We are lucky to call the Garden Route home to three of our beautiful Rare Earth Retreats properties – our Country House, Kay and Monty Vineyards and The Old Rectory – and so we were delighted  with the news that the Garden Route has been recently named a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve. This world-renowned status shines a light on the region’s importance in South Africa and its rich coastal, marine and terrestrial ecosystems.


There are 669 UNESCO Biosphere Reserves in the world, of which 75 are in Africa. Each of the reserves is incredibly special in terms of their biodiversity and gaining such an internationally recognised status ensures a greater focus is placed on their conservation and sustainability. An area with this status is also, of course, a major boost for tourism and a wonderful step in the right direction for environmental research and education.

With a total area of 698,363 hectares and a population of over 450,000, the newly appointed Garden Route Biosphere Reserve (GRBR) is a biodiversity hotspot region, stretching along 300kms of the southern east coast of South Africa from Mossel Bay in the Western Cape to Stormsriver in the Eastern Cape – an area to be explored, treasured and protected.


The area is home to the Tsitsikamma, Goukamma and Robberg Marine protected areas; Wilderness Lake Ramsar site; the Garden Route National Park and two parts of the Cape Floral Region Protected Areas World Heritage site: the Nelson Bay Cave and the Langkloof Valley.

Tourists and locals alike can enjoy the region’s incredible natural diversity which boasts a number of hiking trails, pristine beaches, expansive forests, rolling mountains, marine protected areas and significant palaeo history dating back as far as 180 000 years. Plus, the fynbos biome found within the Garden Route is the smallest yet most diverse fauna in the world.


Three of our Rare Earth portfolio properties – Kay and Monty, Country House and The Old Rectory – are situated in and around Plettenberg Bay, at the heart of the Garden Route. We are surrounded by the Outeniqua and Tsitsikamma mountains and magnificent indigenous forests, and of course every year we enjoy the whales in the bay.

The Garden Route’s attractions include animal and bird sanctuaries, wildlife reserves, scuba diving opportunities, whale watching, coastal retreats and a bustling wine route. Add in white sandy beaches that stretch for about 20kms along the coastline and it’s no wonder it’s such a bucket-list spot to holiday.

Keen to visit the Garden Route later this year or next? Stay with us at our Country House in the Crags or at our coastal hotel, The Old Rectory, whilst you discover all the wonders of the area. Get in touch to book your stay.