Whether you’re a foreigner or a local, the Garden Route of South Africa is a must-visit! The Garden Route offers many sights and activities to explore. This is an excellent example of a Garden Route itinerary for 10 days for families.
Where Is the Garden Route in South Africa?
If you’re wondering what the Garden Route in South Africa is, you’ll find the answer here! The Garden Route (Afrikaans: Tuinroete) is on the southeastern coast of South Africa. It extends from Mossel Bay in the Western Cape to Storms River Village in the Eastern Cape. The name comes from the verdant and ecologically diverse vegetation and the numerous estuaries and lakes dotted along the coast.
What Is the Weather Like in The Garden Route in South Africa?
The Garden Route has an oceanic climate, with mild to warm summers and mild to cool winters. Temperatures rarely fall below 10°C in winter and rarely climb beyond 28°C in summer. Rain occurs year-round, with a slight peak in the spring months, brought by the humid sea-winds from the Indian Ocean rising and releasing their precipitation along the Outeniqua and Tsitsikamma Mountains just inland of the coast.
Map of The Garden Route in The Western Cape of South Africa
A 10-Day Garden Route Itinerary for Families
Here is our 10-day Garden Route itinerary and a short description of each town’s offerings.
Day 1-2: Mossel Bay
Mossel Bay is one of the seaside cities in the world with the most moderate climate. It is one of the most popular towns on the Garden Route during South African school holidays, meaning that accommodation can become pricey! Here you can find out about the best months to visit South Africa.
Mossel Bay has several beautiful blue flag beaches, and you can easily spend your entire time there. However, Mossel Bay offers much more! You can visit the Bartolomeu Dias Museum Complex, the Cape St Blaize lighthouse, the Dias Express train and the Seabird and Penguin Rehabilitation Centre. If you’re adventurous, why not try shark-cage diving here? Another highlight in Mosselbay is the many restaurants selling authentic South African food. Don’t miss the Sea Gypsy Cafe, Kaai 4 or Transkaroo Restaurant.
Day 3 – 5: George, Victoria Bay and Wilderness
George has several excellent attractions. If you love historical places, you may find the Dutch Reformed Mother Church or the Outeniqua Transport Museum interesting. A visit to the Redberry Farm is a must for families. The largest mall in the Garden Route, namely, the Garden Route Mall is in George. Dads will enjoy a visit to the Roberston Brewery. From George, it is a short drive to Victoria Bay where you can have a meal with a view of the ocean.
Wilderness is easily one of the most beautiful places on the Garden Route. It is a small town, but there is plenty to see and do. The Dolphin Point Lookout is just outside Wilderness. The Map of Africa viewpoint is in the mountains near Wilderness. The beaches are lovely, but not ideal for swimming because of the strong currents. Wilderness has several excellent restaurants, such as Pomodoro, Salina’s Beach Restaurant and Serendipity Restaurant.
Day 6 – 7: Buffels Bay, Knysna & Brenton-on-Sea
From Wilderness, you drive past Sedgefield (South Africa) before passing Brenton-on-Sea and eventually arriving in Knysna. Knysna is in the heart of the Garden Route. It is very popular with foreign tourists. Knysna annually hosts the Oyster Festival and marathon in the winter, which thousands of people attend. Knysna is an essential part of any trip to the Garden Route and should be on everyone’s Garden Route itinerary.
If your family wants to spend time on the beach, you can choose Buffels Bay or Brenton-on-Sea. In Knysna, take a cruise on the Knysna Lagoon to see the Knysna Heads. You can visit the Featherbed Nature Reserve or the Garden Route National Park to hike and spend time in nature. Children will enjoy the Knysna Elephant Park. There are several fantastic restaurants in the area, including East Head Cafe, 34 South and Blackwater Rivers Lodge.
