The South Africa Garden Route Tour from Cape Town to Knysna was, unfortunately, only something I’d heard about once I moved to South Africa in 2018.
Before moving to South Africa, I’d only heard about Cape Town as the tourist destination and Johannesburg, and of course safaris galore.
Of course, when one thinks of South Africa’s thoughts of Nelson Mandela, the history of Apartheid, Table Mountain, and Africa culture may come to mind. However, close your eyes, and imagine for a moment… a beautiful drive of miles and miles views of stretches of the pacific ocean, wildlife, and cute little coastal towns.
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The South Africa Garden Route Tour From Cape Town to Knysna
South Africa is HUGE. Luckily, by living there, I had the opportunity to discover the country at my own pace. Living in Johannesburg was a dream, but one also deserves a break from hectic city life to enjoy the slow pace of the Garden Route. So, I road-tripped from Cape Town to Knysna with a few friends on the Garden Route.
Here’s what to see and do on South Africa Garden Route Tour from Cape Town to Knysna!
You will start your Garden Route Tour in Cape Town (aka CPT). Cape Town is a city nestled in a beautiful contrast of city life and slow beach town feels. There are gorgeous white sand beaches, tons of amazing places to eat, and views of the famous Table Mountain from almost anywhere you look.
One can never arrive in Cape Town and not see and experience Table Mountain. Compared to Johannesburg, CPT is not that big; so, wherever you go in the city, you can look up and see Table Mountain from almost anywhere.
Daily, thousands of tourists clamor to see Table Mountain. There are several ways to get to the top, but the easiest way is to take the cable car. NOTE: Make sure to buy your tickets in advance, or you are likely to stand for 2-3 hours to admire the view.
Alternatively, you can walk up there. It can take a few hours (depending on where you start), but it is a beautiful hike. The views are worth it once you get to the top.
It is hard not to fall in love with this colorful neighborhood, located on the hills of Silent Hill. Bright, vibrant walls that beautifully echo the nickname of South Africa: the rainbow country.
If you’ve heard of South Africa, then you’ve heard of the famous freedom fighter and President of South Africa, Nelson Mandela. So, it would be an injustice to go to CPT and not see Robben Island!
There are only 3 trips per day, so I recommend booking your tickets several days in advance and not at the last moment.
The Waterfront is a great place to shop and eat while in CPT. It’s not all that “authentic”, but you’ll definitely find some great souvenirs and take some great photos.
THE CAPE OF GOOD HOPE
At the very tip of the Continent of Africa, The Cape of Good Hope is a must-see. Don’t be alarmed if you happen to come across various bird species, baboons, several species of antelopes, reptiles, etc.
PRO TIP: If you have the opportunity, go on a speedboat! The departure is from the fishing port of Hout Bay.
STELLENBOSCH AND ITS REGION
About a 1hr outside of Cape Town, the legendary wine route begins on your South Africa Garden Route Tour. At the foot of the mountains stretch miles and miles of breathtaking vineyards.
Stopping here in Stellenbosch (and the other vineyard towns), will give you the perfect opportunity to taste the amazingness of South African wines! Some farms even have restaurants and offer dishes that go perfectly with the wines ordered.
About a 45 minutes drive from Cape Town, this is where the famous penguin beaches start! You’ll have to pay a small fee to get in, but the views are worth it on a sunny day. You’ll see hundreds of penguins waddling by living their best lives.
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Hermanus is a small coastal town famous for whale watching. In winter (June to October), this is a great place to watch them. If it is possible to take a boat to get a closer look at these incredible mammals – then it’s a must!
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Oh, Knysna. It’s easy to spend a few extra days in this town.
Visit the Knysna Elephant Park, which is a park that welcomes baby elephants. It’s NOT like a safari, so don’t get your hopes up. However, you can get pretty close elephants to feed them and take pictures.
ADDO ELEPHANT PARK
A short distance from Port Elizabeth is the Addo Elephant Park. This park prides itself on having the big seven. In addition to the Big 5, you can also see the whale and the white sharks, since the park is on the coast.
Port Elizabeth, also known as “PE” – as South Africans call it – is the endpoint of the South Africa Garden Route Tour. Honestly, PE isn’t that fascinating, nor as beautiful as some of the other coastal towns along the Garden Route.
There you have it! The South Africa Garden Route Tour from Cape Town to Knysna!
Have you been to South Africa’s Garden Route yet? If so, what was your most memorable experience?