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A Complete Guide to The Garden Route

by Shirley Erasmus

This is our ADVENTURE TRIP guide to the Garden Route, South Africa. The Garden Route has so much to explore and discover- come along with us as we show you some of the best spots to hike, padstals to visit and unconventional adventures to go on in the Garden Route! Turn this 8 hour drive into a 6 day ADVENTURE!

A Brief History of the Garden Route

The Garden Route is a National Park covering 157 000 hectares of land starting from about four hours outside Cape Town. It includes one of the most beautiful stretches of coastline – almost 300 km between Mossel Bay and Plettenberg Bay. It also includes the quaint towns of Witsand, Stilbaai and Albertinia and winds its way through George, Wilderness, Sedgefield and Knysna on to Plettenberg Bay culminating in the incredible Tsitsikamma Forest – an ancient forest better known as The Garden of Eden.

The Garden Route provides some of South Africa’s most popular holiday destinations and is known for its incredible mountains, beaches, forests and beautiful towns. The Park is flanked by the Indian Ocean to the south and also includes most of the Tsitsikamma, Langkloof and the eastern Outeniqua Mountain ranges.

The area feels ancient and untouched, so it may come as a surprise to learn that human beings have been occupying the Garden Route area for over 125 000 years! The San people arrived in the area around 20 000 years ago and the Khoi about 1 500 – 2 000 years BC. Europeans arrived in the 17th century and their arrival saw the destruction or end of the San and Khoi culture as well as a massive depletion of their populations due to Smallpox.

The first Europeans in the area were hunters, who made their livelihoods and riches off of the abundant ivory in the area. In the 1880’s a small gold rush occurred in Knysna, which saw the Knysna forest become a small mining town. The gold rush proved unviable and prospectors and miners turned their attention to the other resources readily available. The 19th century saw the arrival of more settlers, this time with the intention of exploiting the wood from the copious hardwood trees found in the forests around the area.

In 1964 the Tsitsikamma National Park was proclaimed and the Wilderness and Knysna National Lake Area Parks followed later in 1985 as a precautionary measure to protect the natural beauty of the surroundings.

There are of course many important historical sites in the Garden Route region- especially at Nelson Bay, Matjies River, Kangkara and Storms River.

A site of particular interest is Klasies River, where a number of sea caves have been found which contained artefacts including human skeletons and stone tools. The site also has a number of marine remains including shells and bones from Fish, Seals and Penguins and thus it is sometimes referred to as the ‘first seafood restaurant’.

A Garden Route Adventure Trip

You could spend weeks in the Garden Route and still not have done all there is to do in the area, but let’s start with a seven day trip from Cape Town.

We suggest you start your trip from Cape Town. Flying to Cape Town International Airport is easy and safe. From there you can hire a car to make the trip from Cape Town to Port Elizabeth. Port Elizabeth also has an airport, making it easy to drop off your rental car and fly to your next destination.

I know, I know, Port Elizabeth is technically not part of the Garden Route- it ends officially in Storms River; however we’ve included Jeffery’s Bay on this list because it is one of the coolest little surf towns you’ll ever get to experience. Jeffery’s bay is also just a short drive to Port Elizabeth, where you can start a tour of the Eastern Cape (or fly back home, from the Port Elizabeth Airport). The best part about this particular itinerary is that you can flip it the other way around and start your trip by flying into Port Elizabeth and driving to Cape Town.

Garden Route

The Itinerary

  1. Cape Town
  2. Mossel Bay
  3. Wilderness
  4. Knysna
  5. Plettenberg Bay
  6. Nature’s Valley
  7. Storms River
  8. Jeffery’s Bay
  9. Port Elizabeth (Gqeberha)

