Introducing Garden Route
High on the must-see list of most visitors to South Africa is the Garden Route, and with good reason: you can’t help but be seduced by the glorious natural beauty of the scenery. It’s less than 300km from Mossel Bay in the west to just beyond Plettenberg Bay in the east, yet the range of topography, vegetation, wildlife and outdoor activity in this short space is breathtaking.
The coast is dotted with excellent beaches, while inland you’ll find picturesque lagoons and lakes, rolling hills and eventually the mountains of the Outeniqua and Tsitsikamma ranges that divide the Garden Route from the arid Little Karoo. The ancient indigenous forests that line the coast from Wilderness to Knysna offer adventure trails and hiking, birdwatching, canoeing on the rivers, sliding through the tree canopy or simply taking an easy walk through the forest to gasp at the size of a yellowwood tree over six hundred years old. Wildlife enthusiasts will enjoy spotting brilliant green and red Knysna louries in the forest or maybe even catching sight of one of the few remaining Knysna elephants.
With such a diverse range of things to do in this internationally renowned region, it’s not surprising that the scope of the accommodation comes up trumps. In fact, strong competition in the tourist industry has led to high standards in everything from activities to restaurants. The downside of this is the high volume of people in the most popular towns of Knysna and Plettenberg Bay. While they make good bases for exploring the area, they can get very crowded during December and January, when prices rise significantly. This makes it important to book ahead if you’re travelling at these times, or head for less crowded Wilderness.