Garden Route & Beyond
Trailfinders has done the hard work for you and brings you a handpicked selection of the best hotels.
For inspiration on how to include any of these hotels in a tailormade holiday ask for your copy of Trailfinders Africa brochure.
Boasting vastly contrasting landscapes, quaint villages and laidback seaside towns, any journey along the GARDEN ROUTE is guaranteed to offer an invigorating experience. Travel via Hermanus, observing whales as they breech near the shore (Jul - Nov) before continuing along the coast to Plettenberg Bay or St Francis Bay, beautiful beachside havens offering relaxation and adventure. Alternatively explore the dramatic Route 62, travelling inland through rugged valleys and rolling vineyards. Stop off in the delightful town of Montagu before you encounter white lion on safari at Sanbona Wildlife Reserve.
Cape Winelands Characterised by historic Cape Dutch farmhouses, lush rolling vineyards and picturesque mountain ranges, the Cape Winelands are a visual delight. Boasting a wealth of wine estates, cafés, boutiques and fine dining restaurants, the towns of Franschhoek and Stellenbosch are at the heart of this scenic region. Sample world-class wines, indulge in gourmet produce and experience the essence of South Africa’s ‘farm to fork’ philosophy.
Hermanus This pretty coastal town is particularly popular from July to November when southern right whales settle in Walker Bay to breed. Known for the best land-based whale watching in the world, from the rocky shore visitors can watch these majestic animals as they break the water, often only metres away. Be on the lookout for other notable marine residents too: dolphins, seals, penguins and great white sharks are also spotted in these waters.
Robertson, Montagu & Sanbona Wildlife Reserve The quaint villages of Robertson and Montagu are situated in the heart of Route 62, a region of rolling hills, vineyards and historic architecture. At the western end, the hills suddenly give way to a dramatic landscape of rocky savannah and here, set within a scenic ravine, is Sanbona Wildlife Reserve. Known for its unique geological history and ancient rock art, Sanbona has a distinctive appeal.
Oudtshoorn Desert-like Oudtshoorn offers sightseeing opportunities both above and below ground. Head into the surrounding Swartberg Mountains, then make the short journey to the head of the Cango Valley. Here visitors can descend into the Cango Caves, an awe-inspiring journey through vast limestone halls with towering rock formations. Back on the surface, enjoy a tour to meet some of the town’s notable residents: ostriches and meerkats!
George & Wilderness The neighbouring towns of George and Wilderness provide a relaxing break on your Garden Route adventure. George is home to several championship golf courses, dotted through stunning countryside scenery. Head to one of the nearby beaches, or why not spend some time in the lovely village of Wilderness. Here you have easy access to the rivers, estuaries and beaches of Wilderness National Park where you can explore on foot, by bike or even by canoe.
Knysna The temperate climate makes Knysna a popular, year-round destination. This lively coastal fishing town is renowned for its oysters and there are lots of activities on offer to keep everyone happy. Take a boat trip into the sheltered Knysna Lagoon, protected by the Knysna Heads, or visit Featherbed Nature Reserve and enjoy the walking trails or a trip on a paddle cruiser. In addition, Knysna boasts varied shopping, delicious cuisine and a rich cultural heritage which all add to its charm.
Plettenberg Bay The summer home of the rich and famous, bustling ‘Plett’ offers miles of sweeping golden beaches and is surrounded by indigenous forest. The town itself boasts upmarket boutiques and cafés and is the perfect base from which to explore the host of wildlife sanctuaries, nature reserves and water based activities found nearby. With so much to see, make sure you allow plenty of time in this memorable corner of the Garden Route.
Tsitsikamma National Park Bordered by the imposing Tsitsikamma Mountains to the north and sweeping down towards the dramatic Indian Ocean shoreline, the lush Tsitsikamma National Park covers 50 miles of stunning coastline and indigenous forest and is teeming with bird and marine life. Spend an afternoon exploring one of the varied walking trails and scenic viewpoints, or try your hand at ziplining through the canopy from Storms River Village.
St Francis Bay For something a little more laid back, upmarket St Francis Bay offers an idyllic stop for a night or two at the start or end of your Garden Route holiday. Sit back and enjoy a boat cruise through the canals and rivers that transect the town and admire the archetypal whitewashed luxury homes which dot the shoreline. Don’t miss the popular beaches at Seal Point, where you can spot locals trying their hand at surfing and kiteboarding.