30 Amazing Ways To Explore The Garden Route

[Updated May 2019]

The Garden Route is one of South Africa’s greatest natural treasure troves. This scenic route stretches along the N2 from Heidelberg to the Storms River Village along the Eastern Cape border. This stretch of land is richly diverse and just waiting to be explored. From wildlife to giant mazes, and dotted with exciting restaurants, nobody leaves disappointed.

1. Meerkat Adventures

Meerkats Magic Explore Garden Route

Oudtshoorn

Cuteness abounds! If you have a fondness for these critters, then this tour is a must. The tour begins with a hot cup of coffee at sunrise and taking a seat as you get to watch the meerkats emerge from their burrows followed by a 2-3-hour tour.  Experienced guides present the tours.

Take note that no children under the age of 10 are allowed on the tour. Visitors need to sit very quietly in order not to scare the meerkats.

Cost: R660

Contact:  084 772 9678

Address: R62, Oudtshoorn
GPS Coordinates: 33°36’08.9″S, 22°05’33.1″E

2. Redberry Farm

the maze at redberry farm explore garden route

Image courtesy of Redberry Farm via Facebook

George

This one is fun for the whole family looking to explore the Garden Route. It’s only a 15-minute drive from George. Enjoy an abundance of activities, including Bubble Ball (a man-sized inflatable ball that allows you to walk on water), pony rides, a tea garden, picnic baskets, bumper boats, and picking your own strawberries. The biggest draw card at this destination has got to be the hedge maze, which extends to 10,000m of pathways, and includes a 25m underground tunnel.

There is no entrance fee.

Activities at Red Berry Farm are available at the following prices:

Pedal Go Karts R20
Hedge Maze R40
Strawberry Picking R20
Mini Train R20
Bubble Ball R30
Bumper Boats R20
Pony Rides R20

*Please be aware that there are various tour options, each with their own cost and specifications.

Contact: 044 870 7123

Address: Geelhoutboom Road, Blanco, George
GPS Coordinates: 33° 57’30.73”S, 22° 22’56.34”E

3. Garden Route Game Lodge

Sleeping Leopard Garden Route Game Lodge

Albertinia

Only 3.5 hours from Cape Town, this game lodge offers everything a safari holiday should encompass. There are safari options for those who wish to stay at the lodge, as well as passers-by who are looking for a day trip adventure. See all of the Big 5 on your visit, and enjoy relaxing spa treatments for a well-rounded holiday.

Cost: Worth the splurge, contact the lodge to find out about their family safari packages and spa-safari combos.

Contact: 028 735 1200

Address: N2, Albertinia
GPS Coordinates: 34°12’05.8″S, 21°38’08.1″E

4. Route 57 Restaurant

Stir Fry Dish at Route 57 Explore the Garden Route

Image courtesy of Route 57 via Facebook

Mossel Bay

Route 57 was named after golfing star Louis Oosthuizen played his lowest score at the Mossel Bay Golf Club – a 57 gross (15 under par). Together with well-known restaurateurs Ilze Nel and Anzelle Zeelie, they created an exemplary dining experience. From cheese platters to lamb shanks, this menu is sure to please the palate.

Cost: The average cost of a main meal is approximately R220.

Contact: 044 691 0057

Address: 12 Marsh Street, Mossel Bay

5. Mossel Bay Golf Club

Springbok at Mossel Bay Golf Club Explore Garden Route

Image courtesy of Mossel Bay Golf Club via Facebook

Mossel Bay

The Mossel Bay Golf Club is also a nature reserve and is famous for having views of the Indian Ocean from every tee. This lush 18-hole course is dotted with springbok and is alluring to any golfer. There is no more perfect setting to unwind with a game of golf than this.

Cost: The costs vary depending on whether you’re a club member or not. Please visit their website for more information.

