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article imageTake a trip down the Garden Route in South Africa this year Special

By Anne Sewell     Jul 15, 2014 in Travel
While it’s still summer right now in the northern hemisphere, it won't be long until things change, and South Africa goes from being rather chilly to very pleasantly hot and sunny. It’s time to start planning ahead for your Garden Route tour.
Just by its very name, the Garden Route conjures up beautiful images, but you have to see it in person to really appreciate it. While officially the Garden Route is that stretch of coastline running from Mossel Bay in the Western Cape, through to Storms River in the Eastern Cape, the drive is incredibly beautiful all the way from the city of Cape Town itself.
Some locations off the N2 highway, not actually on the coast but rather in the Klein (or small) Karoo and on the famous Route 62, are also considered to be part of your Garden Route tour. One such location is Oudtshoorn, home of the Cango Caves and ostrich farms, as reported on Digital Journal a while back.
Ostrich farm in Oudtshoorn  Western Cape  South Africa
Ostrich farm in Oudtshoorn, Western Cape, South Africa
Utilisateur:Bel Adone
Bear in mind, that wherever you go on the Garden Route, you will experience great sea views, lovely scenery, water sports of every kind, adventure sports such as bungee jumping, excellent golf courses and so much more. In season, the natural floral displays, set off against the deep blue ocean, are spectacular. Mountainous areas, forests, lakes and beaches offer something for everyone. Enjoy fresh fish and seafood in the many restaurants along the route, all washed down with excellent South African wines.
Some of the unique flora at the Cape Peninsula  South Africa
Some of the unique flora at the Cape Peninsula, South Africa
Thomas Bjørkan
Towns that are officially part of the Garden Route are Mossel Bay, George, Wilderness, Sedgefield, Knysna, Plettenberg Bay and Storms River. Let’s take a brief tour of just some of the quaint locations that you can visit along the way, including some that are just a little off the beaten track. More locations will be included in a later article to be published here on Digital Journal so watch this space.
If you are driving down from Cape Town and want to spend a while at the beach along the way, consider Witsand. Slightly off the beaten track and not officially on the Garden Route, this tiny seaside village has a lot to offer, as it sits on the San Sebastian Bay at the very spot where the great Breede River enters the sea.
Breede River estuary at Witsand in South Africa.
Breede River estuary at Witsand in South Africa.
Image courtesy Whale Watchers Inn
While Hermanus, mentioned on Digital Journal a while ago, is more widely known for whale watching, Witsand is considered to be the “Whale Nursery of South Africa.” The village offers some of the best land-based whale watching in the country. Not only this, there are some endless sandy beaches, water sports, fishing and beautiful surrounding countryside to enjoy.
The beach in Witsand  Western Cape  South Africa
The beach in Witsand, Western Cape, South Africa
Image courtesy Whale Watchers Inn, Witsand
Malgas Pont  the last hand-operated pontoon in the country between Malgas and the De Hoop Nature Res...
Malgas Pont, the last hand-operated pontoon in the country between Malgas and the De Hoop Nature Reserve in the Western Cape.
Whale Watchers Inn, Witsand
Close by you can experience Malgas Pont, the last hand-operated pontoon in the country, which will take your car across the river to the De Hoop Nature Reserve. While not officially a Garden Route destination, it is the perfect spot to stop off for a day or three.
A view of the Knysna Heads on the Garden Route in South Africa
A view of the Knysna Heads on the Garden Route in South Africa
Feeding Knysna elephant by Hylton Herd (SANParks)
Feeding Knysna elephant by Hylton Herd (SANParks)
Hylton Herd - Fair Use
Knysna is another charming location along the Garden Route. Built on, and framing, the northern shore of a large warm water estuary called the Knysna Lagoon, fed by the Knysna River, this is a scenic and beautiful location.
Knysna is well known for “The Heads” which are two large headlands at the spot where the estuary opens up into the Indian Ocean.
While the town has no real beaches, as such, the area is beautiful with many opportunities for boating, fishing and other activities.
Knysna even has an elephant park where you can get up close and personal with these wonderful animals.
Once entering the Eastern Cape along the Garden Route, it is well worth visiting Storms River Village. The town is hidden among some huge and ancient trees and is surrounded by the towering Tsitsikamma Mountains. Close by you can experience the Tsitsikamma National Park and in that park, at the Storms River mouth, is a SANParks camp with comfortable accommodation, overlooking the crashing waves where the Storms River meets the ocean.
Storms River mouth  Tsitsikamma National Park  South Africa
Storms River mouth, Tsitsikamma National Park, South Africa
In the area you can enjoy some great hikes, including the Otter Trail, which is a five-day hike to Nature’s Valley, including the Dolphin Trail. Accommodation along the way is in wooden chalets and several guest houses along the route.
So if you are getting in the mood for a glorious scenic drive down South Africa’s Garden Route, this article has hopefully given you an introduction into what is on offer. The video above covers some of the areas mentioned in more detail, by starting at the other end of the Garden Route in the Tsitsikamma National Park.
More South African travel news on Digital Journal:
Visit Oudtshoorn: Stalactites, stalagmites and ostriches galore
Photo Essay: Cape Town — 'The Mother City' for so many reasons
Photo Essay: 'Whale Crier' calls you to visit Hermanus, S. Africa
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