• a slow road trip down // the garden route

 the garden route // mahabis journal

 

Continuing our series of slow and relaxing road trips, we’re heading to South Africa to explore one of the most iconic journeys in the world: the Garden Route. The diverse 800km drive takes in mountains, lagoons, game reserves and breath-taking vistas of the Indian Ocean, as well as providing plenty of opportunities for unwinding along the way.

 

The Garden Route

From ‘big five’ spotting in Addo Elephant National Park to sipping cocktails whilst enjoying the views in the cosmopolitan city of Cape Town, South Africa’s infamous Garden Route takes in a vast variety of sights and wildlife along the way. Sure, you can dive with sharks or leap from a bridge attached to a bungee rope, but there are plenty of other, more restful activities to enjoy along the route. Animal lovers will rejoice at the thought of encountering nature’s giants both on the land and in the sea, and there are enough wineries to ensure that you’ll never run out of a refreshing glass of chenin blanc to sip whilst admiring the views.

 

the garden route // mahabis journal

 

Port Elizabeth - Addo Elephant National Park

One of the largest cities in South Africa, Port Elizabeth is the best place to start your journey along the Garden Route. If you have time to spend in the city, head to the Summerstrand area of town to lie back and relax beside the Indian Ocean. Only half an hour out of the city, you’ll find Sardinia Bay, a beautiful sandy paradise complete with rolling sand dunes and crystal clear waters. Take some time to stroll along the sand and dip your toes into the ocean.

It’s only just over an hour’s drive to Addo Elephant National Park, where you can book onto a drive around the game reserve. The third largest reserve in South Africa, this is the perfect place to get up close and personal to one of the 500 elephants that call the park home. Alongside elephants, you are also likely to see lions, warthogs, zebra and buffalo.

 

the garden route // mahabis journal

Addo - Plettenberg Bay

Take your time driving from the elephant reserve down to Plettenberg Bay, the heart of the Garden Route. There are many stops and diversions along the way that will nicely break up your trip and allow for a more relaxing pace.

Tsitsikamma National Park will wow you with its dramatic landscapes: beautiful waterfalls, deep gorges and craggy coastline await. If you’re feeling adventurous, try out the ziplines of a canopy tour in the jungle, or if you’re looking to get up close and personal to more wildlife, the Birds of Eden sanctuary is the largest free-flight bird reserve in the world. Here, you can wander freely around the many walkways, take in the landscape and indigenous wildlife, including the large blue crane.

Plettenberg Bay is a great base for spending several days exploring the area. Here, you can take to the water to watch whales, spot dolphins or swim with seals, depending on when you visit. If you feel like stretching your legs, the hike around Robberg Park is the perfect way to take in the views. A relatively easy walk, the hike takes you around the mountainous peninsula, offering panoramic views of the Indian Ocean. For those who simply want to relax, the area is filled with beautiful beaches just waiting to be discovered.

 

the garden route // mahabis journal

 

Plettenberg - Hermanus

Driving along this stretch of road, you will constantly be tempted to pull over to admire the views. The picturesque town of Knysna is the perfect place to rest your head for the night, and to spend a day or two exploring the local area. Only 25km west of Plettenberg, Knysna’s lagoon is hidden away from the main road, but is one of the most beautiful sights of the trip. Take a boat trip around the lagoon, stopping on the Western Head to wander around the nature reserve that is only accessible from the water.

Further along the road, stop for a swim at Wilderness Beach, before taking a detour inland through the Karoo valley, marvelling at the change in landscape when you reach this mountainous area. Head to Oudtshoorn to explore the famous Cango Caves and visit an ostrich farm.

Back onto the coastal road, the Garden Route technically ends at Mossel Bay, but there is much more to be seen if you continue along the coast. The quaint fishing town of Hermanus is one of the best places in South Africa to spot southern right, humpback and killer whales, and hosts an entertaining Whale Festival during September. It’s also the home of the ‘whale crier’, who uses a kelp horn to signal to locals and tourists that whales have been sighted in the bay.

 

garden route // mahabis journal

 

Hermanus – Cape Town

This is the part of the journey that will delight wine lovers, as the road to Cape Town takes you through the winelands, weaving past seemingly never-ending vineyards. Opt to spend the night in a winery to best sample all of the tipples on offer, or simply stop in for a tour to break up your journey.

En route to Cape Town, as you drive up the Cape Peninsula, there are plenty of beaches with water warm enough for swimming. The coastal roads offer dramatic views of the Atlantic Ocean meeting the Indian Ocean, allowing you to take your time and stop to admire the scenery. Before you reach Cape Town, ensure that you stop at Boulder’s Beach to visit the penguin colony.

Once you’ve arrived at your destination, allow yourself time to unwind after your journey, sipping on local wine and admiring the views of Table Mountain.

