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South Africa

Garden Route holidays

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Get going on the Garden Route

South Africa is home to some spectacular scenery, but the Garden Route steals the crown. Meandering for nearly 200 miles, this beautiful drive runs parallel to the coastline, stretching all the way from Mossel Bay to Storms River. A Garden Route trip will take you past the dramatic Tsitsikamma mountain range, rolling hills and brightly coloured wild flowers, from which this road trip takes its name.

Your Garden Route holiday can be as long as you like – you certainly don’t want to rush. It’s best to allow yourself about five days to take in all the scenery, and stop off at all the towns and viewpoints on the way. Enjoy a coastal walk in Plettenberg Bay, try out watersports in Knysna, and go hiking through the mountains near Oudtshoorn. Explore the Cape Floral World Heritage Site, and drive past neat vineyards, picturesque lagoons, enormous caves and the iconic Bloukrans Bridge – where you can also bungee jump, if you’re feeling brave.

To see the Garden Route in all its glory, it’s best to plan your holiday for the South African summer, between November and April. At this time of year, the days are warm and sunny, and the flowers are in full bloom. If you’re into hiking, you might prefer the milder winter months, while keen whale-watchers should visit between June and November. Whatever time of year you go, it’s worth packing an umbrella – as you might expect from somewhere so green, the Garden Route is prone to rain.

If you want to extend your trip, you’ve got plenty of options. To the west, you’ll find vibrant Cape Town, the Cape Winelands and the whale-watching capital of Hermanus. Meanwhile, in the other direction, there’s Port Elizabeth and the Eastern Cape’s fantastic game reserves. Whether you’re looking for a safari or a city break to wrap up your adventure, our travel experts will tailor your Garden Route holiday to you.

Mossel Bay

Knysna

Plettenberg Bay

Beyond the Garden Route

Mossel Bay

If you’re driving west-to-east, Mossel Bay is where your Garden Route road trip will begin. It’s pretty much exactly half way between Cape Town and Port Elizabeth, and boasts Blue Flag beaches, adrenaline-pumping activities and a great dining scene. And, with 320 sunny days a year, this harbour town gives you plenty of opportunity to make the most of it all.

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There’s a lot to see in historic Mossel Bay. Visit the 800-year-old Post Office Tree, where a stranded Portuguese sailor once wrote an account of his shipwreck disaster, and left the note hanging on the tree, tucked inside an old shoe. Explore the Maritime Museum and the Cultural History Museum, or go on a cave tour and see rock art dating back 27,000 years.

If you’re feeling adventurous, there are a range of activities on offer, including shipwreck diving, skydiving and mountain biking. Or, for something gentler, find a sunny spot along the 60-kilometre stretch of beaches, relax in one of Mossel Bay’s top-notch coffee shops, or tuck into a plate of fresh seafood.

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Knysna

In the very heart of the Garden Route, Knysna – pronounced ‘ny-zna’ – is probably the most famous town on the map. It gets very busy here during high season, but it should definitely be on your list.

Surrounded by indigenous forest and the Outeniqua Mountains, this little town is very picturesque. The highlight is Knysna Lagoon. Flowing through two distinctive cliffs known as ‘The Heads’, this calm stretch of water is perfect for kayaking and paddle-boarding, or you can head out on a sailing trip.

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Or walk through Knysna’s forests, where you’ll see hundreds of plant species and some beautiful birds. After a day exploring, take your pick from the restaurants in the harbour area and along the waterfront – no trip along the Garden Route would be complete without trying some of Knysna’s world-famous oysters.

To experience Knysna at its very best, time your holiday to coincide with the 10-day Knysna Oyster Festival at the end of June. As well as the headline-grabbing oysters, the festival has a packed activity programme, including forest hikes, wine-tasting, live music and comedy shows.

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Plettenberg Bay

Nicknamed ‘Plett’ by the locals, this is where Capetonians come for a few days on the beach. And who could blame them?

With its bright blue waters and sweeping gold sands, Plettenberg Bay looks like a postcard. It has 11 beaches, five of which have been award Blue Flag status for their pristine sands. Of all the award-winning beaches, Robberg Beach is best for surfing, The Dunes is the best spot for dolphin-watching, and Lookout Beach is great for families. Have your photo taken by the rocky arch of Keurbooms Beach, and paddle in the shallow waters of Nature’s Valley.

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Show Less

Away from the beach, there’s plenty more to see. Visit Monkeyland Primate Sanctuary – the only free-roaming primate sanctuary in the world – and see more than 3,500 birds at the world’s biggest free-flight aviary, Birds of Eden. Or you could go for a coastal walk through Robberg Nature Reserve. The trails range from 45-minute strolls to five-hour hikes, so you can choose which option is best for you.

Show More
Show Less

Beyond the Garden Route

When planning your Garden Route holiday, you’ll probably want to book-end your road trip with some time elsewhere in South Africa. Whether you’re interested in wine or wildlife, you’ve got several choices.

