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The Garden Route Tourism And Travel Guide
13.6° C / 56.5° F
August to October
4 to 5 Days
George Airport (80 kms)
Garden Route extends over a 200-km stretch of beautiful coastal waters along the Eastern Cape. Running parallel to the Indian Ocean, this route comprises lovely seaside towns, rejuvenating green hillocks, secluded lagoons, and firm seaside cliffs. The city of Garden Route provides impressive tourism spots for visitors, including nature reserves, animal rehabilitation centers, and beaches. Tourists who visit the city can indulge in activities such as whale watching, hiking, watersports, interacting with cheetahs, and elephant rides. Let us browse through this travel guide to know more about the Garden Route.
How to Reach
The closest airport to the Garden Route is the George Airport, situated about 80 km away from the city. This domestic airport provides decent connectivity to neighboring towns such as Cape Town, Port Elizabeth, Johannesburg, and Bloemfontein. Tourists visiting from international hubs can catch connecting flights to this airport from Cape Town International Airport.
The N2 national highway offers functional connectivity between Garden Route and the neighboring cities. Some of the beautiful tourist spots that lie along this highway route include Somerset West, Mossel Bay, Caledon, Swellendam, and George. Local bus operators such as Baz Bus, Intercape, and TransLux regularly ply through this area.
Weather and Best Time to Visit
The pleasant weather that prevails in the Garden Route all-round the year means that tourists can visit the city throughout the year. The climate mostly alternates between 15°C and 30°C. Autumn and Spring attract a truckload of visitors due to the alluring climate.
Spring (August to Mid-October):
Spring season is the best season to explore the Fynbos-covered, vast expanse of the Garden Route. The climate stays pleasant, with temperatures alternating between 15°C and 25°C. Spring season is a perfect time to catch a glimpse of magnificent whales that migrate to the coasts of the Garden Route.
Summer (Mid-October to Mid-February):
With temperatures hovering between 25°C and 35°C, the summer season brings the Garden Route dry and humid weather. Many locals tour this place during February to revel amidst the glorious sandy beaches. Also, annual Christmas holidays attract many visitors to the incredible wildlife reserves that reside in the vicinity.
Autumn (Mid-February to April):
During autumn, the Garden Route experiences a cool and refreshing climate with temperatures ranging between 10°C and 25°C. Tourists would enjoy tasting wine and devouring delicious seafood at one of the seaside hotels during this season. The advent of the Easter holidays and less crowded beaches attract several locals to the Garden Route during autumn.
Winter (May to September):
The climate turns chilly in the Garden Route during winter, with temperatures usually alternating between 10°C and 20°C. The Southern Right Whales that migrate to the nearby oceanic waters provide exciting tourism prospects for tourists that visit during this season. Festivals such as the Knysna Festival and the Klein Karoo National Arts Festival also light up the streets of the town with vibrant celebrations.
Things to Do
Tourists who visit the Garden Route can indulge in several exciting water-based activities, including sunset cruises, day sailing, champagne breakfast cruises, and whale watching trips. The presence of oceanic waters means that visitors can also cage-dive with ferocious sharks to get their adrenaline going. Some exciting river cruises showcase captivating birds while others provide relaxing fishing options.
Delightful Nature Reserves:
The Garden Route is studded with several fabulous nature reserves that breed magnificent wildlife and colorful fynbos vegetation within the same space. Some of the spectacular nature reserves in the region include Botlierskop Private Game Reserve, Tsitsikamma National Park, and Tenikwa Wildlife Awareness Center. The Bird of Prey Rehabilitation and Awareness Centre also provides fantastic opportunities to interact with raptors such as eagles.
Fascinating Wilderness Trails:
Tourists can take up enjoyable hiking and horse-riding trails through the nature reserves of the Garden Route. Some of these exciting activities include driving through the scenic Otter Trail and riding a black horse through the lush jungles that surround the Outeniqua Mountains. The perfect blend of an incredible shoreline and magnificent landscapes sets up a fantastic backdrop for these adventurous trails.
What to Eat
The Garden Route boasts of an incredible collection of delicacies, ranging from the classic pizza and wine tasting to cheese feasts and coffee shop treats. It is a heavenly experience to stumble upon chocolate bars prepared by Caroline’s Chocolate Haven. Cafe Gannet is prevalent in this region for the sumptuous sushi that they make. Some of the delicious sushi rolls include red dragon rolls and spicy tuna dynamite. Thanks to its tropical nature, Garden Route offers tourists with mouth-watering seafood. The prawn burgers and the noodles sprinkled with a touch of salmon and tuna find a special place in the heart of foodies.
Some of the shopping hubs spread out across the Garden Route expanse include Mosselbaai Mall, Langeberg Mall, Garden Route Mall, and Market Square Shopping Center. One such intriguing shopping center in the Garden Route, the Shweshwe Stop shop, offers tourists with a beautiful collection of customary South African fabric. The distinct contemporary design and bright colors of this traditional fabric help in preparing authentic bridal wear. The intricate designs also mean that these textiles are used for designing homeware. Tourists can take home multifaceted fabric souvenirs from their trip.