Day 8 – 9: Plettenberg Bay and Nature’s Valley
From Knysna, it is about an hour’s drive to Plettenberg Bay. You may consider staying here for an extra day or two as Plettenberg Bay offers lots of activities and sights. Animal lovers will enjoy the Birds of Eden, Tenikwa Wildlife Awareness Centre, Monkeyland Primate Sanctuary, Elephant Sanctuary The Crags and a variety of others. Children will love Plett Puzzle Park and Adventure Land with its water slides and play park. You can even swim with the seals at Plettenberg Bay.
Nature’s Valley is located outside of Plettenberg Bay. To connect with nature, consider staying at the Wild Spirit Lodge where you can hike the Tsitsikamma National Forest and end your hike at a beautiful waterfall.
Day 10: Storms River Village
The Storms River Village is a tiny town on the Garden Route. Before getting to the village, you can cross the Storms River suspension bridge of 77 metres. This is one of the most beautiful spots on the Garden Route and a must-see. You can also do blackwater tubing, a canoeing adventure to the Storms River mouth or a Tsitsikamma Canopy Tour.
For an American dining experience, try Marilyn’s 60s Diner or go to the Tsitsikamma Micro Brewery to taste a few craft beers.
Frequently Asked Questions About the Garden Route
Here are some of the most commonly asked questions, with answers, about the Garden Route in South Africa.
Where Does the Garden Route Begin and End?
People often disagree about where the Garden Route in South Africa starts – some say it starts in Mosselbay, while others believe it only begins in George.
Similarly, people can not agree on whether the Garden Route ends with the Storms River Village (still in the Western Cape) or Port Elizabeth (in the Eastern Cape).
Is the Garden Route Safe to Drive?
If you are interested in doing the Garden Route, you may wonder whether the Garden Route is safe and even if the Garden Route is safe to drive? The answer to both of these questions is yes! Although you must always be alert, the Garden Route is safe to drive. If safety concerns you, why not consider one of the Garden Route tours and do it with others!
How to Do the Garden Route?
The best way to do the Garden Route is a self-drive road trip. The roads in the Garden Route are in good condition, and you can rent a car to enjoy the scenery along the way. You may also do a Garden Route tour if you don’t want to drive or have safety concerns.
How Many Days Do You Need to Do the Garden Route?
The Garden Route is not long. You can easily do it in one day at just over 200 kilometres or 124 miles, but then you will miss everything it offers. Depending on the number of towns you visit, activities you want to do, and what you want to see, you can spend between 7 and 10 days exploring the Garden Route. 10 days gives you enough time to explore most of what it offers.
Is the Garden Route in Cape Town?
No, the Garden Route is not in Cape Town. It is in the same province that Cape Town is, namely, the Western Cape Province of South Africa.
The Garden Route is approximately 400 kilometres from Cape Town. By car, it takes just over 4 hours to drive from Cape Town to the beginning of the Garden Route in Mossel Bay.
How Long Is the Garden Route in South Africa?
The Garden Route stretches from Mossel Bay in the Western Cape province to Storms River in the Eastern Cape province. This distance is just over 200 kilometres or 124 miles.
Which Towns Are in The Garden Route?
The Garden Route in South Africa includes Knysna, Plettenberg Bay, Mossel Bay, Great Brak River, Little Brak River, Wilderness, Sedgefield and Nature’s Valley. George is the largest town in the Garden route.
Does Still Bay Fall Under the Garden Route?
No, Still Bay does not fall under the Garden Route. The Garden Route starts at Mossel Bay, which is 90 kilometres or just over an hour from Still Bay by car.
Is Port Elizabeth Part of The Garden Route?
No, Port Elizabeth is not part of the Garden Route. The Garden Route ends at Storms River in the same province as Port Elizabeth, namely, the Eastern Cape Province of South Africa.
Garden Route Tours
You can choose from various Garden Route tours if you want to do the Garden Route but don’t want to have a self-drive experience. Here are some of the best options available:
- Garden Route 5-Day Tour and Addo Elephant Park Safari
- From Cape Town/Stellenbosch: 3 Day Garden Route and Safari
- Cape Town/Stellenbosch: 5-Day Garden Route Tour & Addo Park