Sun, surf and everything in between. South explores 114 things to do in the Garden Route and Klein Karoo this holiday season, from nature and sport to food, culture and absolute ‘must-do’ activities guaranteed to make your stay more memorable. This is Eden: there are literally hundreds of things to experience and this guide will get you started. South challenges you to get out there and explore. Do everything, or absolutely nothing… just do it here!
Famous for being the place where man survived the Ice Age, and the first recorded instance where Europeans set foot on South African soil, Mossel Bay has a host of fun activities to offer. LEGENDS (A bucket-list must) Point of Human Origins Experience
Four-hour guided tours to Pinnacle Point Cave, the earliest evidence of modern human behavior. Booking essential at least 48 hours in advance. Moderate fitness required, access via steep stairs. www.humanorigin.co.za Shark cage diving
Four-hour boat trip including dive, weather permitting. Booking is essential. www.whitesharkafrica.com Walk with lions www.botlierskop.co.za CHILDREN / FAMILY Boat trip to Seal Island in the Romonza boat. Up to 4 000 seals. Departs every hour on the hour from the harbour. 10am to 4pm. Extended times may apply in season. Other times can be arranged. www.mosselbay.co.za/romonza Local beaches are among favourite family spots in summer.
A complete guide is available at www.visitmosselbay.co.za/play/beaches Water World, Diaz Beach Resort www.diazbeach.co.za ADVENTURE Sandboard the world famous Dragon Dune, the longest sandboard ride in the country. Booking essential. From 8am in season. www.billeon.com Scuba and reef diving courses, rib rides, snorkelling, bay trips, and dolphin-, seal- and whale watching.
Mossel Bay Harbour. www.electrodive.co.za Vlees Baai dune 4X4 rides by arrangement. 044 699 1107 or 082 784 8238. Skydiving www.skydivemosselbay.com SPORT Golf Pinnacle Point Golf Resort www.pinnaclepointestate.co.za Mossel Bay Golf Clubwww.mosselbaygolfclub.co.za UNIQUE EXPERIENCE Déjà Vu Vintage House and Monroe Theatre. 30-seater vintage theatre, vintage shop and tea room. Open Monday to Friday 9am – 5pm, Saturday 9am – 1pm. 7 Marsh Street Facebook: Deja-Vu-Vintage-House St Blaize Lighthouse, one of only two manned lighthouses on the South African coast. Weekdays 10am – 3pm.
The Cape St Blaize Cave was used by local hunter-gatherers and herders over a period of about 200 000 years. www.visitmosselbay.co.za/attractions/cape-st-blaize-lighthouse-1864 ROUTES Mossel Bay Art Route www.mosselbayart.co.za SHOPPING Craft Art Workshop Communal gallery of locally made art, crafts, gifts, souvenirs and curios.
3 Market Street, next to tourism office. www.mosselbayart.co.za
Mossel Bay Tourism
Corner of Market and Church streets
044 691 2202 www.visitmosselbay.co.za
GEORGE AND SURROUNDS
George has a historic charm and offers an array of exciting events to delight holidaymakers.
LEGENDS (A bucket-list must) Outeniqua Power Van
Departing daily, this rail bus takes you up the Outeniqua Mountains through forest, four passes, six tunnels, overlooking waterfalls and a view of George you will never forget. Booking is essential.
Outeniqua Transport Museum [email protected] 044 801 8239; 082 490 5627 Southern Africa Golf Hall of Fame and Museum
An interactive museum of the history of southern African golf, including stunning collections of memorabilia and a Hall of Fame. Entry R50 for adults, children 12 to 18 years R25, children under 12 free.
Oubaai, Herold’s Bay www.golfhalloffame.co.za Outeniqua Transport Museum
Open Monday to Saturday 8am – 5pm (summer). Entry R20 adults, R10 children under 12, free for children under six.
044 801 8289 www.outeniquachootjoe.co.za/museum CHILDREN / FAMILY Redberry Farm
Pick your own strawberries, mini-train, bubble ball, pony rides, bumper boats, restaurant and more. Largest hedged maize in the southern hemisphere. www.redberryfarm.co.za Valcor dairy farm
See how a modern dairy farm operates. Standard dairy tours daily from 2.30pm – 3.30pm. R30 per adult and R15 for children. Booking advisable. 082 331 8618 www.valcor.co.za Let’s Go Bowling
Eight-lane ten-pin bowling alley, restaurant and coffee shop. Booking advised in season.
