The Garden Route, South Africa

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The Garden Route is a popular road trip that many tourists take when they come to South Africa. Officially it stretches from Mossel Bay in the Western Cape to the Storms river in the Eastern Cape, but many people make the whole road trip from Cape Town to Port Elizabeth. ending at Addo Elephant national park.

Why is this drive called the Garden route? The simple reason is, it’s very green. This region has the second mildest climate in the world, with temperatures rarely falling below 10 degrees C or rising above 28 degrees C. The route lies between mountains and the Indian ocean; inland on the other side of the mountains it is hotter and there is another driving route with beautiful mountain scenery called Route 62.

Why is this drive so special? There are many nature reserves and coastal towns on this drive, which makes it easy to find great stopovers for exploring. For example, you can visit the forests and rivers of the Tsitsikamma national park or the Knysna forests and lagoon, where once a year there is an Oyster Festival. Activities like hiking, canoeing, surfing, sailing, wind-surfing, and fishing are all popular in this area. The area from Cape Town to Port Elizabeth is also great for whale watching, and in the De Hoop nature reserve you can walk the Whale Trail, passing through fragrant fynbos and over white sand dunes. At Addo Elephant National park you can watch families of elephants hanging out at the waterholes, and see many other animals such as warthogs, zebras, kudus and even some lions.

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Our Garden route stopovers: When we visited South Africa last year, we spent five days driving from Cape Town to Addo Elephant park and back again. We had planned stopovers for accommodation at night and unplanned stopovers while driving along. Five days is not so long and we could have spent longer in all of our stopovers, but we had a great time nonetheless and saw many amazing places. This was our itinerary: Continue reading

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