in ostrich cuisine so if you’re keen to try ostrich for the first time, this would be the perfect place. This very lean meat tastes and looks like fillet steak yet lower in fat than skinned chicken or turkey.

Frequently Asked Questions

We recommend that you allow at least 4 –5 days to travel the Garden Route and stop off to explore. However, this is dependent on what you want to do and your overall itinerary. 

In short, no – it's not necessary to travel from west to east. Cape Town is a natural starting point for the tour if you're flying in from the UK but it's just as likely that you might want to depart from there. You might also fly into George airport via Johannesburg (from elsewhere in South Africa) which is at the eastern end of the route. 

We recommend you pack sunscreen, a hat or cap, binoculars, comfortable walking or hiking shoes and a good camera to capture your adventure. A jacket or lightweight rain coat is also a good idea – just in case there's a light shower. 


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