Activities along the Garden Route
Along the South Coast of South Africa lies one of the most beautiful stretches of coastline in the world, home to the Garden Route National Park. The Garden Route, well known for its scenic routing along the coast in the Western Cape is a very popular destination in South Africa both for those who wish to drive it on their own, or even for the less adventurous. The name comes from the ecologically diverse vegetation encountered along the way as well as the numerous lagoons and lakes dotted along the coast. It includes towns such as Knysna, Oudtshoorn, Plettenberg Bay and Nature’s Valley; with George, the Garden Route’s largest city and home to some well known golf courses.
The Garden Route has an oceanic climate, with mild to warm summers, and mild to cool winters. It has the mildest climate in South Africa and the second mildest climate in the world. Temperatures rarely fall below 10°C in winter and rarely climb beyond 28°C in summer. Rain occurs year-round, with a slight peak in the spring months, brought by the humid sea-winds from the Indian Ocean rising and releasing their precipitation along the Outeniqua and Tsitsikamma Mountains just inland of the coast. The Outeniqua and Tsitsikamma indigenous forests are a unique mixture of Cape Fynbos and Temperate Forest and offer hiking trails and eco-tourism activities. Nearly 300 species of bird life are to be found in a variety of habitats ranging from fynbos to forest to wetlands.
Managed by South African National Parks, the Garden Route hosts a variety of accommodation options, activities and places of interest:
Birkenhead House, Hermanus – With its exhilarating cliff-top position overlooking the whale watching paradise of Walker Bay, Birkenhead House offers the perfect Hermanus luxury accommodation for those seeking an extraordinary seaside experience. From its incredible viewpoint, observe surfers carving through the waves, and for several months each year, witness Southern Right Whales breaching just metres from the shore.
The Turbine Boutique Hotel, Knysna – This exceptional boutique hotel in Knysna is situated on Thesen Island which is considered one of the most the prestigious locations on the Garden Route. The Turbine Hotel and Spa was an ambitious project which transformed the old power station into a unique boutique hotel with a massive wow factor. All the old machinery which was used in this power station has been loving restored and forms an integral part of the hotels’ aesthetics.
The Plettenberg, Plettenberg Bay – Situated in the heart of Plettenberg Bay, along the adventure–rich Garden Route which is an area that is world–renowned for its excellent selection of outdoor activities. From regular dolphin and whale sightings to bungee jumping, treetop canopy tours and other more daring pursuits in the surrounding countryside, The Plettenberg is the ideal place to relax and unwind, recharge and reinvigorate.
Fancourt, George – Manor House, the 150 year-old original Manor House and National Monument set on the 613 hectare Fancourt Estate was meticulously remodelled to create a boutique hotel that offers old-world, new-world and out of this world beauty and elegance. The Manor House offers a unique combination of classic opulence and the indulgent sophistication of a 21’st century boutique hotel.
Activities along the Garden Route:
Whale Watching, Plettenberg Bay – Marine life along the Garden Route is spectacular and of course there are the whales. Take a cruise in the bay and get close to the giants of the ocean. If the whales are feeling friendly, you’ll have the experience of a lifetime.
Kayaking, Plettenberg Bay – Experience kayaking with dolphins or amongst seals. An experienced guide will take you on an unforgettable kayaking trip from Central Beach in Plett to the seal colony in the Robberg Nature Reserve.
Skydiving, Plettenberg Bay – Dive over some of the most scenic drop zones in the world. A 20 minute tandem skydiving flight with a 35 second free fall requires no experience.
Tsitsikamma Treetop Canopy Tours – These eco-tourism tours are the first of their kind in Africa. The tour involves traversing from one platform to the next along a steel cable which is up to 30 metres above the ground. The tour takes approximately 3 hours and offers a fascinating insight into the eco-life of the forest.
Birds of Eden, Plettenberg Bay – As the world’s largest free-flight bird aviary (50m high, covering 23 000 square metres of forest), Birds of Eden houses more than 3 500 birds of more than 280 species, with the main focus being on African birds.
The John Benn, Knysna – The John Benn is a fully enclosed luxury ferry which offers daily cruises on the Knysna Lagoon as well as to the Knysna Heads. The lunch time or sunset cruise aboard the John Benn is an experience not to be missed. Share the stories of the legendary pilot of a by-gone shipping era on a relaxing and comfortable trip to the Knysna Heads.
Bungee Jump at Bloukrans – The Bloukrans Bungy is the world’s highest commercial bungy bridge. It is also the highest commercial natural bungy jump in the world. The Bloukrans Bridge is 216 meters (709 feet) above the Bloukrans River. Our bungy jump operations is open 365 days of the year during all weather conditions (except gale force winds)
Monkeyland, Plettenberg Bay – A true primate sanctuary. Monkeyland is the worlds first free roaming multi-specie primate sanctuary. Monkeyland has as one of its aims, to create awareness about the plight of primates and to show that with a greater understanding of our primate cousins, that we can all live in harmony. ur unique primate sanctuary is currently the top eco-tourism attraction on the Garden Route and for very sound and sunny reasons. Monkeyland has captured the hearts of visitors in its efforts to rehabilitate and free previously caged primates. The sanctuary is exceptional as it caters for several species of primateswho are not caged. They are free to move about the forest and this they do most harmoniously.
Wilderness Segway tours – The Segway Tours operates within the Ebb and Flow National Park which forms part of the Gardenroute National Park – Wilderness section of SANParks. Stunning views of local indigenous Fynbos and also of the Touws River that flows through the Park. Included in the 1 hour Segway tour is a 15-20 minute training session on our training course as part of your 1 hour Segway experience. After the training we take a journey through on the Kingfisher Trail where you will marvel at the fynbos and Wetlands surrounding you. A small access fee is applicable to enter the park, so spend the day here by bringing a picnic lunch and enjoy time swimming in the river next to our office at the day visitors area of the park.
Knysna Elephant Interaction – Following a short video, guests are transported to the field where you have the opportunity to interact, feed and walk amongst herd of African elephants. Responsible and educational interactions enable guests to appreciate the awe-inspiring presence of these animals, on elephant terms. There are no fences to spoil the close encounter and the environment encourages elephants to exhibit natural behaviours. Guests are welcome to spend as much time as they wish with the elephants. This is a unique African encounter, a once in a lifetime opportunity to enjoy an elephant back ride on one of these incredible creatures. Join the herd, as the trail leads through the Park, offering you spectacular views of the Outeniqua mountains and the Knysna forest. This amazing experience is rounded off with light refreshments at the Elephant Park restaurant or Elephant Boma. Guests can also enjoy an intimate early morning / late afternoon experience with the elephants. On this private safari you can choose to ride or walk with the elephants; and you are ensured of having them all to yourselves for that special occasion. A breakfast or dinner rounds off this magical experience.
For more activities and recommendations along the Garden Route as well as assistance with putting together the ideal itinerary in the area contact your favorite Triumph Travel Squad Member