Garden Route Guide - Plan your trip with this info

Updated: Aug 4

South Africa’s Garden Route - a stunning 300km stretch of well surfaced National Road from Storms River in the Eastern Cape to Mossel Bay in the Western Cape - this is a road tripper's delight with diverse activities, view points, great accommodation and an easy driving.


Storms River

A small but busy village with many outdoor activities. This is the place for adventure enthusiasts. Hang out in the lush indigenous forests with Tsitsikamma canopy tours, zip lining between large ancient trees. Storms River is a great place to book guided activities in the Tstitsikamma national park, such as the half or full day tubing expeditions where you lazily float downstream towards the river mouth. Eat at Marilyn 60s Diner, a restaurant that will take you down memory lane, with its 60s decor and preserved motor vehicles that keep you entertained while you wait for food.

As you leave Storms River village making your way towards Natures Valley, make sure to take note of the large arch bridge that separates the Eastern and Western Cape, known as Bloukraans Bridge. This is also the site of the worlds highest bridge bungee jump at 220 meters.


Tsitsikamma National Park

This National Park is a must visit! You could easily spend an entire day exploring. In the Park you can go on guided stand up paddle board (SUP) or canoe or tubing excursions up the river. There are multiple hikes through lush bush with beautiful view points. The walks have deck sections which make it easy and accessible for all skill levels. A 1 hour leisure stroll takes you over the three suspension bridges, hanging 7meters above the Storms River mouth. Enjoy serene pebble beaches and swimming spots. Pack a picnic for along the way or eat at the restaurant.

Roughly a 40km drive from Tsitsikamma National Park takes you to Natures Valley. The drive down to the village has many U bends as you make your way to the bottom of the valley, where slowly you start noticing large lush natural forests towering above you.


Natures Valley

The Natures Valley Rest Camp is a peaceful campsite managed by SAN Parks, tucked amongst the forest on the banks of the Groot Rivier. While you may be lucky enough to spot buck passing through camp, keep an eye out for baboons! This is a bird lovers paradise with the treetops filled with chirps. There are loads of hiking trails around the area, our personal favourite was the Salt River Hike as it takes you to a scenic secluded beach - make sure to time this right with low tide.


Driving towards Plettenberg Bay visit the Birds of Eden - the world's largest free flight aviary and bird sanctuary, with just about every bird you can imagine, from colourful parrots, flamingos, Knysna louries and other bright coloured birds. OR visit Monkeyland - a free roaming, multi-species primate sanctuary. Walk through the forest and get up close with lemurs, monkeys and many more furry creatures!


Plettenberg Bay

Stop in Plettenberg Bay for the night to ensure enough time to explore. One of the most beautiful modern airbnbs that can host a whole family with breathtaking views - Hillandale Hideaway Cabin is situated just before entering Plettenberg Bay town. If time allows, hike to the Arch Rock on Keurboomstrand.

A MUST visit along the garden route is the Robberg Nature Reserve and world heritage site - one could easily spend a full day there. There are multiple hiking trails for all skill levels - and we recommend packing a picnic and hiking the full Point circle trail, a 10km loop, taking you around the entire pinnacle. Keep your eye out for sharks whilst watch seals barking and swimming below as you make your way to the furthest tip - which is a great place for a snack. The hike has the most incredible viewpoints and plenty of beaches to swim along the second half of the hike.


Buffalo Bay

A very small seaside village with lovely beaches where long sandy shores make for great walking, rock pools explorations in some places. Its a popular swimming and surfing spot. Buffelskop Caravan Park has multiple rows etched into a hillside and camps have untouched sea views with roughly 100meter beach access.


Keep an eye out for outdoor markets as you drive through Sedgefield.


Wilderness

This coastal village is one of our favourites - with outdoor markets, long sandy beaches, great surf spots and views onto the Outeniqua mountains! Stop at the lookout overlooking the old train bridge crossing the beach where the Kaaimans River meets the sea. Paraglidling gives the most panoramic views into the distance and you may even spot the old train bridge from the sky.

Accommodation recommendations:

Ebb & Flow Rest Camp - SAN Parks campsite with grassy sites tucked in the valley running along a river. Trees provide shade and swimming in the river is easily accessible. Well maintained - worth visiting campsite.

Victoria Bay Campsite - Located slightly up the banks with unspoiled views overlooking the Victoria Bay beach and point break, a great spot to watch the surfing or even spot whales. 50meter beach access.

Rise & Shine Airbnb - Romantic wooden cabin for 2 with the most picturesque views of the Outeniqua mountain range. This cabin is privately tucked in the forest with an outdoor shower to immerse yourself in nature. Located near Map of Africa viewpoint & the paragliding launch spot.

Sweet Retreat Airbnb - 12meter shipping container converted into a lovely mountain cabin for 2 perched on the top of the valley with scenic views of rolling hills. The container has large doors that open up to an outdoor bath and relaxation deck this encourages you to spend time outdoors.

Africamps at Oakhurst - boutique glamping experience for the family. These tents offer the camping experience with the canvas walls and doors that can roll up, maximising the indoor/ outdoor living experience, along with all the luxurious creature comforts such as heated blankets, an aircon/ heater as well as an indoor fireplace, a braai and en-suite bathrooms. This Africamps located on a dairy farm has many activities including hiking, mountain biking & pump track, horse rides, dairy tour etc.


Mossel Bay

This harbour town has more to offer than you may think. What to do - stroll the promenade along the coast taking you to the furthest tip of Mossel Bay known as point village. Here you'll find many ice cream stalls, good restaurants with sea views, a tidal pool and possibly you'll spot surfers or even seals. Hike to St. Blaize lighthouse for panoramic views of the whole town. Below the lighthouse you'll find south Africas longest over-ocean ziplane. Under the ziplane are some of the best swimming/ snorkelling gulleys with diving boards, best at high tide. Putt-putt course on the seaside. Pop in to The Great Break apparel shop for epic leather goods and clothing. Treat yourself to a day out on safari at Botlierskop Game Reserve.

Accommodation: Mossel Bay Point Caravan Park - enjoy sunrises over the ocean with sea views from the campsite. Located in the Point village which is a great area and walking distance to everything mentioned above.

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