The Garden Route is a must-see if you want to discover the diversity and beauty that South Africa has to offer. We decided to explore this route before starting our internship at Jenman African Safaris, starting in Port Elizabeth and ending in Cape Town. Along the way, there are plenty of exciting pitstops with a wide range of activities one can partake in. These activities range from enjoying the beautiful and fascinating landscape during hikes to extreme sports such as the Bloukrans Bungee Jump or Shark Cage Diving. This varied road trip ensures everybody gets their money worth.
Our Journey began in Port Elizabeth and on our first travel day we visited the Addo Elephant National Park, where we had a great time. You can easily spend a whole day in the park either by driving in your own car or joining a guided game drive. We were lucky and saw lots of animals including elephants, kudus, warthogs, ostriches, zebras, buffalos, meerkats, and much more.
The next day we drove on, with a pit stop in Jeffreys Bay, where we watched local surfers enjoying the big waves of the Indian Ocean. Continuing our journey, we arrived in Tsitsikamma, where you can enjoy the beautiful scenery of Tsitsikamma National Park. Here you can take a hike along the Otter Trail or walk across the famous suspension bridge at the Storms River Mouth. On our second day in Tsitsikamma, we visited Bloukrans Bridge, where you can experience the world’s highest bungee jump. For those who are looking for an adrenaline rush it is worth a visit, especially because, compared to other bungee spots around the world, it is truly inexpensive.
Continuing on our journey, we were recommended to drive the unpaved Bloukrans Pass which reminded us of an adventurous jungle road, to get to Nature’s Valley. As you drive through Nature’s Valley you are blown away by the natural forest and views.
The next attraction was Robberg Island in Plettenberg Bay, where we went for a hike. While walking over stones and dunes you are able to spot seals bathing on the rocks below and seagulls flying above. The walk can vary from 2-4 hours depending on the route you choose, but make sure to bring along a hat and sunscreen to protect yourself from the sun.
After a short drive from Plettenberg Bay, we arrived in Knysna, home to the annual Oyster Festival and Knysna Forest. It is said that there are still elephants living in the Knysna Forest but none have been seen in years although some signs pop up every now and then.
Next, the route passes through Wilderness, a little village between Knysna and George where you can enjoy the Kingfisher Hiking Trail or experience the view at the “Map of Africa”. This is a viewpoint up on a hill, from where you can see two rivers forming the outlines of the African continent.
After driving along the Seven Passes Road and Route 62, two beautiful roads, we reached Oudtshoorn. This is a quaint town in the middle of Klein Karoo, a region that seems like a desert compared to the rest of the Garden Route. We spent two nights in Oudtshoorn. Here we explored four different tunnels of the 20 million-year-old Cango Caves, by either climbing, creeping or sliding. After that, we drove the Swartberg Pass, a gravel path winding through the mountains. Tired after a long day we were happy to find the Meiringspoort Waterfall where we could swim and cool down.
The last few pitstops on our road trip were Mossel Bay, a lovely beachside town, and Arniston, a tiny fishing village, on the way to Cape Agulhas. Both places are a nice pit stop, but it is not necessary to spend a night there. Our last night was spent in Cape Agulhas, a town positioned at the southernmost point of the African continent and where the Atlantic Ocean and the Indian Ocean meet. Enjoy the view from the beautiful lighthouse and make sure to have dinner at one of the fantastic seafood restaurants in the area.
Finally, we arrived in Cape Town, the end of our Garden Route trip and the start of internship at Jenman African Safaris. With Cape Town as our home for next few months, we are excited to start exploring all that this stunning city has to offer. Altogether, the Garden Route was one of the best trips of our lives so far and we highly recommend that you do it.