Suspension bridge, Storms River Mouth National park, Tsitsikamma
Africa South Africa

Ultimate Garden Route itinerary written by locals

The Garden Route is probably one of the most popular destinations in South Africa for both locals and foreigners and it absolutely deserves to be. This is one of the areas with a lot to offer any traveler; it’s a perfect place for a South African honeymoon trip, a great option for a long weekend getaway, an amazing place for a family holiday. There are enough adventure activities to attract outdoor lovers and adrenaline junkies. In fact, there are so many things to do on the Garden Route that you can travel it again and again and every time discover something new.

Out of many road trips we’ve done the Garden Route is our favorite and a must include in your South Africa itinerary. If you want to enjoy short driving days, stay in beautiful places, do different outdoor activities and relax in nature –  Garden Route self-drive trip is your perfect choice! We’ve done this trip more than once, every time staying in different places, doing different things, this itinerary is a quintessence of our Garden Route experience. In this guide you’ll find; highlights, top things to do, a perfect travel itinerary and some great places for camping on the Garden Route.

Garden Route South Africa

Our Garden Route itinerary; Cape Town – Swellendam – Heidelberg – Mossel Bay – Oudtshoorn (optional) – George – Wilderness – Sedgefield – Knysna – Diepwalle Camping Decks – Plettenberg Bay – Nature’s Valley – Bloukrans bridge – Storms River Mouth park – Stormsrivier.

Practical information for the Garden Route holiday

The Garden Route officially starts in Mossel Bay and finishes in Stormsrivier. Total distance – 300km.

This is a 7-day Garden Route itinerary but it’s possible to shrink it to 3 or 4 days or stretch it for 10 days or even 2 weeks. Don’t worry you won’t be bored here and you’ll never have too much time to explore the Garden Route.

The best way to explore the Garden Route and Cape Town area is to rent a car, you can do it at Cape Town airport, there are different options and price ranges depending on the car you choose.

It’s possible to travel it by regular Intercape buses or Baz Bus, the second option is safer and more convenient the bus drops you off and picks up right at your hostel/hotel, you can stop at as many places on the route as you wish and stay for as long as you want, it works on hop-on-hop-off principle. For a more comfortable way of exploring the route join a 6-day all-inclusive tour with pick up from your hotel in Cape Town or Stellenbosch, several stops on the Garden Route and safari in Addo National park.

If you start in Cape Town you can extend the route and drive along the coast to Cape Agulhas the Southernmost Tip of Africa or explore inland Route 62.

Power plugs in South Africa are mostly weird type M that is not really used anywhere else we’d recommend bringing a travel adapter plug with.

The most budget accommodation option on the route is camping, there are some awesome campsites on the way. Some of our favorite campsites in South Africa are on the Garden Route. A good thing about camping in South Africa is that you pay per site, which usually fits 6 people, so if you’re a family or a group of friends camping will cost you as little as ZAR50/US$4 pp. average.

Hostels can be found at all main stops on the Garden Route.

Driving follow speed limit signs, especially near and in towns, there might be speed cameras.

Restaurants and shops in small towns are usually closed on Sundays.

If you’re a temporary resident in South Africa take a document proving it you pay local entrance fees, which are half or even less than international.

All roads are tarred no need to rent a 4×4 you can drive with any car.

Travel insurance for South Africa

Traveling often involves different risks from a flight delay or cancellation to medical emergencies and baggage loss. It’s always advisable to have travel insurance that will cover you in case if something goes wrong especially if you venture to a far away country like South Africa and are planning to travel around the country and do extreme activities like shark diving, bungee jumping, paragliding or just visiting safari parks. Theft or robbery is another important reason to get travel insurance for your South African trip, let your travel company worry about while you enjoy the beauty of Southern Africa. 

Suggested South Africa tours and activities

Garden Route cost

Accommodation. Camping – from ZAR200/US$15 per site (6 people); a bed in a dormitory – from ZAR170/US$12 pp; double room – from ZAR500/US$37.

Petrol. Depending on how many detours you take +/- ZAR600/US$44 only for the Garden Route stretch (300km), from Mossel Bay to Stormsrivier.

Car rental. We drove in our own car so it wasn’t a part of our expenses. For this trip you don’t need a 4×4, any car will be fine. The cheapest option is to rent a small car like Kia Picanto it’ll cost you US$75 for 7 days or just over US$10 per day. For a more comfortable and spacious ride, I’d recommend renting Volkswagen Polo Toyota Corolla,  etc. one of these will cost about US$100 for a week.

Entrance fees. Cango Caves; from ZAR110/US$8 pp for a tour. Wilderness National park; ZAR40 – South African, ZAR80 – SADC countries, ZAR130/US$10 – international. Garden Route National park (Knysna section); ZAR32 – South Africans, ZAR64 – SADC countries, ZAR138/US$10 – foreigners. Robberg Nature Reserve; ZAR40/US$3 – for everybodyStorms River Mouth National parkZAR54 – South Africans, ZAR108 – SADC countries, ZAR216/US$16 – foreigners. Fees for children (7 years+) are half price.

Food. If you camp or stay in hostels cooking is the cheapest option, can get away for as little as ZAR150/US$11 pp. per day, unless you braai (BBQ) a lot then it gets more expensive. Eating out anything from ZAR34/US$2,5 for breakfast (eggs & bacon) with coffee at Spur; ZAR80-90/US$6 for pizza or burger with chips to ZAR200/US$15 pp. for a meal in a nice restaurant.

Activities. We’d suggest to save on other things and to spend more on these, they are the memories that will stay with you for a long time. Sky diving in Mossel Bay – ZAR2500/US$186; shark cage diving in Mossel Bay – ZAR1750/US$130; tandem paragliding in Wilderness – ZAR750/US$55; diving with seals in Plettenberg Bay – ZAR550/US$40; canyoning in Plett – ZAR750/US$55; Whale watching in Plett – ZAR750/US$55 adults, ZAR400/US$30 children; Bloukrans bungee jump – ZAR950/US$70;  lilo and kayaking in Storms River – ZAR550/US$40; Tsitsikamma canopy tour – ZAR650/US$48.

Stunning beauty of the Garden Route.
The stunning beauty of the Garden Route.

Best time to travel the Garden Route

Rain. South African spring and summer (October – April) is the best time to travel the Garden Route. The area is considered to be one of the richest rainfall regions. The Western part of the Route has more rainfall in winter like Cape Town, Tsitsikamma area has more rainfalls in summer, like Port Elizabeth. Basically, on the Garden Route, it can rain at any time.

Temperature. Summer months (October to March) are nice and warm it rarely gets as hot as in Cape Town or Swellendam, avg. daily temperature +24°C-30°C. Spring and fall (September, April, May) are cooler +17°C-23°C. Winter months (June – August) between +16°C-20°C.

Dolphins at Storms River Mouth National park, Tsitsikamma
Dolphins at Storms River Mouth National park, Tsitsikamma

Garden Route highlights

Hermanus – a coastal town on the way from Cape Town to the Garden Route, a nice stop; beautiful sea views, nice seafood restaurants, a relaxed vibe, and several water activities.

