South Africa’s Garden Route is regarded as one of the most beautiful drives in the world. By no exaggeration, you’ll want to stop and take a photograph every few minutes along this 300-kilometer stretch of coastal road. One side of the road is bordered by the Indian Ocean. You will never get tired of seeing the blue, azure waters sparkling under the African sun – it’s simply unforgettable. On the other side of the road, the mountain rangers of Tsitsikamma and Outeniqua stand tall and strong, dominating the skyline.

The Garden Route National Park is a protected area that encompasses these vibrant, green landscapes and ecosystems. Because of the quality of the road, self-driving the Garden Route is particularly popular. With a hired car (which we can help arrange), you can enjoy leisurely driving this route, embracing all of the viewpoints and stops along the way. You’ll pass through picturesque towns with beautiful family-owned coffee shops and restaurants, as well as quaint gift and craft shops.

We’d suggest four or five days to enjoy driving along the Garden Route. From Cape Town, you’ll drive through the Mossel Bay and Tsitsikamma Forest to the idyllic town of Knysna. This town has some stunning bays, with white-sand beaches and glistening ocean views. Continue driving through to Oudtshoorn – an area famous for ostrich farming. In fact, it’s often referred to as the Feather Capital of the World because of the number of ostrich farms that you can go and visit. There are also the Cango Caves located just outside of Oudtshoorn, which are also worth visiting because of their impressive limestone rock formations.

The Cape of Good Hope in Cape Town is often mistaken for this title, but further along, the coast in a place called Agulhas is the real southernmost tip of Africa. There are jaw-dropping views out to the open ocean here. Continue through Walker Bay and you’ll reach Hermanus – the whale-spotting capital of South Africa. There is so much to do along this stretch of coast – from eating at award-winning independent restaurants to adrenaline-fueled activities like shark-cage diving. Of course, between September and November, there is a good opportunity to see whales – both the Southern Right and the Humpback Whales. Although shy in nature, you can sometimes find the Bryde whale species too. Find out more about the best places for whale-watching in South Africa.

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With a Kenyan father, Indian grandparents, and a Portuguese surname, travel is in my blood. I am enthralled by Africa and would happily talk about this diverse continent’s wildlife, cultures and experiences all day, every day.


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Our luxury tours along the Garden Route

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Best hotels along the Garden Route

The idea of driving along South Africa’s Garden Route is to take your time and enjoy every view and activity at your own, leisurely pace. Most people will opt to self-drive the Garden Route, so although it is more of an independent trip, we will advise which towns and places are worth visiting and staying in, based on your interests and requests. We have recommended hotels along the Garden Route – from smaller boutique hotels in Oudtshoorn to larger properties in Hermanus. Like all of our South Africa trips, we personalize them to you, so speak to our specialists to find out more.

Garden route_When to go

When to visit the Garden Route

Although South Africa’s Garden Route can be visited and enjoyed year-round, the period between November and March is the warmest, and most reliable in terms of the weather conditions. This is the spring and summer months of South Africa, so warm temperatures and lots of sunshine is on offer. The shoulder months – usually April, May, October, and November – are also good times to visit the Garden Route as they will be quieter, and some lodges may offer low season rates. If you are interested in whale-watching, the best time to visit is the spring months of September and October. Some of the best places for whale-watching along the Garden Route and coast of South Africa include Kalk Bay and Hermanus.

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Gemma our African Specialist

Is the Garden Route worth visiting?

The Garden Route is beautifully idyllic, with lots of things to do and explore along the way, but it depends on what you want out of our luxury South Africa trip. While the Garden Route is a very popular place for tourists to go, it is excluded in trips because of limited time. For those who have longer to explore South Africa, or are revising the country for the second or third time, then it’s definitely worth visiting as the views are unparalleled and simply unforgettable.

Is it safe to self drive South Africa’s Garden Route?

The coastal drive along the Garden Route is maintained very well, which makes it easy and enjoyable to drive. South Africa drives on the left hand side, with right-hand drive vehicles. Most of the rental cars are also manual cars. We will help organize the rental car, and a transfer to pick it up from Cape Town, or either have it dropped off at your hotel ready for you to start the drive along Mossel Bay. We’ll also provide maps and recommendations of worthwhile stops along the way. For clients who are uncomfortable with self-driving, we can arrange a private trip along the Garden Route, but this is quite an expensive option as you are essentially paying for a private driver for 4-5 days.

How much is the Garden Route?

This depends on the time of year you travel and the accommodation you stay in. Costs for the Garden Route often include car hire and fuel, accommodation, and conservation fees that are required in some national parks along the route. Most of the hotels along the Garden Route will be on a B&B basis which means that breakfast is included only. Your other meals and drinks are excluded, but there are plenty of restaurants and cafes in the coastal towns that you will pass. We can include the Garden Route in a South Africa trip – get in touch for us to put one together for you.


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