Simon’s Town is a popular seaside town nestled on the shores of False Bay and home to the South African Navy. For more than two centuries it has been a naval base and harbor, first for the Royal Navy and now the South African Navy. It is undoubtedly one of the most picturesque parts of Southern Africa, with pristine beaches, lush forests, rivers, valleys and rolling mountains. It stretches from Mossel Bay in the Western Cape, all the way up to Storms River in the extreme Western region of the Eastern Cape. The route includes towns like George, Knysna, Wilderness, Sedgefield and Plettenberg Bay. Only 4-5 hour’s drive from Cape Town it is the perfect self-drive destination with two different route options from Cape Town – the quicker N2 highway or the more scenic Route 62, also known as the World’s Longest Wine Route.
The indigenous forests, home to forest elephants and 700-year-old yellowwoods, lend themselves to meandering hiking trails, mountain biking tracks and long, leisurely drives. Tsitsikamma Forest is a fairyland of bird life and giant trees, and is also home to a canopy tour and zip lining adventure.
The shoreline of the Garden Route is dotted with lagoons, bays and beaches, playing host to water sports, boating, fishing and scuba diving. If that isn’t enough to quench the thirst of water-lovers, there’s always the kayak and lilo adventure at the Storm’s River! This two to three-hour kayak and lilo adventure is a popular activity for good reasons. You’ll get to explore deeper into the hidden world of the Storms River gorge than most people ever do and experience the long, bottomless pools, deep caves and ancient forests with nothing but the quiet noises of nature around you.
And if you haven’t been thrilled enough, the Garden Route is also home to the world’s highest commercial bungee jump. The Bloukrans Bungy is the world’s highest bungee bridge in the world, and is also the highest commercial natural bungee jump in the world. The Bloukrans Bridge is an arch bridge located near Nature’s Valley. Constructed between February 1980 and June 1983, the bridge stands at a height of 216m above the Bloukrans River, spans 272m and is 451m in length in total.
For those with more limited time in South Africa it is also possible to include a safari stay on the Garden Route and these options include Buffeldrift in Oudtshoorn, Botlierskop near Plettenberg Bay, Garden Route Game Lodge and Gondwana Game Reserve near Mossel Bay and Sanbona Wildlife Reserve between Cape Town and Oudtshoorn.
From coastline to inland – one of the most geologically interesting parts of South Africa is the Klein Karoo, with its towering mountains and sheer gorges. Not technically part of the Garden Route, but almost always sold along with the Garden Route as part of a package due to close proximity. An important geological feature is the Cango Caves, a series of caverns and chambers naturally hewn out of limestone, situated outside the city of Oudtshoorn. Oudtshoorn itself, the heart of the ostrich feather industry when it was in its heyday the late 1800s and early 1900s, is well worth a visit.
For all these reasons and more, the Garden Route is an obvious choice for an adventure holiday for the whole family!