Mossel Bay – a nice town with some cool things to do, a couple of nice restaurants, good surfing and nice beaches.

Cango Caves, Oudtshoorn – a system of caves and tunnels.

Ostrich farm, Oudtshoorn.

7 Passes Drive (George), an old road that connected George and Knysna, with a couple of bridges and narrow passes through the canyon.

Wilderness – a small cute town with many guest houses, restaurants, and a couple of paragliding schools.

Ebb & Flow, Wilderness National park – a great place for camping at the river bank, with several hiking trails and kayak rental. Day visitors are allowed.

Sedgefield – cozy beach town with long white sand and a usually empty beach, many accommodation options, a couple of restaurants and bars. Great place for chilling, running on the beach, swimming or SUPing around.

Knysna – a beautiful town at the lagoon, with some great lookout points, restaurants, water activities (kayaking, boat tours).

Diepwalle, Garden Route National park, Knysna section – hidden forest paradise, 20min. drive from Knysna with great wooden camping decks in the forest, three hiking trails, a community coffee shop.

Plettenberg Bay – a beach town and an adventure capital of the Garden Route; canyoning, diving, hiking, snorkeling, body boarding, canopy tours everything to keep you busy for a couple of days.

Storms River National park – our favorite national park on the Garden Route; beautiful scenery, rocky cliffs, suspension bridges, lush green mountains, many hiking trails.

Stormsrivier village – a very small and cozy village with many guest houses, hotels, hostels, restaurants, coffee shops, and Tsitsikamma canopy tour.

Myoli Beach, Sedgfield
Myoli Beach, Sedgefield

Top things to do on the Garden Route

There are many activities in every single town and park, these are only the best and most highly recommended activities on the Garden Route. We’ve done all of them except Canopy Tour in Stormsrivier, skydiving in Mossel Bay and horse riding in Plettenberg Bay, these are still on our list.

Marine Big 5 safari in Gansbaai (Hermanus) – kick off your Garden Route trip with observing incredible marine life of the region; whales sharks, seals, penguins, dolphins, and many seabirds.

Shark cage diving in Gansbaai (Hermanus) – an unforgettable experience of watching sharks (including the great white) from close by.

Hiking the St.Blaze trail in Mossel Bay. A beautiful 14km hike (one way) along the coast from St.Blaze Cave to Dana Bay.

Tandem paragliding in Wilderness. Great experience with stunning views.

Canyoning in Wilderness, a fun adventure day in a stunningly beautiful place.

Sailing to the Heads in Knysna. Go out on a cruise along rigged coast to get closer to the caves and bays of Knysna Heads.

Explore Knysna on the electric bike, enjoy this town while riding this effortless and environmentally friendly bike.

Harkerville Coastal Trail hike near Knysna. Explore the beautiful coastal line of the Garden Route during the 2-day hike, stay in forest huts and enjoy the tranquility of the area.

Diving with seals with Pro Dive in Plettenberg Bay. An incredible experience, we’ve never seen  so many seals playing in the water before, it was very exciting.

Shark and seal adventure in Robberg Nature Reserve, Plettenberg Bay.

Freediving marine safari near Plettenberg Bay, during the trip you get a chance to snorkel or free dive to spot dolphins, seals, and other marine animals.

Hiking in Robberg Nature reserve, Plettenberg Bay. Several hiking trails from 2km to 9km. Absolutely beautiful area, stunning views, here you can see seals, dolphins and in season (September – December) even Southern Right whales.

3-hour horse riding tour through the forest, vineyards and tea plantations at the foot of the Tsitsikamma Mountains with stunning scenery.

Whale watching boat tour, Plettenberg Bay. Great chance to see Southern Right whales from close by. You can do a 4-day Cape Town – Plettenberg Bay whale watching tour with several stops at the best whale watching spots in the area.

Canyoning, cliff jumping and zip lining in the Crags, Plettenberg Bay. A fun 4-hour tour through the beautiful canyon exciting but not hectic.

Safari in the game reserve, Plettenberg Bay. Spot the African Big 5 (elephant, rhino, lion, leopard, and buffalo) and many other animals (giraffe, zebra, hippo, crocodiles, etc.) during a 2-hour game drive.

Visit cheetahs in Tenikwa Wildlife Awareness Centre, the Crags. During the tour, you’ll get a chance to see cheetahs, do a guided tour through the indigenous forest, get to know about South African wild cats and to learn about the work of the rehabilitation center.

Bloukrans bridge bungee jump, Tsitsikamma. For adrenaline seekers it’s a must stop on the Garden Route, the highest bungee bridge in the world, even if you don’t jump come here just for photos, it’s free.

Hiking famous Otter Trail, Tsitsikamma. One of the most beautiful and scenic hiking trails in the world; dramatic coastline, white-sand beaches, hidden overnight huts, waterfalls, and rivers. Plus chances to spot some animals.

Lilo and Kayaking in Storms River Gorge, Tsitsikamma. This is an adventure is for anybody and a great way to see the beautiful gorge and to enjoy swimming in quiet pools and hiking through the indigenous forest.

Canopy tours in Stormsrivier. Suitable for children and adults, one of the oldest canopy tours in South Africa will take you through Tsitsikamma indigenous forest with some trees more than 700 years old.

Quadbike tour in Tsitsikamma – a fun way to spend two hours exploring the forest on a quad bike.

You can do a 5-day Garden Route adventure tour from Cape Town that offers a great combination of adventure activities and comfortable lodging.

Camping on the Garden Route

The area is a real paradise for camping lovers, awesome campsites are one of the reasons we enjoyed the Garden Route self-drive trip so much. Here are our top Garden Route campsites.

Ebb & Flow campsite, Wilderness. Beautiful camping spots inside Wilderness National park, at the river bank, grassy area, great facilities, safe and well-maintained, a great place for family and group camping. Activities; kayaking, hiking, swimming, fishing, SUPing. Price from ZAR200/US$15 per site. 6 people max. Cabins and chalets are available.

Campsite facilities

    • Hot water shower – yes
    • Flush toilets – yes
    • Electricity – yes
    • Power outlets – yes, at more expensive sites. 
    • Braai place – yes
  • Cell phone reception – yes
  • Other – kitchen with water boiler and electric stove, washing machines.
Camping at Ebb & Flow campsite on the Garden Route
Ebb & Flow campsite, Wilderness, Garden Route

Diepwalle camping decks, Garden Route National park, Knysna section, Wooden decks built in the forest with fireplace, covered bar area, ablution blocks. Not opt for group camping more for a family or romantic holiday, an absolutely beautiful and peaceful place. At night time there are many fireflies in the forest. Price ZAR200/US$15 per site, 4 people max. Tented decks and chalets are available.

