Within a few kilometres South Africans scenary changes from one moment to the next. Riding along the beautiful coast you might find yourself overwhelmed from a vegetal diversity, mild clima and stunning landscapes.
The world famous Garden Route stretches across the southern coast of South Africa from the coastal town Mossel Bay located at the Western cape all the way down to Port Elizabeth in the Easter cape of the country. The whole route is round 372 kilometre long and well appointed when it comes to roadworthy streets and accomodations. Therefore this route is very popular for road trips either with a rental car or even with a motorbike. Depending on the travel season and the duration of stay you can integrate as many stops as you’d wish to.
Following stopps don’t lie on the classical Garden Route. Therefor it starts in Cape Town which is the usual starting point of your trip when you arrived by plane and can be managed during one week while riding in a smooth pace.
#1 Cape Town
During a stay in South Africa you should definetly plan a stay in Cape Town of several days duration. No matter if it comes to sandy beaches, mountain panorama or harbour ambience: This city got it all!
If you are travelling with a group of people it’s def worth checking offers on Airbnb. For lone travellers or couples it is recommened to book in a hostel or one of the classical guesthouses around town.
The cheapest way to get around the place is Uber. Most wanted sightseeing spots can of corse be visited by using the conventional Hop On/Hop Off Bus (depending on the tour you book it will cost from 180 SRD).
Best viewing points are Table Mountain, Lion Heads and Devil’s Peak.
Go for Cape Towns most famous Botanical Garden Kirstenbosch and enjoy a BBQ or picknick in a surrounding of beautiful green, all sorts of plants and flowers and the stunning table mountain in the background.
If you can plan it anyhow it is def worth it staying in Cape Town for the weekend. Especially on satudays you can feast yourself from one food market to the next. The V&A Food Market at Waterfront however is opened seven days a week and is a popular destination for tourists and locals since it is directly located on the beautiful seaside.
Also Cape Town nightlife is worth a visit during the weekend. Along Loop Street you’ll the multicultural party crowd in but mostly in front of the numerous bars and pubs located here.
TIPP! Before you go on the road trip go and get a simcard to make sure you have navigation. Also you are more flexible with bookin accomodations on your way to the next stop then since WiFi connection in South Africa is not that good. The main provider in South Africa is called Vodacom and offers Web Packages of 1 GB for about 100 SRD. Just get into one of the providers stores and make sure everything works out while you are still there. Registration normally takes only a few minutes. Don’t forget to bring your passport!
Only 1,5 hours away from Cape Town you will find sweet Hermanus, a small coastal town directly lying on the coast. For travellers on a small budget and backpackers Hermanus Backpackers is a comfortable accomodation with a kitchen area, a small pool and good WiFi connection (which is quite rare in South Africa compared to Asia ;-)).
The small town can be explored within a few hours by foot. One of the highlights is a walk along the coast which reminds on the landscapes you might have seen in Ireland before. Early Birds must not miss a morning walk or even a Yoga Session (!!) by the water. Especially after the thrilling energy in Cape Town the views you will get here are not only a feast for the eye but also a nice option to calm yourself down again.
TIPP! If you are into good Pizza or Sushi you choose the trail to New Harbour before sunset and go for the Seafood Pizza at Gecko Bar.
After a four hours drive you will reachWilderness – the next stop on our list. On the way you will pass Swellendam and Mossel Baai which are worth to stop at for a lunch or coffee break.
Even if its quite small Wilderness has a wide range of natural spectacles. After being greeted by a huge sandy beach which is surrounded by green you will recognize the Outeniqua Gebirge. Beyond that Goukama Nature Reserve is a popular destination for visitors coming to this natural place. The 7 kilometre walk through the jungle like nationalpark is quite beautiful but in my opinion only worth it if you combine it with a kayaktour or at least a nice picknick since it costs 120 SRD per person. Don’t forget do bring your moscito spray!
For waterfreaks and naturelovers an overnight stay in this area is definetly worth it.
TIPP! If you are a fan of Gin you should plan a stop at Still Baai. In this little town there is not BUT the Inverroche Distellery Here you can taste home brewed spirituoses from 10 in the morning. Also you can join one of the tastings they are offering daily. If you don’t want to drive after drinking (you should not!) you can stay at Botterkloof Resort which is literally around the corner and a beautiful place to stay or have a coffee in the huge garden.
Another 40 minutes from Wilderness South Africa is presenting itself from its next stunning side. Knysna is a small but pretty coastal town with a lot of cozy fish restaurants and art galleries just a walking distance apart from each other.
If you want to stay in Knysna for a night you’ll have a clean and cheap room here at Guesthouse 80 on Main which is runned by a very hospitable and helping couple.
TIPP! For breakfast def go to East Head Café. I’d recommend having the exclusive Rooibus Cappuchino and Poached Eggs with glutenfree bread while enjoying the beautiful sea view. After that go for a walk to the viewpoints which are located just around the corner.
Before you go back to Cape Town I recommend to stop at Stellnosch where you can charge your batteries through a beautiful nature or – if you want to – with a lot of good wine 😉
If you stay here overnight t will cost you a bit more but the view and the nice air you’ll get here after getting up in the morning is def worth it!
TIPP! Once you come to Stellenbosch you should not miss a winetour. You can choose between 150 winerys and a huge offer of tours around the beautiful area. I feel like a half day trip is enough since you will taste around 3-5 wine at each stop. A half-day-trip throughout the wine estates costst around 490 Rand (ca. 35€ ) and could be also combined with a stay in Cape Town since Stellenbosch is only 30-40 minutes away from the city.