There’s no wonder it’s called the Garden Route, when you consider the lush, afro-montane forests, floral landscapes, coastal vegetation, and immense population of terrestrial and marine wildlife. Birds of every colour flit between dangling vines and dash between tree canopies, making the Garden Route a birding destination of note. UNESCO announced in June that this almost 700 000 hectare stretch of South African land is the country’s 9th Biosphere Reserve, cherished for its importance as a tourism region boasting natural excellence in marine, coastal, and terrestrial areas.
The Garden Route stretches across the southeastern coast of the country for 300km, beginning in the Western Cape at Mossel Bay, and ending in the Eastern Cape at Stormsriver. It incorporates the Tsitsikamma, Goukamma, and Robberg Marine protected areas, Wilderness Lake Ramsar site, Garden Route National Park, and two components of the Cape Floral Region Protected Areas World Heritage site: the Nelson Bay Cave and the Langkloof Valley.
Residents and visitors alike make the most of the region’s spectacular natural diversity, enjoying numerous hiking trails, many pristine beaches, forested mountains, and some astonishing and ancient natural history. Some of the biggest and best attractions on the Garden Route include wildlife and nature reserves, animal and bird sanctuaries, wine and fruit farms, multiple-day hiking excursions, and coastal retreats. It is a must-see part of the country when touring South Africa, and is the perfect place to enjoy some top class restaurants or quaint boutique, beachy guesthouses between Cape Town and the Kruger Park.
We’ve got a couple of places to recommend as far as accommodation on the Garden Route goes, and we insist you think twice next time you’re looking at a South Africa itinerary!
1. Oceana Beach and Wildlife Reserve: many have described Oceana Beach and Wildlife Reserve as one of the most beautiful places on earth. Situated near Port Elizabeth in the Eastern Cape, it offers visitors a private sanctuary of pristine beaches, breathtaking views, land and ocean adventures, as well as five star luxuries in service and accommodation.
2. Hog Hollow Country Lodge is a 4-star lodge situated in an area called The Crags at Plettenberg Bay in the Eastern Cape. Situated on the edge of a beautiful indigenous forest in a private nature reserve, the lodge offers magnificent views of the surrounding area, valleys and mountains.
3. Tsala Treetop Lodge is situated deep in the heart of the Garden Route only 10km west of Plettenberg Bay and 20km west of Knysna. Tsala offers luxury accommodation and is the ideal base from which to explore this magnificent and unique region.