Campsite facilities

    • Hot water shower – yes.
    • Flush toilets – yes.
    • Electricity – yes.
    • Power outlets – yes. 
    • Braai place – yes.
  • Cell phone reception – yes, week signal at ablution complex.
  • Other – kitchenette, washing lines.
Diepwalle camping deck, Knysna, Garden Route National park
Diepwalle camping deck, Knysna, Garden Route National park

De Vasselot campsite, Nature’s Valley. Very quiet place in the forest, at the river bank, 10min. walk from Nature’s Valley beach and the sea. The river is nice for swimming, kayaks are available at the campsite, there are several short hiking trails. The only not nice thing about this place is monkeys, they are terrible when they see food. Price from ZAR205/US$15 per site, max 6 people. Forest huts are available.

Campsite facilities

    • Hot water shower – yes.
    • Flush toilets – yes.
    • Electricity – yes.
    • Power outlets – no. 
    • Braai place – yes.
  • Cell phone reception – yes.
  • Other – kitchenette, washing machines.

Storms River Mouth rest camp, Tsitsikamma. Camping at the sea, eat dinner enjoying beautiful sunsets, spotting whales and dolphins while having breakfast. Great location, good facilities, a great place for camping with friends and family. Many things to do around; hiking, kayaking, snorkeling, swimming. Price from ZAR300/US$22 per site, 6 people max. Chalets are available.

Campsite facilities

    • Hot water shower – yes.
    • Flush toilets – yes.
    • Electricity – yes.
    • Power outlets – yes, at more expensive sites. 
    • Braai place – yes.
  • Cell phone reception – yes.
  • Other – kitchen with water boiler and electric stove, washing machines.
Storms River Mouth rest camp, Tsitsikamma.
Storms River Mouth rest camp, Tsitsikamma. One of our favorite campsites on the Garden Route

Ultimate Garden Route itinerary

We spend two nights in Mossel Bay and Plettenberg Bay because there are many activities to do in the area if you’re not planning to do any of them you can rather stay longer in Knysna, Sedgefield or Stormsrivier. This trip is a combination of camping and staying in hotels/hostels there are some great campsites on the way. If you prefer more comfort stay or if you do not have camping gear no worries hotels and guest houses can be found everywhere on the Garden Route.

Day 1. Cape Town – Swellendam – Mossel Bay, 386km

If you start driving from Cape Town early morning you’ll be in Mossel Bay before lunchtime which gives you some time to explore the town. As we already mentioned instead of driving from Cape Town in one go you can take your time and do a couple of stops on the way or maybe even combine this trip with Cape Town to Cape Agulhas drive. Swellendam is about halfway between Cape Town and Mossel Bay many people stop here for a night. It’s a nice town but it gets very hot in summer; January – February between +35°C and +40°C.

As an option, you can drive inland on Route 62 and stop on the way in Stellenbosch or Franschhoek and taste the best South African wines.

Mossel Bay restaurants

We really liked Delfinos at the Point, always busy, at the beach, nice vibe especially at night time, big food and drinks menu, their pizzas are great, a good place to come for dinner on the first day of the Garden Route holiday.

For seafood and fish Cafe Gannet is a good option; fresh oysters, black mussels, fish are delivered daily right from the harbor. Perfect place for a romantic dinner for seafood lovers.

Meat and BBQ lovers will enjoy lunch at Kaai 4 Braai beach restaurant; unique decor, traditional South African food (mostly meat), great vibe, delicious food.

Mossel Bay accommodation

You can find some really budget places for a half of a price compare to the majority of hostels/hotels in the town but keep in mind the location, often it’s not the best neighborhood, far from all the attractions and a bit dodgy. Rather pay a standard price and stay in a good area.

Mile Crunchers Backpackers is a good budget option to stay, the location is awesome; close to Diaz Museum, harbor, beach, surfing spots, restaurants, and bars. The place is nice, with inside lounge area, kitchen, included breakfast, etc. They have dormitories and private rooms. The hostel is clean,  safe, the staff is helpful.

If you want something special and at the same time budget why not to stay in a train-hotel? Santos Express is an old train turned into a hotel, located right at the beach, close to the city center, with insider restaurant and bar. Don’t expect rooms being spacious!

For more luxury stay Lavandula Manor hotel is a great option; stunning view from the terrace, outside swimming pool, big breakfast, impeccably clean rooms, lovely garden and very helpful staff.

Beautiful sunset in Mossel Bay
Beautiful sunset in Mossel Bay

Day 2. Mossel Bay

As we already mentioned above we stayed here for two nights and really liked it but if you’re not planning to do any activities here one night may be enough.

Things to do in Mossel Bay

Hiking St.Blaze trail, a 14km trail along the coast, starts at Bushman Cave finishes at Dana Bay. There is no entrance fee but you have to sign in at Golf Estate checkpoint as the trail goes through its land. To get back to Mossel Bay you’ll need a taxi, it costs ZAR150/US$11, it’s better to ask for a taxi number at your hotel/hostel. The hike can be down both ways.

Visit Point of Human Origins Cave – a famous archaeological site with early evidence of modern human behavior. It’s a guided activity, the cave is located on the St.Blaze trail you can combine both. Phone for booking +27(0)79 640 0004.

Skydiving. One of the most adrenaline pumping activities, Mossel Bay is a great spot; the highest tandem skydive in Africa, beautiful scenery, good weather conditions, professional team. Price from ZAR2800/US$208 pp.

Shark cage diving. Probably one of the best places in South Africa for this activity. Price ZAR1750/US$130 pp.

Visit Dias Museum to find out more about the town’s history and take photos of the famous Post Office Tree. Entrance fee ZAR20/US$1,5.

Surfing. There is a nice point break at the Point, though you need to be experienced to surf here. You can take a lesson or rent a board at a surf school at Diaz Beach.

Drinking good coffee, eating delicious dessert and enjoying nice vibes in Blue Shed Coffee Roastery.

Chilling on the beach. The main beaches in the town; Santos Beach, Diaz Beach, Great Brak River Beach.

Stunning view on St.Blaze hiking trail, Mossel Bay
Stunning view on the St.Blaze hiking trail, Mossel Bay.

Day 3. Mossel Bay – (Oudtshoorn) – George – Wilderness/Sedgefield, 60km (165km)

Cango Caves and Ostrich Farm, Oudtshoorn

It’s up to you to keep driving along the coast past George to Wilderness or take a detour and go to Oudtshoorn, about 160 km return. The main attraction there is Cango Caves, an impressive system of caves and tunnels. Some caves are huge with many stalactites and stalagmites and other strange rock formations, some are small. The most exciting one is the last cave to access it you go through a very narrow tunnel more like a den. If you’re a big person or scared of closed spaces rather skip the last part. Exploring the cave is lots of fun if you have time why not to do a loop and come here for a day, especially if you travel with children. Tours from ZAR110/US$8 adults, ZAR65/US$5 children.