Total distance about 700km

Garden Route Itinerary

Newbie Tips

  • We’ve created this itinerary to last seven days, but you can definitely shorten it to three or four days, or increase it to suit your travel style.
  • Power sockets in South Africa are mostly type-M that are not really used anywhere else. We’d recommend bringing a travel adapter plug. Check it out here
  •  It’s important to note that restaurants and shops in small towns are usually closed on Sundays.
  •  South Africans drive on the left side of the road like British and Australians if you’re from North America or Europe you should be aware of this difference.
  •  South African roads have speed limit signs along the roads especially near and in towns, there are also speed cameras, to avoid being fined, make sure you know the speed limit and drive accordingly.
  •  If you are driving slow on a single-lane highway, or have a car trailing behind you that wants to pass, you can drive slightly onto the left shoulder to make space for the vehicle to pass you. You’ll see this happen frequently on South African roads.
  •  Alternatively, if you need to pass someone in front of you if it is safe and there are no “no passing signs.” The car in front of you will likely pull into the left shoulder to give you more room to pass. Once you’ve completed the pass, turn your hazards on for 2-3 flashes to say “thank you”.
  •  The main signs you need to know are the speed limit signs with cameras (the speed limit is enforced with cameras & fines), no passing signs, and no stopping signs. Brown-colored signs are for tourism and will usually list turnoffs for rest stops (places with tables and chairs where you can pull over and stop to stretch your legs), national parks, wine farms, and major tourist attractions in the local area.
  •  Make sure you look out for local ‘padstals’ (road stalls). Many have cult-followings and are usually interesting places to stop and grab a bite to eat and something to drink. We’ve listed our favourite padstals in this article!
  •  Almost all the roads are tarred so you won’t need to rent a 4×4 unless you specifically want to go off-roading.
  •  If you’re a temporary resident in South Africa take a document proving it you pay local entrance fees, which are half or even less than international fees.

Day 1- Cape Town to Mossel Bay

384.4km , +- 5 hours driving time

You’ll want to start your trip good and early. Make sure you avoid the morning Cape Town traffic, get that road-trip playlist plugged in and have your road-trip snacks packed; your adventure is about to begin! On your way out of town via the N2 highway, you’ll drive up Sir Lowry’s Pass. It’s a narrow and windy road (so be careful!) but has an amazing lookout at the top, we highly recommend that you stop and take in the windy and incredible view!

Padstal Recommendation 1: Peregrine

This beautiful little farm stall is the first of a few of our recommended stops. Pull in for a light breakfast, some local preserves and their famous coffee and pies!

Things to do in Mossel Bay

Once you get to Mossel Bay, go to Reed Valley Wine Farm for lunch and wine at The Succulent. The restaurant and deli is the brainchild of award-winning Chef Michelle de Jager, The Succulent is a living-restaurant. Her food philosophy is simple: keep it fresh and local – think free-range chickens and freshly caught fish from Mosselbay. A lot of the ingredients used are also grown on the farm and in our very own hydroponics system.

After lunch, visit the Cape St Blaize Lighthouse.

The Cape St Blaize lighthouse was, until recently, one of only two lighthouses along the South African coast that maintained a 24-hour watch.

The view from the tower of the lighthouse is spectacular, so make sure you visit to climb to the top. It is open to the public between 10am and 3pm every day between April and October, with visits by arrangement the rest of the year.

Much of the workings of the lighthouse are today fully automated, but there still remains a senior lightkeeper and a couple of lightkeepers who help with radio watch and meteorological duties.

If you’re interested in something a little different, take a trip on the Diaz Express.

This adorable blue train provides a scenic rail experience between Hartenbos and Great Brak River. The railway line winds through a tunnel, over bridges, past precipices and indigenous plant life, with beautiful views over the Indian Ocean. Coupled with this excursion, is the fine cuisine and wines of the Transkaroo restaurant, in the old station building.

Airbnb’s we Love in Mossel Bay

Buff and Fellow Eco Pod 4 (2 sleeper)

Buff and Fellow is an Eco Game Farm only 10km from the George Airport, very close to Glentana Beach and local restaurants and shops in Mossel Bay.

What makes Buff and Fellow really special, is that these old shipping containers have been converted into luxurious Eco-friendly Cabins, Pods and Coconuts; on the edge of a beautiful dam overlooking the majestic Outeniqua Mountains. You can sink into a wood-fired hot tub, while looking out for buffalo, rhinos and other wildlife. Hopefully you also have a bottle of wine from ReedValley to enjoy in the hot-tub.

