The Garden Route

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The Garden Route

Overview
Activities and Highlights
Seasons
Region Map
Accommodation
Travel Ideas

Description

"Allow yourself to be captivated by natures breathtaking beauty as the Garden Route stretches through imposing mountains and flourishing forests, and along majestic sun drenched African coastlines, surging rivers and calming lagoons and lakes. The Garden Route is an ideal journey which captures the essence of nature’s magnificence, the delight of a South African adventure and the flavour of fine cultivated and wild delicacies.

Spanning from the Western Cape’s Winelands, along Route 62, across the arid lands of the Little Karoo and towards the southern African magnificent beach coastlines into the Eastern Cape; the Garden Route offers both land and water adventures; luxury, sophistication and relaxation; and of course, wine and fine dining for anyone wishing to experience the best of Southern Africa.

Known for its verdant and ecologically diverse vegetation, forests enclose the towns of Knysna, Plettenberg Bay, Nature’s Reserve and George, and the route protects the African jungle with the establishment of ten nature reserves throughout the Garden Route.

The Mediterranean climate of Indigenous forests are filled with vast array of flying feathered friends; gigantic elephants roam the land sanctuaries, while the rocky shores along the Indian Ocean provide African sun and sandy beaches for your delight. Be sure to take advantage of nature’s scenic splendour and remember, no visit to the south would be complete without exploring South Africa’s Garden Route. "

Access Details

Access the Garden Route most popularly accessed by car and situated 5 hours drive from Cape Town or 3 hours from Port Elizabeth. Daily flights are offered from Johannesburg, Cape Town and Durban to George, which is the Garden Route's largest city.

Suggested Stay Details

We recommend a stay between 3 - 5 nights on the Garden Route.

Type of Experience

"The Garden Route is ideal for absolutely anyone, from family’s to adventure seekers, every activity can be found along the journey from the Western Cape towards the Eastern Cape of South Africa. Either self-drive through the entire expedition, fly-in or journey with a tour guide; the regions along the scenic route couples nature, with adventure and leisurely relaxation, all for you to explore.

Whatever you desire, the Garden Route has it all. From fine dining to wine tasting, world class golfing and fishing, to diving, sailing, hiking through the indigenous forests of Tsitsikamma and even bungee jumping. Explore the hidden jewels situated along the Garden Route and bask in the beauty of nature’s beaches, forests and mountain ranges. "

Infrastructure

The famous Garden Route is lined with spectacularly glamorous accommodation. Country lodges embrace elegance and luxury while retaining an eco-natural stance, offering views of deep blue mountains perched amongst the leafs of giant trees. The charming sophistication of the country hotels combines historical grace with lake side spas,. Offering views of the vast Indian Ocean are beach lodges nestled along the rocky shores and surrounded by natural wetlands. Exclusivity, luxury, opulence and style describe the boutique hotels found along the Garden Route of South Africa.

Geography

The Garden Route typography changes from lush vistas filled with fynbos, to the emerald greens of forests and the flowing waters of wetlands. It crossed into the dry semi-deserts of the vast Karoo and runs along coastline towns with rocky shores and sandy beaches. The route ends in the diversely eco-forests of Tsitikamma.

History

"Known as the unofficial capital of the Garden Route, Knysna is an historic town with its roots planted in the days of sailing ships, timber extraction and hunts for gold. When on expedition to cross the treacherous coastline of Southern Africa in the 1500’s, Portuguese explores reported Khoi-Khoi people first inhabiting the regions of and surround Knysna. While exploring the southern regions of South Africa,

European settlers reached Knysna’s lagoon in the late 1760’s. Attracting many builders and farmer, the timber found in the Knysna forests were uprooted and used to build ships, building and wagons. Close to the end of the eighteenth century, a European named George Callender was the first to settle at the Knysna Heads. It was Lord Charles Somerset who established Knysna as an official town, that need to be capitalised on for its timber. When a gold nugget was found in 1876, an influx of fortune seeker descended upon Knysna. Combining to form the town of Knysna, Melville, Eastford and Newhaven became known as the municipality of Knysna in 1881. Before1954, the port of Knysna was bustling with ships but since then the port has been deproclaimed.

Today, Knysna is a popular destination for both locals and tourists alike, and have been award the title of South Africa’s Favourite Town, numerously. "

Activities & Highlights

"TOWN DELIGHTS: Knysna has much to explore. The town is known as South Africa’s oyster capital and to prove how proud they of their title, in July of every year, Knysna hosts a festival dedicated solely to oysters. With years of experience in the cultivation of oyster, you are invited to indulge in the tasteful aphrodisiacs paired with locally produced wine, while overlooking the fairies pass by adrift South Africa’s largest natural estuary. How about a lagoon cruise and sail across in a Knysna fairy, or paddle your way to a romantic picnic amongst ancient Millwood trees? If adventure and excitement is what you are after, then just outside of Plettenberg Bay, you will have the chance to leap off of Africa’s highest bridge. The Bloukrans Bridge offers you the bragging rights to the highest commercial bungee jump in the world, only if you have nerves of steel to leap 216 meters down into the daunting gorge.

GOLFING: Golfers will be excited to tee off on one of South Africa’s world class golf courses. With Africa’s natural immaculate breathtaking beauty as a backdrop, Garden Route has 16 Golf Clubs which cater to the avid professional as well as the weekend hobbyists. Most notably are Pezula, Simola and the courses of Fancourt which offers beauty, as well as challenging course layouts to test even the best of amongst you.

