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Last updated : Nov 2009
 
South Coast and Garden Route
South Coast and Garden Route - TravelPuppy.com
East from Cape Town, the coastal area known as the Overberg presents attractive resort towns such as Somerset West and probably the best place in South Africa for whale watching, Hermanus.

Cape Agulhas, the less than inspirational cape which is essentially the southerly tip of Africa is also along the Southern coast, as well as the wreck strewn cliffs around Arniston and Elim, a 19th century Mission village whose principal profession is still growing and drying flowers. Swellendam, 215 kilometres (130 miles) from Cape Town, is a charming Cape - Dutch village, rich in fine old buildings, many of which make up the excellent Drostdy Museum.

From here onwards, the south coast becomes known as The Garden Route due to the wealth of forests that used to line the coast. There are a few areas of hardwood forest left, but even with so much development, this is a breathtaking area for holidays, with brilliant beaches, great swimming and plenty of activities on offer.

Mossel Bay was 1 of the 1st harbours visited by European sailors and the town now has an outstanding museum charting the maritime history of the coast. Wilderness is an appealing little resort sandwiched between the reedy lakes  and the dunes of the Wilderness Natural Reserve, an exceptional place for bird watching and canoeing.

Knysna is a comfortable tourist town located between the lush inland Knysna forests and the horseshoe shaped Knysna Lagoon. It has numerous interesting small museums and a nearby game farm. South Africa’s trendiest resort, Plettenberg Bay, has brilliant beaches, the Robberg Nature Reserve, where you can normally see seals and dolphins and Monkeyland, a sanctuary dedicated to primates of all kinds.

An equally attractive, but remarkably different route, called the inland route, runs parallel to the coast, on the far side of the mountains. This leaves Cape Town via the Winelands, enduring through market gardening towns, such as Ashton, Robertson and Montagu, famous for olives and wine, into the Little Karoo, the scrubby extension of the Great Karoo Desert. Most people choose a mix of the 2 routes, crossing the Outeniqua and Swartberg Mountains over a series of spectacularly beautiful switchback passes, of which the most stunning is undoubtedly the Swartberg Pass to Prince Alfred, and the more common Outeniqua Pass from George to Oudtshoorn, well known for its ostrich farms, as well as the Cango Caves.
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The Garden Route accommodation, travel and business.