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.
Great sample itineraries
Browse through a wide selection of Garden Route tours, available for all kinds of holidaymakers. If you can’t see what you’re looking for below, give us a call to discuss all your options.
Cape Town And Eastern Cape Safari
Cape Town To Port Elizabeth Garden Route Tour
Our favorite 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.
De Opstal Country Lodge
Explore Garden Route
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.
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.
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.
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.
“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.”
“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.”
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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The Hayes & Jarvis Way
We've been tailor making holidays for 65 years. With over 60 destinations to choose from, talk to us and we'll listen to your travel ideas to create unforgettable holiday experiences.