|Click image to enlarge.|
The Garden Route is a spectacularly scenic area that follows the rugged coast between Mossel Bay in the east and Storms River in the west. It consists of a mosaic of sweeping lakes and wetlands, empty unspoilt beaches, amazing mountain passes, nature reserves, prehistoric caves and the country’s largest indigenous forest. With the warm waters of the Indian Ocean washing the bays, beaches and capes, the area provides endless activities including scenic walks, deep-sea fishing, water skiing, steam train rides, hobie-cat sailing, sunset cruises, bird watching, whale and dolphin spotting, golf and, most importantly - the chance to simply relax and enjoy the picturesque surroundings.
The region has become South Africa’s most popular tourist destination after Cape Town, with visitors being drawn to its indigenous forests, freshwater lakes, wetlands, hidden coves and long beaches. The narrow coastal plain is well forested and is mostly bordered by extensive lagoons that run behind a barrier of sand dunes and superb white beaches. The region has some of the largest patches of indigenous forest in the country - giant yellowwood trees and wildflowers - as well as commercial plantations of eucalyptus and pine.
Highlights of the Garden Route include the Wilderness coastal stretch, the whale watchers paradise of Hermanus, Knysna’s lagoon and forest-based activities, as well as Plettenberg Bay, a location that combines some of South Africa’s best swimming beaches with beautiful forest and indigenous vegetation. Near Plettenberg Bay is the unspoilt Tsitsikamma National Park, where dense indigenous forests are punctuated by streams and tumbling waterfalls flowing towards the coast. Perched on a tumultuous Indian Ocean shore, this is one of South Africa’s most dramatic protected areas, combining marine and land attractions. Its indigenous forests are a haven for birdlife.