Safari along the Garden Route Safari along the Garden Route

Garden Route

Garden Route is one of the most sought after tourist destinations in South Africa, and with good reason. Spread out along the coast like a giant natural theme park, Garden Route is a rich tapestry of very large trees, freshwater lakes and deep gorges. Being a place where nature rules, there is something here for every visitor to enjoy: from spotting dolphins and whales from the air to hiking deep indigenous forests, paragliding over sandy white beaches tobiking through wildlife reserves, and from canoeing in lagoons to communing with monkeys.
Due to the verdant and ecologically diverse vegetation encountered here and the numerous lagoons and lakes dotted along the coast, this gorgeous stretch of coastal paradise was called the Garden Route.
Garden Route is sandwiched between the Outeniqua and Tsitsikamma Mountains, and the Indian Ocean. The Route is a 200 km (124 mile) stretch of South Africa's south coast, from Mossel Bay in the Western Cape to the Storms River which is crossed along the N2 coastal highway over the Paul Sauer Bridge in the extreme western reach of the neighbouring Eastern Cape. However, travelling the Garden Route is not something you should aim to do in a day, as there are a myriad of things to see and do along this stretch of coastline to see and enjoy.
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The coastal drive links a series of charming cities and villages interspersed with natural beauty. Cities that can be found along the route are Mossel Bay, George, Wilderness, Sedgefield, Knysna, Plettenberg Bay and Stormsriver. Mossel Bay is generally regarded to mark the beginning of the Garden Route. The town is a popular holiday resort thanks to its many beaches and calm swimming pools between rocks. George known as The Gateway to the Garden Route, is the Garden Route's largest city and main administrative centre. It graces a coastal plateau in a fertile area of lush greenery at the foot of the Outeniqua Mountains. The main towns to stay at along the Garden Route are Knysna (the busiest resort on the Garden Route), Plettenberg Bay and Wilderness, and all the attractions are within an easy drive of all 3 places. For the more culturally inclined, there are township tours, museums, lovely old buildings, funky craft shops, markets, art galleries and loads of live music venues.
The Garden Route is a golfer's dream destination, offers some of the best boat based whale watching in the world, flower lovers and birders will also have a field day traipsing off through the forest or the fynbos, and there are numerous national parks and nature reserves. Steam buffs will love the narrow gauge Outeniqua Choo-Tjoe.
An important geological feature is the Cango Caves, a series of caverns and chambers naturally hewn out of limestone, situated outside the city of Oudtshoorn. The Cango Caves are among the top ten most visited South African attractions. Oudtshoorn itself, the heart of the ostrich feather industry when it was in its heyday the late 1800s and early 1900s, is well worth a visit. The grandiose, old feather palaces are still to be seen, while ostrich farms, now involved in the commercial production of meat, leather, eggs and feathers, can be toured, with the possibility of riding an ostrich.
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The Garden Route and surrounds are now home to some of South Africa’s most prestigious safari lodges and game reserves. They're not really in one location along the Garden Route, but are scattered along it. The lodges are popular as they offer the closest ‘real safari’ experience to Cape Town and are in malaria-free areas. An easy combination of beach and bush.
The Garden Route makes is a year round destination with warm and sunny summers and mild winters. The most popular time to visit the Garden Route is December – February (South Africa's peak summer time); but for those who prefer a more intimate (less crowded) experience – March, April and even May months are recommended, the weather is still excellent and beaches and Garden Route accommodation are less crowded.
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