The Garden Route
The Garden Route is located in the south western coast of South Africa. It stretches for about 400km from Swellendam in the west to the Tsitsikamma in the east. The Garden Route is mainly south of the Outeniqua mountain range, but also reaches the Swartberg mountain range north of Oudtshoorn.
Nature in all its beauty
The location also brings an extreme diversity in climate. South of the Outeniqua mountain range, you will find lush green forests with natural fynbos on the higher areas. The area gets a lot of rain during the year due to the clouds that gather over the oceans not being able to go further north than the mountain. The result is regular rain for the area and beautiful green vegetation.
North of the Outeniqua mountains you will find the region better known as “The Karoo”. This is a semi-desert area with little rain during the year. The temperatures are quite high during summer and very cold during the winter. The area has a desert type of vegetation, and also extreme scenic beauty. The area is also known as the ostrich capital of the world.
The Karoo differ a lot from the rest of the Garden Route. Its beauty hidden in the vast open spaces of this semi-desert landscape. This dry area have a unique vegetation, mostly plants that store moisture and water. The “Klein Karoo” area is between the Outeniqua mountains and the Swartberg mountains.
This area is also well known for being the ostrich capital of the world. The ostrich, being the largest bird in the world, cannot fly and were bred for their feathers. Recently the feather industry scaled down and now the birds are being bred for their meat ( which is red meat, unlike other poultry ) and tourism reasons.
The Karoo also have some of the best wines and port. Farms are scattered all over the Karoo and wine and port tasting tours can be done. South African golfer, Retief Goosen’s wine farm is located just behind the Outeniqua Mountains on the Langkloof road about an hour from George. He has a variety of wines under the name “The Goose Wines” and is well worth a try.
The annual Port & Wine Festival takes place in Calitzdorp, a few kilometers from Oudtshoorn on the R62 ( Wine Route ). This festival normally takes place over a weekend where visitors can taste all the wines and port the region has to offer. The festival is also a great platform to do some wine pairings with chocolate and cheese from the area. View the map below to see all the options on Route 62.
Accommodation for travelers
The Garden Route is world renowned and a very popular holiday destination for other South Africans as well as a very big international travellers. Along with its pristine beauty, culture and activities, the Garden Route offers some of the very best accommodation options. From Bed & Breakfasts, Guest Houses, Self-Catering Accommodation, Lodges or Hotels. Mossel Bay, George, Knysna and Plettenberg Bay are the main areas but the Garden Route also have a lot of smaller historically rich towns that offer amazing accommodation.
Activities in the Garden Route
The Garden Route is not just a amazing place with scenic beauty and amazing accommodation, but also offer activities suited for the whole family. Adventure activities such as Shark Cage Diving, Mountain Biking, Sky Diving and Trail Running, to name a few, will satisfy all levels of adventure sport enthusiasts. For the kids and moms there is white sandy beaches, some with Blue Flag status, Game Drives, Train Rides and other family safe activities.
For the golf lovers, the Garden Route is the best place to be. The Garden Route brags with 12 top golf courses, 8 of which are championship courses. They are scattered all over the Garden Route. Near Mossel Bay you will find Pinnacle Point Golf Resort as well as Mossel Bay Golf Course ( the home of world number 4 golfer, Louis Oosthuizen ). Near George you will find the famous Fancourt as well as Ernie Els’s “Oubaai Golf Course” with its amazing views. Knysna will tease you with Simola and Pezula, both challenging courses.
For the more cultured visitors, wine tastings can be done at a variety of places. Wine and port farms can be found throughout the Garden Route. In Oudtshoorn you will also be able to do chocolate tastings along with other art routes. The Garden Route also offer excellent cuisine options and great and unique restaurants can be found in all the towns.