Ein Straße die von grüner Natur umgeben ist und in die Berge führt

Garden Route - a dream for nature lovers

Be inspired by the diversity of South Africa: Countless hikes through untouched nature - amidst rustic forests, along coastal paths or over sandy beaches - are among the main activities on the Garden Route. You will never cease to be amazed by the beauty that awaits you. Exciting encounters with wild animals are the icing on the cake. Various activities, which can be offered on site or carried out freely, provide a varied addition. Markets, harbors, restaurants, bars and museums offer interesting insights into the culture and history of the country. And best of all: couples and families, those seeking peace and quiet and adventurers alike will get their money's worth on this route.

Written by: Dana Leidel Last updated at: April 3, 2024
Karte auf der die Garden Route markiert ist

Best time to travel













Experience the Garden Route in its coastal towns

The Garden Route is characterized by its beautiful coastal towns, harbours, sandy bays, beaches and attractions. It is a wonderful place to immerse yourself in nature. If you are longing for a change after a long time full of nature experiences and tranquillity, you will also find what you are looking for at one point or another on this route.

Mossel Bay

Starting from the town of Mossel Bay, which marks the official start of the Garden Route, a wide range of options await you: From water sports activities to cultural and historical insights to explorations in the somewhat remote nature, everything is included. Known as a seafaring town, Mossel Bay is particularly inviting for swimming and surfing. The most beautiful beaches include Santos Beach, Diaz Beach and Hartenbos Beach. The Diaz Museum Complex is a cultural highlight with the most beautiful museums on the entire route.


We continue to the largest town on the Garden Route - George, a paradise for golf lovers. Surrounded by vast, breathtaking landscapes and botanical gardens, it is not surprising that several exquisite golf courses have been built here. The Outeniqua Transport Museum displays the history of the region's most important steam railroad as well as trains from all eras of the South African railroad era. Adventure is guaranteed on quad bike tours through the African wilderness around George.


Mountain forest meets saltwater lagoon and harbor life: Knysna is not only picturesque in terms of nature - with an impressive harbor promenade, stores, bars and restaurants, there is a lot going on on this part of the Garden Route. It is also a true gourmet paradise when it comes to fresh seafood such as oysters. Underwater, divers can marvel at the numerous wrecks of sunken ships. Guided tours are available in the Featherbed Nature Reserve: at this magical place in Knysna, nature is ablaze with the most magnificent colors.

Plettenberg Bay

The natural beauty of Plettenberg Bay is often referred to as the "Jewel of the Garden Route". Kilometers of picture-book beaches, some of which are rugged and unspoiled, provide a pure natural feeling. To top it all off, whales can be spotted off the coast, rounding off the natural spectacle perfectly. But that's not all: Plettenberg Bay boasts a large peninsula, which is a nature reserve and has three circular hiking trails to make every hiker's heart beat faster. In the Robberg Nature Reserve, rust-red rocks meet lush green rock faces, which in turn form a great contrast to the blue sea. What's more, it is home to hundreds of seals that are not too shy to show themselves. We recommend Plettenberg Beach, which is characterized by golden sand, changing water colors and rock faces.

Port Elizabeth

At the end of the Garden Route, in Port Elizabeth, wildlife and various attractions come together. This city is teeming with game reserves. Sandy beaches and dunes adorn the coast of Nelson Mandela Bay. The harbor, Market Square and an amusement and shopping center bring life to the surrounding tranquility of nature. Don't miss a walk along the Shark Rock Pier, a 140-metre-long jetty with an excellent view of Algoa Bay. There are numerous hotels, restaurants and stores in the immediate vicinity.

Discover the untouched nature of the Garden Route

If you drive further inland from the coast of the Garden Route, you will find a large selection of national parks and protected areas. This is where the great diversity of flora and fauna that South Africa has to offer comes together once again. Dense forests, deep valleys and overwhelming safari experiences define the journey through these areas and ensure unforgettable moments.

De Hoop Nature Reserve

De Hoop Nature Reserve, situated at the beginning of the Garden Route and still quite close to the coast, is characterized by its unique flora, which provides a habitat for many mammals and wild birds. Whether antelopes, baboons, Cape mountain zebras, bontebok, ostriches or flamingos - the list of animal species is long. And it's not just on land that there are many animals to observe: Whales, dolphins and seals can also be seen in the sea.

