My friend wanted to take four nights to go explore the Garden Route. Our plan was to start at Port Elizabeth and slowly make our way back to Cape Town. This was going to be quite the road trip where we would mostly be camping along the different stops. This is our Garden Route guide in South Africa. Be advised, during summer time, this route is very busy as it is one of South Africa’s main attractions.
Background on Garden Route
The Garden Route is technically a route in Eastern Cape from Mossel Bay to Storms River but many will go the extra 175kms to Port Elizabeth. From Mossel bay to Storms river is a little over 200kms of coastline drive that goes right through Garden Route National Park. This scenic route has a striking coastline and exotic beaches on one side and vineyards and incredible mountains on the other side. For the sake of this guide, I’m going to include all the way to Port Elizabeth in the Garden Route guide in South Africa.
Leaving Port Elizabeth
We just did a quick overnight in Port Elizabeth. Later I come back and spend a few days here as I make another journey. Port Elizabeth is a central hub located in Eastern Cape that a lot of people start or end their Garden Route journey. Here we started and made our way towards Cape Town.
Surfs Up in Jefferys Bay
Jefferys Bay is the definition of a backpacker town and is one of South Africa’s famous surf spots. Making a stop here is known for night partying and daytime surfing. The partying spot is Island Vibe which can be a wild good time or hectic depending on your mood. If you don’t want to be up all night, I don’t think you should stay here. The main attraction here is to go surfing, which you will see plenty of if you make a stop.
Wet and Wild Storms River
Next up on the Garden Route guide in South Africa, is Storms River. Home to the highest bungee off a bridge, this is an adrenaline seekers must do. Otherwise, Tsitsikamma section of the Garden Route National Park has heaps of hiking trails along the 80km drive.
Flashy Plattenburg Bay
Welcome to where the South African’s come to spend their summer holiday. Here you will find a bit more of a robust beach town that has flashy hotels along with upscale shops and restaurants. Driving through here you will definitely understand why I labeled this place as flashy. You will get a more upscale vibe here as you stroll through the town. There are a ton of nice overlook spots so pull over and take pictures.
The Beautiful Knysna
Personally my favorite on the entire trip. Driving into Knysna is absolutely beautiful. As you drive along the lagoon it sits on. As you approach the town, you will notice the impressive Knysna Heads. These are the two mountains that sit opposite of each other across the lagoon. Definitely, recommend staying a night here and catching a sunrise/sunset. The two best spots are Leisure Isle or the viewpoint Eastern Knysna Head.
Knysna Elephant Santuary – my friend was fortunate enough to have a connection at a nearby elephant sanctuary that was one of the top Garden Route attractions. We were invited for a private tour of the facility with the lead researcher. You can view my post here.
The Wild in Wilderness
Wilderness National Park is where the secluded beaches are noted on Garden Route guide in South Africa. Personally, I found the most beautiful beaches here along the Garden Route and you practically have them to yourself.
Pit Stop in George
There isn’t much to say about George. We mostly just made a stop here to see friends of a friend. I do highly recommend checking out Nina’s Cafe if you are in town. Otherwise, you can just make your way through George.
Located halfway between Cape Town and Port Elizabeth lies Mossel Bay. Mossel Bay is where the Garden Route starts or ends depending which way you are coming from.