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Garden Route see + do

Driving through the Garden Route is the only way to appreciate its overwhelming scenic variety, from remote beaches to interlinking lakes, mist-shrouded valleys to wildlife-packed parks. On the main N2 highway or its arteries, you can stop for a forest hike or a whale-watching trip, snack at a food market, or go bungee-jumping. Many travelers fly to Port Elizabeth and spend four or five days moseying along the Garden Route to reach Cape Town (or vice versa). The must-stops along the way are Plettenberg Bay (a.k.a. Plett), which has the glitz and money, and the lagoon-side Knysna, which, though beachless, is more down to earth. The legendary elephants of Knysna were hunted to the point of extinction long ago, but some are said to still live in the forests. The elephants you will see at some of the numerous "wildlife sanctuaries" now littering the Garden Route are not from the area. For wildlife in wilder surroundings, go instead to the game reserves of the Eastern Cape like the Gorah Elephant Camp.

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Whale and Dolphin Watching on the Garden Route

About a 90-minute drive east of Cape Town, Hermanus was once a poor fishing village, then a wealthy retirement village, and is now the whale-watching capital of...more

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Tsitsikamma National Park, Tsitsikamma National Park

Some of the Garden Route's best-known hiking trails are in this park, which comprises 50 miles of coastline, forests, and mountains. The most famous hike is the...more

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Robberg Nature Reserve, Plettenberg Bay

A sweeping peninsula five miles south of Plettenberg Bay, Robberg has some of the best hiking in the area. It takes about four hours to circumnavigate along...more

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Plettenberg Bay, Plettenberg Bay

Roughly a 30-minute drive east of Noetzie Beach and Conservancy lies posh Plettenberg Bay (everyone calls it "Plett"), where hundreds of Johannesburg's wealthy...more

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Kwandwe Private Game Reserve, Great Fish River Valley

Opened in October 2001 in the Great Fish River Valley, at the heart of the Eastern Cape, this game reserve hosts more than 7,000 animals. The buffalo, lions,...more

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Knysna, Knysna

Before continuing to Plettenberg Bay, the N2 motorway briefly metamorphoses into Knysna's Main Street. The village was once known as a sleepy-hollow hippie...more

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Gorah Elephant Camp, Addo Elephant National Park

Gorah Elephant Camp occupies more than 12,000 acres of private preserve within state-owned Addo Elephant National Park, between Port Elizabeth and Grahamstown....more

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Beaches on the Garden Route

Long, often desolate beaches are the signature of the Garden Route, although you might miss some of the best—Keurbooms, Nature's Valley, and Buffalo...more

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Adventure Sports on the Garden Route

Stormsriver Village, next to Tsitsikamma National Park, is the epicenter for adrenaline sports. Land Rovers line up outside small B&Bs catering to...more

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Information may have changed since date of publication. Please confirm details with individual establishments before planning your trip.

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