The Garden Route

A Typical View along the Garden Route

The Garden Route of South Africa is generally considered as the stretch along the southern coast from Mossel Bay in the west to Storms River Mouth in the east. In this guide we are using it to categorise the slightly longer stretch from Cape Town to Port Elizabeth. This drive of approximately 800km (500 miles) contains some beautiful scenery including mountains, forest and a stunning coastline. The N2 is the main road that runs along the Garden Route.

Setting out eastwards from Cape Town, the N2 climbs over the mountains at St Lowry's Pass, and then initially heads inland. It is however worthwhile taking a detour from the main road to visit Cape Agulhas, the most southerly tip of Africa (which is not Cape Point as is often thought).

Close to Cape Agulhas is the charming fishing village of Arniston. This is a place where time has almost stood still, with the only shops and restaurants being part of the single hotel in the village.

Heading back to the N2 and continuing eastwards, the main road hits the coastline again at Mossel Bay (the start of the “Garden Route proper”), from where it never strays too far from the sea continuing onwards towards Port Elizabeth.

Not long after passing the large town of George, you will encounter a stunning view of a long sandy beach with crashing waves. This marks the start of the beautiful small town of Wilderness, which is backed by steep forested hills.

The next place of note on the Garden Route is the charming town of Knysna, where the road runs tightly along the coastline of the impressive lagoon. After a further drive, the town of Plettenberg Bay is also well worth a visit.

Continuing eastwards from Plettenberg Bay, the N2 runs through Tsitsikamma forest. In addition to containing a number of lodges and trails, this area is also host to the world's highest Bungee jump.

Upon leaving Tsitsikamma, the road passes close to Jeffreys Bay, a famous surfing destination with stunning beaches. From Jeffreys Bay it is less than an hour's drive to reach Port Elizabeth, also known as the "Friendly City", and the end of South Africa’s beautiful Garden Route drive.

There is a vast range of Garden Route accommodation available.

Photo by Michael Clarke used under a Creative Commons CC BY-SA license.
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