The Garden Route: A Scenic Drive Through South Africa’s Southern Coastline

The Garden Route is one of the most beautiful and scenic drives in the world. Located along South Africa’s southern coastline, the Garden Route stretches from Cape Town to Port Elizabeth. With its lush green forests, rolling hills, picturesque bays, and white sandy beaches, the Garden Route provides travellers with an unforgettable experience. From the stunning Knysna Lagoon to the scenic Tsitsikamma National Park, this post will help you make the most of your Garden Route journey.

1) Cape Town to Mossel Bay

This picturesque drive takes you along the southern coast of South Africa. Start your journey in Cape Town, the “Mother City”, and drive through the city until you reach the coastal towns of Hermanus, Betty’s Bay, and Kleinmond. Here, you can take a detour to visit the penguin colonies at Stony Point Nature Reserve or take a whale-watching cruise. Continue to Mossel Bay, where you can explore the Cango Caves, the Garden Route Botanical Gardens, and beaches with spectacular views. Whether you’re looking for adventure or relaxation, the drive from Cape Town to Mossel Bay has something for everyone.

2) Mossel Bay to Wilderness

The route from Mossel Bay to Wilderness offers incredible views of the Southern Cape. Along the way, travelers can explore the quaint town of Mossel Bay and visit the Dias Museum Complex. From there, the route takes you through rolling hills, passing vineyards and fruit orchards before arriving at Wilderness. The town is situated on the banks of the Touw River and is known for its beautiful beaches, lagoons, and lakes. There are many great hiking and biking trails to explore, including a boardwalk that meanders through the Tsitsikamma National Park. For those looking for some outdoor activities, you can kayak along the Touw River or explore the nearby nature reserve. No matter what your interests are, there’s something for everyone in Wilderness.

3) Wilderness to Knysna

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Start your journey from Wilderness and head towards the town of Knysna, one of the Garden Route’s most popular destinations. Enjoy a drive through the Outeniqua Mountains, where you’ll experience breathtaking vistas, lush vegetation, and incredible sunsets. Along the way, stop to explore attractions such as the quaint coastal villages of Sedgefield and Brenton-on-Sea. Once you reach Knysna, you’ll be rewarded with stunning views of the lagoon, lush forests, and a variety of outdoor activities. Take a cruise on the tranquil lagoon and explore its many islands, or spend the day on its pristine beaches. Enjoy a bite to eat at one of its delicious eateries, or take a walk around the scenic town center. Knysna offers something for everyone – from nature lovers to beachgoers – so don’t miss out!

4) Knysna to Plettenberg Bay

This picturesque route begins in Knysna, a vibrant waterfront town. Head east to the spectacularly beautiful Featherbed Nature Reserve for stunning views and a wealth of wildlife. Follow the coast through Brenton-on-Sea, Wilderness, and Sedgefield before arriving at Plettenberg Bay. Take time to explore the beaches, watch whales from the shore, or spot birds at the nearby Robberg Nature Reserve. The whole drive is surrounded by the Outeniqua Mountains and the Indian Ocean, so take your time and enjoy the breathtaking views.

5) Plettenberg Bay to Nature’s Valley

The Garden Route takes you from the popular beach town of Plettenberg Bay to the breathtaking Nature’s Valley. This stretch of coastline offers stunning views, with rugged rocky shorelines that contrast with lush green forests. You can visit beaches and lagoons, or take a scenic drive along the winding coastal roads. As you travel further along, you will come across the famous Bloukrans Bridge, an iconic arch bridge that spans the Bloukrans River. Make sure to stop at the Tsitsikamma National Park for some outdoor activities, such as hiking and bird-watching. Nature’s Valley is home to some of the most pristine beaches in South Africa, so don’t forget to dip your toes in the ocean before you leave!

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6) Nature’s Valley to Tsitsikamma

The next leg of the Garden Route takes you from Nature’s Valley to Tsitsikamma. This stretch of the journey is particularly beautiful, with its rolling hills and rolling waves of the Indian Ocean. Along the way, you’ll have plenty of opportunities to spot wildlife such as whales and dolphins. The road leads through the forests of Tsitsikamma National Park, home to a variety of animal species including otters, baboons, and bushpigs. There are plenty of spots to stop along the way and admire the incredible views. And when you reach Tsitsikamma, you’ll find an array of activities such as zip-lining, bungee jumping, and kayaking. Whether you want to relax or get your adrenaline pumping, Tsitsikamma has something for everyone.

7) Tsitsikamma to Stormsriver

This stretch of the Garden Route is the perfect place to take in some of the best scenery in South Africa. The route begins at the Tsitsikamma National Park, which boasts vast stretches of lush indigenous forest, as well as breathtaking waterfalls, rivers, and gorges. From here, you will drive along the coastline until you reach Stormsriver. As you drive, enjoy beautiful views of the Indian Ocean and its white sand beaches, as well as rocky cliffs, mountain passes, and valleys. Along the way, stop off at any of the numerous lookouts for unbeatable photo opportunities. With so much to see and do, it’s no wonder this section of the Garden Route is so popular with tourists.

8) Stormsriver to Jeffrey’s Bay

The route from Stormsriver to Jeffrey’s Bay follows the N2 highway along South Africa’s Southern Coast. This stretch of road offers stunning views of the Tsitsikamma Mountains and the Indian Ocean. Along the way, you will pass through the quaint town of Kareedouw, where you can stop for a bite to eat or admire the unique architecture. On your way into Jeffrey’s Bay, you will be greeted by its beautiful beaches, ideal for surfing and relaxation. You can also visit nearby attractions like the Shell Museum and Seal Point Lighthouse. Whether you’re looking for a day trip or an extended stay, Jeffrey’s Bay has something to offer everyone.

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9) Jeffrey’s Bay to Port Elizabeth

The drive from Jeffrey’s Bay to Port Elizabeth is a spectacular one, taking you along the rugged coastline. Make sure you stop at the Dolphin Beach viewpoint and take in the breathtaking views of the Indian Ocean. Be sure to also visit St Francis Bay and take a stroll through its quaint town center. As you approach Port Elizabeth, you’ll be able to see the city skyline in the distance. Be sure to take a break at Donkin Reserve before continuing on your journey. With its interesting sculptures, this reserve is an ideal spot to relax and reflect on the scenic route you have just taken.

10) Port Elizabeth to Addo Elephant National Park

The final leg of the Garden Route takes you from Port Elizabeth to Addo Elephant National Park. The drive along this stretch of South Africa’s coast is a stunning one, with beautiful views of the Indian Ocean and rolling green hills. On the way, you can stop at the charming town of Grahamstown for some shopping and dining. From there, you’ll make your way to Addo Elephant National Park where you can explore the African bush and see elephants, lions, buffalo, rhinos, and other wildlife. With over 300 bird species, it’s also a great spot for birdwatching. Be sure to plan and get your permits to ensure a safe and enjoyable visit.

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