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Garden Route – South Africa

 

The Garden Route is recognized as one of South Africa’s paradises. Its beaches and lush vegetation come together to form landscapes with international fame, combined with a unique topography. The route is a scenic and cultural route along the South African coast full of rivers and waterfalls, animal reserves, charming villages, white sand beaches and many natural wonders, including the Cango caves, the Knysna Koppe area and some of the country’s most photogenic and majestic mountain passes.

 

This is a 300-kilometer walk that connects Cape Town with Port Elizabeth, Taking you to the best corners of this route. The Garden Route is for everyone: for those who surf or bungee jumping and for those who prefer to rest on the beach with a good book. It is a great place to take the family, with attractions such as Monkeyland, Birds of Eden and Canopy Tours in the forest of Tsitsikamma.

 

There are also many festivals, one reason why the Garden Route is one of the most beautiful trips in South Africa. Only in the Grootbos Nature Reserve, there are already more than 750 species of fynbos (fine scrub). The Garden Route is between the Outeniqua Mountains, the Tsitsikamma Mountains and the Indian Ocean. The indigenous forests of Outeniqua and Tsitsikamma offer trails for trekking and many eco-tourism activities. In the area, there are almost 300 species of birds in diverse habitats ranging from fynbos to forests and wetlands.

 

Ten natural reserves contain the varied ecosystems of the area, as well as unique marine reserves that are home to soft coral reefs, dolphins, seals and many other forms of marine life. Various bays along the Garden Route are breeding areas for southern right whales and humpback whales, which arrive in the area to give birth in winter and spring (July to December).

 

Top sights in Garden Route

Table Mountain

The famous Table Mountain is a peak with a plateau-shaped summit of 3 kilometers from side to side, and one of the most important symbols of Cape Town. It is one of the most important tourist attractions in the area and you can climb to the top through cableway or following a hiking route on foot. The highest point of Table Mountain is marked by the Lighthouse of Maclear: a mound of stones built by Thomas Maclear in 1865 for his trigonometric investigations.

 

Bo-Kaap

A neighborhood of Cape Town located at the foot of Signal Hill, above the center of the city. It is a multicultural and picturesque place whose main attraction is its colorful painted houses and cobbled streets. In the neighborhood, we can also find a mosque and a museum, as well as diverse restaurants.

 

Bloubergstrand Beach

A white sand beach in the Atlantic Ocean, where water is cold and winds are blowing steadily, which has made it popular among windsurfers or kitesurfers. It is also a perfect place to stroll along the sea with the spectacular views of Table Mountain in the background.

 

Hermanus

It is an excellent coast to watch whales, which is why it’s known as the National Capital of Whales On the same coast, there are several places prepared for the observation of the whales. There is a lookout with bleachers to sit for as long as you want and if you dare you can go down to the rocks, where there are usually people if the tide is low, and see the whales more closely.

 

Penguins´s  Sanctuary

Another spectacular scenario to enjoy. Here you can see the work of biologists to preserve the species of African penguins.

 

The Tsitsikamma National Park

It is almost at the end of the route and is an indispensable place. The park has forest areas, mountains and natural beaches where tranquility is breathed. You can go by car and get off to go hiking. You will be able to cross a gorge, walking along an impressive suspension bridge, and rest strolling along the white sand beach. There are several camps within the park where you can sign up for guided water activities such as canoeing on the Groot River.

 

Addo Elephant National Park

It has a large population of elephants but also other animals such as buffalo, lions, leopards, antelopes or hyenas. Definitely, a place to travel for hours.

 

Port Elizabeth

Port Elizabeth is the end of the journey if you make the decision to make the route from Cape Town. It is worth visiting the city doing Route 67, consisting of 67 works of art exhibited to the public through the streets of the city, symbolizing Nelson Mandela’s 67 years of work dedicated to the freedom of South Africa.

 

The Garden Route should be on every adventurer’s bucket list. The world-class views and nature reserves will keep the naturalists happy, while the opportunity for heart pumping scuba diving and water sports activities will keep the adrenaline junkies enthralled. There’s always more to do and see, which is why people often return to repeat this epic road trip.

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