Running from Cape Town to Port Elizabeth, with rugged mountain ranges separating the forested coastline from the harsh, vast landscapes of the Karoo, the Garden Route has a host of enchanting towns, bays and beaches.
It is the ideal location for a family holiday, being simple to self-drive, and allowing pure relaxation.
With 3 main airports servicing the Garden Route, it is easy to access, but once there, it is hard to leave!
Self Drive Holidays
There are not many parts of Africa as suited to a self-drive holiday as the Garden Route. Pack the kids and the bags in a hire car, and head either east from Cape Town, or west from Port Elizabeth, or fly into George and base yourself there.
By travelling on your own agenda you are free to stop off in the many quaint towns, spend time at the craft shops, or just relax on the beach for as long as you choose. Wake up each morning and choose your activities based on the weather or your mood.
Family Friendly Holidays
With the length of the Garden Route being a malaria-free area, it is safe and easy to bring the young ones here. Entertainment is available for them from elephant back rides to choo-choo trains, or they can spend time with you surfing, swimming, hiking, game viewing or even visiting a monkey sanctuary.
The game reserves along the Garden Route cater perfectly for children, as they offer game viewing away from the malarial zones up north.
Eastern Cape Game Reserves
No African holiday is complete without seeing some of our wild and majestic beasts, and the Garden Route allows you to do so. With the added bonus of being malaria-free, these Eastern Cape reserves are great for families with young kids.
With private game reserves such as Shamwari, Kariega, Kwandwe and Lalibela, as well as the Addo Elephant National Park, you can round off, or start your holiday with a Big 5 experience.
A stunning and welcoming small town, developed around a lagoon protected by the famous Knysna Heads, Knysna is a must-see and a must-stay town in the heart of the Garden Route.
Surrounded by the Knysna Forest with its enormous yellowwood trees, the area gives you access to picturesque hikes and view points. Closer to the water you can enjoy oysters, sunset cruises, whale and dolphin watching excursions, and great fishing.
Some beautiful golf courses are available, and the town is well known for its arts and crafts.
Oudtshoorn and Ostriches
The ostrich capital of the world, Oudtshoorn is an historic town just over the Outeniqua Mountains from George, with genuine old school hospitality, and delightful Cape Dutch buildings.
The focus of the town is ostrich farming, and you can visit a number of these farms to get up close and personal with the world's largest birds.
Highly recommended on a self-drive holiday is the Route 62 road which travels from Cape Town to George on the interior side of the mountains, showing you the desolate Klein Karoo area, and giving you an insight into small town life of South Africa.
Completely contrasting to the coastline, the landscapes are spectacular, with red earth and rocky mountains, and a number of fantastic small towns offering small cafes and wonderful accommodation.
With Fancourt Golf Resort setting the bench mark, having played host to the President's Cup, and Pezula and Simola in Knysna being world class layouts, be sure to leave a day free to swing the mashies.
There are numerous other courses along the coast, with most having spectacular locations and cliff top holes, which are sure to create a beautiful walk, even if your golf doesn't.
Tsitsikamma and Storms River Mouth
Meaning "the place of great water", Tsitsikamma Forest runs down to the ocean, and is split by the Storms River which rushes through deep gorges until raging out into the sea. Take a walk over the suspension bridge to get great views up the gorge, or take a float on a tractor tyre from further upstream.
Heading away from the bridge, you begin the world famous Otter Trail, which is a tough but fulfilling multi-day hike along the rugged coastline. If you have only 1 day, take a stroll along the route to the waterfall, while looking out for otters and the knysna turaco, as well as other colourful birdlife.
Bloukrans Bungy Jump!
Come on! You have to do it! Face your fears and launch yourself off the Bloukrans Bridge, 216 metres above the ground. Enjoy (?) a 6 second free-fall before bouncing up and doing it all over again!
Dads, you do know if you stop at the viewing point you will disappoint your kids if you don't jump.