Cango Caves, Oudtshoorn
Cango Caves, Oudtshoorn

Visit the famous ostrich farm in Oudtshoorn can be interesting for children as well, here you can do a game drive, visit a workshop and a factory, watch ostrich race and have lunch in a restaurant. Tours from ZAR170/US$12 adults, ZAR110/US$8 children. If your time is limited or crawling through tunnels and watching ostriches don’t excite you too much rather skip it and stick to the coastal route.

George and 7 Passes

George is the biggest town on the Garden Route, we never stop here for a night, it’s a good place for food shopping since your options are rather limited in Wilderness and Sedgefield. From George, you can continue driving on N2 along the coast or go a bit inland and drive through Seven Passes, an old road that connects George with Knysna. The drive is beautiful but we’d suggest not to drive Seven Passes all the way, only drive through the first two passes and at the end of the tar road turn right towards Wilderness and go back to the coastal route. The gravel road on the Seven Passes is nice but the coastal drive is definitely more impressive.

Driving through 7 Passes, George. Garden Route itinerary
Driving through 7 Passes, George.

Things to do in Wilderness

We love this small town and surroundings; lush green mountains, long beaches, a peaceful and beautiful area with quite a few things to do and to see.

Hiking the Outeniqua trail – a 6-day hutted hike in the Garden Route National park.

Walking one of the day hiking trails; there are five trails in the Wilderness Ebb & Flow National park, from 3km to 10km. The Giant Kingfisher trail to a waterfall is our favorite. To get a great view over the area go to the viewpoint, the climb is quite steep and long. Park entrance fee ZAR40 – South African, ZAR80 – SADC countries, ZAR130/US$10 – international. Children pay half. Opened; daily from 7 am to 5 pm.

Canoeing on the Touw river and some small lakes nearby, kayak rental is available in the park – ZAR80/US$6, 2 hours.

Paragliding – the area is quite famous for it, there are a couple of schools and gear rental places around Wilderness. You can do a tandem flight – ZAR750/US$55 pp., do a course or rent gear here.

Water-skiing, fishing, windsurfing in Island Lake Holiday resort.

Drinking coffee. We’re big coffee junkies and every time we find a cool coffee shop we can’t stop talking about it. There is one in Wilderness the Green Shed Roastery same owners as Blue Shed in Mossel Bay. A small wooden shack with a funky design, coffee beans from all around the world and delicious desserts, their chocolate cheesecake is the winner!

Green Shed Coffee Roastery, Wilderness
Green Shed Coffee Roastery, Wilderness

Wilderness restaurants

Though the town is quite small there are quite a few restaurants here; Pomodoro Italian restaurant  – a great variety of Italian food, platters, local wines, cocktails, and desserts. Bongo’s Pizzeria and Bar – great pizza, nice vibe, closed on Mondays. BITE Wilderness – good burgers, wraps, sausages, and craft beer.

Wilderness and Sedgefield accommodation

We camped at Ebb & Flow in Wilderness National park, an amazing and beautiful place. There are several hiking trails, kayak and paddle board rental in the park. If camping is not an option for you there are plenty of cozy and not crazy expensive accommodation options in Wilderness.

As an option, you can keep driving to Sedgefield, which is only 23km away and stay somewhere close to the beach. We stayed in both towns and it’s difficult to say which one is better; the beach in Sedgefield is very nice; long white sand beach great for running and SUPing in the lagoon when it’s not too windy. If you happen to be here on Saturday morning check out Wild Oats farmers’ market.

Nice budget option in Wilderness The Wild Farm backpackers, ZAR160/US$14 per bed. Located in a beautiful area with a great view, outside pool, included breakfast, wi-fi, great for solo travelers.

Afrovibe Adventure lodge in Sedgefield right at Myoli Beach, ZAR160/US$14 per bed. Great vibe, perfect location, neat and clean.

If you want to stay right at the beach choose Wilderness Beach Resort, great location, sea view, good breakfast, wi-fi, very helpful owners. A great place for a romantic holiday or family trip. Double rooms from ZAR1000/US$86

There are many accommodation options in Sedgefield from B&Bs to guest houses and hotels, check HERE to find a perfect place for you.

View over Ebb & Flow campsite from the look out on the waterfall trail.
View over Ebb & Flow campsite from the lookout on the waterfall trail.

Day 4. Wilderness – Sedgefield – Knysna, 50km

Enjoyable drive along the coast with some beautiful views. We were worried a bit about Knysna after the big fire of 2017, on the way driving we did see patches of burned forest. We found Knysna looking exactly the same the previous time we were here. For many travelers, Knysna is one of their main Garden Route highlights.

Things to do in Knysna

    • Drive up to Knysna Heads for a stunning view over the area.
    • Diving with seahorses though last they are pretty scarce.
    • Drive to Noetzie castle,  castle-like houses on the beach; fantastic area, beautiful empty beach.
    • Hiking in Diepwalle, Knysna section of the Garden Route National park, there are three hiking trails 7km, 8km, and 9km, as well as a small museum and a coffee shop.
    • Speed boat trip in the Knysna lagoon exploring the beautiful coastline. From ZAR500 pp.
  • Enjoy delicious food and good wine in one of the restaurants, there are many for different budget and taste.

Knysna accommodation

We camped at Diepwalle camping decks, it’s a different level of camping; spacious wooden decks hidden in the forest with roofed bar, fireplace, good ablution complex.

Amanzi Island lodge – an exceptional place with a stunning view over the lagoon, 3 min. walk to the beach. The hotel boasts outside the swimming pool and beautiful patio. The rooms have all you can need for a perfect stay; AC, wi-fi, satellite TV, mini-bar, etc. Guests can use canoes and bikes. Big continental breakfast is included. Double rooms from ZAR1935/US$167.

There are many accommodation options for different budgets from backpackers to fancy hotels, check HERE to find the best and suitable accommodation. 

Noetzie castle, Knysna
Noetzie castle, Knysna

Day 5. Knysna – Plettenberg Bay, 32km

On the way stop at Harkerville forest to walk in the famous Garden of Eden, a very easy and short walk, 1km, on a wooden path in a beautiful Knysna forest can be a nice picnic stop on the way. Entrance fee; ZAR12 adults, ZAR7 children. There are a couple of more interesting stops on the way, especially if you travel with children. Knysna Elephant park – elephant safaris and walk, ZAR290/US$21 adults, ZAR120/US$9 children. Garden Route Wolf sanctuary – self-guided walk through the park where you can observe wolves and get to know more about these beautiful animals. Entrance ZAR100/US$7 adults, ZAR75/US$5 children.

Plettenberg Bay or Plett is a nice beach town with many B&Bs, hotels and guest houses, a popular place for South Africans to come for the Christmas holiday. The main beach is nice for swimming and tanning, there are quite a few things to do in and around the town.

Accommodation in Plett

Nothando Backpackers Lodge is a good budget option, located 15min. walk from the beach, close to the mall, nice and safe place, great staff, kitchen, bar, inside parking.

If you prefer to stay outside the town, in a quiet place surrounded by forest, African Array Backpackers lodge is a great place. Located on the top of the hill with stunning views over the mountains and sea it offers different accommodation options from dormitories to double and family rooms (sleep 6).