Day 2: Mossel Bay to Wilderness, Wilderness to Knysna

Mossel bay to Wilderness 59km, 45 minute drive

Wilderness to Knysna 47km, 38 minute drive

After a hearty breakfast at The Blue Shed Coffee Roastery in Mossel Bay, make your way to Wilderness.

The drive is easy and beautiful, you’ll be driving along the N2, which is one of South Africa’s major highways so no need to worry about getting lost!

Padstal Recommendation 2: Timberlake Farm Stall

Make sure to stop at Timberlake for an hour or two of browsing and a great lunch at the restaurant. The farm stall uses only organic foods and the Pause Coffee Roastery makes fabulous coffee!

After lunch at Timberlake, make your way to the Map of Africa Viewpoint. This spot is a must-see. The Map of Africa is a spectacular scene of mountains and forests. The Wilderness area is known for its vast number of rivers, lagoons and natural lakes, and here you get a clear view of the Kaaimans River Valley. It is amazing how the course of the Kaaimans River has the shape of the African continent!

Wilderness to Knysna

From the Map of Africa viewpoint, begin your drive to Knysna. Knysna is a gorgeous coastal town- well known for its indigenous forest (where it is said that the last of the wild Knysna forest Elephants still wanders). It was once the scene of a short-lived gold-rush which took place in the GoudVeld forest (literally translated as Gold Field).

Things to do in Wilderness

While in Wilderness, make sure you stop at the Dolphin Point lookout to see the amazing views of the beach and cola-coloured water washing into the lagoon- as well as the amazing Kaaimans Bridge.

The Kaaimans Bridge was once an option to walk along- through the tunnel and back, but these days isn’t considered very safe to do in pairs. It’s definitely better to go as a big group in the middle of the day if you really feel the need to explore the bridge.

If you’re looking for something a bit more exhilarating- try The Garden Route Achrobranch after you’ve had some lunch at Timberlake. Conveniently located next door to Timberlake, the Garden Route Achrobranch is a treetop experience dedicated to offering children and adults a unique adventure as they move from tree to tree in lush, green forests. They have different obstacle courses in each of their parks, some for kids (marked Acrobranch Kids) and some for reasonably fit adults and teenagers. Obstacles consist of awesome tree top high ropes and tricky crossings (with ladders, tunnels, walkways and bridges). They also offer spectacular zip lines to top it off.

Airbnb’s we Love in Knysna

Forest Heart Cabin

This eco-friendly self-catering Cabin overlooks the Outeniqua Mountains and is perfectly situated within a 10 minute drive into the Knysna town, as well as a 5 minute drive to the indigenous forest. Because the Cabin is so close to the forest, you should absolutely take a few hours to spend at Jubilee Creek. Jubilee Creek is the perfect place to fully experience the magical Knysna forest with long and short walks (alternatively, pack a picnic basket- provided in the Cabin- and enjoy lunch in the forest!)

Knysna Lodge Glamping Self Catering Cabin 3

This totally unique Cabin is nestled amongst the trees.

The cabin is very cozy and equipped with everything you will need including a hotel bed and fully equipped kitchen. Besides waking up to the most amazing views every day, you’ll also have your very own private deck with gas cooking facilities and you will be able to braai! There’s also a private shower with hot water and a basin to brush your teeth and wash your face. You’ll be at one with nature. The toilet is separate and located just down the walkway.

Elephant Hide Guest Lodge Romantic Lagoon Suite

For something a little fancier, have a look at this spot which boasts incredible views over the Knysna Lagoon. The rooms have king-sized beds, a spa bath, a private deck and access to the infinity pool which overlooks the entire lagoon. Talk about dreamy!

Things to do in Knysna

Knysna is a town that just begs to be explored! After a delicious breakfast at Il de Pain on Thesen Island, stock up on some sandwiches and fresh juices from their deli and make your way to Featherbed Co to book a ticket to a cruise to Featherbed Nature Reserve. The nature reserve is only accessible by boat and is a privately owned nature reserve on the Western Head of Knysna’s iconic ‘heads’. Book an ‘eco experience’ which is an all-in-one trip to the Featherbed Nature Reserve, a guided tour of the Western Head and an all-inclusive lunch afterwards. This 4-hour eco experience costs R701 per person and is a great way to experience the fynbos and beaches of the Western Head.

