South African Garden Route – Unique Travel Experience

(Last Updated On: April 9, 2021)

The Backyard Route (Afrikaans: Tuinroete), the South African Garden Route is a 300-kilometer (190 mi) stretch of the south-eastern coast of South Africa which extends from Witsand within the Western Cape to the border of Tsitsikamma Storms River within the Eastern Cape.

In this article, I am going to talk about the South African Garden Route travel plan.

The identity comes from the verdant and ecologically various vegetation encountered right here and the quite a few estuaries and lakes dotted alongside the coast.

It contains cities similar to Knysna, Plettenberg Bay, Mossel Bay, Great Brak River, Little Brak River, Wilderness, Sedgefield, and Nature’s Valley; with George, the Backyard Route’s largest metropolis and principal administrative center.

Just lately the cities of Albertinia, Riversdale, Heidelberg, Ladismith, Calitzdorp, Oudtshoorn, De Rust, and Uniondale have been added to the Backyard Route district and municipality.

There’s a 300-kilometer stretch of coastal street on the southwest tip of South Africa considered probably the most lovely area within the nation. Generally known as The Backyard Route, the street journey will get its identify from the Backyard Route National Park that it covers, and the various vegetation and wildlife, and abundance of lagoons, lakes, mountains, forests, and seashores alongside its winding roads.

Dwelling to nearly a dozen nature and marine reserves, a street journey on the Backyard Route affords loads of alternatives for actions alongside the best way, from climbing to eco and whale watching excursions, to exploring caves and abandoned sandy seashores.

The route meanders between the Indian Ocean and the Tsitsikamma and Outeniqua mountain ranges, creating contrasting, but equally beautiful views on both sides.

The plush greenery of the indigenous forests meets the jagged cliffs and the sprawling coastal vistas, producing the kind of panoramic views solely present in magazines.

Mountains crowd near a shoreline dotted with seashores and bays and vividly colored wildflowers delight the attention.

Between Heidelberg and Storms River, the Backyard Route runs parallel to a shoreline that includes lakes, mountains, tall indigenous forests, amber-colored rivers, and golden seashores.

Meandering trails are adopted by hikers, the forests invite lengthy, leisurely drives, and the lakes and rivers lend themselves to swimming boating, and fishing.

A variety of leisure choices, spectacular surroundings, and gentle local weather assure unforgettable vacation expertise when visiting the Backyard Route in South Africa.

It has an oceanic local weather, with delicate to heat summers, and delicate to chill winters.

It has the mildest local weather in South Africa and the second mildest local weather on the earth, after Hawaii, in keeping with the Guinness Guide of Data.

Temperatures hardly ever fall under 10 °C in winter and barely climb past 28 °C in the summer.

Rain happens year-round, with a slight peak within the spring months, introduced by the humid sea-winds from the Indian Ocean rising and releasing their precipitation alongside the Outeniqua and Tsitsikamma Mountains simply inland of the coast.

The Route is sandwiched between the aforementioned mountains and the Indian Ocean, with mountain passes, together with the Outeniqua Cross, linking the world with the arid Little Karoo.

The Outeniqua and Tsitsikamma indigenous forests are a singular combination of Cape Fynbos and Temperate Forest and provide climbing trails and eco-tourism actions.

Practically 300 species of birdlife are to be present in quite a lot of habitats starting from fynbos to forest to wetlands.

In 2017 the Backyard Route of the South African Garden Route was added to UNESCO’s World Community of Biosphere Reserves.

The South African Garden Route: What to see

The Backyard Route Street Journey Really useful Itinerary – 5 days

There are dozens of sights, actions, and normal pit stops alongside this route. The itinerary actually relies on how a lot of time you could have and what you need to do.

It’s additionally value noting, that whereas Cape City is just not technically on the Backyard Route (it ends properly earlier than that in Mossel Bay), most excursions will use the beginning or endpoint as Cape City.

It’s because Cape City is a more handy place to start out/finish excursions in than Mossel Bay, and town, in its personal proper, can be one of many high points of interest in any South Africa tour.

Beneath you may try an advisable Backyard Route self-drive itinerary for five days, together with all of the highlights, and can’t miss points of interest. Cape City is the endpoint for this tour.

The beginning of the Backyard Route, Mossel Bay, is around 400km from Cape City whereas Storms River is around 200km from Port Elizabeth – many individuals select to cease within the Winelands and or Hermanus for an evening initially to discover these areas and benefit from the coast street at leisure earlier than getting again on the N2 to Mossel Bay.

Alternatively, you may fly to George and begin your exploration there.

In addition to lovely seashores, lagoons, and coves, there may be an additional indigenous forest, lovely flowers (therefore its identify), and quaint cities.

Offshore there may be the prospect to see Southern Proper Whales, dolphins, nice white sharks, and African penguins.

Onshore there are nature reserves, vineyards, and a number of points of interest and museums.

There’s a string of nice locations to remain on the Backyard Route, all having fun with a pleasing temperature all year long that ranges from 13-25 levels.

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Mossel Bay is small and atmospheric, with wonderful seashores and a museum about Bartholomew Diaz, the Portuguese explorer who found the route across the Cape.

