Top 10 Things to Do Along South Africa's Garden Route

The Tsitsikamma National Park forms part of the greater, well-known Garden Route National Park | © Carina Claassens
The Tsitsikamma National Park forms part of the greater, well-known Garden Route National Park | © Carina Claassens

The Garden Route, stretching from Mossel Bay to Storms River, combines the most beautiful landscapes and scenery, from forests, rivers, beaches, and lakes to mountains, indigenous flora, and fauna. Here’s why a self-drive trip of the famous Garden Route is a must for every traveller.

Whale watching

When it comes to whale watching in the Garden Route, boat-based trips are the way to go. There are many tours that allow guests to get up close to these gentle giants, including a three hour whale-watching trip to Seal Island near Mossel Bay. Remember your camera as these tours promise amazing photographic opportunities.

The Southern Right Whale can be seen from July to November | ©Gregory Smith/Flickr

The Outeniqua Transport Museum

The Outeniqua Transport Museum in George is all about steam trains and boasts a variety of 13 steam locomotives. These include a coach from the Royal Train of 1947 and Paul Kruger’s coach and private saloons. The famous Outeniqua Choo Tjoe used to offer passengers a picturesque train ride through the Garden Route but unfortunately, flood damage rendered the line unusable in 2006.

CGR Private saloon number 14 | © Bob Adams/Flickr

Wilderness National Park

Wilderness National Park has much to offer in terms of outdoor activities, from hiking and canoeing to abseiling, fishing, birding, and paragliding. Situated right in the middle of the Garden Route, between George and Knysna, the park is a captivating arrangement of rivers, lakes, beaches, forests, and mountains. One can easily spend days on end taking in the views.

<a href = ""> Cape Weaver in Wilderness National Park near Sedgefield, South Africa | © Dave Bezaire/Flickr

Beer tasting

Family-owned Sedgefield Craft Brewery, a boutique-style craft brewery, specialises in quality-handcrafted beer. They produce a list of custom ales ranging from a simple, refreshing summer-style blonde to a deep copper, well-hopped complex IPA. Join them for a tasting, and purchase bottled beer to enjoy at your next destination.

<a href = "" > Craft Beer Tasting Order! | © Tama Leaver/Flickr

Featherbed boat tours

Featherbed Co. in Knysna gives visitors to the Garden Route an unforgettable experience on the lagoon. Some of their many boats include a 45 ft (13.7 meters) Catamaran sailing boat, a one-of-a-kind Paddle Cruiser, the famous John Benn, and a Rivercat ferry. All (with exception of the Rivercat) offer restaurant-and-bar facilities to cater for luncheons and dinner cruises.

The Paddle Cruiser is South Africa’s only paddle-driven vessel | Courtesy of Featherbed Co.

Mountain bike trails

Harkerville Trail offers a range of mountain-biking routes, perfect for the adventure traveller, regardless of fitness level or experience. Get into nature and take in the lush plantations, fynbos, and indigenous forest.

<a href = ""> Single Track Mountain Bike | © Mark Turner/Flickr

Knysna Elephant Park

The Knysna Elephant Park was the first facility in South Africa to house and care for orphaned African elephants. Over the last 20 years, the park has cared for more than 40 elephants. These animals include orphaned calves and ex-circus animals. Some have made the park their permanent home while others have been relocated to other reserves.

The park welcomes volunteers from all over the world | © Jesse Schoff/Unsplash


Pro Dive in Plettenberg Bay offers exciting diving tours that are sure to be unforgettable. Choose between reef or seal dives, and prepare to be amazed by the variety of marine life found so close to shore. The seal dives, needless to say, is an experience like no other.

<a href = ""> South African Fur Seals (Arctocephalus pusillus) | © Bernard DUPONT/Flickr

Birds of Eden

Birds of Eden, a bird and monkey sanctuary, has a unique two hectare dome (the largest in the world) that spans over a gorge of indigenous forest. The sanctuary is currently home to over 3,500 birds, including exotic as well African birds.

Nysna | © RonPorter/Pixabay

Tsitsikamma canopy tour

The Tsitsikamma Canopy Tour takes place in the Tsitsikamma indigenous rainforest, and many of the platforms are built around giant Outeniqua Yellowwood trees that are up to 700 years old. With spectacular scenery and birdlife, lucky visitors may spot a pair of Knysna Loeries or the elusive Narina Trogon.

The Tsitsikamma section of the Garden Route National Park hosts the world-famous Otter Trail | Courtesy of Tsitsikamma Canopy Tours

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