Mountview Lifestyle Resort, 1 York Street 044 873 2232 www.letsgobowling.co.za Three Chameleons short golf course
Nine-hole golf course, putt-putt, clubhouse serving bar meals, play area and jungle gym. Monday to Thursday 8am – 7pm, Friday and Saturday 8am – 8pm, Sunday 8am – 6pm. 044 876 9988 ADVENTURE Garden Route Paintball Games
Herold’s Bay Road www.grpaintball.co.za Quad biking
Montagu Pass, night rides and more. www.quadgardenroute.co.za For more information on trails, tracks and waterways for hiking, biking, canoeing and much more, check out www.gardenroute adventureguide.com. NATURE Garden Route Botanical Gardens
Dam, wetland, lawn for picnics, bird hide, environmental centre with public botanical displays.
Garden hours: 7am – 7pm (summer) Office hours: Monday to Thursday 8am – 5pm, Friday 8am –2.30pm. Entrance is free. 49 Caledon Street www.botanicalgarden.org.za SPORT
Play a round of golf on one (or all) of the world-class golf courses in George: Fancourt The Links, Oubaai, Fancourt Outeniqua and Montagu, Kingswood, George Golf Club. www.fancourt.co.zawww.kingswood.co.za www.georgegolfclub.co.za Oubaai: 044 851 1234 NEW KIDS ON THE BLOCK The Exchange indoor go-kart racing
Monday to Saturday 11am – 8pm, Sunday 2pm – 6pm.
AET Industrial Business Park, Nelson Mandela Boulevard, George Industrial 044 875 0077 ROUTES Seven Passes back roads between George and Knysna. Access via Nelson Mandela Boulevard (former Saasveld Road). Montagu Pass to Herold village. Stop at Herold Wines. Open Monday to Saturday 10am – 4pm. www.heroldwines.co.za FOOD Outeniqua Farmers’ Market
Saturday 8am – 2pm N2 Sasol garage turnoff, east of George www.outeniquafarmersmarket.co.za Van Rensburgs Foods
60 Courtenay Street, parking in Ironside Road www.vanrensburgsfoods.co.za Lancewood Cheese factory shop
Ironside Road (opposite Van Rensburg’s) www.lancewood.co.za
124 York Street
044 801 9295
One can only be inspired by the wild beauty of Wilderness, with its majestic ocean views and endless stretches of white beach, which lends itself to long walks and dreams of faraway places.
LEGENDS (A bucket-list must) Big Tree at Woodville
Decked trail, picnic areas. Easy 45 minute walk through lush indigenous forest, which starts and finishes at an 810-year-old yellowwood tree. Hoekwil turnoff from N2 towards the mountains. Look for signage about 13km in. CHILDREN / FAMILY
Eat, shop and play at TimberlakeOrganic Village between Wilderness and Sedgefield. The fairy garden is a real treat for children. www.timberlakeorganic.co.za Kingfisher Day Hike in Wilderness National Park. A 7km circle route with waterfall and rock pools at its furthest point. Access via camp or dirt road at waterworks. R32 per adult, R16 per child (age 2-11) per day. Obtain a permit at the gate or office. 044 877 1197 ADVENTURE Eden Adventures
Kloofing, abseiling, and canoe hire. www.eden.co.za Wildwoods Tree Adventures
An obstacle course in the sky. www.timberlakeorganic.co.za/play/wildwoods-tree-adventures SHOPPING Milkwood Village Night Market Fridays 4pm – 9pm. 044 877 1888
The first town in Africa to be officially granted ‘Slow’ status, Sedgefield is known for its quality mellow lifestyle, a strong adventure and sport tourism industry, and the most famous food market in the country.
LEGENDS(A bucket-list must) Moonlight Meander along Swartvlei beach to Gericke’s Point. Experience life in the intertidal zone during new and full moon. Guide Judy Dixon reveals the mysteries of the amazing creatures living there. Booking is essential.
044 883 1015 or 072 390 6667 ADVENTURE Surf lessons, waterskiing, kite-boarding, wake boarding, stand-up boarding, beach volleyball and beach golf at www.afrovibe.co.za SPORT Sedgefield Links Golf Club
A nine-hole short course and clubhouse.