Another must-see in Knysna is The Motorcycle Room on Thesen Island (pop in after breakfast at il de pain). The mini-museum is a nostalgic collection of over 100 motorcycles ranging from the 1950’s to today’s modern era. Browse and indulge in the memories of that school boy 50cc to the exotic superbike, the dream bike or even the crazy custom bike.

Perhaps the most memorable experience in Knysna is the Knysna Elephant Park elephant encounters. You can book a tour which takes you to the elephants, where you can spend time interacting with them and feeding them. They are gentle giants and the experience is unlike any other. The Knysna Elephant Park (est. 1994) was the first facility in South Africa to house and care for orphaned African elephants. Over the last 25 years, the park has cared for and raised more than 40 elephants. These animals include relocated animals, orphaned calves, elephants rescued from culls and ex-circus animals. Some have become part of the resident herd, others have moved onto other reserves and facilities in the Western and Eastern Cape, depending on their personalities, bonds with other animals and welfare needs.

Knysna is of course also the place to be if you want to hike the forest or spend the day lazing at one of the many beautiful beaches!

Day 3- Knysna to Plettenberg Bay

32.4km, 40 minutes’ drive time

The drive from Knysna to Plettenberg Bay is a short one. You’ll be driving along the N2 again. The roads are flanked on either side by fynbos and indigenous forests. Keep your eyes peeled for the massive Yellowwood trees growing in the forests.

Padstal recommendation 3: Thyme and Again

This adorable padstal makes the list mostly because on one trip from Grahamstown to Knysna, we saved the store from burning down! We drove past to discover smoke billowing through the room. We decided to pull over and discovered that nobody was around. We quickly phoned the Fire Brigade (as more cars began to arrive). Suddenly a person who worked in the stall arrived, unlocked the doors and ran inside. A tray of rusks, left to dry out overnight had caught on fire!

Luckily nothing was damaged- the fire brigade arrived and all was well again.

The farm stall showcases a wide, ever changing range of carefully selected specialities and offers locally sourced, artisanal goods as well as wholesome, responsibly farmed, fresh produce. This is a delightful one-stop-shop sure to tickle your taste buds with its large array of jams, marmalades, honey’s, preserves, olives, biltong, spices, dried fruit and nuts, organic, free range meat, a deli section and much, much more. The cellar boasts not only the top regional wines but also a variety of fine boutique wines as well as a growing selection of locally produced craft beers and gins.

Airbnb’s we Love in Plettenberg Bay

Emily Moon River Lodge

One word- stunning! Set on the banks of the Bitou River in Plettenberg Bay, Emily Moon River Lodge is an exclusive boutique hotel with a quirky attitude and a distinctly African air.

The hotel comprises sixteen, exquisitely-appointed lodge suites set in an indigenous garden, with magnificent views of the river, wetlands and mountains. They also have their very own restaurant- Simons Bar, which makes epic cocktails and pizzas. Guests can also make use of the canoes to paddle on the river.

The Hideaway at Hillandale Farm

A modern glass home that overlooks mountains and forests. The cottage is off the grid, tucked away out of sight near the bottom of a ridge. It has all facilities for a very comfortable self-catering stay. It has a fireplace with endless firewood available as well as a large fire pit for those wishing to braai and enjoy outside eating. Guests are welcome to explore the farm.

Rainforest Ridge

We recommend House 2– a treehouse with ample space. The room looks out over the side of a forest hill, about 3 kilometers from a particularly beautiful and wild part of the sea. The hill and forest protects the home from the coastal winds and creates unspoilt views of the rainforest and Tsitsikamma Mountains for literally as far as the eye can see.

Things to do in Plettenberg Bay

One of the most important things to do while in Plettenberg Bay is to visit Robberg Nature Reserve. Robberg, situated 8km south of Plettenberg Bay on the Garden Route, is not only a nature reserve, but also a national monument and World Heritage Site. Rocks from this region date back 120 million years to the break-up of Gondwanaland and evidence of middle and later Stone Age habitation has been found in a few of the caves along the peninsula. It’s also absolutely stunning. Make sure to do the hike around the Peninsula (which is one of the most famous hikes in South Africa). The hike will take anywhere from 4 to 6 hours and is a total of 6km, so bring a picnic lunch to hold you over.

