Hit the open road and head up the Western Cape’s famous Garden Route to the laid-back coastal town of Knysna. Beautiful beaches, picturesque lagoons and lakes, rolling hills and majestic mountains make up the glorious scenery of the Cape’s famous scenic coastal route, with a plethora of quaint towns along the way.
Make the charming farming town of Grabouw your first stop as you pass through the spectacular scenery of the Elgin Valley. Offering uncluttered quietude, exquisite surroundings, cosy eateries, and expertly crafted wines, Grabouw is home to the famous ‘Appletiser’ apple orchards.
Move on to the picturesque town of Swellendam, which is not only the largest youngberry growing area in the world, but is also bursting with heritage, culture, architecture. Lying at the foot of the Langeberg Mountains, Swellendam is the third oldest settlement in South Africa.
Follow the rugged coastline to the seaside town of Mossel Bay, which is exactly halfway between Cape Town and Knysna and an ideal place to stop and rest. Long, white sandy beaches and warm Indian Ocean waters make for a welcome break from driving. Alternatively, if you have a few days, take a boat trip to Seal Island, go horse riding along the beach or visit nearby Botlierskop, a private game reserve that gives visitors a taste of South Africa’s legendary game viewing experience. Mossel Bay is also where to visit to try one of the country’s biggest thrills: cage diving with great white sharks.
From Mossel Bay, the beauty of The Wilderness greets you next with a ribbon of dazzling white sand and blue surf-speckled ocean stretching away far into the distance. A true nature-lover’s paradise, broad beaches, well-marked hiking trails, and unique ecosystems of bird-filled forests, rivers, and lagoons make Wilderness the perfect place to lay your head for a few days and unwind.
The last stop before reaching Knysna is the sleepy agricultural town of George. Nestled against the majestic Outeniqua Mountains, George is best known for the Garden Route Botanical Gardens and its world-class golf courses so treat yourself to a game on your way through.
Final stop: Knysna! South Africa’s favourite holiday town lazes on the shore of a shallow lagoon with breath-taking mountain and sea views and an array of things to do. Head to the Waterfront, which buzzes with restaurants, coffee shops, boutiques, and bars; take the ferry to the Featherbed Nature Reserve and stroll along its cliff-top paths, or walk one of the trails in the surrounding Knysna Forest.
Past Knysna, the ancient indigenous forests of the Tsitsikamma line the coast from Knysna to Storms River where you can enjoy adventure trails and hiking, bird-watching, canoeing on the rivers, sliding through the tree canopy or simply taking an easy walk through the forest to gasp at the size of a yellowwood tree over six hundred years old. Brave the heights of the Bloukrans Bridge and bungee-jump the world’s highest commercial bridge bungee at 216 metres.