The Garden Route is a compact stretch of coastline with glassy lagoons, steep dunes, lonely beaches and crashing surf. The Eastern Cape goes up to the border with KwaZulu-Natal and Lesotho and contains a number of excellent game reserves. This region is ideally suited to a self-drive trip.
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Oudtshoorn is home to some outstanding scenery
The Garden Route is one area of South Africa that most people have heard of, even if they are not sure what it is! It is a stretch of coastline, perhaps 300 kilometres long, which is one of the most scenic areas of the country.
Its beauty and accessibility have led to some development, but there are still miles of white-sand beaches, glassy lagoons crossed by low bridges, hillsides covered in vast indigenous forests laced with a network of forest trails.
To get around you have the choice of the N2 highway, which allows you to quickly cover the length of the Garden Route, or a network of beautiful back roads through the forests and over picturesque mountain streams.
Knysna is in the centre of the region, lying on the shore of an attractive lagoon, or you may prefer to base yourself in Wilderness, on top of a sand dune with uninterrupted views of the ocean, or it may be that Plettenberg Bay is more to your taste, perched on a cliff over a sweeping bay populated with iconic surfing dolphins.
Activities range from ocean safaris to journeys on picturesque steam trains and visits to wildlife sanctuaries or eco-ventures.
Close to both the Karoo and the Eastern Cape game reserves, the Garden Route is the hub for many people’s trips to South Africa.
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