The Cape Garden Route is South Africa’s Garden of Eden, a combination of long, deserted beaches and tranquil lagoons, lush green forests and majestic mountain ranges. Stretching from the Slang River near Heidelberg to the Tsitsikamma Forest and Storms River, the Cape Garden Route is a narrow tempera ...
The Cape Garden Route is South Africa’s Garden of Eden, a combination of long, deserted beaches and tranquil lagoons, lush green forests and majestic mountain ranges. Stretching from the Slang River near Heidelberg to the Tsitsikamma Forest and Storms River, the Cape Garden Route is a narrow temperate zone, wedged between the mountains and the sea. The area known asthe Klein Karoo is a scenic valley between the Outeniqua and Swartberg Mountains.
Stilbaai offers a safe and placid coastline, a navigable river and many natural springs. The peaceful village of Albertinia, at the foothills of the Langeberg Mountains, is the “home of the aloe” and is surrounded by fine examples of Cape fynbos. Nearby attractions include the Aloe factories, bridge bungy jumping, Rein’s Coastal Nature Reserve and the Garden Route Game Lodge.
Mossel Bay is where the first Europeans landed in Southern Africa nearly 500 years ago. Places of interest include the Milkwood tree - the first “Post Office” in South Africa, the Bartolomeu Dias Museum Complex, which houses the Dias Caravelle, a replica of Bartolomeu Dias’s ship, the Sea-Shell Museum, the Hartenbos Museum, the Harry Giddey Park, and the Cape St Blaize Cave. The Point, at the tip of Cape St Blaize, is an ideal location to view whales, dolphins and seals at play or swim in a safe tidal pool. The St Blaize hiking trail is 13.5 km along rugged cliffs with spectacular views. The town also offers an indigenous garden and braille trail, where a fynbos garden can be observed, touched and smelt. Seal Island in the bay is the home of countless seals. George, 443 km from CapeTown, established in 1811 and the centre of the Cape Garden Route, is surrounded by seaside resorts – Glentana, Herolds Bay, Victoria Bay, Wilderness and Swartvlei. A scenic drive is the “Lakes Road”, which winds between the Wilderness Lagoon, the upper and lower Langvlei, the Rondevlei and the Swartvlei Lagoon. Attractions include the Gary Player designed Fancourt golf-courses, the George Golf Course, the Outeniqua Choo-Tjoe steam train and the Outeniqua Railway museum.
The Outeniqua Choo Tjoe steam train offers passengers a unique, picturesque and scenic 52-kilometre journey, experiencing the Cape Garden Route with spectacular views of the Indian Ocean from George to Mossel Bay. The railway initially traverses mainly agricultural land used for grazing, then crosses two major rivers. After crossing the Gwaiing River, the railway climbs towards the siding of Skimmelkrans, thereafter it winds its way for four kms into the Malgate Valley. Where the railway crosses high above the Malgate River, large roundish holes can be seen in the rock of the riverbed. These holes are the result of floodwater rolling stones over and over in the depressions causing gradual, but noticeable erosion. From Outeniqua the line begins its descent to the sea. As the train twists around a large horseshoe bend, the hillsides fall dramatically towards the sea, and the view of the Indian Ocean with its foaming waves crashing on to the seemingly endless beach, is breathtaking. The train plunges into a deep cutting and then snakes through the only tunnel on the line. Emerging again into the sunlight, passengers have an awesome vista, which stretches away to the St Blaze lighthouse to the south of Mossel Bay. On arrival at Santos Beach and the Diaz Museum Complex, passengers have the opportunity explore the area.
Wilderness is an ecotourist's paradise in the heart of the Cape Garden Route. Nestling between the warm Indian Ocean and the Outeniqua Mountains, the village forms the gateway to the Wilderness Lakes National Park, which is well known for its scenic beauty and abundance of birdlife. There are a wide range of outdoor activities in the area, including walks on the beach, gentle hikes in indigenous forest, canoeing on the lagoon or even paragliding and abseiling. For outdoor adventures, contact Eden Adventures Phone: 044 877 0179 Fax: 044 877 0179 E-mail: email@example.com Website: www.eden.co.za
Oudtshoorn has become synonymous with ostriches and benefited from two booms. During the first boom in the late 1870s, a pair of ostriches would fetch as much as R12 000, which is more than they would fetch today. It would seem that feathers for fashionable boa neckwear (named after the snake) were then deemed more valuable than cholesterol-free meat is now.
