Each town along the Garden Route has something unique to offer – from extreme outdoor activities and pristine beaches to incomparable views and an abundance of natural beauty to explore. The list of things to do is endless, and the choice can be overwhelming. Here are a few of our suggestions.
Take a whale watching cruise
Plettenberg Bay is one of the best places in South Africa for whale watching and while these gentle giants can be viewed from shore, nothing beats a close up encounter from a boat. Oceans Safaris will take you to some of the best spots along the coastline and are permitted to get you as close as 50m from a whale when sighted. Whale watching is at its prime from mid-May to February with southern right and humpback whales visiting at different stages of the year. Bryde’s whales, pods of bottlenose, Cape fur seals and the shy indo-pacific humpback dolphins can be spotted all year round – you never know what you might see!
Hike The Robberg Peninsula
On the outskirts of Plettenberg Bay, you'll find the Robberg Peninsula. A remote, rocky shoreline that is well-known for being one of the most popular and scenic hiking destinations along the Garden Route. Hikers can enjoy the full 11 kilometre circuit, which offers exquisite views, prime whale and dolphin watching, wide stretches of beautiful beach, and even the chance to encounter a few Cape fur seals. If you are looking for something a little less strenuous, there are also two shorter hikes ranging from easy to moderate.
Kayak up the Keurbooms
The Keurbooms River Nature Reserve is a World Heritage Site and a must-see spot along the Garden Route. Explore the indigenous forests, protected kloofs, and small secluded beaches while kayaking up the tranquil 7 kilometre river. Keep an eye out for vervet monkeys, blue duikers, grysbok and mongoose along the way. Kayaks and canoes can be hired from the reserve office or you can launch your own canoe for a small fee.
Explore the Plett Winelands
There are a multitude of ways to enjoy the Plett Winelands – on horseback, by bus, by bike or by hike. Our friends at Hogs Hollow Horse Trails offer some amazing ways to discover the region, including on horseback or from the comfort of your own horse drawn carriage. You can also book a wine tour with Knysna Hike and Bike. They offer walking tours and cycling tours that explore a fantastic route through the local Crags vineyards. Plett Wine Tours also offer experiences that are tailored to meet the needs of both wine connoisseurs and the occasional wine drinker.
Support the local wildlife sanctuaries
The Garden Route is home to a host of wildlife sanctuaries that are well worth supporting. Birds of Eden is home to over 3,500 birds from over 280 species. You can explore this vast free-flight paradise on your own or with a guide. Monkeyland Primate Sanctuary is the world’s first free roaming multi-species primate sanctuary. You can enjoy a safe guided tour through a forest as gibbons swing above your head and lemurs bask in the sun. Jukani Wildlife Sanctuary provides a home to rescued big cats and a 2 kilometre walk of the land will get you up close to lions, tigers, pumas, leopards and other wild cats.
Bungee Jump at Bloukrans Bridge
Looking for the ultimate thrill? Bloukrans Bridge is situated just 40 kilometres from Plettenberg Bay at the Tsitsikamma Forest Village Market and is home to the world’s highest commercial bungee jump from a bridge in the world at 216m! Bloukrans Bungy uses pendulum bungee technology to ensure the smoothest, most comfortable bungee jump possible. Get in touch to book your jump now.
Take a ferry to the Knysna Heads
The Knysna Heads are a pair of famous sandstone cliffs that separate the Knysna Lagoon from the Indian Ocean. They are a renowned landmark along the Garden Route, breathtakingly beautiful and well worth exploring. Hop on one of the daily ferries and cruise across the lagoon to Featherbed Nature Reserve. The eco-experience includes a 4x4 trip to a few of the spectacular viewpoints around the reserve as well as an optional guided walking tour to the sea caves.
Swing through the trees in Tsitsikamma
The Tsitsikamma Canopy Tour, a first of its kind in Africa, is the perfect way to enjoy the magnificent beauty of the Tsitsikamma indigenous rainforest. The tour is a fully-guided nature experience and consists of ten zip-lines that are 30m above the forest floor, the longest being 91m in length. Gliding through the treetops while taking in the spectacular scenery and enjoying the abundant birdlife is definitely something you’ll want to add to your Garden Route bucket list.
Stay at the heart of the Garden Route
Two of our Rare Earth Portfolio properties – The Old Rectory Hotel & Spa and Country House – are situated in and around Plettenberg Bay, at the heart of the Garden Route. Surrounded by rolling mountains, beautiful beaches and magnificent indigenous forests, it's a truly wonderful and incredibly central place to base yourself for a few days whilst exploring the area. Check out our Plettenberg Bay Holiday Checklist for a more in-depth look at what you’ll find to do right on your doorstep when you visit.
Is the Garden Route calling your name? Stay with us at our Country House in the Crags or at our coastal hotel, The Old Rectory Hotel & Spa, whilst you discover one of the most beautiful places on earth. Get in touch to book your stay.