 

photos 1,2,3,5: via wikipedia, 4: julien carnot, flickr

a slow road trip down // the garden route

 the garden route // mahabis journal

 

Continuing our series of slow and relaxing road trips, we’re heading to South Africa to explore one of the most iconic journeys in the world: the Garden Route. The diverse 800km drive takes in mountains, lagoons, game reserves and breath-taking vistas of the Indian Ocean, as well as providing plenty of opportunities for unwinding along the way.

 

The Garden Route

From ‘big five’ spotting in Addo Elephant National Park to sipping cocktails whilst enjoying the views in the cosmopolitan city of Cape Town, South Africa’s infamous Garden Route takes in a vast variety of sights and wildlife along the way. Sure, you can dive with sharks or leap from a bridge attached to a bungee rope, but there are plenty of other, more restful activities to enjoy along the route. Animal lovers will rejoice at the thought of encountering nature’s giants both on the land and in the sea, and there are enough wineries to ensure that you’ll never run out of a refreshing glass of chenin blanc to sip whilst admiring the views.

 

the garden route // mahabis journal

 

Port Elizabeth - Addo Elephant National Park

One of the largest cities in South Africa, Port Elizabeth is the best place to start your journey along the Garden Route. If you have time to spend in the city, head to the Summerstrand area of town to lie back and relax beside the Indian Ocean. Only half an hour out of the city, you’ll find Sardinia Bay, a beautiful sandy paradise complete with rolling sand dunes and crystal clear waters. Take some time to stroll along the sand and dip your toes into the ocean.

It’s only just over an hour’s drive to Addo Elephant National Park, where you can book onto a drive around the game reserve. The third largest reserve in South Africa, this is the perfect place to get up close and personal to one of the 500 elephants that call the park home. Alongside elephants, you are also likely to see lions, warthogs, zebra and buffalo.

 

the garden route // mahabis journal

Addo - Plettenberg Bay

Take your time driving from the elephant reserve down to Plettenberg Bay, the heart of the Garden Route. There are many stops and diversions along the way that will nicely break up your trip and allow for a more relaxing pace.

Tsitsikamma National Park will wow you with its dramatic landscapes: beautiful waterfalls, deep gorges and craggy coastline await. If you’re feeling adventurous, try out the ziplines of a canopy tour in the jungle, or if you’re looking to get up close and personal to more wildlife, the Birds of Eden sanctuary is the largest free-flight bird reserve in the world. Here, you can wander freely around the many walkways, take in the landscape and indigenous wildlife, including the large blue crane.

Plettenberg Bay is a great base for spending several days exploring the area. Here, you can take to the water to watch whales, spot dolphins or swim with seals, depending on when you visit. If you feel like stretching your legs, the hike around Robberg Park is the perfect way to take in the views. A relatively easy walk, the hike takes you around the mountainous peninsula, offering panoramic views of the Indian Ocean. For those who simply want to relax, the area is filled with beautiful beaches just waiting to be discovered.

 

the garden route // mahabis journal

 

Plettenberg - Hermanus

Driving along this stretch of road, you will constantly be tempted to pull over to admire the views. The picturesque town of Knysna is the perfect place to rest your head for the night, and to spend a day or two exploring the local area. Only 25km west of Plettenberg, Knysna’s lagoon is hidden away from the main road, but is one of the most beautiful sights of the trip. Take a boat trip around the lagoon, stopping on the Western Head to wander around the nature reserve that is only accessible from the water.

Further along the road, stop for a swim at Wilderness Beach, before taking a detour inland through the Karoo valley, marvelling at the change in landscape when you reach this mountainous area. Head to Oudtshoorn to explore the famous Cango Caves and visit an ostrich farm.

Back onto the coastal road, the Garden Route technically ends at Mossel Bay, but there is much more to be seen if you continue along the coast. The quaint fishing town of Hermanus is one of the best places in South Africa to spot southern right, humpback and killer whales, and hosts an entertaining Whale Festival during September. It’s also the home of the ‘whale crier’, who uses a kelp horn to signal to locals and tourists that whales have been sighted in the bay.

 

garden route // mahabis journal

 

Hermanus – Cape Town

This is the part of the journey that will delight wine lovers, as the road to Cape Town takes you through the winelands, weaving past seemingly never-ending vineyards. Opt to spend the night in a winery to best sample all of the tipples on offer, or simply stop in for a tour to break up your journey.

En route to Cape Town, as you drive up the Cape Peninsula, there are plenty of beaches with water warm enough for swimming. The coastal roads offer dramatic views of the Atlantic Ocean meeting the Indian Ocean, allowing you to take your time and stop to admire the scenery. Before you reach Cape Town, ensure that you stop at Boulder’s Beach to visit the penguin colony.

Once you’ve arrived at your destination, allow yourself time to unwind after your journey, sipping on local wine and admiring the views of Table Mountain.

 

photos 1,2,3,5: via wikipedia, 4: julien carnot, flickr
  • Emma Lavelle
Sign up here to keep updated with our latest posts