Once you’ve finished your hike, make your way to Nature’s Valley. Be sure to stop at the local farmstall just before you arrive!

Padstal Recommendation 4: Nature’s Way Farm Stall

Natures Way is a traditional, family run Farm Stall that started in 2001 and is situated on their working dairy farm. They specialise in homemade, local and imported cheeses. Enjoy a light lunch on your way to Natures Valley – cheese Tapas is their speciality!

Padstal Recommendation 5: Old Nick Village

The Old Nick Village is not exactly a farm stall, but since it is on the N2, as you leave Plettenberg Bay, it has to be mentioned. The village was originally built in the 1880’s by Aaron Toplis who immigrated to South Africa as a young boy along with a party of artisans brought out from England by the land owner William Newdigate to develop his country estate. He later built a large family home on the farm, which has now become the Mungo shop. Now, the village comprises various little shops and workshops, a plant nursery, a coffee shop and the incredible Mungo Weaving Mill.

Mungo is a must-see when visiting the Old Nick Village. A textile store which hand-weaves incredible linen, towels and textiles. The mill is an amazing experience!  

Day 4- Plettenberg Bay to Natures Valley

34km, 40 minute drive

The peaceful valley lies virtually in the heart of the Tsitsikamma forest, the site of monkey ropes, old man’s beard dangling from trees, a beautiful lagoon surrounded by mountains and forest, and miles of unspoilt white beaches – arguably the most beautiful part of this coastline.

In Nature’s Valley lies a small village, a little hamlet of 50 houses, permanently occupied by its residents who have managed to minimise any development that might spoil the area. The village lies virtually at the mouth of the Groot River at the bottom of the Groot River pass on a lagoon, and one speculates that it is the road that wends its way through the pass in an impressive example of multiple hairpin bends that may account for the lower numbers of visitors to this part of the world.

Nature’s Valley forms part of the Tsitsikamma National Park. Here the mountains are densely overgrown, and forests and deep river ravines making it virtually impassable to travel by ox wagon in the old days – hence the road. It is also the end of the Otter Trail, one of South Africa’s flagship hikes that navigates 42 kilometers of craggy coastline from Storms River before stopping here.

Nature’s Valley has only one shop, no banks, and definitely no shopping malls. There are scenic walks and hikes in the area through rainforest, along cliffs and through dry river beds, and if you haven’t got your boots with you, then canoeing down the river or simply sitting and drinking in the beauty, are other mandatory activities.

Airbnb’s we Love in Natures Valley

Amara Farm

Amara is a small organic life-style farm, situated in The Crags, a tranquil rural hamlet, close to Nature’s Valley. Amara offers self-catering Accommodation in 3 spacious wooden cottages, overlooking a fresh water dam and wild swimming pool, with sweeping vistas onto the rugged cliff-faces of The Crags and Tsitsikamma mountains beyond.

Entre Mer et Fôret Beach House

Tucked in between the sea and the forest, you will find this newly renovated and extended beach house. The house is modern, spacious and filled with light. Large windows serve as picture frames, bringing the outside in. The kitchen is open-plan to the dining- and living space with French doors opening out onto the large deck with garden and mountain views. The tranquil lagoon and enticing beach is less than a two minute walk away.

Natures Valley Rest Camp

For a more budget friendly option- Natures Valley rest camp offers two comfortable semidetached chalets and basic accommodation in a selection of forest huts nestled in the Tsitsikamma section of the Garden Route National Park. This is an ideal place for nature enthusiasts and bird watchers wanting a tranquil spot to admire their surroundings.

Things to do in Natures Valley

Visit Monkeyland Sanctuary and Birds of Eden: Both sanctuaries are award winning and incredible to experience. Monkeyland is the world’s first free roaming multi-specie primate sanctuary. Birds of Eden is a unique two hectare dome (the world’s largest) which spans over a gorge of indigenous forest. Currently it is home to over 3,500 birds from over 220 species, with the main focus being African birds.