Contact: 044 691 3819

Address: 17th Avenue, Mossel Bay

6. Highgate Ostrich Show Farm

Ostrich Farm Tours Highgate Explore Garden Route

Image courtesy of Highgate Ostrich Show Farm via Facebook

Oudtshoorn

Home to the largest bird in the world (with the longest lashes too), the Highgate Ostrich Show Farm is not to be missed. Feed the ostriches and learn all about these giant birds. If you’re brave enough, you may even get to ride one! The show ends off with an ostrich race with professional jockeys showing you how it’s done.

Cost: There are a variety of tours available. The traditional ostrich tour is approximately R187 per adult and R121 per child.

Contact: 044 272 7115

Address: R328, Oudtshoorn
GPS Coordinates: 33°39’30.2″S, 22°08’08.9″E

7. Cango Caves

Cango Caves Explore Garden Route

Oudtshoorn

For those in need of a thrill without the element of extreme sports, the Cango Caves is just the ticket. The caves are the only ones on show in Africa where you can choose to do the easy Heritage tour, or the more strenuous Adventure tour. Booking is essential, so don’t miss out.

Cost: Heritage Tour – adults R120; children R75
Adventure Tour – adults R180; children R110

Contact: 044 272 7410

Address: Cango Valleie Road, Oudtshoorn

8. Meade Café

Meade Cafe Classic Combo Explore Garden Route

Image courtesy of @meadecafekitchen via Instagram

George

This is a café that looks and feels fresh, and the food is too. Enjoy quality food such as all-day breakfasts, gourmet sandwiches, and light lunches, or treat yourself to a decadent slice of cake. The café is open from Monday to Friday between 07:30 and 16:30, and Saturdays between 09:00 and 13:00.

Cost: The average cost per person is R100.

Contact: 044 873 6755

Address: Meade House, 91 Meade Street, George

9. Groeneweide Hiking Trail

Groeneweide Hiking Trail Explore Garden Route

Image courtesy of Garden Route Adventure Guide via Facebook

George

A mild forest hike is the perfect way to spend your day and one of the top ways to explore the Garden Route. Just on the outskirts of George is a choice of three hiking routes (9km, 11km, and 13km trails). All three routes are designed in a loop, which will get you back to where you started. Look out for ancient indigenous trees such as yellowwoods and forest elders, as well as abundant birdlife.

Cost: A guided hike is approximately R480 per person. This excludes the conservation fee.

Contact: 082 213 5931

GPS Coordinates: 33°57’29.3″S, 22°32’05.8″E

10. The Old Townhouse Restaurant

Delicious Dish at Old Townhouse Restaurant Explore Garden Route

Image courtesy of The Old Townhouse Restaurant via Facebook

George

The Old Townhouse Restaurant is well-known for its tasty steaks (only the choicest beef is used) and warm atmosphere. The menu includes different choices of grills, seafood, and venison, with very simple, yet delectable desserts.

Cost: The average cost per person is approximately R135.

Contact: 044 874 3663

Address: Corner of York and Market Street, George

11. Salina’s Restaurant

Prawns at Salina's Beach Restaurant Explore the Garden Route

Image courtesy of Salina’s Beach Restaurant via Facebook

Wilderness

This is a beach restaurant at its best. There’s nothing like sitting by the sea and eating fresh fish and mussels. Situated on the magical Wilderness beach, you’ll be sure to capture special moments at this beautiful venue on your way while you explore the Garden Route.

Cost: The average cost per main meal is approximately R210.

Contact: 044 877 0001

Address: 458 Zundorf Lane, Wilderness

12. Serendipity

Delicious Venison at Serendipity Explore the Garden Route

Wilderness

This restaurant is perfectly described as classically elegant. It’s surrounded by indigenous plant-life and overlooks the Touw River Lagoon, which makes for a tranquil, idyllic setting. Enjoy twists on South African dishes and ingredients, for a unique and authentic fine dining experience.

Contact: 044 877 0433

Address: Serendipity, Freesia Avenue, Wilderness

13. The Girls on the Square

The Girls on the Square Explore the Garden Route

Image courtesy of The Girls On The Square via Facebook

Wilderness

If you’re keen to add an African feel to your dinner, then this is the eatery for you. From delicious prawns to tantalising curries, you can anticipate a meal that truly satisfies. Enjoy an award-winning feast in an atmosphere that you won’t forget.

