30 Amazing Ways To Explore The Garden Route

The Garden Route is one of South Africa’s greatest treasure troves. A scenic route 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 Magic


Courtesy of Jon Pinder flickr


Cuteness abounds! If you have a fondness for these critters, then this tour is a must. The tour begins with a sunrise walk to watch the Meerkats’ wake-up, followed by a 3-hour walk. Grant, the Meerkat Man, leads the tour, and teaches you all about meerkat behaviour and characteristics.

Cost: R450 – R550
Contact: 044 272 3077
Address: Oudtshoorn, 6620, Scenic Cape Route 62, South Africa

2. Redberry Farm

Redberry Maze

Courtesy of Redberry Farm


This one is fun for the whole family. 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 10 000 m of pathways, and includes a 25 m underground tunnel.

Cost: Talk & Tour – adults R72, kids R53
Full Package – all ages R117, per person

*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 degrees 57’30.73”S, 22 degrees 22’56.34”E

3. Garden Route Game Lodge

Garden Route Game Lodge - Copy

Courtesy of Jason Wharam via flickr


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 passersby 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, 6695, South Africa

4. Route 57 Restaurant

Route 57

Courtesy of Route 57

Mossel Bay

Route 57 was named after golfing start 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 R118.
Contact: 082 457 7550
Address: 12 Marsh St, Mossel Bay, 6500, South Africa
GPS Coordinates: 34 degrees 10’59.40”S, 22 degrees 09’09.89” E

5. Mossel Bay Golf Club

Mossel-Bay Golf course

Courtesy of Momentic Golf Tours

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 and dotted with Springbuck, and alluring to any golfer. There is no more perfect setting to unwind with a game of golf than this.

Cost: Costs vary depending on your membership at the club. Please visit their website for more information.
Contact: 044 691 3819
Address: 17th Avenue, Mossel Bay, 6506

6. Highgate Ostrich Show Farm

Highgate Ostrich Show Farm

Courtesy of Highgate


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 yourself 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 R125 per adult.
Contact: 044 272 7115
GPS Coordinates: 33 degrees 39’28” S, 22 degrees 8’9” E

7. Cango Caves

Cango Caves

Courtesy of flickr


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, and you can choose to do the easy Heritage tour, or the Adventure tour. Booking is essential, so don’t miss out.

Cost: Heritage Tour – adults R85; children R50
Adventure Tour – adults R105; children R65
Contact: 044 272 7410
Address: Oudtshoorn, 6620, Scenic Cape Route 62, South Africa

8. Meade Café

Meade Cafe

Courtesy of Meade Cafe


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 7:30 am and 4:30 pm, and Saturdays between 9:00 am and 1:00 pm.

Cost: The average cost per person is R65.
Contact: 044 873 6755
Address: Meade House, 91 Meade Street, George

9. Groeneweide Hiking Trail

Groeneweide Trail

Courtesy of Garden Route Trail


A mild forest hike is the perfect way to spend your day. 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 Yellowoods and Forest Elders, as well as birdlife.

Cost: A guided hike is approximately R380 per person. This excludes the conservation fee.
Contact: 082 213 5931
GPS Coordinates: 33 degrees 58.318, 22 degrees 32.007

10. The Old Townhouse Restaurant

Old Townhouse Restaurant

Courtesy of NAME via Trip Advisor


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: Cnr. York and Market Street, George, 6530

11. Salina’s Restaurant


Courtesy of flickr


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.

Cost: The average cost per main meal is approximately R100.
Contact: 044 877 0001
Address: Find Salina’s just off the N2, just in front of the National Sea Rescue Institute.

12. Serendipity


Courtesy of Serendipity Wilderness


This restaurant is perfectly described as classically elegant. It’s surrounded by indigenous plant-life and overlooking 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 Ave, Wilderness
GPS Coordinates: 33 degrees 59’35”S, 22 degrees 35’33”E

13. The Girls’ Restaurant

The Girls Restaurant

Courtesy of The Girls


If you’re keen to add an African feel to your dinner, then this is the eatery for you. From delicious prawns to tantalizing 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 R150 per person.
Contact: 044 877 1648
Address: Caltex Centre, 1 George Road, Wilderness

14. Garden Route Trail

Garden route trail

Courtesy of southafrica.net

Wilderness – Knysna

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

Cost: Approximately R6750 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

Courtesy of Jochem Koole via flickr


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 7:30 am to 12:00 pm (in winter time it’s open between 8:00 am and 12:00 pm). 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

16. Trattoria Da Vinci

Trattoria da Vinci

Courtesy of Matt Harris flickr


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. The affordable, delicious, and generous portions will make you want to move to Sedgefield just to eat here. Eat up!