N2 west of town, Swartvlei Beach turnoff 044 343 2379 Bicycle hire, including tandem two- and three-seaters. Details of several cycling routes and a monthly full moon ride at www.cycleworx.co.za/routes Horseback riding in the forest or lessons at Kraaibosch Equestrian centre. Michelle 081 515 0741
Many hikes and day walks in the area. Get a map from Sedgefield Tourism. NEW KIDS ON THE BLOCK Garden Route Trail Park Mountainbiking, trail running, pumptrack and BMX track, The Trail Café eatery. www.gardenroutetrailpark.com SOMETHING UNIQUE Mosaic Art Route Book a tour or do a self-drive of the many mosaic pieces in and around town. Map and information from Sedgefield Tourism. 044 343 2658 or [email protected]
Masithandane 044 343 2110 or [email protected] SHOPPING
Saturday outdoor markets offering fresh organic and local products. Wild Oats Community Farmers Market www.wildoatsmarket.co.za Scarab Art and Craft Market www.scarabvillage.co.za Mosaic Market, also known as the ‘Middle market’ www.mosaicmarket.co.za
For many years a haven for artists and alternative free spirits alike, Knysna offers an eclectic mix of old and new, culture and nature.
LEGENDS (A bucket-list must)
Visit the caves at the Knysna Heads Knysna Tourism 044 382 5510 Knysna Forest
Visit Diepwalle Garden Route National Parks forestry station. The museum houses a Knysna Elephant skeleton and various elephant walks are on offer. Also see the King Eduard VII Big Tree and refuel at Diepwalle Tea Garden. If you are exceptionally lucky, you may see the elusive Knysna elephants.
Visit the Dalene Matthee Memorial and her namesake, “The Dalene Matthee Big Tree”, an 880-year-old Outeniqua yellowwood. Millwood mine
Experience the history of the 19th Century gold rush. Visit the Forest Legends Museum. www.gardenrouteadventureguide.com/millwood-mine-walk for details of a hike in the area.
Details on all the above are available in the Knysna section of the Garden Route National Park.
Main office 044 302 5600 Forest station 044 389 0129 www.sanparks.org/parks CHILDREN / FAMILY
Have a picnic at the Wild Side at Buffalo Bay beach.
Off the N2, between Sedgefield and Knysna. Knysna Pledge Nature Reserve.
Just north of the CBD, you will be amazed at this oasis with streams and forest. The reserve’s highest point has a spectacular view of the town, Knysna lagoon and Knysna Heads.
10 Bond Street, 044 382 3712 or 083 629 9201 www.pledgenaturereserve.org ADVENTURE
Feel the adrenaline rush while sandboarding at Brenton-on-sea. A minimum of four to book a tour. www.duneadventures.co.za 072 474 0210 SPORT
Learn to surf with Tripout Surf School or join an organised snorkelling trip to the Heads.
083 306 3587 www.tripout.co.za Golf
Take to the greens at Pezula, Simola and Knysna golf courses.
www.pezulagolf.com www.simola.co.za www.knysnagolfclub.com
Experience a nine-hole night golf game at Black Waters mashie course near Buffalo Bay. Equipment hire available.
www.blackwaters.co.za 044 383 0105 or 083 739 9175 UNIQUE EXPERIENCE
Get to know the local Rastafarian community with Rastafarian Tours. The community at Judah Square is the largest of its kind in South Africa. Brother Maxi (House of Judah elder) 073 479 0860
Sista Kerri (Sisters’ Council) 083 502 2229 www.knysnalivinglocal.co.za/judahsquare ROUTES
Identify the beautiful and rare forest trees on the Timber Route, which made Knysna’s wood famous.
www.timberroute.co.za 044 382 1118/9/0
Meagan Vermaas’ Forest Guided Tours offers unique guided walks and tours into Knysna’s lush, emerald forests. Explore the history and mystery of the forest, from Khoisan to early explorers, woodcutters and the goldmines of Millwood and Rheenendal. www.forestguidedtours.co.za 073 3636 522 SHOPPING Knysna Local & Organic market and restaurant.
Operating as Grain Mill Organic Bistro and Shop, it’s the place for veggies, pasta, bread and takeaways, spelt, health products and much more. Tenants also sell cheese, coffee, flowers, clothing, arts and crafts. Open Monday to Friday 8:30am – 4:30pm, Saturday 8:30am – 2:30pm. 3 Union Street (behind Thesen House). 083 635 9634 Friday night market.