Cost: The average cost for a main meal is approximately R170 per person.

Contact: 044 877 0445

Address: 1 Owen Grant Street, Wilderness

14. Garden Route Trail

Hiking Along the Garden Route Trail

Image courtesy of @garden_route_trail via Instagram

Wilderness – Knysna

For the adventure seekers, this five-day trail is diverse and challenging. Hiking through forests, beaches, coastlines, and canoeing along the numerous rivers is a great way to take in the multitude of natural beauty that the Garden Route has to offer. Reservations are essential.

Cost: Ranges between R7,500 and R9,800 per person sharing, depending on the group size.

Contact: 082 213 5931

Location: Ebb and Flow Rest Camp, Wilderness Section, Garden Route National Park, Wilderness

15. Wild Oats Community Farmers’ Market

Wild Oats Farmers Market Explore Garden Route

Image courtesy of @craiglotter via Instagram

Sedgefield

Held once a week, this market is for locally grown and homemade food products only. No matter the weather, the Wild Oats Market is open between 07:30 to 12:00 (during winter it’s open between 08:00 and 12:00). There are delicious breakfast foods available, as well as produce that can be taken home.

Cost: Entrance into the market is free, with food produce being well below retail prices.

Contact: 044 883 1177

Address: N2, Sedgefield, 6573
GPS Coordinates: 34°00’35.4″S, 22°46’43.1″E

16. Trattoria Da Vinci

Trattoria Da Vinci Explore Garden Route

Image courtesy of Trattoria da Vinci via Facebook

Sedgefield

This is fresh Italian food worth raving about, and people do! A humbly positioned hole-in-the-wall, this little place is full of surprises for you as you explore the Garden Route. The affordable, delicious, and generous portions will make you want to move to Sedgefield just to dine here. Eat up!

Cost: The average cost for a main meal is approximately R100.

Contact: 044 343 1867

Address: Woodpecker Mall, Main Road, Sedgefield

17. Knysna Elephant Park

Interacting with elephants at Knysna Elephant Park Explore Garden Route

Image courtesy of Knysna Elephant Park via Facebook

Knysna

Not much is known about the elephants that used to live in the Knysna forest and surrounds. Sadly, they were almost extinct by the time the park was put together in 1994. Now it is home to over 40 elephants, with visitors flocking every year to see and learn about them. Just one visit with these regal animals will leave you with an unforgettable experience.

Cost: There are a variety of tours to choose from, each with their own individual cost. They vary between approximately R320 and R900 per adult.

Contact: 044 532 7732

Address: Just off the N2 between Knysna and Plettenberg Bay.
GPS Coordinates: 34°02’17”S, 23°16’10”E

18. 34 Degrees South

Sushi at 34 Degrees South Explore the Garden Route

Image courtesy of 34 Degrees South via Facebook

Knysna

This eatery is a ‘Jack of all trades’ and is located on the latitude line 34° south. Gorgeous oysters, seafood, and sushi, as well as a variety of other foods are sure to get your appetite going. Check out their deli and clothing emporium as well. Good value for money.

Cost: The average cost per meal is approximately R150

Contact: 044 382 7331

Address: Shop 19, Knysna Quays, Waterfront Drive, Knysna

19. Mario’s

delicious pizza marios explore garden route

Image courtesy of Knysna Waterfront via Facebook

Knysna

There’s nothing like good Italian comfort food, and Mario’s in is the perfect place to indulge. Great pasta, pizza, seafood, and breakfasts at affordable prices in a chilled-out atmosphere, is just what you need when you’re looking for something easy.

Cost: The average cost per person is approximately R125.

Contact: 044 382 7250

Address: Shop 9, The Waterfront Knysna Quays, 21 Waterfront Drive, Knysna

20. Tapas & Oysters

Oysters at Tapas and Oysters explore the Garden Route

Image courtesy of @tapasandoysters via Instagram

Knysna

Situated right next to the Knysna Lagoon on Thesen Island, Tapas & Oysters offers a menu with a variety of seafood, as well as Spanish and Mediterranean foods to choose from. Enjoy live music and a vibey atmosphere. This is the perfect place for those who can’t decide what to eat as they explore the Garden Route.