Cost: The average cost for a main meal is approximately R80.
Contact: 044 343 1867
Address: Woodpecker Mall, Main Road, Sedgefield

17. Knysna Elelphant Park

Knysna Elephant Park

Courtesy of Knysna Elephant Park


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 R260 and R1150 per adult.
Contact: 044 532 7763
Address: Just off the N2 between Knysna and Plettenberg Bay.
GPS Coordinates: 34 degrees 02’17” S, 23 degrees 16’10” E

18. 34 Degrees South

34 South

Courtesy of 34 South


This eatery is a jack of all trades, and is located on the latitude line 34 degrees south, (but only the one at the Knysna Waterfront). 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 R100
Contact: 044 382 7331
Address: Shop 19, Knysna Waterfront, Knysna, 6571

19. Mario’s

Cafe Mario

Courtesy of Trip Advisor


There’s nothing like good Italian comfort food, and Marios in Knysna 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 R60.
Contact: 044 382 7250
Address: Shop 7, The Quays, Waterfront Drive, Knysna

20. Tapas & Oysters

Tapas and Oysters

Courtesy of Safari Now


Situated right next to the Knysna Lagoon on Thesen Island, Tapas & Oysters offers a menu with a variety of seafood, 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.

Cost: The average cost per person is approximately R75.
Contact: 044 382 7196
Address: Thesen Harbour Town, Long Street Ext., Knysna, 6570

21. Tenikwa Wildlife Awareness Centre

Tenikwa Wildlife Awareness Centre

Courtesy of Safari Now

The Crags, Plettenberg Bay

Nature can change the way we see the world, and the Tenikwa Wildlife 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 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 R200 and R1900 per adult.
Contact: 044 534 8170
Address: Forest Hall Road, The Crags, Plettenberg Bay, 6600
GPS Coordinates: 33 degrees 57’39.92”S, 23 degrees 29’50.03”E

22. Monkeyland

Lemurs Monkeyland

Courtesy of Tyrone Adams via flickr

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: R175 per adult; R88 per child (3 – 12 yrs). Entry is free for children under 3 years.

*Please be aware that there 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 Jakuni Wildlife Sanctuary.

Contact: 082 979 5683
Address: Monkeyland Road, The Crags, Plettenberg Bay, 6600
GPS Coordinates: 33 degrees 57’55”S, 23 degrees 28’57”E

23. Birds of Eden

Birds of Eden

Courtesy of Birds of Eden

The Crags, Plettenberg Bay

Birds of Eden is a rehabilitation sanctuary for both exotic and African birds, as well as small monkeys. These animals are usually ex-pets/ have been 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: R175 per adult; R88 per child (3 – 12 yrs). Entry is free for children under 3 years.

*Please be aware that there 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 Jakuni Wildlife Sanctuary.

Contact: 044 534 8906
GPS Coordinates: 33 degrees 56’46.09”S, 23 degrees 29’8.13”E

24. Ocean Blue Adventures

Ocean Blue Adventures

Courtesy of Sandi via flickr

Plettenberg Bay

Encounter dolphins and whales up-close in their natural environment with Ocean Blue Adventures. Sightings are not guaranteed, but it’s worth the risk. Experiencing these grand creatures is exhilarating for anyone lucky enough to see them. Come during summer for dolphin sightings, and winter for whale sightings.

Cost: Dolphin Tour- R440 per adult; R220 per child
Whale Tour – R700 per adult; R380 per child
Contact: 044 533 5083
Address: Hopwood Street, Central Beach, Plettenberg Bay, 6600

25. Clare’s Cakes

Clare's Cakes

Courtesy of Plett Tourism

Plettenberg Bay

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

Cost: The average lunch cost is approximately R28 per person.
Contact: 044 533 0000
Address: Shop no. 2 Marine Building, Main Street, Plettenberg Bay

26. Enrico’s


Courtesy of Enrico’s

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. And that view!

Contact: 044 535 9818
Address: Main Beach, Keurboomstrand

27. Surf Café

Surf Cafe

Courtesy of Surf Cafe

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 R175 per person.
Contact: 044 533 6801
Address: Shop 10 Beacon Isle Centre, Piesang Valley, Plettenberg Bay, 6600

28. Nature’s Valley Restaurant

Nature's Valley Restaurant

Courtesy of Bruno Bucci via flickr

Nature’s Valley

The only thing that will distract from the food is the nature surrounding you. 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 traveler ask for than an affordable and filling meal in such beautiful surroundings?

Contact: 044 531 6835
Address: 135 St. Michaels Ave, Nature’s Valley, 6602

29. Canopy Tours

Canopy Tours

Courtesy of South African Tourism via flickr


This one is definitely for the thrill-seekers. 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: R595 per person.
Contact: 042 281 1836
Address: Located at Storms River Village
GPS Coordinates: -33 degrees 58’27.817”S, 23 degrees 53’14.691”E

30. Tsitsikamma Woodcutters Journey

Tsitsikamma Woodcutters Journey

Courtesy of tsitsikamma.info


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 https://www.stormsriver.com/woodcutters_journey_booking_stormsriver_tsitsikamma.html for more information.
Contact: 042 2811 836
GPS Coordinates: 33 degrees 58’27.8” S, 23 degrees 53’14.7’ E

Our Readers Comments

  1. What a list of great things to do, it will keep you busy for a long time. Ive just used your info to explore the Knysna Plett area, thank you it really helped. One other thing i did was the Tsitsikamma slackpacking Trail. 6 days of breathlessly beautiful scenery. Perhaps you can add this to your site ? http://www.gotrekking.co.za were the only people i could find offering the slackpack version. I would certainly do it again

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