Best Tips For An Unforgetable Garden Route In South Africa

The Garden Route is the most iconic road trip in South Africa. Mandatory tour for anyone who wants to get away from the big cities like Cape Town and Jo’burg and who wants to discover the country at their own pace.

Officially stretching for 300km between Mossel Bay and Storm’s River. In this circuit along the coast you will enter National Parks, you will be able to see whales in freedom, do bungee jumping the highest in the world, see animals in freedom and much more.

Basic tips for your road trip in Garden Route

Plan at least 5 days to visit the entire area calmly, the distances are not long, but if you go with little time you will spend a lot of time driving each day and you will miss the main highlights.

Rent a car, it is quite obvious if you are going to do a road trip, but you can also discover the Garden Route through other somewhat more independent options such as Baz Bus (although more inefficient) or in some organized tours / packages.

Garden Route

Do not limit yourself only to the towns and tourist attractions between Mossel Bay and Storm’s River, my recommendation is that you start a little earlier and finish a little further and we will see it next.


As mentioned previously Hermanus is not officially part of the Garden Route, but you must stop if or if in this small town, it is located an hour and a half from Cape Town and about four hours from Mossel Bay. In addition, it will help you do fewer miles at a stretch.

  • What to do? Whale watching in freedom, is the place in the world with the highest concentration of whales, on one occasion 196 whales were seen in a single day. You can get on a boat for your sighting or try your luck from the coast or by renting a Kayak. Trekking along the coast, you have a couple of walks of about two and a half hours and / or to the marina and another to the Dutchies restaurant.
  • Where to eat? Breakfast at Black Medicine and The Gallery Café one of the best coffees and croissants you will get in entire South Africa. Mount Everest Indian restaurant, one of the best restaurants in town. Be careful with the schedules, since most close very early. You have many more options at Market Square.
  • Where to stay? There are options for all budgets, but most hotels are in the Gearings Point area.
Mossel Bay

Congratulations, you are officially on the Garden Route! Although not as beautiful as Hermanus, it has several points of interest that you must visit.

  • What to do? Eating oysters, don’t you think that the name of the city is pure chance? Mossel Bay has some of the best oysters in the country at very affordable prices, head to the Oyster Bar in the harbor for some delicious oysters for 40-50R. The most daring can go into the ocean to dive in a cage with the great white shark.
  • Where to eat? Of course in Oyster Bar and right next to it Kaai 4 Braai, in both places you can taste delicious fish and shellfish fresh from the sea.
  • Where to stay? Santos Express, the most iconic accommodation on the entire Garden Route, it is a sleeper train that currently operates as a hotel, has single, double and luxury suites from € 10 per night to € 85 per room, options for all budgets.
Knysna & Wilderness

Knysna is surely the highlight of your trip along the Garden Route. This small lagoon with a narrow passage between cliffs was once baptized by the British Royal Navy as the most dangerous port in the world. When you get to its cliffs and see the reefs you will understand why. Many ships have tried to access this lagoon and have sunk, the last in 2019.

  • What to do? Without a doubt you should go to the Knysna Heads and if you have time descend towards its rocky shore. Before reaching Knysna you can stop at various beaches along the Wilderness.
  • Where to eat? East Head Café It is undoubtedly your best option. Try to plan your visit to Knysna to be around at lunchtime, it has views of the lagoon and a very complete menu.
  • Where to stay? You have different options, but for those who travel alone they have to make a mandatory stop at Island Vibe one of the best backpackers hostels in the area.
Storm’s River & Nature’s Valley

Personally, the closer you get to the east of the Garden Route the more adrenaline pumping are its tourist attractions. I recommend that you are an adventure lover or not, dedicate a couple of days to the following areas

  • What to do? Bungee Jumping at Bloukrans Bridge, the highest bungee jumping in the world, with its 216 meters high, those 5 seconds of free fall will be unforgettable and will put a smile on your face for days. Tsitsikamma National Park, is a national park where you can spend the night, famous for its characteristic hanging bridges. Kayaking on the Storms River within Tsitsikamma NP. Get a hand poked tattoo at Nature’s Valley
Bungee Jumping en Bloukrans Bridge
  • Where to eat? Near the entrance to Tsitsikamma is the town of Stormsriver, it looks like something out of an American movie, where you will find a typical American diner, a collection of motorcycles and two classic American cars. The restaurant is called Marilyn’s 60’s Diner
  • Where to stay? If you want to spend a night in nature, I recommend that you look for this place, it is a hippie community, it is called Wild Spririt Backpackers. They do day trips, they have a handmade shop and their completely rustic accommodation and nature will not leave you indifferent.
Jeffrey’s Bay

JBay is South Africa’s surfing mecca next to Coffee’s Bay. Much of the local economy is based on surfing, clothing stores, surf schools and competitions come together in this place.

Surf en JBay
  • What to do? Basically surf
  • Where to eat? There are countless good restaurants in the area. Nina’s is the most popular with endless options from sushi and pizza to ostrich burgers, near Nina’s you will find The Kitchen’s Window. You have a couple of options a little more expensive, but also very affordable on the seafront in De Niswifj y De Walkskipper. The best breakfasts and brunch in Infood Coffee Society.
  • Where to stay? You have many options, but I was a week in Surf Lodge SA, a villa that can accommodate up to 20 people, you have private rooms and dorms. It is located on the seafront and the team that runs it is fantastic.
Addo Elephant Park

Located just 30 minutes from Port Elizabeth and an hour and a half from Jeffrey’s Bay is Addo Elephant National Park, one of the only national parks in the world where you can go on safari and see the sea at the same time.

You can go around it in about 5-6 hours depending on what you are seeing and how lively the animal fauna is that day. Regarding animals, especially you will see elephants, many and up close. Speaking from memory I think we saw about 60 in total throughout the day in small groups or in herds always eating or rolling in the mud to cool off and protect themselves from the sun. Other animals that you can find are zebras, gazelles, bushbucks, buffaloes, dung beetles and although with less presence and difficulty of sighting, there are also lions and leopards although we were not lucky enough to see them.

If you what else awaits in South Africa don’t miss the next post tu plan your next travel.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *