A Road Trip to Explore: The Garden Route

A journey along South Africa’s most beautiful coastline; the Garden Route in the Western Cape will delight any nature and outdoor enthusiast. Following a scenic stretch of the Indian Ocean, we travelled northeast from Cape Town to Jeffrey’s Bay, enjoying the stunning beaches, sheltered lagoons, shoreline trails, rocky cliffsides against the forest and mountain backdrops.

After travelling the route, we can agree that the best way to visit the region is by car. We found using local transportation limiting, and that we could not visit as many sights as we would have liked to. Here’s are the stops we enjoyed along the route.


Swellendam is noted as the third oldest community in South Africa. In this country town, the diverse community leads a simple and hard-working life.

Looking to do some hiking, we walked 10-minutes from the main street to the Marloth Nature Reserve, in the southern Langeberg mountain range. The park ranger strongly advised us not to attempt the summit, concerned that, should the winds change direction, we would not be able to escape a nearby brush fire.

So we followed the shorter Platt trail and zig-zagged our way up in the dry rolling hills reaching the mid-band of the mountain at about 600m. DSC_0358DSC_0359

Mossel Bay

In the small coastal town of Mossel Bay, we found sea, sun, and surf.

And this pro fisherman who took it to a higher level in search of a big catch. Using a specially equipped drone and remote control, he dropped his bait out in the deep waters. He quickly hooked something massive and settled in for a six-hour struggle. In the end, the fish won, snapping the line within twenty meters of the shore.

The Blue Shed; a local coffee shop with unique decor.

Walking along the cliffs of the Cape St Blaize trail, we enjoyed the magnificent views to the sounds of the crashing waves. Cape St Blaize trailLater, as we searched for a place to have lunch, we encountered our friends Nadia and Tom, who we had hiked Table Mountain with, in Cape Town. We joined them for the next two days meeting up in the small seaside village of Wilderness and travelled onto Knysna.DSC_0607


Buffelbaai, a lovely quiet beach stop along the journey.DSC_0602Leaving Knysna, we stopped at the Tsitsikamma National Park, an 80 km coastline reserve. We embarked on a short hike, crossing the suspension bridge over the Storms River Mouth and up a relatively easy trail for views of the eastern cape.

Spotting many Cape Rock hyrax, commonly referred to as a dassie along the way.Cape Rock hyrax, commonly refered to as a dassie. (Procavia capensis).DSC_0631The Storms River GorgeDSC_0657DSC_0689DSC_0705

Jeffrey’s Bay

We parted ways with our Dutch friends in Jeffrey’s Bay and settled into a beachside hostel in this funky little town famous for its super tube wave that has made J-Bay a stop on the world surfing tour.Jeffrey's BayDSC_0770

The colour of a person’s skin is as important as the colour of their eyes’
~ Bob Marley

Gord: “I was out for a walk in the sand and met a local woman on the beach. She knew that I was not South African and started up a conversation. She put her ebony arm next to mine and said. “Are we so different?”

I responded, “We’re all just people.” We gave each other a hug and enjoyed a silent moment of peace and understanding. DSC_0757

11 thoughts on “A Road Trip to Explore: The Garden Route

  1. Such beautiful views and friendly people. I bet you have met a lot of interesting people while on your adventure! How lucky you are . My friends mom lived in Joburg and summered in Durbin. They emigrated from Wales. I often wished I had gone to see her. Enjoy the beauty, stay safe and above all have fun! Just so you can miss it, the temp here to day is gotten to a high of 5c. Almost summer!! LOL!

    • Doris, you’re right, we are lucky and thankful for every day on the road, and the chance to meet so many wonderful people around the world. Enjoy the ’Almost Summer’ weather, the temperature here in Zanzibar is almost too hot, 30C but feels like 38 with the humidity:) -Ginette

  2. Beautiful countryside. I can see why you’d want to stop more. I have friends who are currently (or just about to) cycle the garden route. Now that would be the way to see it. Amazed by the drone fisherman! Too bad he didn’t have a strong enough line. The fish probably died anyway 😦 And your encounter with the black woman is why we travel! “We’re all just people.”

    • Alison, your friends, would not be Sue and Dave by any chance? 🙂 Cycling the South African coastline will be amazing!
      After waiting around for a few hours, we were disappointed when the big one got away!! Not only did the line snap, but his fishing rod did too!
      SA (and the world) is certainly a country of contrasts. It will take time, but goodwill and understanding will prevail to heal old wounds. ‘believing in a brighter future for all! -Ginette

  3. Oh my we really are on a very similar route. Your photos are so gorgeous. I can hardly wait. Well perhaps some days while cycling I shall be hoping for a rental car instead. 🙂

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