A keep in Oudtshoorn permits the prospect to discover the flanking mountains, a visit as much as the Swartberg Cross being properly definitely worth the effort.

You possibly can’t go to Oudtshoorn without visiting the ostriches; the city is the center of the South African Ostrich business with a number of giant farms producing feathers for the world’s hats and really giant eggs!

The small city of Wilderness lies about 10 miles from George and is dwelling to the Wilderness National Park.

This 26,000-acre reserve incorporates 5 rivers, 5 lakes, and practically 12 miles of rugged shoreline, making it a wetland reserve of worldwide significance. Probably the most well-known city on the Backyard Route is Knysna.

Located on the sting of an enormous estuary it’s flanked by swathes of indigenous forest, it’s laid-back and an important place to remain for a few nights to benefit from the many actions and points of interest on provide.

Lastly, there may be Tsitsikamma, a space within the Jap Cape of rugged magnificence. Sandy seashores and rocky crags, gorges, forests, and rivers all mix to make an unspoiled panorama that varieties a part of a marine Nationwide Park.

Every week permits the customer to get pleasure from a Backyard Route vacation at a leisurely tempo, staying in the primary cities and exploring the shoreline of this lovely space. A Backyard Route self-drive combines best with a keep in Cape City.

The South African Garden Route: Travel plan

For an excellent vacation fly into Cape City for just a few nights, drive the Backyard Route after which keep 2-3 nights at a safari reserve within the Eastern Cape – you may fly out of Port Elizabeth to Johannesburg on your flight dwelling without having to again observe.

Our favorite reserves within the Jap Cape are Kariega and Shamwari however all of the Eastern Cape reserves provide the big 5, quite a lot of lodge and tented camp lodging, in addition to non-public villas. They will all be reached inside round a 2 hours drive of P.E.

Day 1: Port Elizabeth to Knysna

Journey by the Tsitsikamma Forest and alongside the coast to the seaside city of Knysna. There are many viewpoints and scenic stops to make alongside the best way.

Keurboomstrand, a small vacation city with a chilled-out vibe, is ideal for leisurely strolls on the lengthy seaside that stretches all the best way to Plettenberg Bay.

This bay can be value a cease for the vigorous seaside environment, water sport actions, nature reserves, and climbing trails.

Stick with it one other 30 kilometers and keep the evening in Knysna.

Day 2: Knysna to Oudtshoorn

A ship cruise on the Knysna Lagoon is advisable. Highlights embody views of the sandstone “Heads” that guard the lagoon’s entrance and the pristine seashores and forests that lay simply past.

Go to the Featherbed Nature Reserve, providing nature walks alongside the coast, by the forests and fynbos (shrubs and vegetation native to South Africa), with an exploration of historic sea caves.

There’s additionally the choice of climbing to view the “Heads” up shut and private, which can elongate the itinerary.

The following portion of the street takes guests by the mountainous Outeniqua Cross. The twists and turns hold drivers on their toes and the views over the ocean framed by limitless mountains are nothing in need of unbelievable.

Arrive in Oudtshoorn, named the Feather Capital of the World resulting from South Africa’s ostrich farming business being centered here.

Take an ostrich farm safari to view these attention-grabbing birds and study their relevance in South Africa. Keep the evening in Oudtshoorn.

Day 3: Oudtshoorn to Struisbaai

Tour the Cango Caves, the oldest vacationer attraction within the nation. The beautiful pure surprise is situated within the limestone cliffs parallel to the Swartberg Mountains, simply outdoors of Oudtshoorn.

These caves are a few of the most interesting examples of dripstone caverns, with spacious rooms and gigantic limestone formations.

Excursions of various levels can be found. There are newbie stage excursions in addition to superior “adventurous” excursions, however they should be booked upfront as there are solely a sure variety of guests allowed per day.

After the caves, cease in Mossel Bay. This charming port city of 130,000 is strictly midway between Port Elizabeth and Cape City.

Benefit from the 60 kilometers of seashores, a number of climbing trails with beautiful views, whale watching (relies on the season), and historic websites just like the Submit Workplace Tree or the Diaz Museum.

In search of one thing extra enjoyable? Wine tasting, {golfing}, and purchasing are additionally obtainable right here.

After a full day of exploring, proceed to Struisbaai, the place you may spend the evening.

Day 4: Agulhas to Hermanus

Only a few miles west of Struisbaai is Agulhas, the southernmost tip of Africa.

Here you may go to the Cape Agulhas Lighthouse, the third oldest in South Africa and the second oldest nonetheless in use in the present day.

You possibly can go to the high of the lighthouse and luxuriate in some wonderful view of the ocean and the encompassing coastal space.

From right here, drive inland to Napier, looping again round to the coastal metropolis of Gansbaai. That is the place to go Nice White Shark cage diving, in the event you dare!

Drive alongside Walker Bay to the city of Hermanus. This city is called the Whale Capital, as it’s an excellent spot to do some whale watching (once more, your luck of recognizing these light beasts is bigger throughout winter and spring season).

A substitute for whale watching is the Fernkloof Nature Reserve, good looking space with loads of flora, fauna, and strolling trails with a surprising view of Walker Bay.

Keep the evening in Hermanus.

I hope this article on the South African Garden Route was worth reading.

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