The Best Things To Do On The Garden Route

Written By: Adam Williams

Thanks to its coastal location, South Africa boasts gorgeous coastal drives and breathtaking landscape. One of the most famous in the world is called the Garden Route, which is definitely a must for anyone traveling to the southern tip of Africa. The natural beauty of the Garden Route is unparalleled — while it doesn’t expand that far, visitors will see such a diverse range in wildlife and topography that it creates an outstanding destination for visitors who like to get out and explore or just to enjoy beautiful drives.

The Garden Route allows you to drive throughout many of South Africa’s most popular destinations, whether you want to stop at one of the secluded beaches or you drive more inland to a lake or one of the impressive mountain ranges, the Garden Route put you in close proximity to nearly everything you could want to do during a trip to South Africa. While you could certainly just use the route as a scenic drive from one destination to the next, there are quite a few interesting things that you might want to stop and check out along the way. Numerous nature and marine reserves are located along the Garden Route, which makes it convenient when you want to get out and sightsee. The Garden Route National Park, once known as the Wilderness National Park, features nature trails that bring hikers across many geographical features including forests, lakes and beaches. For those who want to get out and stretch their legs as they drive along the Garden Route scenic way, the National Park is highly recommended.

In case the views from the Garden Route aren’t beautiful enough, the outlook at Knysna Lagoon is one of the best in the world. At one point, the British Royal Navy said Knysna Lagoon was one of the most dangerous entrances around, thanks to the rocky cliffs and rocks – but the views are fantastic! If you want foot access to the nature reserve or you want to see the Lagoon from up close, numerous experienced vessels provide tours and day excursions around the coastline.


Wilderness National Park

Are you a nature lover? Are you touring along the Garden Route? Then make sure they spend time at the Wilderness National Park! The park is pristine and there are several trails on offer to experience hiking at its very best. The scenery is brilliant, and the lakes and beaches will hold you in awe. If you want to experience more than just hiking, take a canoe along the waterways to watch the kaleidoscope of birdlife, or head to the beach to seek out the dolphins and migrating whales!


Addo Elephant National Park

Whether you come for a day or a week, Addo Elephant Park offers a terrific experience with options for everybody. With a host of wildlife including elephants, rhinos, and zebras, the park can be explored in vehicles (guided or self-drive), by horseback, or through a variety of hiking trails. If you don’t think just one day will be enough, there is also accommodation available for all budgets and wants, from camping to luxury lodges!



Part of the world-famous Garden Route in South Africa, Knysna offers an eclectic blend of natural beauty and exciting adventure activities to all those who grace its shores. This picturesque town is a stunning mix of lush green forests merging with the golden beaches of the coastline, and the towering mountain ranges which surround the crystal-clear waters of the lagoon below. This truly serene paradise is a place which should definitely not be missed!



Oudtshoorn is interestingly most famous for its large concentration of ostrich farms, but when it comes to the heart of the town, there is so much more than meets the eye. This whimsical little town is the perfect basecamp to explore many of the surrounding attractions of the region, including the Cango Caves, the Garden Route, Little Karoo, and also the Great Karoo, and with such an authentic mix of unusual attractions on offer, it’s hard not to lose yourself in the charm!


Plettenberg Bay

Located along the world-famous Garden Route in South Africa, Plettenberg Bay is a one of the most popular holiday destinations in the country, with a smorgasbord of activities on offer catering to every whim; from canyoning to diving and even bungy jumping, Plettenberg Bay is an outdoor adventurer’s dream! For those wanting to just unwind, try the wineries and the nature reserves, or just sit back and take in some sun on the spectacular golden coastline.



Nestled along the beautiful Garden Route in South Africa, Brenton-on-Sea is a great place to stop in for a while, to relax, unwind, and enjoy the serenity of this stunning coastline. Stroll along the beautiful golden beaches, go for a refreshing swim or a surf, or try your hand at fishing for the afternoon! And if that’s not enough, there are countless walking trails to explore, and plenty of lookouts points where you can admire the magnificent scenery, or even take time out for some whale-watching!


Buffels Bay (Buffelsbaai)

Just a short trip from Knysna – on the picturesque Garden Route of South Africa – you will find the tiny coastal village of Buffels Bay (Buffelsbaai), with its long sweeping beaches, and plenty of fun rock pools for the kids to explore. Take a break from your tour and enjoy the magnificent views and the beautiful landscapes, or visit the nearby Goukamma Nature Reserve to see the abundance of birdlife that call the park home!


Mossel Bay

Located along the spectacular Garden Route in South Africa – about halfway between Cape Town and Port Elizabeth – Mossel Bay is the perfect place to stop and enjoy the beautiful Santos Beach with its famous lighthouse. Relax at one of the tasty restaurants – which are famous for their fresh mussels and oysters – and soak up the beautiful atmosphere of this quaint little town.


Nature’s Valley

Get away from the hustle and bustle of the mainstream tourist trail, with a stopover at Nature’s Valley, a small resort town surrounded by the natural beauty of Tsitsikamma National Park. In summer it can be quite busy, but it becomes significantly quieter in winter months. Explore the countless hiking trails throughout the park, and if you make your way to one of the lookout points at the right time of year, you might even be lucky enough to spot the migrating whales, as they glide along the Indian Ocean!


Victoria Bay

Picturesque Victoria Bay is the perfect place to take some time out to relax as you travel along the Garden Route between the towns of George and Wilderness. Surrounded by beautiful sea-cottages, the beach is a great place for swimming, with lots of rock pools to explore and trails to stroll along. Of course, this changes as you venture further out into the ocean, where the waves are a favourite with the local surfers!

Related Links


World Regions

South Africa


Garden Route

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