Experience the Garden Route | Western Cape Government

Experience the Garden Route

The Garden Route stretches along the south eastern coastline of the Western Cape and includes the Klein Karoo. Here you will find extraordinary natural diversity that includes the Klein Karoo shrub lands, and coastal forests in the south of the district. Its natural beauty was added to the UNESCO World Network of Biosphere Reserves in 2017.

The Garden Route is a must visit for hikers and adventurers looking to conquer its many untarred road passes, hiking trails and mountainous ranges.

The region has 7 local municipalities:

Knysna is a natural paradise, sitting on the banks of a lagoon. The town is surrounded by forests, blue flag beaches and tranquil lakes. It is a popular tourist destination, especially for adventure seekers and nature lovers looking to enjoy walking the Drupkelders, or Circles in the Forest hiking trails. The annual Knysna Oyster Festival is the town’s biggest festival. Towns in this municipality are Knysna, Rheenendal, Belvidere Estate, Knysna, Sedgefield, Brenton and Knoetzie.

Oudsthoorn is the largest town in the Klein Karoo, and is known as the Ostrich Capital of the World, because of the many ostrich farms surrounding the town. The town is situated between the Swartberg and Outeniqua Mountains.

Oudtshoorn is home to the Cango Caves, which has one of the biggest stalagmite (mineral formations that are found in caves) formations in the world.  Towns in this municipality are Oudtshoorn, Dysselsdorp and De Rust

Bitou is where you can find Plettenberg Bay, a pleasure seekers dream. It has many leisure activities on offer for those who want to relax on the beach or enjoy a tuna steak at a beachside restaurant. It attracts water sport enthusiasts looking to do boating, canoeing, yachting and jet skiing at the Keurbooms River mouth and marina. Towns in this municipality are Plettenberg Bay, Keurboomstrand, Nature's Valley, Kranshoek and Kurland.

Yellowwood tree Knysna

Situated at the foot of the Outeniqua Mountains, George is in the centre of the Garden Route. It is the business hub of the Southern Cape. Its mild Mediterranean climate makes it perfect for hikes on the Pass-to-pass, or Tierkop trail.  Towns in this municipality are Herolds Bay, Wilderness, Haarlem and Uniondale.

Kannaland is on Route 62, one of the Western Cape’s most famous roads. The route gives you a chance to explore sleepy towns with excellent mom-and-pop stores. Towns in this municipality are Ladismith, Calitzdorp, Zoar and Vanwyksdorp.

Hessequa is the flower bed of the Garden Route. Its main town, Riversdale, is surrounded by bright yellow canola fields. The district is flanked by the lower Breede River to the west and the Gourits River to the east. The name comes from the Khoi language and translates to “people of the trees”. Towns in this municipality are Heidelberg, Slangrivier, Riversdal, Albertinia, Gouritz and Still Bay.

Mossel Bay is a seaside town that sits on the border of the green forests that characterises the Garden Route and the fynbos of the Klein Karoo. It is known as the first place in South Africa where European explorers (Bartolomeu Dias and his crew) landed. The town is exactly midway between Cape Town and Port Elizabeth. This popular holiday town is known for its beautiful beaches and is an ideal destination for water sport enthusiasts. Towns in this municipality are Herbertsdale, Friemersheim, Great Brak River and Mossel Bay.


The Garden Route is home to some of the best restaurants in the country, offering everything from ostrich steak in Oudtshoorn to seafood in Plettenberg Bay.

Taste the best the Garden Route has to offer. 

Family fun

Take the entire family on an adventure that they will never forget.


Enjoy the natural beauty the Garden Route has to offer.

Budget Ideas

Take time to visit the Tenikwa Wildlife Awareness Centre, which is situated just outside of Plettenberg Bay, is one of the largest animal rehabilitation centres in the province. The Tenikwa Wildlife Awareness Centre admits about 300 injured animals per year and nurtures them back to health before they are released back into the wild. Visitors can tour the park and interact with some of the animals in the facility.

Garden Route Tourism

The content on this page was last updated on 13 September 2022