FULL ITINERARY FOR YOUR GARDEN ROUTE EXPERIENCE
Day 1: Cape Town to Barrydale (265km)
The N1 leads you in an easterly direction out of the mother city. We will take a detour over Du Toitskloof Pass, your first mountain pass of the journey. Immediately, towering rock walls and the deep kloofs of the Klein Drakenstein Mountains will envelop you. This scenic route is an invigorating beginning to the day. Stop at the top and take in the vista that extends all the way to Cape Town and beyond (including the iconic Table Mountain). Negotiate the bends and descend through a gap between the Klein Drakenstein and Hawekwas Mountains into the Molenaars River Valley.
We will then ride through the peaceful Breede River Valley where you can stretch your legs and sample farm fare at the many farmstalls dotted along the roadside. We will swing off towards Bonnievale, making a stop at the Springfield Wine Estate for a divine wine tasting.
From here, we will get back on the R60 and continue along the road to Ashton, lined with bright bougainvillea and palm trees, and, oddly enough, brightly-coloured Wellington boots! Veer right onto the Klaasvoogds West Road for the Klaasvoogd’s Meander, one of the route’s best kept secrets. Take time off the saddle here to visit the wine farms, restaurant and succulent garden.
Kogmanskloof is the next pass en-route to Montagu and is one of the many passes in the southern Cape surveyed by Thomas Bain, the well-known road engineer of the 19th century, who was responsible for planning and building over 900 roads and mountain passes.
The town of Montagu, the mecca of rock climbing in South Africa, is also famous for its Muscadel, so it’s a definite must! Taste this sweet fortified wine at the Montagu Country Hotel where you also have the option of a sightseeing tour in their vintage Cadillac. Other intriguing trips include a tractor ride on the Protea farm to the top of Langeberg Mountain, where – if pre-booked and passing through on a Wednesday and Saturday – you can enjoy a potjiekos experience, a traditional South African dish slow-cooked in a three-legged iron pot over a wood fire.
The Klein Karoo Wine Route extends from here into the Langkloof mountains and is SA’s most easterly wine producing region. The landscape becomes more typically Karoo in character as you climb the Op de Tradouw Pass, dipping down to your overnight stop, Barrydale, where a choice of good restaurants and cosy guesthouses await you.
Day 2: Barrydale to Oudsthoorn (176km)
This leisurely day allows for exploration and discovery. Today, you will be spoilt for choice with the option of following the R62 via Ladismith and the Huisrivier Pass to Calitzdorp. Our first stop is Ronnie’s Sex Shop, a biker’s favourite roadside pub. The quirky name is a result of a friendly joke that turned into a brilliant marketing tactic.
Or, you can choose the longer, more meandering route southwards on the R324 over the Tradouws Pass and Langeberg Mountains, circling back to the R62 (towards Ladismith) via the R323 and the Garcia Pass. Calitzdorp is known for having the best Port cellars in the country, so make sure you don’t leave empty-handed.
Our overnight stop today is Oudtshoorn, which is surrounded by the Swartberg and Outeniqua mountains. It is known as the ostrich capital of the world and you are sure to see many of these unusual birds along the way. You can either spend the afternoon at the Cango Caves or join a guided tour at the Cango Wildlife Ranch where you can bite into crocodile kebabs and ostrich steaks at the Turtle Restaurant.
Day 3: Oudsthoorn to Storms River (228km) via The Outeniqua Pass
Day 3 starts with an exciting drive over the Outeniqua Pass to the spectacular coastline of Storms River/ Tsitsikamma. The first leg of the pass is a series of sweeping S bends that lead to the summit. Stop to appreciate the expansive views of the coastal plateau and the impressive Outeniqua mountain range.
One of the best view spots is ‘4 Passes’, named after the four passes visible from the impressive viewpoint: The Voortrekker (now the Cradock) Pass, which provided farmers with a steep and challenging shortcut over the mountains in their ox-wagons; the Montagu Pass; the Railway Pass, which was used by the steam locomotives during the first part of the 20th century; and the most recent Outeniqua Pass.
The route along the N2 from George into Wilderness, which is flanked by golden beaches on one side and emerald forest on the other, always gets your heart racing. This lovely piece of the Garden Route continues past serene countryside and a series of lakes as we head towards Knysna. We turn on the outskirts of Knysna to visit Rheenendal and to explore the area, which forms part of the Rheenendal Ramble. The road before Totties Restaurant leads into the Goudveld Forest, a charming meander for a taste of indigenous forest, a visit to the Millwood mining museum and the Dalene Mathee memorial.
For a bit of adventure, there is an optional route to Knysna for those keen on a part-tar part-gravel ride.
Tangled forest and deep river gorges give way to open space as you near Karatara. Visit farm stalls in Rheenendal and make a turn into the Goudveld Forest to visit the Dalene Mathee Memorial, the Millwood Mining Museum and a pocket of splendid relic indigenous forest, before continuing along the Rheenendal Road to join the N2.
