Suggested Garden Route Itineraries

Suggested Garden Route Itineraries Overview

South Africa’s Garden Route is one of those must-see destinations of the world. Stunning beaches, majestic mountain landscapes, incredible wildlife, great restaurants and places to drink and an exciting cultural diversity make South Africa’s Garden Route an ideal spot for a holiday. But now that you have decided the Garden Route is where you’d like to spend your holiday, you are bound to have questions like "How long should I spend in the Garden Route?",  "What is there to do in the Garden Route?" and "How long does it take to drive the Garden Route?".

Our Garden Route itineraries are here to help answer some of those questions! The Garden Route itineraries listed on are here to give you an idea of the many things there are to do along the Garden Route and to help you plan your Garden Route holiday. The itineraries we suggest are however only suggestions of what you could do and are designed so that you can get an idea of how long things take and can pick and choose the things that appeal to you and drive yourself to the destinations suggested. You can choose to do as little or as much of the Garden Route itineraries as you like or you can ignore them completely – we won’t be offended! There are also plenty of organised tours available if you’d prefer to let someone else do the organising.

Choose a Garden Route itinerary from below and start planning your Garden Route trip of a lifetime with the help of .

Garden Route Itinerary - 3 Days

3 Day Garden Route Highlights Suggested Itinerary, Port Elizabeth to Mossel Bay or Cape Town

Day One – Port Elizabeth to Knysna??
Hop in the car and depart Port Elizabeth after breakfast on day one. Head onto the Garden Route through the beautiful forests of the Tsitsikamma Mountains along the N2 Highway, watching out for the famous but rare bird, the Knysna Loerie as you go. Enjoy the stunning scenery at the Storms River Bridge where you can stop to snap a few pictures and take a break from driving for lunch at the incredibly scenic Storms River mouth. Drive further along the N2 and the Garden Route stopping for a few photo opportunities at South Africa’s playground for the rich and famous, Plettenberg Bay – Robberg Beach and Look Out Beach provide some great scenery. Drive another 30 minutes or so west into the home of South African oysters – Knysna. Drive up to the East Knysna Head to catch a glimpse of the amazing views before heading to your Knysna accommodation to get settled. Spend the night in the heart of the Garden Route in Knysna and head to the Knysna Quays for a great meal and a few drinks.
Day Two – Knysna
Spend the day and night in Knysna. Take a cruise on the stunning Knysna Lagoon, head to the West Head of Knysna and take a walk through the indigenous Knysna Forest. Pay a visit to the Knysna Elephant Park for a chance to get up close and personal to these magnificent African animals or visit Mitchell’s Brewery to see how the local garden Route beer is brewed. Enjoy the evening at another of Knysna’s great restaurants or bars.
Day Three – Knysna to Mossel Bay
After breakfast start the scenic Garden Route drive from Knysna to Mossel Bay which should take a couple of hours. On arrival in Mossel Bay head to the Bartolomeu Dias Museum and visit the old post tree – reported to be South Africa’s first post office where sailors would leave letters for crew of following ships. Spend a bit of time relaxing in one of Mossel Bay’s cafes and explore some of the most picturesque beaches along the Garden Route. You could then choose to spend the rest of the afternoon and night in Mossel Bay or drive on through to Cape Town. The drive from Mossel bay to Cape Town is at good four and a half hours though, so be sure to leave plenty of time.