If you’re looking for something more comfortable and luxury Ocean Watch Guest House is a great option. Situated 10 minutes walk from the beach this place is perfect for a romantic getaway or a family holiday. Beautifully decorated comfortable rooms,  outside swimming pool, very good breakfast, impeccable service – all you need to enjoy your stay in Plett.

Hundreds of seals on the water and on the rocks at Robberg Nature Reserve, Plettenberg Bay.
Hundreds of seals on the water and on the rocks at Robberg Nature Reserve, Plettenberg Bay.

Day 6. Plettenberg Bay

If you’re willing to do any of the activities you’ll need at least two days in Plett, we spent here three nights, were quite busy every day and still haven’t done everything we’d like to do.

Things to do in Plett

It’s a real adventure capital of the Garden Route there are tons of thrilling and exciting activities to do in Plett.

Diving with seals with Pro Dive Plett. It was a fun and easy morning dive with many seals playing in the water around us. The dive is only 5m deep and 20min. long, the area is protected and it’s the maximum time you allowed to interact with seals here. As we descended seals immediately surrounded us, they were swimming around, playing with bubbles and with each other. Price – ZAR550/US$40 pp.

Canyoning with AfriCanyon. A great day of jumping, climbing and swimming in a beautiful canyon, not a very extreme but fun adventure. The guides are very professional and entertaining they’ll make sure you’re safe and happy. Price – ZAR750/US$55 pp.

Horseback riding in Hog Hollow Private Nature reserve.

MTB in Buffalo Hills Nature Reserve. A relatively easy 14km trail through the reserve takes about 1,5-2 hours to complete.

Hiking in Robberg Nature Reserve. There are several hiking trails from 30min. walk to 4-hour hike around the peninsula. Stunning scenery, many seals, beautiful beaches, chances to spot dolphins and whales. Entrance fee; ZAR40 adults, ZAR20 children.

Whale watching boat tour. Not to miss a chance to encounter with these beautiful giants from August to December Southern Right Whales are in the area, dolphins and seals can be seen on a tour as well. 1,5-2 hours, ZAR750/US$55 adults, ZAR400/US$30 children.

Go to Keurbooms beach, the best and less crowded beach in Plett, swim, walk around, have a drink in one of the local bars.

For travelers with children, Adventure Land is a great outdoor place; swimming pools, slides, super tubes on a 24-hectare area. Entrance fee ZAR145/US$11 pp.

Alya abseiling down the waterfall, Plettenberg Bay
Alya abseiling down the waterfall, Plettenberg Bay

Day 7. Plettenberg Bay – The Crags – Nature’s Valley – Bloukrans bridge – Storms River Mouth National park/Stormsrivier, 75km

This is one of our favorite drive days on the Garden Route road trip. You drive through a couple of stunning bridges over the narrow deep canyons, including the famous Bloukrans bridge with the highest bridge bungee jump in the world. A couple of nice beach towns on the way; Keurboomstrand and Nature’s Valley. If you turn from N2 to R102 that leads to Nature’s Valley you drive through beautiful Grootrivier Pass. If you like birds you’ll enjoy Birds of Eden – a bird sanctuary home to 220 different types of birds, more than 3500 birds living here. Entrance fee; ZAR230/US$17 adults, ZAR115/US$8 children.

Bloukrans bridge bungee jump

It’s 100% worth of money, it’s the most adrenaline activity you can do on the Garden Route with incredible scenery. The free fall is quite fast, 3 sec. max but it’s enough to make you super excited and agitated. I’m sure you can do it over and over and every time your heart will beat like crazy. For those who don’t feel like jumping but want to get some adrenaline, there is a bridge walking tour to the bungee jump base and back. Bungee jump – ZAR950/US$70 pp, bridge walk – ZAR120/US$8 pp.

Bloukrans bungee jump bridge, Tsitsikamma
Bloukrans bungee jump bridge, Tsitsikamma

Things to do in Storms River Mouth park

A very popular park with many tourists coming every day through the main parking area gets very busy if you go a bit further you’ll find almost no people. Storms River mouth is one of our favorite Garden Route attractions; a beautiful place with a lot to do. Entrance fee; South Africans and residents – ZAR54, SADC countries – ZAR108, foreigners – ZAR216/US$16. Children pay half price. Opened daily from 6 am to 7.30 pm.

Otter trail – a 5-day hike along the coast, considered to be one of the most scenic hikes in the world. Though you need to book it quite beforehand check availability on arrival you might be lucky to get an open spot in a day or two, as we were.

Tsitsikamma trail – a 6-day hike, unlike the Otter trail this trail goes inland through a mountainous area with a couple of natural pool and waterfalls on the way. We haven’t done this one yet but are aiming to do in the nearest future.

Stunning scenery on the Otter Trail, Tsitsikamma
Stunning scenery on the Otter Trail, Tsitsikamma

Suspension bridges – two beautiful bridges across the river mouth with great views of the canyon.

Viewpoint, after the last bridge there is a trail that climbs up all the way to the viewpoint, the view from there is stunning, about 2 hours return.

Waterfall hike, the trail starts at the caravan park, goes along the coast to the waterfall and the pool. Takes about 2-3h return. Involves some rock hopping and a little bit of climbing, not suitable for hiking with small children.

There are two more hiking trails through the forest

Lilo and kayaking in the Storms River gorge – 2-3h combined activity with incredible scenery and optional cliff jumping, suitable for any age. Cost ZAR550/US$41 pp.

Snorkeling trail – it used to be marked not anymore, it starts at office and continues along the coast towards suspension bridges. Keep in mind water can be quite cold. We saw a lot of fish, starfish, one shy shark, and one sand shark while snorkeling here. Advisable to do only when the sea is calm.

Whale and dolphin watching – the season for Southern Right whales between September and December, dolphins can be spotted all year around.

There is a big restaurant inside the park, a shop and braai places for day visitors.

Suspension bridges and Storms River from the view point, Storms River Mouth National park, Tsitsikamma
Suspension bridges and Storms River from the viewpoint, Storms River Mouth National park, Tsitsikamma

Stormsrivier and the Crags accommodation

As for accommodation options for the day, we camped at Storms River Mouth and at De Vasselot campsite in Nature’s Valley, both places are great though the first one is right at the sea, the second is at the river bank. If you prefer to stay in a hotel or hostel there are plenty of options in the area.

Tube ‘n Axe Boutique lodge backpackers and camping – an awesome place in Stormsrivier village; great vibe, bar, restaurants, swimming pool, activities booking, different accommodation options (camping, dormitory, private rooms). A perfect place for a single traveler or a group of friends.

We really liked Rocky Road backpackers 15km from Nature’s Valley. Big and beautiful place, stunning garden, great staff, different accommodation options; double rooms, luxury tents or camping.

If you want to relax in a nice and quiet place African Crags Ecolodge; comfortable rooms with stunning views over the sea or the mountains, good breakfast, extra large soft beds, helpful staff all you need for a nice and comfortable stay.