Have lunch at Bramon Wine Estate. Bramon Wine Estate is a boutique Wine Estate (250 ton Cellar), and the first Estate so far East of the Western Cape. It is situated in a mountainous area called The Crags, it is the first estate to pioneer vineyards in the Plettenberg Bay area, only 20 km away from the town itself. The previously family-run estate pushed the boundaries of wine-making with their award-winning, non-traditional and traditional Méthode Cap Classique bubblies and still wines, collecting national and international awards.

If wine isn’t your thing, have lunch at Fynboshoek Cheese. The restaurant is open for lunches only from 12 noon until 4pm (by appointment only). They serve a variety of raw Fynboshoek goat and cow milk cheeses with freshly baked breads and a selection of home-grown garden salads. If this is on your list to do- make sure you book ahead, they are always busy!

Day 5. Nature’s Valley to Storms River to Jeffreys Bay

139 km, 1 hour 30 minutes’ drive

From Natures Valley you make your way to Storms River which is technically the end of the Garden Route however, we highly recommend you finish your Garden Route experience in Jeffrey’s Bay. There is also the option to spend a night in Storms River or go straight on to Jeffery’s Bay. There is plenty to do in Storms River, so let’s find out what you should have on your list!

Things to do in Storms River

Take the Woodcutter’s Journey. This specially designed off road vehicle takes you to the resting spot of historic wagons that once travelled the forest. The guides walk you along the elephant trail disclosing the mysteries of the trees that stand as natural pillars in the Tsitsikamma kingdom. Stinkwoods, yellowwoods and tree ferns create shade to shelter the earthy smell of soil and moss. Indigenous fauna and flora reveal creation with the knowledge of tour guides.

‘Woodcutters’ refresh at picnic tables alongside the Storms River with tea, coffee and apple pie (served on the tea trips) or lasagna with salad and apple pie for dessert (served on lunch trips – wine and beer available by arrangement). In truth the magnificent of these giant trees would defeat any woodcutter and challenge any tree-hugger. This 3 hour excursion is a comfortable journey through a dense treed heaven with the sound of the rushing river and bird calls as a cappella accompaniment.

Make sure you make some time to go and hug The Big Tree. Standing guard over the treetop canopy in the heart of the forest is The Big Tree – an eight hundred- year-old Yellowwood. This majestic tree towers over the rest of the canopy; standing 36+m tall and with a trunk circumference of 9m – this is a giant among giants.

Take a walk along the Storms River Suspension Bridge. The bridge hangs over the red-brown waters of the Storms River Mouth and spans 77 metres. It is situated within the Tsitsikamma National Park, and was originally built in 1969, but has since been rebuilt by San-Parks to ensure its stability and safety. It hangs just seven metres above the churning waters of the river as it enters the foamy Indian Ocean.

After some fun in Storms River, make your way to the quaint surf town of Jefferys Bay!

We’ve chosen to include Jefferys Bay here, because the beaches are beautiful and the chilled- out vibe of this little surf town is something very special! Jeffreys Bay is world renowned for its safe beaches and surfing waves, with many different surf breaks, each possessing its own magic. Surfing spots include Kitchen Window, Tubes, Super Tubes, Point and Albatross. The waves at Supertubes can get up to about 10 – 12 feet. They are very fast, and as the name suggests, getting tubed is the name of the game. The swell usually runs in the winter months.

Jeffreys Bay’s beaches also have an abundance of shells and are known for good angling. There are also three nature reserves; under the management of the Cape Nature Conservation. Although small in size, they offer peace and tranquillity and some hiking trails. For hikers, there are even more trails; including the Cape St Francis Nature Reserve, Tsitsikamma Hiking Trail and the trails in the Baviaanskloof.

The surf culture clothing shops are synonymous with Jeffreys and all their clothes depict a scene in Jeffreys Bay. Other venues include surf shops, hand-crafted leather shoes, hand-crafted shell art and a craft beer brewery. Jeffreys is also the hub of the calamari industry of the Eastern Cape and is thus in the fortunate position of being able to supply visitors with this delicacy in abundance.