If you’re keen to go on a safari during your trip to South Africa, head east towards Port Elizabeth and the game reserves of the Eastern Cape.

Show More
Show Less

You can go searching for the ‘Big Five’ in places like Kariega Game Reserve and Shamwari Game Reserve, and see hundreds of elephants at Addo Elephant National Park.

Alternatively, you could travel west from Mossel Bay and go whale-watching in Hermanus, and then enjoy a wine-tasting tour in Stellenbosch or Franschhoek. Finally, you’ll reach the incredibly city of Cape Town, where you can go to the top of Table Mountain, go beach-hopping along the coast, and see a wild colony of penguins.

Show More
Show Less

Mossel Bay

Mossel Bay

If you’re driving west-to-east, Mossel Bay is where your Garden Route road trip will begin. It’s pretty much exactly half way between Cape Town and Port Elizabeth, and boasts Blue Flag beaches, adrenaline-pumping activities and a great dining scene. And, with 320 sunny days a year, this harbour town gives you plenty of opportunity to make the most of it all.

Show More
Show Less

There’s a lot to see in historic Mossel Bay. Visit the 800-year-old Post Office Tree, where a stranded Portuguese sailor once wrote an account of his shipwreck disaster, and left the note hanging on the tree, tucked inside an old shoe. Explore the Maritime Museum and the Cultural History Museum, or go on a cave tour and see rock art dating back 27,000 years.

If you’re feeling adventurous, there are a range of activities on offer, including shipwreck diving, skydiving and mountain biking. Or, for something gentler, find a sunny spot along the 60-kilometre stretch of beaches, relax in one of Mossel Bay’s top-notch coffee shops, or tuck into a plate of fresh seafood.

Show More
Show Less

Knysna

Knysna

In the very heart of the Garden Route, Knysna – pronounced ‘ny-zna’ – is probably the most famous town on the map. It gets very busy here during high season, but it should definitely be on your list.

Surrounded by indigenous forest and the Outeniqua Mountains, this little town is very picturesque. The highlight is Knysna Lagoon. Flowing through two distinctive cliffs known as ‘The Heads’, this calm stretch of water is perfect for kayaking and paddle-boarding, or you can head out on a sailing trip.

Show More
Show Less

Or walk through Knysna’s forests, where you’ll see hundreds of plant species and some beautiful birds. After a day exploring, take your pick from the restaurants in the harbour area and along the waterfront – no trip along the Garden Route would be complete without trying some of Knysna’s world-famous oysters.

To experience Knysna at its very best, time your holiday to coincide with the 10-day Knysna Oyster Festival at the end of June. As well as the headline-grabbing oysters, the festival has a packed activity programme, including forest hikes, wine-tasting, live music and comedy shows.

Show More
Show Less

Plettenberg Bay

Plettenberg Bay

Nicknamed ‘Plett’ by the locals, this is where Capetonians come for a few days on the beach. And who could blame them?

With its bright blue waters and sweeping gold sands, Plettenberg Bay looks like a postcard. It has 11 beaches, five of which have been award Blue Flag status for their pristine sands. Of all the award-winning beaches, Robberg Beach is best for surfing, The Dunes is the best spot for dolphin-watching, and Lookout Beach is great for families. Have your photo taken by the rocky arch of Keurbooms Beach, and paddle in the shallow waters of Nature’s Valley.

Show More
Show Less

Away from the beach, there’s plenty more to see. Visit Monkeyland Primate Sanctuary – the only free-roaming primate sanctuary in the world – and see more than 3,500 birds at the world’s biggest free-flight aviary, Birds of Eden. Or you could go for a coastal walk through Robberg Nature Reserve. The trails range from 45-minute strolls to five-hour hikes, so you can choose which option is best for you.

Show More
Show Less

Beyond the Garden Route

Beyond the Garden Route

When planning your Garden Route holiday, you’ll probably want to book-end your road trip with some time elsewhere in South Africa. Whether you’re interested in wine or wildlife, you’ve got several choices.

If you’re keen to go on a safari during your trip to South Africa, head east towards Port Elizabeth and the game reserves of the Eastern Cape.

Show More
Show Less

You can go searching for the ‘Big Five’ in places like Kariega Game Reserve and Shamwari Game Reserve, and see hundreds of elephants at Addo Elephant National Park.

Alternatively, you could travel west from Mossel Bay and go whale-watching in Hermanus, and then enjoy a wine-tasting tour in Stellenbosch or Franschhoek. Finally, you’ll reach the incredibly city of Cape Town, where you can go to the top of Table Mountain, go beach-hopping along the coast, and see a wild colony of penguins.

Show More
Show Less

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Our tailor made packages make it easy for you to discover more of the world.

Value

Whether you're looking for luxury or simplicity, we've got the perfect holiday for you.

Trust

Travelbag is fully protected by ATOL and ABTA, so your booking is completely secure.

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