The Garden Route
The area stretching along the Southern Cape coast from Slang River near Heidelberg, eastwards to the Tsitsikamma Forest and Storms River has a variety of exquisite flora and fauna, ranging from magnificent fynbos and protea species to dense tropical forests in the east. This is commonly referred to as the Garden Route.
As its name implies the Garden Route is an area that is richly endowed by nature, spectacular in many ways, graced with golden beaches, indigenous forests, lakes, lagoons and meandering rivers. The rugged coastline, marked by a succession of bays, beaches, cliffs, coves and capes, links one beautiful resort to another. Bordered in the north by a series of impressive mountain ranges, the interior is reached via a number of scenic passes.
The warm Indian Ocean and an abundance of inland water surfaces offer endless opportunities for bathing, boating, water-skiing, surfing, windsurfing, angling, diving and birdwatching. Golf, bowls, tennis and hiking are other popular forms of recreation in this area.
The Garden Route has a well developed tourism infrastructure. Accommodation is plentiful and varied, from upmarket hotels to chalets, cottages, flats, caravan parks, and a myriad of informal bed and breakfast establishments. Coach tours provide an excellent means of exploring the area.
The combination of a delightful climate and spectacular scenic attractions has contributed greatly to the international acclaim that the Garden Route enjoys.
A wide variety of accommodation facilities is available throughout the region to suit the needs of every visitor- from luxurious five-star hotels to self-catering resorts, bed-and-breakfast establishments and guest houses.
There are more than 70 diverse hiking trails in the Garden Route which cater not only for experienced hikers but also for beginners and disabled people.
Situated in unspoiled surroundings, some of the best driving ranges and golf courses in South Africa are found in the Garden Route.
Many bird species inhabit this area with its four distinct habitats, thus making it a bird-watcher's paradise.
SCENIC DRIVES & PICNICS
Numerous spectacular and breathtaking passes and scenic drives offer endless opportunities for picnics.
FYNBOS AND OTHER FLORA
The Garden Route is blessed with one of South Africa's richest botanical treasures: a unique kind of flora, called fynbos, which consists mainly of ericas and proteas endemic in this area.
Wildlife viewing opportunities exist on several game farms and in a number of smaller nature reserves and national parks.
Dams, rivers, lagoons and the many inland water surfaces offer endless opportunities for a variety of water sports.
Unspoiled golden beaches for safe swimming, surfing and relaxation.
Not only is the Garden Route home to many well-known artists, but interesting art galleries and specialty shops are also found throughout the region.
Southern right whales usually visit the Southern Cape coast from early June to mid-November to calve and raise their young. Whale-watching is indeed an experience with tremendous impact.
THE OUTENIQUA CHOO-TJOE
South Africa's only scheduled steam train service, has been declared a National Monument. It operates between George and Knysna and passes through some of the most spectacular scenery in the country.
Although traditional cooking is very popular in this region, it blends well with the cuisine of different nationalities, and is supplemented by a wide variety of seafood dishes.
The Garden Route is an area rich in history, varying from fossils and fish traps to gold diggings and voyages of discovery. Numerous museums offer fascinating glimpses of the past.
PEOPLE OF THE GARDEN ROUTE
Apart from its beauty, wide open spaces and tranquility, the Garden Route boasts a very special asset - its friendly hospitable people. In this region the peaceful interaction between different ethnic groups is an excellent example of unforced racial harmony.
Blessed with spectacular scenic beauty, mild equable climatic conditions, and a well-developed infrastructure, the Garden Route is the perfect venue for outdoor activities, such as:
- Hang- & Paragliding
- Horse riding