Garden Route, South Africa

Garden Route

Spanning from Cape Town to Port Elizabeth, the Garden Route is an incredibly scenic part of South Africa, so-called because of its abundant vegetation.

Pretty seaside towns, beautiful beaches, the semi-desert Karoo and lush Tsisitakama Forest all form an area which boasts a dizzying array of things to do and see.

The Whale Route runs from Cape Town to Hermanus, a small fishing town which boasts some of the best land-based whale watching in the world from July to November. Further north you will find the coastal towns of Knysna, on the shores of a peaceful estuary, and Plettenberg Bay, a vibrant holiday town with great restaurants and fabulous sandy beaches.

Coast, Tsitsikamma National Park, South Africa
Tsitsikamma National Park, South Africa
Humpback Whale, Hermanus, Western Cape, South Africa
Humpback Whale in Hermanus, South Africa
Outeniqua Mountains, South Africa
Outeniqua Mountains, South Africa
Aerial Shot, Knysna, South Africa
Knysna Heads, Garden Route, South Africa

Why visit the Garden Route

  • Self-drive along the scenic coastline with its breath-taking scenery
  • Experience some of the best land-based whale watching in the world in Hermanus
  • Visit bird, monkey and elephant sanctuaries
  • Sail through the Knysna heads on a Featherbed cruise
  • Go hiking in the Tsitsikamma National Park with its excellent forest trails
  • Take a detour through the mountainous Outeniqua range, via Prince Albert’s Pass with views into the Langkloof Valley some 1000 kilometres below
  • Explore the holiday town of Plettenberg Bay with its beautiful beaches


What do you really love doing? We curate your itinerary especially for you.

Rovis Rail, South Africa

Rovos Rail Journey

Board the historical and luxurious Rovos Rail train for a three night journey through the heart of Southern Africa, from Cape Town to Pretoria.

Group of ostriches, Oudtshoorn, South Africa

Ostriches, Caves & Meerkats

Head to Oudtshoorn on the Garden Route and visit a working ostrich farm to learn more about these incredible flightless birds, explore the tunnels and passages of the Cango caves and spend time with wild meerkats.

Suggested Reading: Blog

Route 62 near Oudtshoorn, South Africa

Drive Route 62

Drive the Garden Route along Route 62 – meandering from Cape Town to Oudtshoorn, through mountains, vineyards and the arid landscapes of Karoo, stopping to visit some of the many towns enroute.

Suggested Holiday Idea

Collared sunbird sitting on aloe flower, Kruger National Park, South Africa

Cape Floral Kingdom Safari

Take an alternative 4×4 safari to explore the Grootbos Private Nature Reserve, home to over 9,500 species of plants and flowers, of which over 6,200 are endemic.

Suggested Reading: Blog

Famous bridge on the garden route, Garden Route, South Africa

Self-Drive the Garden Route

Self-drive along the scenic coastline of South Africa’s Garden Route, with its breath-taking scenery.

Suggested Holiday Idea

Coast, Tsitsikamma National Park, South Africa

Tsitsikamma National Park Hiking

Hike some of the excellent trails within the Garden Routes Tsitsikamma National Park, taking in dramatic coastal scenery and lush forests.

Suggested Holiday Idea

Plettenberg Bay, South Africa

Plettenberg Bay

Explore the holiday town of Plettenberg Bay with its beautiful beaches.

Suggested Hotel

KZN Vervet monkeys

Garden Route Wildlife Sanctuaries

Visit bird, wolf, monkey and elephant sanctuaries, all along the Garden Route.

Suggested Holiday Idea

Aerial Shot, Knysna, South Africa

Take a Featherbed Cruise

Sail through the Knysna Heads on a cruise to the private Featherbed Nature Reserve, home to diminutive blue duiker antelope.

Suggested Read: Blog

Humpback Whale, Hermanus, Western Cape, South Africa

Whale Watching

Experience some of the best land-based whale watching in the world from the South African coastal town of Hermanus.

Suggested Holiday Idea

Where to stay

Some of the wonderful places to stay that we frequently recommended.

The Old Rectory £££££

  • Africa
  • Boutique

In the heart of Plettenberg Bay you will find The Old Rectory, a small boutique hotel with centuries of history, direct beach access and gourmet dining experiences.

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Grootbos £££££

  • South Africa
  • Wilderness

Set in the picturesque mountain and sea landscape of the Hermanus area along the Cape South Coast, Grootbos is a beacon of style and sustainability.

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Birkenhead House £££££

  • South Africa
  • Boutique

A privately owned, world-class, luxurious boutique hotel, Birkenhead House has an exhilarating cliff-top position overlooking the rugged and scenic Walker Bay in Hermanus.

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Namaqualand, Eastern Cape, South Africa
Namaqualand daisies, South Africa

Holiday Idea

This holiday idea to South Africa can easily be extended or adapted to include a self drive itinerary along the Garden Route.

11 days

from £3,295 pp

UN SDG - 4 Quality education logo UN SDG - 16 Peace, justice and strong institutions logo UN SDG - 17 partnerships for the goals logo

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Meet our experts

A passion for travel runs right through every one of our experts - meaning they're always ready with first-hand insight about their specialist countries.

Rachael Tallents

Adventure, discovery and my curiosity for people and the natural world is what drives my love of travelling.  I am grateful for my parents’ desire to explore, and from an early age my eyes were open to diverse landscapes, cultures, and underwater worlds.

For the last 16 years, I have worked for a leading luxury tour operator designing incredible journeys for discerning clients and travelled to some magical places. I am excited to have joined Steppes Travel, and to be working for a company with such strong ethical and sustainable values.

Talk with our experts
  • 01285 880 980

Illona Cross

Born in a small South African town, I have always followed my passion for nature and discovery. After studying Nature Conservation in Pretoria, I was one of the first women to complete a very tough cadetship in the Natal Parks Board. It was here where I cut my teeth in African wildlife management.

Talk with our experts
  • 01285 880 980

Chris Johnston

Chris is the Conde Nast Traveller chosen Specialist for Africa.

25 years ago, my first trip to Africa took on a life of its own. I planned for three months, I stayed for two years. Whilst there, I was mistaken for a priest, attacked by sharks and arrested. Yet the countless, clattering journeys opened my eyes to the beauty of the landscapes and the grace of the people. My recent trips are undoubtedly more comfortable, but the welcome is as warm as ever and the best experiences are still those I never see coming.

Talk with our experts
  • 01285 880 980

Why Choose Steppes?

Our knowledge, curiosity and expertise set us apart, driving us to create remarkable holidays and Beautiful Adventures tailored perfectly to you, carefully curated to help protect and conserve our planet.

Are you ready to Discover Extraordinary?

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