For an exquisite stay in Stormsrivier, nothing can beat The Fernery Lodge and Chalets. The stunning location of the hotel, rooms with an incredible view of the waterfall, spacious rooms, delicious breakfast, and impeccable service. Note, the place is so beautiful that you will want to stay longer.

It’s a little bit sad but the Garden Route officially finishes here. You can continue the trip along the coast towards Port Elizabeth and further or drive back to Cape Town.

Handy items to pack for the Garden Route

    • Hoodie/sweater – it gets a bit chilly by the sea at night even in summer.
    • Sunglasses – yes, it can be sunny in the city and if you do any water excursion sunglasses will be quite handy.
  • GoPro Hero7– there are many amazing places and exciting activities on the route make sure you’ll get awesome footage.

Recommended books and guidebooks

Wild Card break-down – how much did we save?

Another road trip with our Couple Wild Card and another great saving during our Garden Route holiday. Note! Wild Card for foreigners is much more expensive and if you’re coming for a short holiday it’s not worth buying it.

    • Ebb & Flow campsite, Wilderness National park – ZAR40 pp.
    • Diepwalle, Knysna – ZAR32 pp.
    • Garden of Eden, Knysna – ZAR12 pp.
    • Robberg Nature Reserve, Plett – ZAR40 pp.
    • De Vasselot park, Nature’s Valley – ZAR48 pp.
  • Storms River Mouth National park – ZAR54 pp.

Total: ZAR452 for two or ZAR226 per person.

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34 Comments

  1. Its simple wow!! a beautifully detailed plan. I have a small question regarding my trip. We (hubby, me and 4 year old son) are planning to visit SA in Nov 2019 (Nov 1 to Nov 9), we will reach SA on 31st oct. We want to do cape town for 2 days for Nov 1st and 2nd and then do the garden route till Port Elizabeth. We will take a flight from PE to J.Berg and want to visit the Pilanesberg NP for 3 days 2 nights.
    Would like your suggestions regarding the planning of cape town and garden route plan.

    • Stingy Nomads

      Hello, Sushma! Thank you for the comment! For two days in Cape Town, I can suggest Table Mountain, Boulder’s Beach, V&A Waterfront, Cape Point, Konstantia wine farms. As for the Garden Route, this whole post is pretty much about what to see and to do in the area so you can choose what you would like to see yourself.
      Safe travels!

  2. saeed Elshenawey

    WOW! You got us (Wife and Husband) really hyped to visit South Africa. Your blog is really beneficial, detailed and shed light on what to expect from our SA trip. Thank you so much for your amazing effort, dedication and helpfulness!
    Actually what we care about the most are the activities, but when we checked the prices online, it was much more expensive than the prices you mentioned above and we’re concerned that the activities we want to try might exceed our budget. Especially Skydiving and bungee jumping and were thinking to put off the whole idea. After reading the above, you gave us some hope again 😀 My question is: Are those the prices of tickets I can buy upon arrival? or do I have to purchase them online in advance? (We’re planning our trip in the beginning of Jan 2020)
    Also, we are planning to rent a car for our trip, do you recommend us to rent it from the airport or is it better to rent from an agency?

    • Stingy Nomads

      Hello, Saeed! Thank you for the comment! The prices in the post a from the last season so they could have changed in a year, usually but not always it’s cheaper to buy tickets directly from the tour operator upon arrival. I’m not sure about skydiving it’s possible you have to book it in advance but with bungee jumping, you can just arrive there and pay at the office. As for car rental, it’s better to rent it at the airport, it’s just easier to move around and from what I’ve seen on the Rental car site it’s not more expensive than renting in the city.
      Safe travels!

  3. Catherine Rimell

    Hi, thank you so much for such an informative post. We are heading to CPT in Feb 2020. I have caused myself a headache with the intense research I have done for this trip and would love your advice. We are looking at around trip doing the garden route, so CPT back to CPT. We have about eleven/twelve (ideally 10-11) days but on day 4, PM we have a safari locked in Albertina till day 6, AM.
    My thoughts were Hermanus/Gaansbaai, (Day 1), Swellendam/Barrydal/Oudshoorn (Day 2), Oudshoorn (Day 3), AM: Mossel Bay/George PM : Safari (Day 4), Safari Albertina (Day 5), AM :Safari Albertina, Wilderness, Knysna (Day 6), Kynsna (Day 7), Kynsna, Plettenberg/ Natures Valley, (Day 8), Nature Valley/Tskikamma National Park (Day 9) , Storms River , ?? (Day 10), ?? day 11, day 12 ??

    Would absolutely appreciate your thoughts and ideas on how to best do this. Ideally we would like to do this in ten days (or even less if we could, so we can go up near the Langebaan area). Thanks so much.

  4. Teresa Glynn

    Greetings from Ireland! Travelling to SA Feb 2020, which route would you suggest we take from Oudtshoorn to Paternoster and could you recommend a place for an over night stay along this route? We will at this stage have completed the Garden Route and want to spend a few nighrs in Paternoster before heading back to Capetown. Many thanks, Teresa.

    • Stingy Nomads

      Hello, Teresa! Ireland is on our bucket list, we would like to do a road trip along the coast, it looks fantastic! I’d suggest taking Route 62 from Oudtshoorn. It’s a nice route through wheat fields and vineyards. Depending on how far you want to drive you can stop in Swellendam, about 220km from Oudtshoorn, it’s a nice town with many guesthouses, tourists often stop there on the way to the Garden Route or in Ceres, 400km from Oudtshoorn, another small town with basically one street, several guesthouses, and restaurants. In Swellendam, it gets very hot in summer, Ceres is located in the mountains it’s always cooler there than in the rest of the area. If you have time you can visit vine farms in Breedevalley on the way, the area is very beautiful, you can visit a couple of places, do some wine tasting or stop for lunch. I can recommend Jason’s Hill or Nuy restaurant (it will be right on the way).
      Safe travels!

  5. Hi, very nice article. Me and my friends are travelling to Capetown in mid of August for 10 days. And we are planning to stay in Capetown for 3 days and 2 days in Port Elizabeth and cover the garden route in 4 days. But I am confused where to stay in Garden Route. Can you please help us in deciding where to stop and how to cover the maximum in 4 days.
    Thanks

    • Stingy Nomads

      Hello, Ritika! Thank you for the comment! As the first day stop I’d suggest Hermanus, it’s not on the Garden Route yet but it’s a nice place by the sea, the drive from Cape Town along the coast to Hermanus is very beautiful and it’s not too far so you’ll have enough time to stop for photos on the way. August is the beginning of the whale season (Southern Right whales) and Hermanus is the best place to see them. On day two I’d suggest stopping in Sedgefield or Wilderness for the night, maybe do some hikes in Ebb & Flow National park (you can stay there as well), enjoy the beach, rent a SUP or kayak. The next day, stop in Knysna just for a couple of hours to see the Knysna Heads, then drive to Plettenberg Bay where you can do snorkeling with seals, hiking in the Robberg Nature Reserve, cage diving with sharks etc. Day four stop in Tsitsikamma National Park, you can stay there (camping or cabins), the area is stunning, many hiking trails, kayaking or lilo in the canyon, etc. On the way you can stop at Bloukrans bridge for bungee jumping, it’s the highest bungee bridge in the world. From Tsitsikamma park to Port Elizabeth is only 180km. I hope it helps!
      Cheers!

