The Garden Route officially spans the N2 from Mossel Bay in the Western Cape to the quaint village of Storms River in the Eastern Cape. This route passes through scenic beauty that will delight and amaze you all the way. It incorporates the towns of Mossel Bay, Great and Little Brak River, George, Wilderness, Sedgefield, Knysna and Plettenberg Bay in the Western Cape and the Tsitsikamma National Park and Storms River in the Eastern Cape. The variety and abundance of flora and fauna justify it being known as a “Garden of Eden”. The topographically diverse environment has ensured a fascinating history of contrasting peoples and cultures.
The Strandlopers were the first known people to inhabit the area and remnants of their middens can be visited along the coast. The Khoe tribes inhabited the plateaus while the San occupied the mountain caves. Bartolomeu Dias landed at Mossel Bay in 1488 and soon Plettenberg Bay, named ‘Baia Formosa’, (‘beautiful bay’) by the early Portuguese sailors, was established as the first timber port of the Garden Route. George Rex later established Knysna as the main port of the area.
The Garden Route is blessed with one of South Africa’s richest botanical treasures: a unique kind of flora called fynbos, which comprises mainly ericas and proteas endemic to the area. It also has indigenous forests in which yellowwood and milkwood trees flourish.
When you visit the Garden Route you will probably also include a visit to the Klein Karoo which lies inland from the Garden Route. You can travel along Route 62 from Cape Town to Oudtshoorn and then back to Cape Town along the Garden Route. Both routes pass through memorable scenic beauty.
You could spend a month travelling this route and not see it all but in reality most visitors only have 5 – 7 days to see the highlights. This is a guide to help you plan and drive this route.