BEACH TO FOREST: The Garden Route spans across from inlands of the Western Cape to the coastal regions of the Eastern Cape and boasts some spectacular Indian Ocean beach shores. The cove enclosed rocky Victoria Bay contrasts against the tranquil sandy beach of Wilderness, both situated close to George, the largest town along the Garden Route. Forests line the route and are filled with an array of flying feathered friends.

From fynbos to forest and wetlands, Knysna has the world’s larges free flight aviary and the largest close-canopy forest in Southern Africa where the famous Knysna Loerie can be spotted amongst hundred year old Yellowwoods, Stinkwoods and Outeniqua. The elephant sanctuary is situated next to Knsyna’s Birds of Eden aviary and it is here where you can pet and feed the gentle giants of Knysna."



Season Travel Details

The Garden Route enjoys a Mediterranean climate with warm summers and mild winters and is one of the richest rainfall regions in South Africa. The rain, brought by the humid sea-winds from the Indian Ocean, falls mostly during the winter months of June to August.

In summer, during November and March, the weather is warm to hot with temperatures reaching a high of 24-30°C (75°-86°F). Spring blooms into colour round about the end of August into September with cooler temperatures.

Belvidere Manor

Belvidere Manor

A Greenlife Safaris recommendation; The beautifully restored 4 star Belvidere House, nestled amid ancient oaks, presides over 10 acres of manicured gardens with lovely views of the lagoon and surrounding forests.

Emily Moon River Lodge

Emily Moon River Lodge

Where luxury and peace are to be found in a sweeping river valley. Emily Moon River Lodge is booked through Greenlife Safaris. The views encompass a wetland, winding river and distant mountains.

Falcons View Manor

Falcons View Manor

The enchanting Falcons View Manor, small and luxurious, in the centre of the Garden Route is arranged by Greenlife Safaris. This magnificent Cape Victorian historical site exudes warmth and olde worlde charm. Superb food. Excellent service.

Fancourt Hotel and Country Club Estate

Fancourt Hotel and Country Club Estate

The Fancourt Hotel & Country Club Estate is luxury situated in the heart of the Garden Route, one of Greenlife Safaris South Africa's most enchanting areas.

Hog Hollow Country Lodge

Hog Hollow Country Lodge

Nestled on a private nature reserve overlooking the Tsitsikamma Forest, Hog Hollow is offered by Greenlife Safaris as an exclusive retreat that offers you an idyllic escape to the country.

Hunters Country House

Hunters Country House

Situated on the famous Garden Route, Hunter`s Country House, booked by Greenlife Safaris is an exclusive, 5 star-rated base with award winning hospitality, from which to explore the exceptional attractions of this region.

Kurland Country Hotel

Kurland Country Hotel

Set amidst emerald green pastures where the foothills of the Outeniqua mountains sweep down to the warm waters of the Indian Ocean, is Greenlife Safaris choice Kurland luxury country hotel.

Lake Pleasant Hotel and Spa

Lake Pleasant Hotel and Spa

This charming Greenlife Safaris property, Lake Pleasant Hotel and Spa is built on the edge of one of the few natural freshwater lakes in the southern hemisphere, is a serene retreat set in the picturesque Goukamma Nature & Marine Reserve.

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Best of South Africa

Explore the world within one country; South Africa boasts some of the most magnificent landscapes, unrivaled biodiversity with great wilderness areas and wildlife. Experience the true hospitality of this land of many cultures ranging from modest rural communities to flamboyant cosmopolitan city scapes.

These journeys are designed to give first time travelers a great blend of experiences combining a wildlife safari to encounter the big five, some historical and cultural opportunities to give you an insight into the diverse society and a chance to immerse yourself into the wonderful South African lifestyle. Enjoy fine cuisine and excellent wine, soak up the sun on the pristine Cape beaches or shop to your heart content.

South Africa has so much to offer. It is a destination for many visits and it is our recommendation to rather experience quality than quantity and avoid lengthy time consuming travel between multiple areas but to rather focus on a few special places and get the most from your stay.


Family Safari

Due to the risk of malaria in the Lowveld and the sub-tropical areas in southern Africa, it is a concern traveling with young children and mothers to be. There are however some excellent malaria free alternatives that offer a great safari opportunity without any health treats to the family.

An African bush holiday is one of the greatest journeys to share with young impressionable children. Exploring and encountering the wildlife together is an important part of each person’s development and provides for a lifelong bonding experience for a family. They become aware of the environment and break away from the world of wifi and multimedia entertainment, developing their skills to observe and hone their senses.

We offer a variety of family safari options which combine various wildlife rich habitats with excellent chances to encounter the big 5, (Elephant, Rhino, Buffalo, Leopard and Lion) plus the rest of the animals synonymous with Africa. Our selections of establishments are geared for family hospitality, ensuring safety with children friendly facilities and services.

Our family orientated vacations combine safaris with exploring other exciting destinations in South Africa. It is a superb self-drive country allowing total flexibility for sightseeing and travelling at your own pace. Adding a stay at one of our beach locations is a great finale to the African holiday.


Multiple Countries

For the hardened traveler you can explore great destinations in multiple countries. An example for this is at Kazungula where Zambia, Zimbabwe, Botswana and Namibia meet. To the east of South Africa, Mozambique, Swaziland and Zimbabwe are in close proximity of each other.

Each country has a unique character and they are all very different from each other in landscape and culture.

Regional travel is relatively okay if you remain on the main routes, however distances are vast and the conditions can at times be challenging due to some badly maintained roads and poor local driving etiquette. The best way to travel regionally is by air charter which is not only convenient scheduled but it gets you directly to your destinations without extra stops and wasted time.

Let us plan your itinerary to most efficiently use the best travel options available to make your journey more comfortable and cost efficient.


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