  6. Hello, thanks for this very DETAILED article. Amazing. I have a question , I am pretty puzzled. Me and my husband will be arriving in Cape town on September 16 in the evening. We will have 7 days until we take our flight back to Europe on September 23 late in the evening. (in Cape town). as it is our first time in Cape town and south africa, we were thinking to spend 3 days in cape town and then drive the garden route. But because we have to go back to cape town to take our flight back home, what would be the best option: things to visit in 5 days (2 adults, love adventures and to drive back to cape town, or take a flight from George Airport to go back to Cape town to avoid wasting time driving back to cape town. Advices much appreciated -)

    • Stingy Nomads

      Hello, Debby! Thank you for the comment! The drive from George to Cape Town is about 4h30min., the flight is 50min. but giving one hour before the flight you have to be at the airport and the time it’ll take after the landing in Cape Town and getting from the airport to the city it’ll take 3-4 hours which is not that much faster. As an option, if you don’t want to have long driving days and rather spend time doing things you can travel around Cape Town there are many interesting places that will keep you busy for a week. You can drive to Cape Point and do some hiking there. Visit Boulders Beach and see African penguins, do Chapman’s Peak Drive – a scenic route along the coast. Visit Stellenbosch and Franschhoek and do some winetasting there, some wine farms have hiking and cycling routes as well. September is the peak season for Southern right whales Hermanus is one of the best places to watch them, you can do a boat trip and see them from quite close. From Hermanus, you can keep driving along the coast to Cape Agulhas the southernmost point of Africa. There are some private safari parks near Cape Town where you can see African animals and do game drives. I hope it helps! We’ll be happy to help if you have more questions!
      Cheers!

  7. Louise Rogers

    Fabulous article! You may have already answered this, but would love a bit of advice. We are visiting South Africa for the first time in August. We are visiting Cape Town, then driving from Port Elizabeth back to CT, or the other way round. We have 7-8 days. I have 2 boys age 11 & 14 who love being active. What would you definitely include, bearing in mind time of year? We want to visit Addo did our first safari! Any tips gratefully received, Louise

    • Stingy Nomads

      Hello, Louise! Thank you for the comment! I think Cango Caves in Oudtshoorn is one of the children’s favorite places on the Garden Route, it’s away from the coast will have to do a detour but it’s something definitely interesting for kids. Not far from the Caves, there are a couple of ostrich farms where children can ride the birds. Snorkeling with seals in Plettenberg Bay can be fun as well there are many of these guys in the area, they’re very curious and usually, come close. Tsitsikamma National park might be interesting as well there are two long suspension bridges and many short hiking trails if the weather is nice you can spend a day there. Nearby in Wilderness, you can do a zipline canopy tour it’s quite exciting. August is the season for the Southern Right whales you can go on a boat safari to spot these magnificent animals. You can see them in Plettenberg Bay or in Hermanus these two are the best spotting places. Monkeyland Sanctuary near Plettenberg can be interesting and entertaining as well there you can see free-roaming monkeys and lemurs. We like stopping in Sedgefield/Wilderness both towns are nice, close to the beach and there is Ebb & Flow Natural reserve nearby you can rent a cabin or camp inside, there are kayaks and SUP to rent, a couple of hiking trails it’s a very nice spot. I hope it helps.
      Enjoy South Africa!

      • Amazing reply! Thank you so much. I have one more question (sorry!!) as it’s August and likely less warm I was considering instead Durban or Joburg as a starting point…. but then it sounds like there is so much to do around Garden Route that it might be more fun for a family holiday with kids, despite the winter? What do you think? It’s certainly convenient to go from Cape Town. Thanks in advance!

        • Stingy Nomads

          No worries we’re happy to answer our readers’ question! Cape Town and Western Cape Province might be quite rainy in August when Joburg and Durban will be drier and warmer (Durban is the warmest area). If you fly there I’d suggest staying in those areas instead of driving all the way to the Garden Route otherwise you might spend more time driving than doing things. There are big safari parks in both places (famous Kruger Park near Joburg), Blade Canyon and etc. Durban is a good place for diving and snorkeling not sure if you’re into it. I don’t know these areas very well but I’m sure there are things to do that will be interesting for children as well.
          Enjoy your holiday!

  8. Ricky Kiing

    Hello,
    Thank you so much for the sharing and the valuable infor shared & its helpful to me. I will be visiting SA in May 2020 and planning to do a 8 days road trip on my own ( Port Elizabeth to Cape Town) + 2 days Cape Town. For the 1st timer there, do you have any comments where should i stop and stay throughout the road trip? Personally im not very much into beaches but would love to see more of the natures and animals. Once again, Thanks for your sharing and suggestions 🙂

    • Stingy Nomads

      Hello, Ricky! Thank you for the comment! Since you’re coming from PE and want to see animals I’d suggest Addo National park as the first stop on the route, there you can see some African animals including African Big 5 (rhino, lion, elephant, leopard, and buffalo). Definitely stop at Storms River National park, you can stay inside the park in a tent or renting a cabin. There are several day hiking trails along the coast and through the forest, this area is very different from Addo it’s very green, with waterfalls, rivers etc. You can do kayaking tour in Storms River Gorge which offers incredible scenery. If you like water activities I’d suggest to stop in Plettenberg Bay and go snorkeling or diving with seals. It’s possible to do shark cave diving here as well. Definitely visit Knysna Heads but we never stop in Knysna itself but rather in Knysna National park (Diepwalle camping decks). Mossel Bay is another great stop on the route with many activities including hiking St.Blaze Trail. We really like Wilderness in general and Wilderness Ebb & Flow National park in particular, there are a couple of hiking trails, a nice campsite, you can rent a paddle board and go along the river, very peaceful and quiet place. Sedgefield is a very beautiful towns but it’s more of a beach destination – a long sandy beach with not many people. I hope it helps.
      Cheers!

  9. Hi, great blog! Have been reading up on the Garden Route and your blog is so informative-thank you for sharing. We are a family of 4 (2 teens) coming to Cape Town mid December 2019 to early Jan 2020. We have allocated 4 nights max for the garden route. We love hiking, the beach and most outdoor activities. Would appreciate advice on where to spend each night along the route given we will be driving Cape Town return (hoping to get as far as Storms River). Thanks.

