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Natural home to the largest flower kingdom in the world (Fynbos), one can enjoy travelling through the Tsitsikamma forest regions, mountainous areas and lovely coastal towns and villages.
The best way to enjoy this region is to base oneself in one of the picturesque towns and take day trips in the various directions. We recommend Knysna, Plettenberg Bay and The Wilderness as the better options to stay. These towns are pretty, small to medium in size but certainly have all the required facilities for the tourist.
One leaves Cape Town in a westerly direction, passing through and perhaps stopping at a few towns on the way. As you leave Cape Town on the N2, the first areas are centred around the beach based towns of Strand and Gordons Bay. One has options to travel via the winelands of Stellenbosch and Paarl, moving through Worcester and Roberton to rejoin the N2. Alternatively take the coastal route through Hermanus; Onrus and Gansbaai – the months of August through to November are the best opportunity to watch the southern right wales frollicing with their calves in the cold Atlantic waters. It is truly a sight not to be missed.
The real Garden Route starts as you drive past the Hottentots Holland mountain ranges towards the fishing village of Mossel Bay. One passes through the picturesque Wilderness area and the Kaaimans Kloof valley through to Sedgefield and Buffels Bay on the way to Knysna. The beautiful town of Knysna (once voted as the best Town in South Africa) is built around the large Knysna lagoon which flows in and out of the majestic Knysna Heads, two rocky outcrops that stand proud as if guarding over the sea entrance to Knysna. Once a port of call for passing trading ships, the Knysna lagoon is now a nature reserve enjoyed mostly by holiday makers and commercial fisherman. This is a wonderful place for visitors to base themselves and enjoy the garden route for a few days.
Walk along the main street in Knysna and enjoy the offerings from the local shops and don’t forget the Knysna Quays. This is a mini waterfront development consisting of an Hotel, accommodation in apartments (privately owned) and some really interesting shops and restuarants. Take a trip on the Knysna Lagoon on the MV John Benn or another of the ferry boats on the Lagoon. This is well worth the effort. The Knysna Heads are worth the effort with a lovely walk around the small penninsula, not to mention a lovely restaurant which accommodates all tastes from a simple Pizza to some more exotic local dishes.
As you leave Knysna toward Plettenberg Bay, stop now and again at the small stores along the side of the road for locally produced food items or souveniers. Plettenberg Bay is a mere 30kms from Knysna and one travels through a wonderfully wooded region.
Plettenberg Bay is the playground of some of South Afircas’ rich and famous. With stunning beaches; beautiful homes and the Robberg Peninsula. Plett (as it’s known locally) is a sun seekers paradise, some say it has the best weather along the coast with low rainfalls and a high sunshine index.
One leaves Plett (toward Port Elizabeth) and travels accross beautiful gorges, the well known Tsitsikama region and more good examples of the Fynbos floral kingdom. The forests along the way are wonderful, we suggest you take the “slow route” and avoid the toll road unless you’re in a hurry. This route is beautiful and really enables one to enjoy this region.
Along the South Coast of South Africa lies one of the most beautiful stretches of coastline in the world, home to the Garden Route National Park.
A mosaic of ecosystems, it encompasses the world renowned Tsitsikamma and Wilderness sections, the Knysna Lake section, a variety of mountain catchment, Southern Cape indigenous forest and associated Fynbos areas. These areas resemble a montage of landscapes and seascapes, from ocean to mountain areas, and are renowned for its diverse natural and cultural heritage resources.
Managed by South African National Parks, it hosts a variety of accommodation options, activities and places of interest. A jewel in South Africa’s crown, the Park is a prime example of the country’s unique fauna and flora and will offer unforgettable views and life-long memories.
Tsitsikamma is the Khoi-San word for a place of many waters. It is the perfect description of this exquisite area but does not do justice to the overwhelming experience the Tsitsikamma provides for those fortunate enough to visit it and to indulge in its unique pleasures.
The Tsitsikamma National Park is internationally recognized for its forests which harbour and conserve the giant Outeniqua yellow wood – one of the few true monarchs of the worlds forests. This enormous tree is one of the most successful species in existence, having survived unchanged for millions of years.
Tsitsikamma National Park is also Africa’s oldest and largest marine reserve, playing a vital role in the preservation and conservation of marine fauna and flora. Tourists, and particularly hikers from all over the world, visit the area which is known for its rugged, unspoiled coastline – a photographers dream.
The Tsitsikamma region has many wonderfully scenic hiking trails of which it is justifiably proud, though its greatest asset remains the world-renowned Otter Trail. This is a once-in-a-lifetime experience that remains indelibly imprinted on the mind.
Robbehoek Kloof and Trails offers trails (Walking and Mountain bike) in the heart of the tranquil Tsitsikamma. Outeniqua Biking Trails offers the best Mountain Bike trails and services. Thaba Manzi Estate offers hunting safaris on their farm and fishing excursions to the best fishing spots in the area. Storms River Adventures offers many adventure activities in the area such as Black Water Tubing, Kloofing and many others.