Best Sights on the Garden Route: 10 must see stops on South Africa’s beautiful Garden Route!

by | Jun 24, 2016 | Latest Posts, Road Trips, South Africa

The Garden Route in South Africa is one of the most beautiful stretches of coastline in the world and is an absolute must see on any South African road trip. Having spent three weeks exploring the country from East to West we couldn’t wait to embark on our much anticipated drive along the Garden Route towards Cape Town. The spectacular coastal drive stretches from Storms River Mouth in the Eastern Cape to Mossel Bay in the Western Cape and it was love at first sight as we set off to explore the best sights. Read on for a round up of our favourite stops and some extra recommendations if you want to venture a little further off the Garden Route!

Best Sights on the Garden Route South Africa

Our must see stops on the Garden Route!

We started our journey at Storms River Mouth (A) which marks the very start of the Garden Route and loved the spectacular Bloukrans Bridge (B), so much so that Dave decided to mark the occasion with a bungy jump of the bridge! We spent an incredible evening in the beautiful Plettenberg Bay (C) watching the sunset over the Indian Ocean and made a stop at Knysna (D) to cruise out to the Knysna Heads. The Map of Africa in Wilderness (E) secured its spot as one of our favourites and we loved the Post Office Tree in Mossel Bay (F) where the Garden Route comes to an end.

We’ve listed our stops in the direction we drove which was towards Cape Town. Reverse the order if you’re starting the journey from Cape Town!

Garden Route South Africa

1 |Storms River Mouth

Storms River Mouth is the dramatic starting point of the Garden Route where the Storms River enters the Indian Ocean. Tucked away off the main road in the Tsitsikamma National Park sits this breathtaking stretch of coastline where the Indian Ocean relentlessly pounds the headland. There area some amazing hikes up through the gorge and a stunning rope bridge for the adventurous types! Sundowners in hand we watched the sunset and toasted a spectacular start to the Garden Route!

The dramatic coastline:
Best Sights on the Garden Route South Africa ©thewholeworldisaplayground

Storms River Mouth:
Best Sights on the Garden Route South Africa ©thewholeworldisaplayground

Storms River Mouth is located in Tsitsikamma National Park, a South African National Park.

2 | Bloukrans Bridge

The architecturally stunning Bloukrans Bridge is, at over 200 metres, the highest in Africa and arches dramatically over the gorge below. As well as being visually stunning, it is also home to one of the highest bungy jumps in the world. Dave immediately signed up, leaped off that bridge like a pro and had the time of his life so if you’re feeling brave … bungy jump!!

Picture perfect Bloukrans Bridge:
Best Sights on the Garden Route South Africa ©thewholeworldisaplayground

Bungggyyyyy… the little speck on the end of the rope is Dave!Best Sights on the Garden Route South Africa ©thewholeworldisaplayground

3 | Plettenberg Bay

Plettenberg Bay, or Plett Bay as the locals refer to it, is a South Africa hidden gem and we were lucky to spend a night overlooking the Indian Ocean. We stayed at a gorgeous beach lodge, The Singing Kettle which we booked through Agoda, and toasted the beautiful sunset with delicious pizza and ice cream from a fab restaurant on the beach! It doesn’t get much better than a sunset over Plett Bay!
Best Sights on the Garden Route South Africa ©thewholeworldisaplayground

4 | Knysna Heads

We stopped in Knysna, a waterfront town along the Garden Route, to check out the Knysna Heads. The Knysna Heads are two imposing sea cliffs which protect the entrance to the Knysna lagoon from the unrelenting Indian Ocean. Despite our sea drenching from a bumpy boat ride to the Heads it was spectacular to watch the sea thrash through the narrow gap and drink in the stunning scenery.

Knysna Heads:
Best Sights on the Garden Route South Africa ©thewholeworldisaplayground

An idyllic boat ride through the lagoon: Best Sights on the Garden Route South Africa ©thewholeworldisaplayground

5 | The Map of Africa

The Map of Africa is as intriguing as it is beautiful and it’s well worth the short trip to Wildnerness Heights to check it out. The viewpoint has a spectacular view overlooking the Kaaimans River Basin, where the flow of the river has formed a piece of land shaped exactly like a map of the African continent. The mix of mountain, forest and river is a beautiful sight!
Best Sights on the Garden Route South Africa ©thewholeworldisaplaygroundThe Map of Africa is located at Wilderness Heights which is 15km from George when driving on the N2 highway.

