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Things to Do in the

Garden Route

1. Knysna

Surrounded by warm-water lagoons, sandstone cliffs, and dense forests, Knysna is one of the most popular towns along South Africa’s renowned Garden Route. The coastal town welcomes tourists with a blend of natural beauty, quaint accommodations, seafood restaurants, and outdoor adventures. Plus, the estuary’s oyster farms provide the chance to indulge in fresh oysters while cruising the lagoon.

2. Tsitsikamma National Park

Trails, waterfalls, and wildlife draw visitors to lush Tsitsikamma National Park. Set along South Africa’s scenic Garden Route and spanning 50 miles (80 kilometers) of coastline, the park stretches from the mouth of the Storms River to Nature’s Valley. Embark on various adventures here, from a multi-day hike along the Otter Trail to one of the world’s highest bungee jumps.

3. Cango Caves

The Cango Caves are made up of a diverse array of underground formations. ranging from massive caverns to narrow passageways barely wide enough to squeeze through. Spacious, well-lit corridors reveal floor to ceiling stalagmites and stalactites. In contrast, the cave’s tunnels are dark and cramped, offering a bona fide caving experience.

4. Addo Elephant National Park

Herds of elephants basking at water holes are just a sneak peek of the classic African wildlife you’ll spot at Addo Elephant National Park. Lions, rhinos, hyenas, leopards, antelope, and zebras also make appearances alongside the park’s vast network of roads and trails, and can even be observed from the safari lodging and restaurants.

5. Oudtshoorn

Best known as the ostrich capital of the world, Oudtshoorn has more to offer than just a chance to visit ostrich farms. Set in the Little Karoo—South Africa’s semi-desert—the town is the gateway to the Swartberg mountains, the Cango Caves, and innumerable nature reserves and trails. Visitors can also enjoy local restaurants and wineries.

Things to Do in

Garden Route

6. Wilderness National Park

The Garden Route offers visitors one of the most smooth and scenic drives in all of South Africa. The well-paved road winds through rolling hills, densely populated towns and small, subsistent farms. It’s a look at African life in the vast open countryside, with plenty of stopping options for destinations off the beaten path—like Wilderness National Park.

7. Cango Wildlife Ranch

The Cango Wildlife Ranch, home to endangered species from across South Africa and beyond, is dedicated to wildlife conservation and educating visitors about the challenges facing everything from its majestic big cats to prized Cape Vultures. In addition to viewing wildlife in their natural habitats, you can see big cats from an elevated boardwalk and have personal encounters with select animals in separate enclosures.

8. Monkeyland Primate Sanctuary

Under the canopy of an indigenous South African forest, more than 700 primates live in the world’s first free-range, multi-species primate sanctuary. Tours of Monkeyland Primate Sanctuary offer no species sighting guarantees, but you will see primates from around the world, while learning about their patterns, habitats, and threats.

9. Plettenberg Bay

Whether it’s an international polo match, taking a walk with wild cheetahs or heading out on a wild canyoning adventure, the coastal town of Plettenberg Bay—named Beautiful Bay by early Portuguese explorers—offers travelers ample opportunity to explore the outdoors. The surrounding mountains are home to plenty of hiking trails and scenic bike passes ideal for nature-lovers, while extreme sports like skydiving and climbing prove ideal for the thrill-seeking set.

10. Birds of Eden

The lush forests, streams, and trails of Birds of Eden provide a natural, free-flight sanctuary for more than 200 different bird species from across the world. Wander the vast 5.6-acre (2.3-hectare) aviary dome set in the mountains outside of Plettenberg Bay while observing rehabilitated birds in their natural habitats.