Self-Drive Guide to the Garden Route
The Garden Route is a 300km stretch of coastline in South Africa home to ecologically diverse vegetation, numerous lagoons and lakes and one of the most popular self-drive routes in the country. The Garden Route includes towns such as Knysna, Plettenberg Bay, Mossel Bay, Wilderness, Nature’s Valley and George.
Arguably the most popular section of the Garden Route to drive is between Cape Town and Knysna. Along the way you’ll discover beautifully scenic landscapes, spectacular viewpoints, legendary farm stalls, charming coastal towns and breathtaking ocean views. Keep reading for our top tips for a self-drive trip along the Garden Route.
Self-Drive from Cape Town
From Cape Town, you’ll begin your journey through the town of Somerset West – home to a handful of historic wine farms and a spectacular viewpoint over Sir Lowry’s Pass. The Lookout Point has ample parking and a safe entrance back onto the highway.
The ocean views of Strand Beach and Gordons Bay are spellbinding.
Other notable detours from Cape Town:
- N1 through the Franschhoek Winelands
- R44 exit along Clarence Drive to Hermanus
Once over Sir Lowry’s don’t miss the opportunity to stop for a wine tasting at Paul Cluver (if you have a designated driver) or one of the many farm stalls along the N2. Choose from Peregrine, Dassiesfontein, Orchard and Houw Hoek.
The Awe-inspiring Overberg
Continuing along the N2, you’ll descend into the Overberg – a sweeping rural landscape of canola fields, wild flowers, winding rivers and remote farmhouses bounded on all sides by mountains.
Notable towns include Caledon (known for its September wild flower show), Swellendam and the historic mission village of Suurbraak.
Heidelberg, Riversdale and Albertinia
Once back on the N2, you’re heading for Hedelberg, Riversdale and Albertinia.
Just before Heidelberg, the Blue Crane Farm Shop is a great place to stop for farm breads, home-made treats and friendly South African hospitality. The Blue Crane has a restaurant and fragrance boutique as well as the farm stall.
Mossel Bay & George
Mossel Bay and George are two of the largest towns on the Garden Route.
Mossel Bay is charming harbour town known for its almost year-round sunshine, long sandy beaches and shark cage diving. Some of South Africa’s earliest settlement history can be found in Mossel Bay as well as spectacular Cliffside hiking and walking.
George is the capital of the Southern Cape and the golf mecca of South Africa. If you’re interested in spoiling a good walk, choose from renowned courses including Fancourt, Oubaai, Kingswood and George Golf Club.
Victoria Bay and Wilderness
Victoria Bay (or Vic Baai) is a hidden gem with a beautiful beach, tidal pool and jetty. For keen surfers it is a local hotspot and well worth a visit.
After Victoria Bay, the road changes dramatically and takes you along the beautiful stretch through Wilderness. The drive is full of mountains, lagoons and ocean views.
Lookout for signs to Dolphins Point viewpoint, the Map of Africa and Wilderness National Park – all places worth stopping.
• Be very careful of the speed limit here, there are many speed traps.
Sedgefield and Buffalo Bay (Buffelsbaai)
Sedgefield and Buffalo Bay are the last two stops before you enter Knysna.
Sedgefield is a popular local holiday destination with plenty of pretty hiking and walking trails and weekend markets.
If you keep going on toward Knysna, you’ll see the turn off to Buffalo Bay (Buffelsbaai in Afrikaans). This little gem is a beautiful beach and top surfing spot. In season, whales and dolphins enjoy this serene stretch of ocean.
If Knysna is the final destination on your Garden Route roadtrip, there’s plenty to do and see, as well as fantastic accommodation options.
The Knysna Lagoon is the playground for all kinds of waters sports and the surrounding forests provide lovely hiking and walking routes. The newly built Knysna Hollow Boutique Hotel offers modern, stylish accommodation on a 3-hectare estate just 5 minutes from the town centre.
If you plan on driving further afield, you’ll have Plettenberg Bay, Tsitsikamma and Bloukrans Bridge as well as Jeffreys Bay to look forward to.
For more information regarding your stay in Knysna, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with our friendly reservations team by calling +27 44 382 5401, emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or filling in our online booking form.
Bryn de Kocks Photography
Garden Route Meander