Airbnb’s we Love in Jefferys Bay

On The Beach Guesthouse

With various rooms to choose from- all with a view of the ocean and a literal stone’s throw from the beach, you can’t really go wrong. On The Beach offers a relaxed and refined atmosphere in which to enjoy the spectacular setting right on the beach. The classic design, elegant décor and harmonious ambience, combined with incredible views from most rooms, as well as the upstairs lounge, bar and outdoor verandahs, relaxes and rejuvenates.

Stone Olive Guest House

Stone Olive Guest House is a superb getaway only 900m from the beach. The views over the golf course and the ocean are remarkable and the sounds of the sea, the birds singing are music to the ears.

Things to do in Jefferys Bay

Learn to surf at Wavecrest Surf School. Situated on Jeffreys Bay’s main beachfront near many restaurants and good chilling spots, the atmosphere is awesome! Just jump out of your car, meet Andrew and run into that beautiful ocean to start your life changing surfing lesson!

Surfing lessons are professionally set up to teach you all you need to know to get you on your way. It’s an unforgettable experience with guaranteed fun… and where better to learn to surf than South Africa’s surfing mecca?

If the cold-ish waters are not really for you, why not try Sand boarding with J-Bay Adventures? The higher up the dune you go, the more exhilarating the ride down. Be prepared for loads of fun, sun and sand absolutely everywhere! There are no levels of experience required, just a touch of adrenaline, a LOT of sunblock and the whole family. The experienced guides will pick you up wherever you may be in J-Bay and take you out for a wicked thrilling two-hour downhill adventure. All equipment provided!

If all that adrenaline is a bit much, take a much slower pace by visiting the Jeffreys Bay Shell Museum. The more than 600 shells from species all over the world makes it one of the largest shell collections in South Africa and attracts shell fanatics from all over the globe. Housed in glass cases is a huge variety of shells including the legendary cowrie, the rare paper nautilus, tiny baby jam tarts and a new species of cone.

After a browse through the shell museum, book a Papiesfontein Beach Horse Ride experience.

The entire ride covers a distance of about 13 kilometers and takes between two and three hours to complete. Almost half of the distance comprises an open stretch that is best enjoyed at a gallop, allowing the horse to share the exhilaration it experiences when allowed to run free. The views are spectacular and the horses are well-trained, friendly and obedient.

Day 6. Jefferys Bay to Port Elizabeth

78km, 60 minute drive

On your final day of your Garden Route experience, you’ll travel from Jefferys Bay to Port Elizabeth.  You’re now driving into the Eastern Cape and will see the distinct difference in the flora and fauna around you.

Port Elizabeth was recently renamed to Gqeberha. It is a major port, but also known for its numerous beaches. The Donkin Heritage Trail takes in the Old Hill neighborhood’s Victorian landmarks, while coastal boat tours spot whales and rare seabirds. Wildlife reserves outside the metropolitan area are home to elephants, rhinos and other big game. So what are some of the best things to do in the great City?

Visit the Cape Recife Reserve and Lighthouse. There is a 9-kilometre walk around the reserve which offers amazing views of unspoiled beaches, wildflowers, and you might even spot some whales in the right season! The lighthouse is also a fascinating location in the reserve. To enter the reserve by car, you need to buy a permit at the entrance to Pine Lodge Holiday Resort. Alternatively, you could park outside, and enter the reserve on foot.

Wander the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan Art Museum. The museum houses collections that consist of South African art (particularly that of the Eastern Cape), British art, international printmaking and Oriental art (including Indian miniatures and Chinese textiles). These are supplemented by an active programme of temporary exhibitions.

Look for the Big Five at Addo Elephant National Park. You have the option of spending the night at Addo or to take a day trip to see how many animals you can spot. A road map of tourist routes within the park will be given to each vehicle upon entering the Park. Additional maps are for sale at the shop. Various information sheets are available at reception.

Since this is the last stop on your tour of the Garden Route, you now have the option of flying back to Cape Town via the Port Elizabeth airport or… stay tuned for our guide to the Eastern Cape! 

 

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