Garden Route of South Africa

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South Africa's well-known Garden Route lies on the southern Cape coast between Mossel Bay in the West and Tsitsikamma in the East and between the sea and the mountains. The Garden Route is special for a number of reasons.

Firstly, purely as a road for getting to and from Cape Town, the Garden Route is a pleasant drive with the Outeniqua and the Tsitsikamma mountains on the landward side and the Indian Ocean to the other side and seldom out of view. The road also boasts some spectacular engineering works such as the Blaauwkrantz and Storms River Bridges. The Blaauwkrantz bridge, by the way, offers the highest bungy jump in the world from a bridge.

Some of South Africa's last indigenous forests are to be found along the Garden Route around Knysna and at the foot of the Outeniqua and Tsitsikamma mountains. These forests combine both temperate forest species as well as fynbos and are popular with hikers and birders.

Much of the Garden Route's coastline is rugged but in parts there are also extensive, sandy beaches and water sports of all sorts are big news.

The Garden Route enjoys South Africa's mildest climate, seldom being either too hot in summer or too cold in winter. This, combined with a plethora of accommodation to suit all tastes as well as a wide range of activities, also makes the Garden Route a popular destination in its own right.

Click on the following links for accommodation in and around Mossel Bay, George, Wilderness, Sedgefield, Knysna, Plettenberg Bay, Tsitsikamma and Storms River.

The Garden Route also offers some interesting day trips such as :

Outeniqua Pass

This is the main route of the N9 from George to Oudtshoorn and is usually easy motoring.  It can be used for a side trip to Oudtshoorn or made into a round trip by staying on the N9 as far as Avontuur and then descending the

Montagu Pass

This is the old pass from George over the Outeniqua Mountains.  Bear in mind that it is not easy or fast motoring as it is a dirt road, precipitous in places and mostly just one car wide with occasional passing places.  Not recommended if you are in a hurry or in adverse weather conditions.

Seven Passes

This is an alternative route between George and Knysna, well inland from the Garden Route itself and closer to the Outeniqua mountain range.  It winds through farmland and forest and crosses seven rivers in the process (hence the name).  By the way, the Phantom Pass is named for a butterfly, not a ghost!

Prince Alfred's Pass

This provides a couple of alternative options.  You may treat it as a circular route from Knysna to Plettenberg Bay and back via the Garden Route (or vice versa); you may make it a 'there-and-back' trip as far as the R62 or you may decide to continue on from there (a short distance through an attractive "poort" or gap) to Uniondale for lunch and to explore this small, out-of-the-way little town.  Alternatively, if you want a still longer trip, you can turn left at the top of the pass and travel along part of the Langkloof and descend again via either the Montagu or Outeniqua passes.


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