Tsitsikamma Falls Adventures - Come and enjoy the slide of your life. Take a breathtaking Zipline tour on eight slides going back and forth across the Kruis river over three waterfalls and down a gorge.
Hidden beaches lie the length of the Garden Route – take any side-road off the N2 and explore the countless small bays and estuaries
Nature’s Valley – strictly-speaking in the Eastern Cape but we can’t miss out the most beautiful beach on the Garden Route.
Plettenberg Bay’s numerous beaches are arguably the best in the country – Try Lookout Beach for surfing, Robberg Beach for a good long walk and Central Beach to hang out with the in-crowd.
Bungee-jumping from the Storms River Bridge or the Bloukrans Bridge.
Paragliding and Abseiling around Wilderness.
Walks on the spectacular Robberg and excellent fishing from the rocks around Plettenberg Bay.
Sky diving and parachuting in Plettenberg Bay. www.skydiveplett.com
Play polo in Plett with the high-flying set! What? Do you mean you didn’t bring a string of ponies with you?
Tsitsikamma Canopy Tours – explore the upper realm of theTsitsikamma forest. www.treetoptour.com
Ocean Safaris - Ocean Safaris offers “up close and personal” encounters with some of South Africa’s most spectacular wildlife. www.oceansafaris.co.za
Ocean Blue Adventures - A professional, marine eco-tourism operation, Ocean Blue offers inspiring encounters with whales, dolphins, seals, sharks and pelagic birds. www.oceanadventures.co.za
Garden Route National Park – newly proclaimed for the protection of fynbos and preservation of one of SA’s most-loved regions. www.sanparks.org
The Post Office Tree, Mossel Bay – an old milkwood tree used by ingenious outward bound Portuguese mariners to deposit messages for returning ships to deliver at home. www.oldposttree.co.za
Dias Cross – there’s one at Mossel Bay, just as there are many others around the coast. This one was erected by Dias in 1488, nearly 200 years before a significant European settlement was established in South Africa www.visitmosselbay.co.za
Route 62 – the inland route through the country towns of Montagu, Ashton and Calitzdorp (and then as far as Tulbagh) instead of the seaside one. www.route62.co.za
Outeniqua Choo-Tjoe – a steam train journey along the sweeping coastline between George and Mossel Bay. Don’t miss (well, you can’t – the train stops in it) the Outeniqua Transport Museum in George. www.onlinesources.co.za/chootjoe
Cango Caves – Limestone caves, with dozens of 'stals' as the spelunks call them. Not recommended for claustrophobics. Watch your weight if you want to go through the narrow tunnels. Someone got stuck last year. www.cangocaves.co.za
Ostrich farms – Ride an ostrich, then eat one. Or at least part of an egg. They’ll blend it with hens’ eggs, though. They are too rich to eat neat. www.cangoostrich.co.za
Knysna Heads and Featherbed Reserve – take a guided tour in the reserve or a boat trip to the racing tides at the Heads. The lucky ones make it through to the ocean. www.featherbed.co.za
Millwood – a ghost town near Knysna. See the old mining equipment lying where it was abandoned
SEA GYPSY Mossel Bay harbour; literally in a shed, but with utterly delicious calamari and oysters 044 690 5496
34 DEGREES SOUTH, Knysna – the original seafood joint in Knysna’s Waterfront. Check out the deli and wine shop too. 044 382 7331
KNYSNA OYSTER COMPANY, Knysna – this town is known for its oysters and this is the king of the oyster bars 044 382 6941
EMILY MOON, Plettenberg Bay; off-beat and off the beaten track. On a deck over the Keurbooms river. 044 533 2982