A wide array of food is available, from pizza and pancakes to exotic flavours from the Thai Kitchen.
Fridays 4pm – 8pm out of season and to 8:30pm in season.
Next to the Knysna Montessori School in Narnia Lane, Welbedacht. www.thefridaymarket.co.za
Be the captain of your own holiday in a Knysna houseboat on the iconic Knysna Lagoon.
TH34 First Floor, Long Street on Thesen Island 044 382 2802 www.knysnahouseboats.com
Experience, discover and explore the Rheenendal Ramble. Accommodation, restaurants, crafts and tea gardens.
044 389 0092 www.rheenendalramble.co.za
Known as South Africa’s version of the Riviera, this playground for the rich comes alive in December, offering a variety of beach and nature activities amidst a serious party vibe.
LEGENDS (A bucket-list must)
Hike Robberg Penninsula. Not only a nature reserve, but also a national monument, rocks from this region date back 120 million years. Pristine beaches and a cave to explore.
Office hours 8am – 5pm
044 533 2125/85 www.capenature.co.za/reserves/robberg-nature-reserve
Take a Whale Watching cruise or dive with seals with Ocean Blue Adventures.
Hopwood Street, Central Beach
044 533 5083 www.oceanadventures.co.za Offshore Adventures offer swimming with seals (not for children younger than 12 years).
Hopwood Street, Central Beach
082 829 0809 offshoreadventures.co.za CHILDREN / FAMILY Birds of Eden is the largest bird aviary in the southern hemisphere.
Off the N2, The Crags
044 534 8906 www.birdsofeden.co.za Monkeyland is the largest wild-primate, free-roaming sanctuary in the southern hemisphere.
044 534 8906 www.monkeyland.co.za Jukani Wildlife Sanctuary www.jukani.co.za Elephant Sanctuary www.elephantsanctuary.co.za Tenikwa Wildlife Awareness and Rehabilitation Centre www.tenikwa.com Blue Hills Bird Farm
Exotic birds, touch farm. www.bluehillsfarm.co.za
Radical Raptors at The Heath. Bird of Prey rehabilitation and awareness centre. Daily raptor flying displays. 11am, 1pm and 3pm. www.radicalraptors.co.za ADVENTURE Kloof down waterfalls and along a natural river in an indigenous forest with Africanyon Adventures.
044 534 8055 or 082 323 4349 www.africanyon.com Safari on horseback
Plettenberg Bay Game Reserve, also offers game drives.
R340 Uniondale, Wittedrift Road
044 535 0000 www.plettenbergbaygamereserve.com Hog Hollow horse trails
A one-hour meadow trail with wildlife, a two-hour forest trail or a three-hour Cruise the Crags Trail on horseback to Monkey Land, Birds of Eden, the Mill Craft Centre and Bramon Wine Estate.
082 771 3745 [email protected] www.horseridinggardenroute.com Plett Skydive www.skydiveplett.com SPORT
Enjoy a game of golf at the picturesque Goose Valley. This 18-hole course is Gary Player-designed.
044 533 5082
www.goosevalleygolfclub.com NEW KIDS ON THE BLOCK The Tin Shack Tasting Room at The Heath is a local wine, craft beer and local product experience. Craft beer, in particular, has taken off in the Garden Route.
www.theheath.co.za UNIQUE EXPERIENCE La Carla Atelier
Pop in for a lesson in the history of Venetian masks, buy your unique handmade mask. A chocolate shop, serving everything chocolate, is open in season.
N2, turn off opposite The Heath.
082 499 6295
Enjoy a bottle of bubbly and a lazy lunch in the vineyard at Bramon, Plett’s first wine estate.
N2 The Crags
044 534 8007 or 073 833 8183
www.bramonwines.co.za SHOPPING Old Nick’s Village offers unique shopping, from soaps to curios, mohair and bamboo-woven products.
Off the N2
044 533 1395
www.oldnickvillage.co.za The Global Village is a treasure-trove of jewellery, clothing and crafts.
Piesang Valley Road
044 533 5150 The Heath boasts an eclectic collection of crafts and gifts, locally produced wooden furniture and home decor items. Restaurant and children’s play area.
044 532 7724
www.theheath.co.za Thyme and Again
A roadside farm stall with the best lemon tart and homemade pies.
