For anyone with the itch for a bit of a road trip, the Garden Route is an immensely scenic journey and fantastic way to take in the local culture and glittering coastal towns. Setting off from Cape Town, it’s about 240 miles to Mossel Bay which is the technical start of the Route. Along this initial drive, you’ll want to veer off the N2 for a couple of nights in Hermanus during whale season (July-Nov) and/or make time to stretch your legs in the DeHoop Nature Reserve. Once you reach Mossel Bay, you can either head inland to Oudtshoorn (the ostrich capital of the world!) to take in the scenery of the Klein Karoo and the impressive Cango Caves (Africa’s largest cave system). Or, continue along the coast. If you’ve opted for the N2/coastal drive, make the town of Plettenberg Bay your next stop. Smaller than neighboring Knysna, we think the charm is more in line with the spirit of the drive. Take a break and enjoy the blue-ribbon beaches. Continue along, pausing for a day exploring the Tsitsikamma Forest en route to Port Elizabeth (500 miles from Cape Town). We recommend including safari in the nearby Eastern Cape Reserves (2 hours north of Port Elizabeth), but you can just as easily fly to Kruger or Phinda.
Spanning beautiful beaches, lagoons and coves, indigenous forest, fields of wildflowers and quaint towns, the Route offers spectacular and varied terrain, making each day more interesting than the one before. Keep your sights pinned off shore where you might whales, dolphins, great white sharks and African penguins. Inland offers a bounty of nature reserves, mountains, vineyards, and golf courses aplenty.
Our favorite accommodations on the Garden Route
Lekkerwater Beach Lodge at De Hoop
The Robertson Small Hotel
Mantis Windermere Hotel
Other areas to explore
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