Self Drive 9 Night The Garden Route
This 9N The Garden Route is so convenient, so beautiful and so easy to travel.
It will give you a wonderful holiday, a place where you can alternate between beach, forest and mountain.
On this 9N The Garden Route, you can be as active or as hedonistic as you like.
Mountain biking or diving one moment, and guzzling oysters or lounging in cute coffee shops the next.
The Garden Route stretches from Mossel Bay to Tsitsikamma, but you will probably travel the whole distance from Cape Town to Port Elizabeth.
All the coastal towns on the Garden Route have their own charm and you should, at least, visit them all but they are so close together, you could choose to stay in one and drive out each day. Its less hassle than packing up every day.
9N The Garden Route Itinerary
Leave Cape Town on the N2 and drive to Mossel Bay. If you?re feeling brave, just before you reach Mossel Bay you can do a bungy jump or bridge swing off the 75m (about 250ft) high Gouritz Bridge.
Explore Mossel Bay. There are long, lovely beaches with great swimming, and some excellent restaurants. The Bartholomew Diaz Museum Complex commemorates the 15th Century Portuguese Explorers who pioneered the sea route from Europe to the East, and so laid the foundation for the modern South Africa and then head off to Wilderness. (If you are into golf, you will just have to stop off at George, to play one of the many championship courses in this small town.)
Wilderness has some lovely walks and fun canoeing around the beautiful wetland system. The beach is magnificent, and whales and dolphins are often seen from a cliff-top vantage point.
The nearby Kaaimans River offers fun swimming and an exciting abseil. The Outeniqua Choo-Tjoe, a scenic steam train, starts (or ends) its route here.
Knysna is a lovely town dominated by a beautiful lagoon, which is separated from the sea by two spectacular rocky promontories, called The Heads. Here you will find lots of fantastic restaurants, craft shops, art galleries and museums.
Do a short wheelchair-friendly walk in the magnificent Harkerville Forest at the Garden of Eden, which is halfway between Knysna and the next town, Plettenberg Bay (Plett).
Plettenberg Bay is one of the most popular destinations on the Garden Route.
It is widely recognised to be the best whale and dolphin viewing destination in South Africa, with a number of dedicated mammal-watching boats, a canoe trip and a number of scenic and dolphin-watching flights. The diving and surfing is good, and the restaurants are excellent.
Drive to Tsitsikamma. For a scenic treat, skip the toll road and take the alternative route down to Nature’s Valley, where you can walk for miles on a long, lovely, deserted beach. Nature?s Valley is the end point of the lovely Otter Trail, one of our most popular hiking trails.
As you leave Nature’s Valley, resist the temptation to take the road more travelled and stay on the alternative route, the Bloukrans Pass,which is one of the most scenic drives anywhere.
The road hangs out above deep, tangled forests where, in summer, you can see bright pink Cape Chestnut trees in flower standing out against the dark green. Giant yellowwoods tower above the rest of the forest canopy with enormous string of old man’s beard lichen hanging from their branches.
Overnight in Stormsriver Village or at Stormsriver Mouth in the Tsitsikamma National Park.
Of course, by taking the scenic route, you’ve missed out on the highest bungy jump in the world. Not to worry, you can backtrack a short way along the N2 and throw yourself off the 216m (700ft) high Bloukrans Bridge if you like. Or, if youre not so sure, just stand at the viewpoint and watch others doing it.
There is so much to choose from. The Tsitsikamma National Park is an absolute paradise of deep forest, sunny fynbos-covered coastal cliffs and rugged shore.
The Stormsriver gorge is a deep, beautiful cleft through the forest and offers wonderful kloofing for the fit and active, or a pleasant scenic boat trip for the less adventurous. This is the starting point of the Otter Trail, as well as being the end point of the escorted, luxury Dolphin Trail which offers hiking for the less hardy.
From Tsitsikamma, you would continue to Port Elizabeth with some fun options. You could stop off in Humansdorp, St Francis Bay or Jeffreys Bay.