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.