6 | Kaaimans River Bridge

Close to the Map of Africa sits the Kaaimans River Bridge in Wilderness. The curved bridge passes over the amber coloured water at the mouth of an estuary and is a beautifully photogenic stop on the Garden Route. A steam train operated on the line until 2009 but the railway bridge is iconic even in its absence.
Best Sights on the Garden Route South Africa ©thewholeworldisaplayground

7 | Post Office Tree, Mossel Bay

The Garden Route comes to a close in the harbour town of Mossel Bay where our highlight was the Post Office Tree. The story goes that in 1501 a Portugese sailor sought refuge in Mossel Bay during a storm and he left a written account, with an address, in an old boot. The report was found by the person it was addressed to and the tree then served as a post office. It’s still possible to post letters at the old tree and we took the opportunity to send send ourselves a postcard from the boot shaped post box. It arrived home before us!Best Sights on the Garden Route South Africa ©thewholeworldisaplayground

If you want to drive a little further and explore off the Garden Route

With the freedom of our own wheels we decided to make some extra stops close to the Garden Route. Cape Agulhas, Addo Elephant Park and Gansbaai were our absolute favourites and, if you have the time, we recommend that they are included them in your itinerary!

8 | Addo Elephant Park

Addo Elephant Park is home to one of the densest elephant populations on earth as well as rhino, lion, buffalo and leopard. We spent two full days self driving in Addo before starting the Garden Route and we were totally addicted to the abundance of wildlife. With 450 elephants our elephant encounters were truly magical and we will never forget the moment a family of elephants walked alongside us in the setting sun.

Protecting the baby:
Best Sights on the Garden Route South Africa ©thewholeworldisaplayground A beautiful zebra roaming through the park:Best Sights on the Garden Route South Africa ©thewholeworldisaplayground
Addo Elephant Park is 2 hours from the beginning of the Garden Route at Storms River Mouth and 45 minutes from Port Elizabeth.

9 | Cape Agulhas

As we left the Garden Route for Cape Town we couldn’t resist a detour to check out Cape Agulhas. Cape Agulhas is the most Southern point in the African continent and marks the dividing point of the Indian and Atlantic Ocean. The rugged wilderness, the crashing waves where two oceans meet and the stunning African sunset took our breaths away.

It’s not every day you stand at the most Southern tip of Africa!
Best Sights on the Garden Route South Africa ©thewholeworldisaplayground

10 | Gansbaai

Gansbaai is a stunning stopover en route to Cape Town and its natural beauty is mesmerising. The rugged coastline is as spectacular as the sealife in its waters: whales, seals, penguins and sharks are abundant in the area and it’s known as the Great White Shark capital of the World. Gansbaai is also one of the most popular spots for cage shark diving if you so desire!Best Sights on the Garden Route South Africa ©thewholeworldisaplayground

Where we stayed on the Garden Route

Our first night was spent in the Protea Marine Port Elizabeth which was the perfect stopover after a day at Addo Elephant Park before we hit the Garden Route. From there we spent an incredible few nights at the Singing Kettle in Plettenberg Bay. This was one of the best self catering accommodation we’ve stayed at, the restaurant below was so good and the views over the Indian Ocean were spectacular. After a long day of sightseeing we opted to spend the next night in George where we opted for the Protea Outeniqua, a great road trip hotel which was excellent value for money. The beautiful Bellavista Country Place was our final hotel before Cape Town and we indulged in some well deserved luxury and glorious views.

We found booking.com the best booking website for our South Africa trip due to the wide range of hotels on offer and the competitive prices. It’s reliable, has a huge inventory and the prices were the best we could find. Please use our affiliate link if you are booking through booking.com: we receive a small commission which helps us maintain our website and continue to provide information for your trip. You pay the same price either way!

The view from our balcony at the Singing Kettle!Best Sights on the Garden Route South Africa ©thewholeworldisaplayground

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2 Comments

  1. Hi guys. Just signed up for your newsletter so looking forward to reading all your posts. One question; how do you manage to get the time off work ? I’m Also working full time in ireland and I find the statutory 20 days so limiting

    • Hi Michelle! Thanks for signing up! It’s a question we get all the time, but honestly it just comes down to some careful planning. 20 days is actually a high allowance compared to some countries like the USA, where we lived for a few years and only had 10 days statutory!!! We have lots of tips and tricks to maximising your holiday allowance here

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