Cost: The average cost per person is approximately R140.

Contact: 044 382 7196

Address: TH 29, Thesen Harbour Town, Long Street, Knysna

21. Tenikwa Wildlife Rehabilitation and Awareness Centre

Cheetah at a lake Tenikwa Wildlife Awareness Centre Garden Route

Image courtesy of the Tenikwa Wildlife Rehabilitation and Awareness Centre via Facebook

The Crags, Plettenberg Bay

Nature can change the way we see the world, and the Tenikwa Wildlife Rehabilitation and Awareness Centre aims not only to rehabilitate African wild cats and other wildlife, but to make a difference in the way we see them. Enjoy a variety of tours that will teach you the value of these animals, as well as giving you a hands-on experience with them.

Cost: There are a variety of tours to choose from, each with their own individual cost. They vary between approximately R245 and R1,650 per adult.

Contact: 044 534 8170

Address: Forest Hall Road, The Crags, Plettenberg Bay, 6600
GPS Coordinates: 33°57’39.92”S, 23°29’50.03”E

22. Monkeyland

lemurs at monekyland explore garden route

Image courtesy of @wiesnmadl via Instagram

The Crags, Plettenberg Bay

Monkeyland boasts over 550 monkeys that live freely in this sanctuary. Take in a vast number of primate species on the tour including capuchin monkeys, lemurs, Saki monkeys, vervet monkeys, squirrel monkeys, and more. The tour also includes a walk over a 128-metre bridge suspended over the forest.

Cost: R260 per adult; R130 per child (3 – 12 years). Entry is free for children under 3 years.

*Please be aware that there are combination rates, which allow entry into two or all of the three sanctuaries in the area, depending on the combination you choose. These include Monkeyland, Birds of Eden, and The Jukani Wildlife Sanctuary.

Contact: 082 979 5683

Address: The Crags, Plettenberg Bay, 6600
GPS Coordinates: 33°57’55”S, 23°28’57”E

23. Birds of Eden

flamingoes at birds of eden explore garden route

Image courtesy of @andrefrancoisviljoen via Instagram

The Crags, Plettenberg Bay

Birds of Eden is a rehabilitation sanctuary for both exotic and African birds. These animals are usually ex-pets / confiscated from zoos and disreputable breeders, which means they are remarkably tame. Marvel at the flurry of colourful feathers and happy chirping that will leave you changed forever.

Cost: R260 per adult; R130 per child (3 – 12 years). Entry is free for children under 3 years.

*Please be aware that combination rates are available, allowing entry into two or all of the three sanctuaries in the area, depending on the combination you choose. These include Monkeyland, Birds of Eden, and The Jukani Wildlife Sanctuary.

Contact: 044 534 8906

Address: Portion 11 & 12 of Kirbywood Farm Animal Alley, The Crags, Plettenberg Bay
GPS  Coordinates: 33°56’46.09”S, 23°29’8.13”E

24. Ocean Blue Adventures

see-dolphins with ocean blue adventures explore garden route

Image courtesy of Ocean Blue Adventures via Facebook

Plettenberg Bay

Encounter dolphins and whales up-close in their natural environment with Ocean Blue Adventures on the northern coast of Plettenberg Bay. Sightings are not guaranteed, but the whole experience is worth it. Experiencing these grand creatures is exhilarating for anyone lucky enough to see them. Come explore the Garden Route during summer for dolphin sightings, and winter for whale sightings.

Cost: Dolphin Tour- R570 per adult; R290 per child
Whale Tour – R850 per adult; R450 per child

Contact: 083 701 3583

Address: Hopwood Street, Central Beach, Plettenberg Bay
GPS Coordinates: 34°03’35.5″S, 23°22’36.9″E

25. Clare’s Cakes

clares cakes garden route

Image courtesy of Clare’s Cakes and Deli via Facebook

Plettenberg Bay

If you have a sweet tooth that needs satisfying, then Clare’s Cakes is where you need to be while you explore the Garden Route. Enjoy a wide selection of outstanding cakes and speciality chocolates. There’s also café food as a lunch option, as well as a small savoury buffet available. Scrumptious!

