The Garden Route is a 300-kilometre stretch of South Africa’s coast, which starts in Mossel Bay in the Western Cape and ends at the Storm River in the Eastern Cape. The coastal views are spectacular and as the name implies, this lush region is home to divine natural beauty.
Take in all that the area has to offer with a self-driving tour around South Africa’s green seat. Relax on one of the beautiful beaches, explore the hidden lagoons and lakes in the rolling hills, or scale the Outeniqua and Tsitskamma mountain ranges.
Surfing is a popular pastime on the Garden Route’s waterfront. There are impressive swells and breaks to be found at Outer Pool in Mossel Bay, Herolds Bay, Buffalo Bay, Plettenberg Bay and Victoria Bay, with the latter noted for being the most consistent. If you’re a beginner, some of the beaches also have surf schools which run regular classes.
Inland, the water-based activities continue. You can rent a canoe and navigate the Garden Route National Park’s lake system, take a boat trip out on a lagoon and go in search of waterfalls.
There are also opportunities for wildlife encounters, especially for birdwatching, as the vivid feathers of red and green Knysna loeries can often be seen fluttering about. Hike a trail through the Knysna forest and you might be lucky enough to spot a rare wild elephant, or head to Robberg Nature Reserve to see the population of seals (you can even sign up join them for a swim).
After so much activity, refuel at an open-air braai (South African barbecue) restaurant, tuck into a dish of fresh seafood, or try traditional Xhosa cuisine (and have a go at ordering in the tricky clicks of the Xhosa language!). Then, wash your meal down with a wine tasting session at one of the local wineries.
The Garden Coast makes for a great adventure and with a self-drive exploration you can go at your own pace, stopping off at scenic spots that take your fancy and discovering secret jewels of blue and green for yourself.