Holzsteg durch den Sand am Indischen Ozean

Tsitsikamma National Park

Also located on the coast, Tsitsikamma National Park is one of the few existing marine reserves. Some of the best experiences in this area include coastal walks and hikes through the rainforest with its giant trees, kayaking and bungee jumping as well as dolphin and whale watching.

Bridge over the sea and mountain

Addo Elephant National Park

A little further inland is the Addo Elephant National Park with the famous Big Seven: elephants, rhinos, buffalo, lions, leopards, great white sharks and southern right whales can be found in this area. Close encounters make for impressive impressions. The peaceful herds of elephants in particular provide an insight into their lives. Whether grazing or walking to the waterholes - the pachyderms are not impressed by their onlookers.

Drei Elefanten stehen an einem kleinen Wasserloch und trinken

Gondwana Game Reserve

The Gondwana Game Reserve is home to the Big Five: elephants, rhinos, buffalo, lions and leopards are strongly represented here. The area is also very popular with families: a special program - the Junior Ranger Experience - brings the little ones closer to the African animal world. Mountains and valleys, vast landscapes, gorges and hills adorn the multifaceted picture of this section of the Garden Route.

Männlicher Löwe blickt zur Kamera hinter einen Strauch hervor

Amakhala Game Reserve

Five vegetation and climate zones, known as biomes, can be found in the Amakhala Game Reserve. The landscape is also shaped by the Bushmans River, which flows through the entire area. In addition to many of the animals already mentioned, you will also encounter giraffes, wildebeest and zebras as well as a wide variety of bird species.

Ein Zebra schaut zum Fotografen

Fancy a detour to Hermanus?

Located directly on the Atlantic coast, in the southwest of Africa, the town of Hermanus is hidden away. It is about 120 kilometers southeast of Cape Town and is around 300 kilometers away on the home stretch towards Mossel Bay. If you are in Cape Town before the Garden Route anyway, you should not miss this place.

Why the stopover is worth it

It is also worth starting the Garden Route from here. The reward is a fascinating whale experience from June/July to November/December. The chances of spotting these impressive marine mammals from the coast are very high during this time. You can also book whale-watching tours by boat.

Paradise-like views

But that's not all: the Hermanus Cliff Path is a little paradise hidden in the middle of the town. One breathtaking backdrop follows another along the twelve-kilometre coastal path. Narrow paths between tall bushes and trees lead to magnificent vantage points with views of lush greenery, romantic waterholes and mountain ranges in the background.

Luxury accommodation

A special recommendation for a luxurious retreat in Hermanus is the Grootbos Private Nature Resort. Surrounded by mountains, untouched forests and the ocean, this sustainably designed luxury reserve offers relaxation from sightseeing tours and everything else your heart desires. Nature comes first at this accommodation, making your stay a real pleasure. Once again, the extensive flora and fauna are paired with the highest level of luxury. The Garden Lodge - surrounded by wild gardens - promises heavenly moments. The Forest Lodge, with its 180-degree panoramic view, is peaceful and particularly close to nature. The private villas impress with their indescribable expanse - both inside and out.

The CootClub is an alternative for those who want to experience the rugged nature of Hermanus up close. The luxurious wood and stone houses, designed in a pure, natural style, are located directly on the river. With the rustic mountain range in the background, you will find a peaceful retreat with a more rustic ambience and plenty of privacy. Children in particular get their money's worth at this accommodation thanks to the lovingly designed facilities.

Ideal time to travel the Garden Route

As daytime temperatures on the Garden Route average between 18 and 25 degrees throughout the year, a trip is pleasant all year round. From November to April it is at its warmest and the probability of rainfall is lowest, even if it can rain from time to time. However, the rain also has its good side, as it contributes to the lush vegetation and therefore the beauty of the landscape. Most people come here between December and February due to the warmest days. Animals are also more likely to be seen on their way to the waterholes during the warmer months. If you don't want to be on the Garden Route at the same time as many other travelers, you should choose the months of March and April for your trip.

Travelling the Garden Route

Stones with the sea and Table Mountain in the background
South Africa self-drive tour
Along South Africa's picturesque Garden Route | Duration: 14 days
  • Experience the Garden Route
  • Cape Town's city life and beautiful nature
  • Game viewing in the Eastern Cape

from 3.800 € per Person plus flights

Safaris, small coastal towns, wine regions and so much more. Every day offered a new adventure. We had a great time and everything went wonderfully.

Daniel I.
Ready for your biggest adventure?

To book a trip or for more information, contact us. We'll help you plan and guide you through your upcoming adventure!