    • Stingy Nomads

      Hello, Tammy! Thank you for the comment! If you want to drive all the way from Cape Town to Storms River in 4 days we’d suggest the following itinerary; Day 1 stay in Mosselbay, Day 2 stay in Plett, Day 3 in Storms River, Day 4 Wilderness/Sedgefield and from there drive all the way to Cape Town the next day. This way only your first and last day will be a lot of driving. Many guides suggest Knysna as the main stop on the Garden Route and it’s definitely worth visiting but we, personally, don’t really like staying there. Keep n mind that Christmas is an extremely busy time, book accommodation beforehand and keep in mind if you drive to or back around 23rd-26th or New Year Eve don’t drive along the coast from Cape Town through Hermanus, take inland Route 62 otherwise you’ll be stuck in traffic forever.
      Safe travels!

  10. Thank you for this amazing post! I am travelling the garden route solo end of May-mid June. I bought the Baz Bus ticket from Cape Town to Port Elizabeth 🙂 Though I am super excited, I can’t drive and am unsure of how to get around each place once arriving at the different destinations. I booked this a bit spontaneously without thinking haha, would you happen to know of any websites that do tours within each destination? Or would it be possible to see the sights by walking or using any other forms of transport (public transport within each place).
    Thank you! 🙂

    • Stingy Nomads

      Hello, Natasha! Thank you for your comment! Baz Bus is the easiest way to travel around South Africa if you don’t want to rent a car. The bus stops at several hostels and hotels in different locations. If you want to do a tour e.g. snorkeling, canyoning, diving etc. you can book it from a hostel/hotel you’ll be staying most places offer tour booking service, then a company you do a tour with will pick you up at your hotel, drive you to the spot and after the tour is finished they’ll drive you back. I’m sure you’ll be able to book most of the tours on the Garden Route at the places you’re planning to stay.
      Safe travels and enjoy South Africa!

  11. Hello, first let me thank you for the exhaustivs informations 🙂 Truly appreciate.
    We booked our flight for Cape Town (Arrival : March 8th – Return : March 18th). We will definitely spend some time in Cape Town but we’ve been told 10 days would be a bit too much in the city.
    Thus, we are considering now (a bit late) to split our trip : 4 days in Cape Town, 5 days in the Garden Route and 1 day back to Cape Town .
    May i please ask you what itinary would you recommend for a 4 days trip in the garden route ?
    Can we rent a car in Cape Town and leave it in Port Elizabeth to take a one way flight to cape town ?

    Thank you in advance,

    • Stingy Nomads

      Hello, Amine! Thank you for the comment! 10 days in Cape Town might be too much it depends what kind of activities you want to do here. There are many places around Cape Town that you can visit as a day trip e.g. Stellenbosch, Franschhoek, Hermanus, Muizenberg, Cape Point National park, game reserves etc. If you’d rather stay in one place and spend more time doing things than driving you’ll be able to find what to do in Cape Town. As for the Garden Route there are many beautiful places to stop it depends on what you want to see and to do. Our favorite places on the route are Wilderness Ebb and Flow campsite, Sedgfield (beautiful beach), Natures Valle (a small town with nice beach), Storms River mouth park (there are several hiking routes, beautiful lush green forest, sea, we love camping there or staying in the bungalows). Mossel Bay and Plettenberg are nice towns to stop if you want to do water activities like snorkeling with seals (Plett), diving with sharks (Mossel Bay). There are some nice hiking routes as well St.Blaze trail in Mossel Bay and hike in Robberg Nature reserve in Plett. Knysna is considered to be a must stop on the route but we personally are not big fans of this town. If you travel with children you can go to Oudtshoorn to see the caves, visit cheetah rescue center near Plett or go on a safari drive in one of the game reserves. If you like adventure you will enjoy bungee jumping from Bloukrans bridge. There are tons of places to see and things to do in the Garden Route.
      As for dropping a car in PE I’m sure most of the big rental places offer this option.
      Cheers!

  12. Hello, I liked your blog.
    As we don’t drive, we are considering the Intercape or Hop On Hop Off option.
    Is there another option like this: where we could join a group in their van, share in the cost of the gas and make about 4 stops over 2 days including Plet, Mossel Bay, St. George on Garden Route just for scenic views and coffee stops. Do you know of such a group planning for March 2019 starts from George or Cape Town?

    • Stingy Nomads

      Hello, Ja! Thank you for the comment! We’d recommend to check BazBus they do transfers between Cape Town and George and many other destinations with several stops on the way, it will be probably the best option as their stop at several backpackers and hotels in different cities and towns. Unfortunately we can’t tell you about any group planning this trip in March.
      Cheers!

  13. Rafael Guzmán

    Great post!! I´ll be going on january 2019 and was wondering if all campings have to be booked beforehand or if we can see where to sleep as we go. what would you recommend, we would definetly prefer booking upon arrival but are worried that it will al be full or if prices get higher. what do you think?

    I will be travelling with a friend

    • Stingy Nomads

      Hello, Rafael! Thank you for your comment! It depends when in January you’re going, if after 10th January (the end of school holiday) it’s fine there won’t be many people. We did this trip last year mid January, didn’t book anything in advanced and could always get a spot at the campsites. If you’re going in the beginning of January it’s better to book in advance. Prices are usually the same doesn’t matter if you book a campsite beforehand or pay on arrival. If you need any tips on the trip we’ll be happy to help!
      Cheers!

  14. Great post. We are heading over end of 2019. I’d love to hire a camper van (hubby & 8yr old) for 7days (garden route), but hubby is concerned with our safety due to current political situations in South Africa. We are from Australia, do we really need to do this beautifully stunning road trip on a tour bus?

    • Stingy Nomads

      Hello, Kerri! Thank you for the comment! We’ve done the Garden Route a couple of times, camping with a tent and it never felt dangerous, all the campsites we stayed are quite secured. Many tourists drive this route in rental cars or vans, the main danger is around the big cities like Johannesburg or Cape Town etc. We advise you never to leave any valuable stuff in the car, break ins are common when you leave stuff on the seats. There is a lot of crime in South Africa, but we have done a lot of camping around South Africa and have never had a bad experience. If you have more questions or need some help in planning your trip we’ll be happy to help you!
      Cheers!

  15. One of the most informative posts on the Garden route that I’ve read so far. I’ve booked a trip to SA in April and will do part of the Garden route. I am considering buying a wild card so that was helpful. Now on to your other Sa osts 🙂

    • Stingy Nomads

      Hello, Anki! Thank you for the comment! We’re glad you found our post helpful! I’d suggest to check first the price of Wild Card for foreigners as it’s much more expensive if you’re going to visit two or three National parks buying a Wild Card might be not worth for you. Hope you’ll enjoy South Africa!

  16. Wow!! it should have never finished. Your blog was concise yet so informative and entertaining. We (wife and 4 yr boy) planning this trip. I am novice at camping with family so lets see how it will go. Definitely i will use your blog as a guide.

    Thanks

    Mukul

    • Stingy Nomads

      Hello, Mukul! Thank you very much for the comment! We’re glad your liked the post. There are some amazing campsites on the Garden Route I’m sur you and your family will enjoy this trip!
      Good luck!

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