044 535 9432
www.thyme-and-again.co.za Harkerville Market
Saturday 8am – 12pm
Off the N2, between Plettenberg Bay and Knysna
Plettenberg Bay Tourism
044 533 4064
Mellville’s Corner, Main Street
Renowned for its breath-taking natural beauty, the Tsitsikamma offers a host of activities in nature, from gentle hikes and horse rides to a spine-chilling bungy jump and even a little rock ‘n roll nostalgia.
LEGENDS (A bucket-list must) Bloukrans River bridge bungy jump
The world’s highest commercial bungy jump at 216m, this free-fall is not for the faint-hearted.
Also enjoy the view from the Bloukrans and Paul Sauer bridges.
Bloukrans viewing point: Follow the signs from the N2
Paul Sauer: Stop at the viewing point off the N2 and take a walk along the pedestrian walkway. The Otter Trail
The foremost trail in South Africa, this 5-day, 46km hike from Storms River Mouth to Nature’s Valley along the Tsitsikamma coastline is a must-do for enthusiastic hikers.
www.sanparks.org SPORT AND NATURE Day walks, hiking trails, horse trails and mountain bike routes
Big Tree, Ratel, Goesa, Fynbos, Plaatbos, Rugbos, Dolphin, Cadeau and Captain Harrison walking trails. The hikes all offer magnificent scenery and vary from an easy 1.8km to more strenuous trails of up to three days.Multi-day hikes booked in advance.
www.sanparks.org Storms River Village mountain bike route
A 22km route along the old national road through the Storms River Pass. Be sure to stop off for a swim at the old Storms River Bridge.
www.tsitsikamma.info ADVENTURE Tsitsikamma Canopy Tours
Zipline 30m above the forest floor. Ten slides to ten platforms with an experienced guide.
Tour lasts 2.5 – 3 hours
042 281 1836
www.stormsriver.com [email protected] Tsitsikamma Woodcutters Journey
Learn about the history of the area as you enjoy a drive to the old Storms River Pass. Booking essential.
Tours conducted in all weather, but may be cancelled for safety reasons.
042 281 1836
www.stormsriver.com [email protected] Untouched Adventures
Kayak, lilo, scuba dive and snorkel in Storms River gorge in the Garden Route National Park.
Storms River Mouth harbour.
073 130 0689 / 076 959 2817 [email protected]
www.untouchedadventures.com FOOD Marilyn’s 60s diner
Step into yester-year and immerse yourself in the 60s, complete with checkered floors and a jukebox. Enjoy all-American cocktails, milkshakes, burgers and ‘dogs with a difference’.
042 281 1711
www.elvisfestival.co.za CHILDREN / FAMILY Big Tree
A 500m wooden boardwalk leads to a giant yellowwood, estimated to be 1 000 years old. Access from N2. Garden Route National Park, Storms River Mouth
Declared in 1964 and encompassing 80km of coastline in a marine reserve, this is a must-see scenic destination. Storms River Mouth rest camp, restaurant and three hanging suspension bridges.
Access from the N2
www.sanparks.co.za Tsitsikamma Segway tours
Guided offroad Segway tours and mountain bike hire.
Children must be 1.1m tall. Booking is essential.
Storms River Village
081 320 3977
www.segwayfun.co.za Tsitsikamma Falls Adventure
Eight ziplines over the Kruis River. Unique views of three waterfalls. Longest slide is 211m.
Children from age three and up welcome.
082 578 1090 / 078 463 2739
www.tsitsikammaadventure.co.za [email protected] Tsitsikamma Tourism Dewald at Oudebosch Farmstall
042 285 0562
The Klein Karoo’s offering is diverse and fun-filled.
LEGENDS (A bucket-list must)
The Cango Caves is the biggest show cave system in Africa and the country’s oldest tourism attraction. Follow signage from Oudtshoorn. Open 9am – 4pm. www.cangocaves.co.za Meerkat Adventures
Bookings essential. Children must be older than ten years.
www.meerkatadventures.co.za CHILDREN / FAMILY Wilgewandel Holiday Farm
www.wilgewandel.co.za Cango Wildlife Ranch
www.cango.co.za UNIQUE Ostrich farms
Some of the country’s best sweet wines are to be found on the Klein Karoo Wine Route.
Klein Karoo Ostrich Boutique www.kleinkarooboutique.co.za