Places Of Interest Along The Garden Route South Africa

By Gerald Crawford Stellenbosch

Between Mossel Bay and Storms River, the Garden Route runs parallel to a coastline which features lakes, mountains, golden beaches, cliffs and dense indigenous forests.

From sources high in the Outeniqua and Tsitsikamma Mountains, amber-coloured rivers plunge into an ocean of mercurial moods.

On this enchanting stretch of coast, holiday resorts from the simple to the luxurious cater for fitness fanatics as well as the unashamedly indolent. Secluded coves such as Herolds Bay and Victoria Bay, and the long beaches of Wilderness, Sedgefield and Buffels Bay attract those who enjoy sun, sea and a laid back holiday agenda.

Scheduled flights link George (principal town of the Garden Route) with all the major centers in the country. Surrounded by indigenous forests, the delightful town of George nestles on a coastal plateau at the foot of one of the highest peaks in the Outeniqua mountain range. Knysna has fabulous sea and mountain views and a tranquil lagoon – one of the finest sailing, cruising, swimming and fishing spots in the country.

Connoisseurs claim that Knysna oysters are the most succulent in the world. In addition to golden beaches, Plettenberg Bay features trendy boutiques, affluent holiday homes and jet set hotels. Hikers follow meandering trails through the Garden Route; the rain forests invite long, leisurely drives, while the lakes and rivers lend themselves to swimming, boating and fishing. Capital of the Little Karoo, Oudtshoorn is easily reached over the streamlined Outeniqua Pass. In contrast the lush greenery of the coast, the Little Karoo is a semiarid valley which provides the ideal habitat for ostriches. ‘Feather Palaces’, built at the turn of the century, are reminders of an opulent era when feathers fetched more than their weight in gold.

Cango Caves


Regarded as one of South Africa’s foremost natural wonders, the fascinating calcite caves comprise an underground wonderland of stalactites and stalagmites. Tours are conducted into the caves. A restaurant, curio shop and crche are available at the entrance.


Scenically situated on a coastal plateau at the foot of the Outeniqua Mountains. The George Museum, housed in the old drostdy, includes a splendid collection of Victorian bric-a-brac. Steam enthusiasts should not miss a ride on the Outeniqua Choo-Tjoe, one of the few remaining steam trains in the country. It runs between George and Knysna. Two scenic passes, the Outeniqua and Montagu, link George to the interior.

Jeffrey’s Bay

A popular holiday resort, especially among surfers. The almost rock-free coastline is noted for its shells. the local library also houses a fine collection of sea shells.


This well-known holiday resort on the Garden Route was established by George Rex, reputedly the son of George III. The town lies on the Knysna Lagoon, the mouth of which is guarded by two promontories known as The Heads. The lagoon is an excellent venue for water sports and pleasure and cabin cruises are available. Other attractions include the Featherbed Nature Reserve and the Millwood House Museum. Vast tracts of indigenous forests occur around Knysna.


A spectacular 2-km gorge through the Swartberg Range. A feature of these mountains is the dramatic folding of the sandstone strate which is clearly visible in the towering cliffs flanking the road.

Mossel Bay

Site of the first landfall made by the Portuguese explorer Batholomeu Diaz in 1488 and today a popular holiday resort with fine beaches and much else to offer the tourist. The Batholomeu Diaz Museum Complex comprises historical, maritime and shell museums. Launch trips are offered to nearby Seal Island with its noisy population of some 2,000 seals as well as gannets and cormorants.

Nature’s Valley

Mainly a village of private holiday homes in beautiful surroundings with a long stretch of beach.


Known as the ‘Feather Capital’ of the world because of the large ostrich industry in the area. Attractions include two ostrich show farms Highgate and Safari and Arbeidsgenot, the home of poet and write CJ Langenhoven which is preserved as a museum. The CP Nel Museum in town is also worth visiting. At the Cango Crocodile Ranch and Cheetah land, besides crocodiles cheetahs and a snake park, lions, pumas and jaguars can be viewed.

About the Author: Gerald Crawford: born in South Africa, studied electronics, telecommunication, eco-travel and african travel concepts. He taught responsible tourism in South Africa and the United Kingdom. If you have any questions or comments please e-mail me on. E-mail Address: Website Address:


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