Things to do in the Garden Route
Some of our favourite attractions within less than about 90 minutes' drive of Blue Fern of Knysna
It's difficult to tell you where the Garden Route begins and where it ends - because it's not an 'official' name. More of a kind of nickname given to the area around the coastal road from Cape Town to Port Elizabeth, and which stems from the great beauty of the region.
But since you'll be staying at Blue Fern of Knysna, let's have a look at some of the attractions within, say, a 90-minute drive from our front door.
Garden Route National Park
The Garden Route National Park protects much of the indigenous Knysna Forest, and many of the mountains, beaches, lakes, lagoons, and fynbos areas between Tsitsikamma and George. It's almost 155,000 hectares in size, and largely unfenced. Animals in the park include the southernmost herd of African elephants (although they're very rarely seen).
- Birding (more than 250 species)
- Forest canopy tours
- Lagoon cruises - and more.
The Garden Route's only harbour town, about 110 km west of Knysna.
- Point of Human Origins: tours of the caves that have revealed the earliest evidence for modern human behaviour www.humanorigin.co.za
- The Dias Museum Complex: where you can see (for example) a replica of the caravel (ship) on which Bartolomeu Dias became the first European navigator to sail around the Cape of Good Hope www.diasmuseum.co.za
Our regional capital, and apparently the fastest-growing city in the country, is about 60 km west of Knysna. Still somewhat rural, but also vibey and even (dare we wish it!) - edgy.
- The Garden Route Botanical Garden (next to the Outeniqua Nature Reserve) focuses on plants native to the Southern Cape region. It's also a good birding destination. www.botanicalgarden.org.za
- Shopping - George is definitely the shopping capital of the Garden Route. Try the Garden Route Mall www.gardenroutemall.co.za (which has 7 cinemas) or the Eden Meander Lifestyle Centre Facebook.com/edenmeander
Also known as Plett, this is South Africa's well-heeled beach holiday town. It's about 30 km east of Knysna
- Cycling & MTB: we recommend the Cairnbrogie Mountain Bike Trail Park. www.cairnbrogie.co.za
- Adventureland is an awesome water-park, and a must for any kid of any age on any warm and sunny day. www.adventurelandplett.co.za
- The Plett Wine Route: yes, really! With no less than 16 wine estates. Some of them make really good bubbly, too. www.plettwinelands.com
A forested area east of Plettenberg Bay, and about 50 km from Knysna.
- The Barnyard Theatre: country-style theatre and functions venue. Watch the web site for details of shows, music, and performances. www.barnyardplett.co.za
- Monkeyland: guided tours of this multi-species primate sanctuary. www.monkeyland.co.za
Birds of Eden: stroll through the biggest free-flight bird sanctuary you've ever seen. www.birdsofeden.co.za
Forestry and adventure go hand-in hand in the Tsitsikamma - about 90 km east of Knysna
- Storms River Mouth in the Garden Route National Park: Enjoy a number of short (2 to 6 km) walking trails, and snorkel in Africa's oldest Marine Protected Area. www.tsitsikamma.info
- Tsitsikamma Canopy Tours: zipline adventures in the company of knowledgeable forest guides. www.stormsriver.com
- Bloukrans Bungy: at more than 200 metres, this is the world's highest commercial bungi bridge. You can bungy jump, or you can choose a rather more sedate bridge walking tour. www.faceadrenalin.com