South Africa’s Garden Route links the country’s beautiful mountains with its lush, mountainous hinterland. It’s the setting for one of South Africa’s best road trips, If you’re tempted, where should you stop along the way and what should you do to get the most out of your trip? Here are Mundana’s suggestions for seven ways to enjoy South Africa’s Garden Route.
Hit the beach
Numerous spots along the coast boast incredible beaches. One of the most unspoilt is at the aptly named town of Wilderness. Backed by the Outeniqua Mountains to the north and the Indian Ocean to the south, it boasts a broad swath of sand. It’s as perfect for surfers as it is for those content to paddle in the shallows. Further east, seek out the gorgeous beach at Keurboomstrand, one of the prettiest in the country. Laidback and welcoming, it’s one of the most family-friendly seaside towns along this coast. Nearby, at Plettenberg Bay, grab lunch or a drink at The Lookout, whose terrace offers an unparalleled view out over the beach.
The Garden Route contains many nature reserves, and you should aim to tick off at least a couple of them during your stay. One of the best is Robberg Nature Reserve, close to Plettenberg Bay, home to a Cape Fur seal colony. You might also be lucky enough to catch a glimpse of the rare blue duiker, the area’s smallest antelope. Offshore, keep your eyes peeled for dolphins and whales. Nearby, Birds of Eden is a haven for ornithology enthusiasts. This sanctuary provides a free-flight style home to more than 3500 birds comprising 220 different species.
Hike to the Big Tree
If you’re looking for a short hike to break up the driving, the Big Tree is an ideal stop. A well maintained trail with steps snakes into a tract of woodland in Tsitsikamma National Park. After a short walk from the car park, you’ll find yourself at the foot of a big tree. And this is no ordinary tree: a giant yellowwood that’s estimated to be more than 800 years old. Its canopy towers more than 36 metres above your head and the base has a circumference of 9 metres. On a hot summer day, not only will it be good to get out of the car and stretch your legs, the shady forest will also be most welcome.
Dine on oysters at Kynsna
The charming town of Kynsna is possibly the nicest place in South Africa. Drive over the causeway to Thesen Island, where cute boutiques, fancy accommodation and great eateries come as standard. One of the must-tries here are the oysters. Every restaurant in the area serves them, from upscale Sirocco to the more casual sports bar Tapas & Oysters. Though the oyster beds in the lagoon are no longer used, the town still celebrates this aspect of its maritime heritage with an annual festival held each July.
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Play a round of golf
Many golfers find their way to South Africa’s Garden Route thanks to a plethora of courses. Eight out of the twelve courses in the area are championship grade. You might choose to play overlooking a coastal lagoon or scenic river valley. The Links course at Fancourt resort in George is considered by many to be the best in South Africa. To play here, book a stay at the hotel: you’ll be following in the footsteps of great players like Tiger Woods. Meanwhile other prestigious courses to seek out include Pezula Championship Course, Oubaai Golf Course at Herold’s Bay and Pinnacle Point.
Take a boat trip
You can’t be this close to the ocean and not spend at least some time on the water. In Thesen Island, board a boat for a trip out to the Kynsna Heads. These treacherous rocky headlands caused many a shipwreck in the past, but today they form a scenic backdrop to a leisurely sunset cruise. Alternatively, book a whale watching excursion. Trips lasting around three hours depart from Mossel Bay bound for Seal Island. Though wildlife sightings are never guaranteed, you might expect to see Southern Right Whales from June to November, and migratory humpback whales from May to June and November to January.
Get an adrenaline rush at Storms River
Riding the zipline at Storms River is one of the most thrilling ways to experience Tsitsikamma National Park, but it’s by no means the only way to get an adrenaline rush. Kayaking trips wind through the area’s gorges. One of the world’s highest bungee jumps is at Bloukrans Bridge, though you’ll need a good head for heights to contemplate the 216 metre drop down to the river below. Hikers will enjoy the walk over the area’s famous suspension bridge, which dangles over the foamy waters of the Indian Ocean. It’s part of the five day Otter Trail.
Trust Mundana with the arrangements and you could soon be experiencing all of this for yourself. Give us a call today.