The Beautiful Garden Route

The Garden Route, stretching ostensibly from the Cape Winelands to Port Elizabeth, is one of the most popular tourist routes in South Africa. It is best known for its abundance of blue skies, white sand beaches, rolling oceans, dramatic mountain scenery, indigenous fynbos, ostrich antics and local hospitality.

Basically there is something for everyone – beaches, golf, mountain scenery, rugged coastlines, safe swimming, good surfing, diving, adventure activities, nature & wildlife reserves, animal sanctuaries, polo and hiking. Add into the mix Portfolio’s range of over 125 benchmarked establishments to choose from, plus the great infrastructure & accessibility, and it’s not hard to see why this area is so popular.

Travel Itineraries Featuring The Garden Route

Great Places To Stay Along The Garden Route

Fancourt Hotel & Country Club

Fancourt Hotel and Country Club is South Africa’s premier golfing and leisure resort, set at the foot of the majestic Outeniqua Mountains on the outskirts of George in the heart of the famous Garden Route. Set on 620 hectares of lush countryside, this property is known for its three Gary Player designed golf courses which have hosted world renowned tournaments.

Lairds Lodge Country Estate

15 rooms

This gracious Cape Dutch style homestead is set on a 24-acre estate, offering mountain views, wide open spaces and a secluded swimming pool. The high-ceilinged elegant rooms have air-conditioning, percale linen and quality toiletries. Perfectly positioned to explore the Garden Route, from Knysna to the Tsitsikamma forests. Superb breakfasts and convivial gourmet dinners, specialising in seafood and game dishes, are served in the Colonial dining rooms or the cosy wine cellar. At night, courtyards and verandahs with blazing braziers and the intimate cognac lounge create a truly South African experience.

TGCSA 4-Star Country House.

Leisure Isle Boutique Lodge

10 rooms and 1 Penthouse Suite

Located on the picturesque Bollard Bay beach on Leisure Isle, this popular retreat offers sophisticated style and comfort. Suites and most rooms are spacious, all individually decorated and have magnificent views of the Knysna lagoon or open onto the private garden and swimming pool. All offer luxurious touches including soft quality linen and superior finishes. Enjoy delicious breakfasts on the deck and convivial evenings in the bar and lounges, followed by fine dining overlooking the tranquil lagoon. Guests enjoy member privileges and reduced rates at Pezula and Simola golf courses.

TGCSA 4-Star Hotel.

Hog Hollow Country Lodge

16 rooms and The Villa

Hog Hollow is set on the edge of an indigenous forest in a private nature reserve, with panoramic views of the surrounding valleys and mountains. There are three lounge areas to escape to and at the centre of the Main House is a large dining table. Before dinner enjoy a drink at The Boma, a fire crackling nearby. The suites are situated in the gardens, using earthy colours with a bit of ‘zing’, each with a private deck. The Villa @ Hog Hollow is a luxury 3-bedroomed house with views, and the ideal option for families.

TGCSA 4-star Country House.

The Plettenberg

37 rooms and suites, 2 Villas

The Plettenberg, a 5-star Relais & Chateaux Hotel, is built on a rocky headland with breathtaking vistas. This exclusive hotel has 37 rooms and suites,two swimming pools - one of which is heated - Carchele Spa and an award- winning Wine Cellar. Sandbar is a modern and chic cocktail bar, whilst Sand serves progressive South African cuisine with the emphasis on fresh seafood and local produce. The Beach House and Look-Out Villa are family friendly private getaways situated close to the main hotel, with their own swimming pools and access to all hotel facilities.

La Plume

8 rooms, 4 suites and 2 self-catering cottages

La Plume is a working ostrich, alfalfa and vine farm with spectacular views of the Swartberg mountains and Olifants River valley. A warm welcome awaits you at this charming 1902 Victorian homestead, where old world charm is combined with modern comforts, and good service is combined with personal attention. With private entrances, verandahs and many antiques, the air- conditioned bedrooms offer pleasant comforts. Cool off in the salt water pool with a view, set amongst rolling lawns.

TGCSA 4-Star Guest House.

The Robberg Beach Lodge

29 rooms

The Robberg Beach Lodge offers 29 rooms in four adjacent villas at stunning Robberg Beach in Plettenberg Bay (Plett to the locals).

Together, Beachy Head Villa, Robberg House, Cottage Pie and Cordovan Villa offer a range of boutique accommodation, almost on the beach and just a few minutes from the bustling restaurants, coffee shops and bars of Plett’s Main Street. Facilities include two pools, lounges, two honesty bars and a rooftop viewing deck.

Palms Wilderness

9 rooms and 2 family rooms

Close to the beach and lagoon, a warm welcome awaits you at Palms Wilderness, an attractive thatched guest house. Most bedrooms have air-conditioning and all have a private entrance leading into lush tropical gardens with an inviting sparkling pool. The restaurant is well-known in the region and offers excellent and imaginative cuisine. During the day, enjoy drinks and snacks on the shady verandah or at the pool, or take a 5-minute stroll to the beach. Ideally positioned for exploring the attractions of the beautiful Garden Route.

TGCSA 4-Star Guest House.

About The Garden Route

With many towns and villages along the garden route there is much on offer. The major tourist towns of the Garden Route are Wilderness, Knysna and Plettenberg Bay. You can split your stay between them or any one of them is a good base for exploring the Garden Route.

Wilderness is great for whale watching from its seemingly endless beach but the highlight is Wilderness National Park, a rare ecosystem that includes rivers, lakes, more than 230 bird species and 18km of coastline.

Knysna is nestled on the banks of a spectacular lagoon and surrounded by indigenous forests & the Outeniqua Mountains. A market town, there are many craft and flea markets and Knysna is also well known for its oysters. Featherbed Nature Reserve, across the lagoon, offers day tours to spot the sea horses and Knysna Loeries. The Knysna Heads and the twin sandstone cliffs at the mouth of the lagoon are also worth seeing.

Plettenberg Bay (know to locals as ‘Plett’) is a pleasant seaside town, with 28km of beaches, many of them good swimming beaches. The nearby Bitou and Keerbooms Rivers, as well as Robberg Peninsula, boost the area’s concentration of eco and conservation projects.

There is a good opportunity to spot whales, dolphins and seals. Roughly 20km east of Plettenberg Bay is The Crags and Nature’s Valley, worth a visiting for their scenic drives and lagoon and a terrific combination with the drive through the Tsitisikamma National Park. A walk across the dramatic bridge over Storms River is a must if you’re in the area.

There is also Victoria Bay, a beautiful bay and resort comprising a gentle sloping beach, big waves and a waterfront with restaurants and cafes. And Sedgefield, a quiet town situated between George and Knysna and a bird watchers paradise. The seaside town of Mossel Bay was where Bartholomew Diaz, the first European navigator to round the cape, landed in 1488 to stock up on supplies and this can be explored further in the maritime museum in the town. George is the commercial hub of the Garden Route, with an airport that welcomes scheduled services from Cape Town, Johannesburg and Durban. Some of the leading golf courses can be found in the area, including the Fancourt Estate. The Outeniqua Choo-Tjoe steam train operates between George and Knysna.