Nestled amidst the grand mountains and the Indian Ocean, South Africa’s Garden Route is truly a spectacular trekking path that you should include in your bucket list. This route stretches up to 150-mile long, and is blessed with lush indigenous forests, mountain tips covered with fynbos, glamorous golden coastal beaches and pristine lagoons along the way. But, before you take on this scintillating road trip, here are five must-see things you need to know when taking the Garden Route of South Africa, courtesy of our friends at Native Escapes.
Before stepping out of the territories of Cape Town (South Africa’s legislative capital city), you will need to pass by the eccentric vastness of the Cape Winelands. This picturesque wineland is located in the town of Stellenbosch, which about less than 30-minute drive from Cape Town. This is where some of the world’s most popular wines originated that date back several centuries, and has become a top-tier Western Cape tourist attraction as well. No need to worry about spending for their high-end class of wines because everybody can enjoy gulping sample wines and brandies.
Bartolomeu Dias Museum Complex
After departing from the beautiful winelands of Stellenbosch, you should make a stop at the Bartolomeu Dias Museum Complex in the nearby town of Mossel Bay. Here, everyone can enjoy the riveting history of Mossel Bay, as well as be entertained by their famous Post Tree where anyone can still mail cards with a special postage stamp. What’s more, there is an exceptionally fascinating life-size replica of Dias’ boat at the Maritime Museum, which highlights the challenges of seafaring during the time of Dias and Vasco da Gama.
Knysna Park and Lagoon
From the moment you head on the territory of Knysna, it will be clear why this town is considered by many as the unofficial capital of the Garden Route. As you approach the area, you will get a glimpse of the striking Knysna Heads – the two huge sandstone cliffs guarding on each side of the estuary mouth. Furthermore, you can explore its dense forests, crystal clear river, and lagoon in the midst of bustling South African city.
If you happen to be a foodie, you may plan your road trip during late June to early July, to experience Oyster Festival only in Knysna. By the way, this town isn’t just obsessed with their delish oysters, but also other South African cuisines.
Had enough of the cool breeze along the crazy tall gorges and cliffs of the Garden Route? Indeed, it will be a different take when you get to Plettenberg Bay. Go and plunge into a boat to watch humpback and southern right whales, or grab a kayak and get up close with those pods of cute bottlenose dolphins.
As you make your way on the east, it is about time to face your fears in the 80 km stretch of rocky coastline, as well as the heavily scarred gorges and cliffs of Tsitsikamma. Visitors can opt to take a stride along appointed walking trails, or trek it through and through along a more challenging route. But, if you don’t want to break a sweat, take the canopy tour instead, and be mesmerized by the enigmatic charm of the 100-year-old hardwood trees and other faunas covering the area. And, just before you leave Tsitsikamma, you shouldn’t miss to try the world’s highest commercial bungy bridge jump of Bloukran with a staggering height of 708 feet.