The Garden Route – South Africa

After our visit to Oudtshoorn, we made our way through the Garden Route of South Africa.  The Garden Route is a popular scenic route in the southwestern part of South Africa, stretching from Heidelburg to Storms River.

The climate is quite mild.  As we were driving along the roads, the scenery reminded me of the lush greenery of Hawaii.  By following the N2 coastal highway, you will have a chance to see this serene part of South Africa.  I would recommend spending a week in this area.  Here are some towns we visited along the Garden Route.

Wilderness

 

Wilderness is known for its long white sand beaches and lagoons. The area is quite tranquil and a good resting stop along the Garden Route.  We stayed at the Fairy Knowe Backpackers in a private cottage (about 400-500 rand, $50-60 USD). 

There are nice hikes in the Wilderness National Park and the rate is discounted through the hostel. We ventured onto the Half Colored Kingfisher Trail to the waterfall.  There was a platoon on the river so you will have to use your muscles to row across the river.  It was quite serene when we reached the waterfall (quite small, but nice), and we enjoyed our packed lunches.

If you happen to be in Wilderness on a Friday night, visit the Friday Night Market where they have food, arts and crafts, and live music.

Knysna

Our next stop along the Garden Route was Knysna. One of the most popular attractions in this town is the Knysna Heads, a large lagoon surrounded by cliffs.  There is the option of boat cruises to the lagoon, but just watching the crashing waves is quite peaceful.

Another attraction is the Noetzie Beach, which is quite a long and windy drive. You pass large fenced homes and when you reach the parking area, there is a trek down stairs to the beach.  When you approach the beach you are surrounded by 5 castle like homes and a private beach area.

Plettenberg Bay

Plettenberg Bay is known for its sandy beaches and has a beautiful and dramatic coastline.  When we arrived to Central Beach, the main beach, you can walk along the sand and see an array of restaurants.  It is a great place to slow down, relax and enjoy the beauty of the area.

Storms River

My favorite part of the Garden Route was Storms River.  Tsitsikamma National Park and Storms River Mouth are must see destinations.  If you want to try exhilarating activities, try the canopy tours or bungy jumping.  I would highly recommended both. With the canopy tours with Stormsriver Adventure (45o rand, $65 USD) you can slide along steel cables in the forest.

For the adrenalin junkies, you should definitely try bungy jumping at Face Adrenalin (about 15-20 minutes away from Storms River Mouth). You free fall on the Bloukrans Bridge which is 216m (708 ft). So exciting!  The team is very professional and to ease your nerves, there is dance music on the bridge. You can show off your best moves before making the big leap! The cost is approximately 690 rand ($100 USD).

When visiting Storms River Mouth, I would recommend taking the hike to Lookout Point for a great vantage point of the area.  Also, leave some time (approximately 4 hours) for the Waterfall trail. You climb through rock formations, encounter a dark cave, and descend through the mountains.  Towards the end of the hike, your eyes will graze on a beautiful waterfall set out in the ocean.  Take some time to enjoy the view, but make sure to return before sunset.

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About Jan

In 2004 and 2010, I set aside time to travel the world in 3 parts. In 2004, I traveled to Thailand, Europe, and Pacific Northwest region of the U.S. In 2010, I traveled to 3 continents: Asia, South America, and Africa. I am not sure if I have a fascination with the number 3, but I seem to be constantly traveling by numbers.
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