The Garden Route is a utopia for the thrill-seeking, nature-loving individual. With forests, nature reserves, beaches and lagoons – adventure activities are a-plenty!
Tsitsikamma National Park
Why you should visit: The Tsitsikamma National Park forms part of the Garden Route National Park. It is home to indigenous Afromontane forest, rivers and dramatic coastline giving life to the abundant plant, marine and animal species. The Big Tree (a massive 800-year-old Yellowwood Tree), the famous Otter Trail and wild Storms River Mouth coastline form part of the park.
The five-day Otter Trail is a bucket list experience for any hiker and nature lover. There’s also a “slackpacking” Dolphin Trail that includes porterage.
How to get there: Tsitsikamma is slightly more than an hour’s drive from Knysna along the N2.
Storms River Mouth
Why you should visit: The SANParks Storms River Mouth Rest Camp forms part of the Tsitsikamma National Park and is the start of the iconic Otter Trail. Here, the Indian Ocean relentlessly pounds the shoreline creating dramatic, coastal scenery. Walk the famous suspension bridge and try to spot the elusive Cape Clawless Otter, or listen to the call of the Knysna Loerie and feel the ocean spray caress your face.
How to get there: Storms River Mouth is situated within the Tsitsikamma National Park.
Why you should visit: Plettenberg Bay, or Plett as it’s commonly known, is a surf and sun-seekers’ beachside playground. The town’s six-kilometre sandy shoreline boasts six Blue Flag beaches, so even in the peak season of December and January, that means visitors can still find a patch of sand to relax. Surfing (12-foot waves have been recorded), bodyboarding, and diving are popular.
How to get there: It’s a 30-minute drive from Knysna to reach Plett, travelling east along the N2.
Not only is the Garden Route a nature lover’s Eden, but it is also the thrill-seekers playground. No matter if your idea of adventure is practising your swing on the golf course, hitting the festival and event trail in vibey Knysna or jumping off the underside of Africa’s highest bridge, you can find every kind of experience here.
Events in Knysna
Why you should visit: The popular tourist town of Knysna has earned a world-class reputation for events and festivals that draw visitors in by the thousands. The Oyster Festival and Forest Marathon are just two favourites. If you’re travelling over an event weekend, book early.
Even when there are no events, there are plenty of year-round experiences to enjoy in Knysna. Take a Featherbed ferry trip across the lagoon to the Knysna Heads, enjoy the vibe at the waterfront, browse the boutique shops and galleries lining the main road and join local-led kayaking, stand up paddleboarding, kite-surfing, sandboarding or scuba diving.
How to get there: It’s just under a six-hour drive from Cape Town to Knysna or a short one-hour drive (62km) from George Airport.
Golf in George
Why you should visit: If you’re keen to practice your swing on one of the country’s most acclaimed golf courses or are simply staying at Fancourt and keen to give it a go, golfing at Fancourt in George is an absolute must.
Fancourt is home to three golf courses that consistently rank among the top 20 courses in South Africa, according to Golf Digest. All three courses, overlooked by the majestic Outeniqua Mountains, were designed by experts and spearheaded by former South African golfer Gary Player himself. Whether you’re a novice or the next Gary, Ernie, or Retief, you’re guaranteed a five-star golfing experience at Fancourt.
How to get there: Driving from Cape Town, Fancourt is an hour short of Knysna.
How much does it cost: Enquire for pricing.
Bungee jump in Bloukrans
Why you should experience it: The Bloukrans Bridge offers one of the world’s highest commercial bungee jumps. Travellers looking for a rush of adrenalin can make the 216-metre high jump off the top of the arch of Africa’s tallest bridge. Those aged 14 and up can make the jump, but if you’re looking for a less thrilling thrill, opt for the bridge-walking tour instead.
How to get there: Face Adrenalin runs the bungee trips. Find them at Bloukrans River Bridge on the N2.
How much does it cost: The bungee jump costs R1 350 per adult. The bridge-walking tour is R150 per adult.