Hidden Destinations along the Garden Route

The Garden Route, is a magical place and one of South Africa’s most popular stretches of road. It boasts vast white sandy beaches, fairy tale forests, rugged mountains and an abundance of wildlife.

With so much to see and do, there are many hidden gems, often overlooked, simply waiting to be explored.

Image Credit_slack12

Hoekwil

As you make your way along the N2 from Cape Town, you’ll eventually reach a small town named Hoekwil. Here, encounter the ancient Outeniqua Yellowwood tree, or ‘Big Tree’, which is estimated to be 850 years old . The Big Tree rests in the hidden Woodville Forest, which itself is a great destination for a family-friendly expedition. Hiking and walking trails are wheel-chair friendly and offer beautiful designated picnic areas.

Wild Oats Community Farmers Market

While passing through Sedgefield, the town known for its classic cars, why not stop over at the Wild Oats Community Farmers Market held every Saturday between 7:30 and noon. This market supports the principle of small-scale producers, local nature and conservation efforts, as well as fair and ethical pricing.

Image Credit - Andre@ DB

Buffalo Bay

An easily-missed turn off just before Knysna will take you to Buffalo Bay, a small, secluded seaside town within the Goukamma Nature Reserve. Boasting one of the most unique and safe swimming beaches along the Garden Route, it is the ideal location for a seaside holiday.

Image Credit - Harold Kuiper

Nature’s Valley

Nature’s Valley is the last village before entering the Eastern Cape. A small hamlet of about 50 houses, development has been minimised to avoid spoiling the nature of the village, and its peaceful way of life. Despite being situated along the Garden Route, and forming part of the Tsitsikamma National Park, the valley has remained largely undiscovered. Its overwhelming beauty and tranquil atmosphere is sure to enchant you.

Storms River

Nearing the end of the Garden Route is Storms River, another village that echoes fine living in a very raw and natural sense. This is where the famous Otter Trail begins, making it’s away along the Garden Route to Nature’s Valley.

Image Credit- matt knothAdventurous activities available here include canopy tours, bungee jumping, kloofing, and fishing.

To plan your trip along the Garden Route, or to find out more about the above destinations, simply email info@venues4africa.com, visit our website, or contact +27 (0) 21 422 2135.

Image Credit:
slack12
matt knoth
Jochem Koole
Harold Kuiper
Andre@ DB

Top 10 Coastal Towns in South Africa

You deserve a break. It’s been a long year. And nothing says “holiday” quite like a sea-breeze and the feeling of sand between your toes. Whether it’s a quaint seaside village, a local gem, or somewhere with Happy Hour and a view, there isn’t much you can’t find along South Africa’s extraordinary coastline. Each one of the coastal towns in South Africa has its own special flavour, and we have chosen ten of the best to get you started.

Image Credit - Luis E.1. Pringle bay

About an hour outside of Cape Town, Pringle Bay sits quiet and unassuming, surrounded by mountains on three of its sides. If the wind picks up, have a coffee and amble around the craft shops and galleries in the town centre. Or even better, visit South Africa’s first UNESCO registered Biosphere Reserve, Kogelberg, to get your nature kicks.

2. Coffee Bay

The hills that roll away from Coffee Bay and into the warm Indian Ocean will teach you something new about the colour green. Surf, hike, and share a beer with travellers from all around the world. It’s not known as one of the most popular backpacking destinations for nothing.

3. Wilderness

Known for its hospitality and warm weather, Wilderness is perfect if you’re looking for something low-key and reliable along the Garden Route. Nothing makes enough noise to be heard over the sound of the sea, which makes it a great place to recharge. Take a walk along the abandoned tracks of the Outeniqua Choo Tjoe, or keep the couch company with a good book.

Image Credit - Meraj Chhaya4. Port St. Johns

Port St. Johns isn’t interested in being tamed. Rustic and authentic, its history is surprising and its fishing is top notch. Take a walk along one of the unspoiled beaches or trek through an overgrown forest. Catch up on some deep breaths and much needed sleep.

5. Zinkwazi

Zinkwazi lies low just past Kwazulu Natal’s more popular spots. Foot-traffic is sparse, which leaves the estuary quiet enough for the birds to stay happy. Get out your binoculars and see if you can spy the town’s name-sake, which is the Zulu word for Fish Eagle.

6. St Francis Bay

St Francis Bay is built on the banks of interlinking canals, and having the water so close by is a definite perk. You can sit on the deck with a glass of wine and watch the neighbours SUP past, or fish right off your front garden lawn. This small town knows how good it feels to be on holiday, and it makes sure you don’t have to lift a finger by bringing the sea to you.

Image Credit - Tom Booth7. Plettenberg Bay

Plettenberg Bay doesn’t let the sea air dampen its mood. Bustling and energetic, it offers all the great qualities of a coastal town and adds a beat. Spend the day playing beach volley-ball and end it right with a cocktail, or five. You’re on holiday – you can always sleep in.

8. Nature’s Valley

Nature’s Valley is the only town in South Africa that’s situated within a national park, and that’s reason enough to visit. Being the endpoint of the famous Otter Trail, it attracts all kinds of nature lovers. If history’s your thing, it’s also home to the Cape Columbine Lighthouse, which is the last manned lighthouse in South Africa.

Image Credit - fabulousfabs9. Paternoster

Looking for a postcard perfect getaway? Paternoster’s your place. The white-washed fishermen’s cottages and rocky coastline will spice up your Instagram enough to make all your friends jealous. Oh, and take that seafood recipe you’ve been waiting to try; they take their fishing seriously.

10. Hermanus

Despite being best known for the whales that visit every year, Hermanus has a lot more to offer. If you’re feeling daring, shark-cage diving is only a few minutes’ drive away. If you’re not, go wine-tasting in the Hemel en Aarde valley. No matter your choice, there is good food to be had and you won’t be short of a view.

Image Credit - Rob SchleiffertImage Credits:
Luis E.
Meraj Chhaya
Tom Booth
fabulousfabs
Rob Schleiffert