The Garden Route
The stretch of coast between Cape Town and Port Elizabeth,the Garden Route,is one of the most popular destinations in South Africa – in particular the section between Mossel Bay and Tsitsikamma.
The Garden Route has wonderful scenery,and it certainly lives up to it.Tangled forests extend up into the heights of purple mountains,dramatic cliffs fall straight to the sea and,in other places,long lovely beaches stretch for miles.
Our Garden Route Tours are a mixture of Escorted/Self Drive Garden Route Tours.We can design any of these into a privately guided tour.
Garden Route Tours:
About the Garden Route
Large areas of sunny fynbos are filled with beautiful and aromatic flowering plants.Dolphins and whales frolic in the sheltered bays,and extensive wetlands offer a home to a large variety of birds and aquatic animals.
And to add to this natural paradise, there are so many small, pretty towns,each with a myriad characterful lodging or dining establishments that you will never be bored or hungry.
Numerous fine golf courses subsidize the natural attractions and there is a range of adventure activities on offer.
You can choose between some wonderful mountain biking through the forests or along the coast,sea kayaking,tubing,abseiling, horse riding,surfing,gliding,paragliding,diving or bungy jumping.For the less energetic, there are loads of craft centers,art galleries and museums.
If you plan to self drive the Garden Route during the whale season,I have a number of different ways to do it,with smaller B and B’B along the coast.
If you are doing this is in non whale season,their are farm stays between Cape Town and the Garden Route,as well as hot springs, small coastal towns to add a uniqueness to the trip.
Dominated by its beautiful lagoon and the spectacular Heads,which guard it from the sea, Knysna is an attractive seaside town. Originally built as a port from which to export timber harvested from the wonderful coastal forests,Knysna is now very much a tourist destination.
The lKnysna lagoon has many good features, but one of the tastiest is the oysters which are cultivated in its clear depths.You could spend a whole day at the oyster farm,guzzling these squirmy little delicacies,or paddle out on a canoe to see them in their nurseries,and then munch them,or take a long, leisurely sail on a luxury yacht,again quaffing down bubbly and oysters.
At the same time, you could enjoy the spectacular view as you sail out to sea through the Heads – and appreciate what a feat that must have been in the days of sail before roller furling and auxiliary engines.
While you’re here,a visit to Brenton on Sea is a great idea – you can walk on the beach all the way to Buffels Bay, or just admire the view if you’re not that energetic.
Knysna has a number of museums,all dedicated to fishing,forestry and the abortive gold mining industry,which was started (and soon abandoned) in the forest.
A few kilometres from town is the Garden of Eden,where you can do a lovely,wheelchair-friendly forest walk, or hurtle along some wonderful bike trails in the forest.
When the 15th Century Portuguese explorers sailed into what we now know as Plettenberg Bay, they called it Baia Formosa – the beautiful bay. It’s an apt description.Protected from the open ocean by the beautiful Robberg Peninsula,the bay is home to an astonishing variety of creatures.
Plettenberg Bay is widely considered to be the best destination worldwide for boat-based marine mammal watching.
Cape fur seals live in a colony on Robberg Peninsula and can always be seen. Bottlenose dolphins play in the surf almost every day – sometimes in pods of a few hundred.
Humpback dolphins are seen quite often and Brydes whales and orcas (killer whales) are spotted from time to time. Southern right whales are in residence from about June to early November, and humpback whales from August to December.
You can just hop on a comfortable boat or,if you’re feeling adventurous,you may paddle out to Robberg on a sea kayak. For a gull’s eye view, do a scenic flight and get a good idea of just how many big beasties there are in the bay.
Slightly further afield,you can do the highest bungy jump in the world at Bloukrans Bridge,cycle some fantastic mountain bike trails through Harkerville Forest, hike the Tsitsikamma coast or fly through the trees on one of only three tree-top canopy tours in the world.
For a totally different experience,visit Monkeyland,where you can spend time walking in a large tract of forest where rescued primates from all over the world have been released to have something approximating a decent life.
Plettenberg Bay has wonderful beaches for swimming, walking or surfing.The diving is good, and the whole area is just littered with excellent hotels,guesthouses and restaurants.
Plettenberg Bay’s small airport is served by SA Express, which flies to and from Johannesburg daily.
For flights from other centres, George Airport is about an hour’s drive away, and Port Elizabeth about two-and-a-half hours. The town is situated on the Garden Route, just over 500km from Cape Town and about 250km from Port Elizabeth.