If you’re looking to get back in touch with nature, make sure you have the Garden Route at the top of your list. Located on South Africa’s southern coast and extending for 300-kilometres, the region is filled with verdant and ecologically diverse vegetation, numerous lagoons and lakes and sandy beaches and bays. Starting at Storms River Mouth in the Eastern Cape and running through to Mossel Bay in the Western Cape, it features one of the most beautiful stretches of coastline in the world – Nat Geo once describing this route as “the road trip that will break your Instagram”.
From heart pumping adrenaline pursuits to more leisurely cruises and treks, every pit stop is perfect for the adventurer in you – every photo bound to boost your blog ratings or set your insta-feed on fire.
Get your adventure started in Tsitsikamma National Park (home to the Otter Trail and a wealth of outdoor activities from kloofing to canoeing), the coastal reserve, which is part of the Garden Route National Park, not far from the Bloukrans Bungee jump (the world’s highest commercial bungee jump): man of the moment, Prince Harry once taking the plunge.
Known as the Pearl of the Garden Route, Knysna is comprised of lagoons and indigenous forests, the waterfront town surrounded by the Outeniqua Mountain range. Whether you want to unwind or seek out something more adventurous, you won’t be disappointed. Hop on a boat cruise to explore Knysna’s lagoon and feast on oysters and sparkling wine, visit Buffalo Bay Beach, famous for whale watching and surfing or take a 4×4 trip to the Featherbed Nature Reserve.
The Wilderness National Park is one of the must-sees on the Garden Route. Composed of a series of beaches, natural lakes, bird-rich estuaries, lagoons and long stretches of sand, this nature hub is also rich in adventures hiking, horse-riding, hang gliding and paragliding sure to give you an adrenaline kick. For an added insta-boost, take a hike to the Map of Africa – a viewpoint where the flow of the river has formed a piece of land shaped exactly like a map of the African continent.
It may look like a sleepy seaside town, but in Sedgefield adventure abounds. Enjoy a walk along Swartvlei beach, where you might be able to spot the Humpback and Bottlenose dolphins as well as the Southern Right whales – whale viewing season best enjoyed between June and October. Alternatively, enjoy the action packed Myoli beach with surfing, kite surfing, stand up paddling, kayaking and wake boarding on offer.
At Mossel Bay you can truly travel back in time, a large milkwood tree once serving as South Africa’s first mailbox, or so the story goes. The legendary tale dates back to 1500, when a Portuguese sea captain wrote a message reporting a warning of rough waters to the East. He then tucked the message in a boot dangling from the tree. For today’s adventurer there are two blue flag beaches, mountains riddled with San rock art (some of which date back as far as 27,000 years) and a range of adrenaline-inducing activities from shark cage diving to skydiving.