From Knysna, it’s a 32.5km ride to Plettenberg Bay, or Plett as it’s known locally, for lunch. If you are feeling brave you can take a jump off Bloukrans Bridge, recognised as the ‘highest bungee from a bridge’ in the world.
Next, we will be off to Storms River. If time allows, partake in the some of the Storms River activities including paddling, hiking along the coastline, tubing down the gorge or simply walking to the Storms River bridge and relish this exceptionally beautiful rugged coastline, fringed by indigenous forest.
Day 4: Storms River to Sea View (Port Elizabeth) and Addo (190km)
Enjoy breakfast at Storms River, and one of the early morning activities, before heading eastwards to Sea View in Port Elizabeth. Here you will leave your chariot for a while to climb aboard a vehicle to explore the Addo Elephant Park, where we will spend the afternoon game watching. We will end the day with a much-deserved sundowner.
Day 5: Sea View to Knysna (253km)
This is a full day set aside to experience the variety of nature activities available in the area. The morning offers a delicious choice of visiting Jukani Wildlife Sanctuary, Monkeyland and Birds of Eden – or all three!
We will take a breather with lunch in Plett before travelling onwards to Knysna for a 3-hour Featherbed Nature Reserve Tour. The trip begins with a ferry trip to the western head before the 4×4 ride up the headland stopping at prime viewpoints along the way. A guide provides information on the history of the area, as well as the flora and fauna. An optional 2km walk through the coastal forest and fynbos reveals ancient sea caves and is an opportunity for some exercise. Savour lunch under a canopy of milkwood trees before returning to the mainland.
Day 6: Knysna to Swellendam (275km)
After a good night’s sleep in Knysna, we will return to Wilderness where a canoeing trip is one of the best ways to experience the lush forest scenery. Paddle up to the waterfall on the Kaaimans River or, if there is sufficient time, pack a picnic lunch and head out to explore the rock pools on the Touws River.
George is your next stop – here, you can sample handmade Dutch cheese at the Silver Lily Cheese Farm or enjoy the cheese-platter lunch with a glass of fine South African wine in the tranquil setting of the Outeniqua Mountains. (From George an optional scenic backroad route on the R102 leads to the Great Brak River.)
As you travel westward, this time along the coastal road, make a turn into Mossel Bay to visit the Diaz Museum or to stroll along the Cape St Blaze trail.
The last stretch for the day leads to the small town of Swellendam, your overnight stop for a delicious meal and a peaceful night’s rest in one of the cosy guesthouses.
Day 7: Swellendam to Hermanus (141km)
We will start the day with a short ride on the N2, before taking the R319 to Bredasdorp to visit the Shipwreck Museum, which houses an interesting collection of artefacts from some of the many ships wrecked along this treacherous coastline.
Then it’s time for the southern-most tip of Africa – Cape Agulhas! You will have time to pose for a photograph at the southern tip of Africa, where the Indian and Atlantic oceans meet, before climbing the stairs of the lighthouse.
The Old Mill in Elim, a former Moravian mission station, is a good place to stop for tea and melktert, a popular South African dessert, before continuing to Kleinbaai for shark-cage diving or to Stanford for beer-tasting at the Birkenhead Brewery and cheese delights at the Klein River Cheese farm. Stanford also offers a variety of appealing restaurants for lunch.
Whale-watching central, Hermanus, is your destination at the end of the day. If it is whale season, look out for the gentle giants from the Hermanus cliffs. Alternatively, explore the town or stroll along the cliff paths and appreciate the coastal scenery and fresh air.
Day 8: Hermanus (& the Hermanus Wine Route) to Cape Town via Betty’s Bay and Gordon’s Bay (185km)
If you missed out on the shark diving the previous day, don’t despair, you have another chance before we drive further today.
Today we will take a backroad meander through the Hermanus Wine Route, which includes the lovely Hemel en Aarde Valley. Once we have sufficiently dipped into the nectar of the gods, we will re-join the coastal road and continue to Betty’s Bay for lunch.
The Harold Porter Botanical Gardens, adjoining the Kogelberg Biosphere Reserve, provides a delightful garden setting for a tea stop or lunch. Stroll around the gardens (or, if energetic, up Leopardskloof to the waterfall) or visit the Betty’s Bay penguin colony.
The route back to the Cape of Good Hope is via the scenic coastal road, the R44, past Pringle Bay, Rooi-Els and Gordon’s Bay.
From Gordon’s Bay, we will take the N2 back towards Cape Town, veering off onto Baden Powell for our last coastal journey to Muizenberg before heading back to Cape Town.
Please be aware that this itinerary may need to change due to weather, road conditions or other factors. The tour guide will make the final decision after consultation with the tour operator and the group members. For us, safety comes first!
For more information, or to book this once in a lifetime journey, contact us today!