Cost: The average lunch cost is approximately R19 per person per 100g.

Contact: 044 533 0000

Address: Shop No. 2 Marine Building, Main Street, Plettenberg Bay

26. Enrico’s

A drink at sunset Enricos explore Garden Route

Image courtesy of @liorkal via Instagram

Plettenberg Bay

What a view! Fresh Italian and seafood, a homely and inviting atmosphere, with the ocean so close, will keep you coming back for more. The secret to Enrico’s fresh seafood is their own fishing charters, also available for fishing tours.

Cost: The average cost of a meal is R190 per person.

Contact: 044 535 9818

Address: 296 Main Street, Keurboomstrand

27. Surf Café

Spicy Meal at Surf Cafe explore Garden Route

Image courtesy of Surf Café via Facebook

Plettenberg Bay

The slogan “Social Food” perfectly captures the essence of this favourite local spot. Created from a travelling surfer’s dream, this place is not just a restaurant, but a relaxed environment to enjoy good company and live music as well. Enjoy food inspired by trips to Mexico, Peru, and Indonesia.

Cost: The average cost is approximately R300 per person.

Contact: 044 533 6801

Address: Shop 10, Beacon Isle Centre, Piesang Valley, Plettenberg Bay

28. Nature’s Valley Restaurant

Fish and chips at Natures Valley Restaurant explore Garden Route

Nature’s Valley

The only thing that will distract you from the food is the surrounding nature. A rustic environment that invites you in is only highlighted by the understated and uncomplicated menu. Situated at the end of the famous Otter Trail, what more could a traveller ask for than an affordable and filling meal in such beautiful surroundings?

Contact: 044 531 6835

Address: 135 St. Michaels Ave, Nature’s Valley

29. Canopy Tours

Canopy Tours in Tsitsikamma explore Garden Route

Image courtesy of @tsitsikammacanopytour via Instagram

Tsitsikamma

This one is definitely for the thrill-seekers looking to explore the Garden Route. The Tsitsikamma forest is the perfect place to swing from the trees, which is exactly what you’ll be doing on this adventure. Safety first though! Your guides will harness you to a steel line, so that you can slide between wooden platforms. All you need to worry about is spotting birdlife and taking in the magnificent forest. Bookings are essential.

Cost: R660 per person.

Contact: 042 281 1836

Address: Located at Storms River Village
GPS Coordinates: -33°58’27.817”S, 23°53’14.691”E

30. Tsitsikamma Woodcutters Journey

Tsitsikamma Woodcutters Journey explore Garden Route

Image courtesy of @tsitsikammatourism via Instagram

Tsitsikamma

Journey down the Storms River pass in a vehicle specially designed for forest driving. Explore the forest and see its amazing beauty as you wind down the path. Look out for indigenous birdlife such as the Knysna Loerie while you enjoy a tea or lunch amongst the trees. Booking is essential.

Cost: Contact the Woodcutters Journey with the number below, or visit their website for more information.

Contact: 042 281 1836

GPS Coordinates: 33°58’27.8”S, 23°53’14.7’E


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Do you know of other unforgettable ways to explore the Garden Route? If so, let us know in the comments below!

Also read: 20 Fun Things to do Along the Garden Route

*Disclaimer!

All information on this blog page was correct at the time of publishing and may change at any time without prior notice. Travelstart will not be held liable for loss or inconvenience resulting from the use of out-dated or incorrectly noted information.

Our Readers Comments

  1. Good Afternoon
    How do I list on your site.
    Honeybee Tours specialise in Öff the Beaten Track”tours. We follow old Oxwagon Trails, Passes and suchlike.
    Obviously out of the Garden Route proper is Gamkakloof (Die Hel) and the Baviaans.
    Thanks
    Dave

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