The Garden Route is a spectacularly scenic stretch of the south-eastern coast of South Africa, starting at Heidelberg in the Western Cape to and culminating in the giant trees of the Tsitsikamma Forest in the Eastern Cape. The name comes from the verdant and ecologically diverse vegetation found here and the numerous lagoons and lakes dotted along the coast.
The Garden Route is an important part of the Cape Floral Kingdom - one of the world’s six floral kingdoms. More than 6500 species of indigenous plants are found in this narrow coastal strip, which wanders through picturesque towns such as George, Mossel Bay, Knysna, Oudtshoorn, Plettenberg Bay and Nature’s Valley. The route, sandwiched between the warm Indian Ocean and dramatic Outeniqua Mountains, offers a multitude of eco-tourism activities, hiking trails, nature reserves, and unique marine reserves.
Bays along the Garden Route are nurseries for Southern Right Whales, which calve here in winter and spring. The Tsitsikamma National Park perches on a tumultuous shore, and is one of South Africa’s most dramatic protected areas, with spectacular indigenous forests that are a haven for countless bird species.
For thrill-seekers, the Garden Route is home to the world’s highest bridge bungy jump, the Bloukrans Bridge Bungy.