Garden Route Itinerary - 5 Days

Suggested 5 Day Itinerary of Garden Route Fun, Port Elizabeth to George

Day One – Port Elizabeth
Start your Garden Route holiday in South Africa’s friendly city – Port Elizabeth. Explore the historical Donkin Reserve and hike the short Donkin trail which takes you past Port Elizabeth’s historical buildings. Visit one of Port Elizabeth’s fantastic blue flag beaches and take a dip in the Indian Ocean. Enjoy a spot of lunch at one of the many great restaurants and in the afternoon, take a township tour and visit the Red Location Museum. For the evening head down to the waterfront and enjoy a few sundowners and a bite to eat at one of the great restaurants or bars with views over the ocean. If wildlife is what you’d prefer to see then head to Addo’s Elephant National Park about 45 minutes from Port Elizabeth and do either a self-drive safari or a guided Addo tour. Remember the camera so that you can take plenty of pictures of the Big 5! Return to your Port Elizabeth accommodation for a good night’s sleep, ready to take on the rest of the Garden Route the next day.
Day Two – Port Elizabeth to Plettenberg Bay
After breakfast drive through to the Garden Route town of Plettenberg Bay along the N2 (approx. 3 hours if you don’t stop). The drive takes you through the scenic Tsitsikamma Forest and Coastal National Park. We’d suggest stopping at Storms River Bridge for some great views and the more adventurous may even like to try their hand at the highest bungee jump in the world at the nearby Bloukrans Bridge –although you’ll need to arrange this in advance. Continue on to Plettenberg Bay and take in the stunning scenery on this drive and once you arrive head to the Robberg peninsular for an enjoyable hike around some rugged coastline or head to one of the great Plett beaches for more of a relaxing afternoon.  Enjoy some sundowners and a bite to eat at one of Plettenberg Bay’s restaurants with a view and then head off to your Plettenberg Bay accommodation for some sleep.
Day Three – Plettenberg Bay
Spend the day in Plettenberg Bay and surrounding Garden Route areas. A whale and dolphin watching tour is highly recommended in Plettenberg Bay and is a great way to spend half a day. A ferry trip on the Keurbooms River is also an enjoyable activity in Plettenberg Bay. Spend another night in Plettenberg Bay and enjoy some of the fun nightlife on offer on Plett’s Main Street.
Day Four – Plettenberg Bay to Knysna
Drive from Plettenberg Bay towards your next Garden Route town, Knysna (a very short distance – only 35km). On the way there are a couple of great wildlife experiences for you to enjoy –visit the Knysna Elephant Park to get up close to these grey giants or head to MonkeyLand and Birds of Eden, both located between Plettenberg Bay and Knysna along the Garden Route. When you arrive in Knysna drive up to the Knysna Heads and have a walk around to take in the great views and head down to the Knysna Quays to check out the beautiful Knysna Lagoon and to sample some of the world famous Knysna oysters. A sunset cruise is also well worth it but should be booked in advance.  Spend the night in some great Knysna accommodation and enjoy the Knysna nightlife on offer.
Day Five – Knysna to George
After breakfast on day 5 drive further west along the Garden Route towards the well known Garden Route town of George. The drive should take about an hour and you’ll pass through the quaint Garden Route villages of Sedgefield and Wilderness which are well worth a stop to look around. Wilderness is home to the famous Garden Route Big Tree and if you are driving this stretch on a Saturday morning we’d definitely suggest you stop at the Wild Oats Community Market for an hour or two to sample some local Garden Route produce.  Once you arrive in George head to the Outeniqua Railway museum and take a scenic ride through the Outeniqua Mountains on the Outeniqua Power Van. End your 5 day Garden Route itinerary with a night in George or hop on a plane to another great South African city from the Garden Route’s airport at George.


Garden Route Itinerary - 7 Days

7 Day Suggested Garden Route Itinerary, Cape Town to Port Elizabeth or Vice Versa

Day One – Cape Town to Mossel Bay
After you’ve spent a few days exploring South Africa’s Mother City it’s time to take in another wonder of South Africa – the Garden Route. After an early breakfast in Cape Town, take to your car and head along the N2 towards the start of the Garden Route, Mossel Bay. The drive from Cape Town to Mossel Bay is about 380km, so is quite a long one – minimum of four and a half hours – it is worth scheduling in a couple of stops along the way to stretch the legs. Swellendam is quite a pretty little town to stop in along the N2 Highway and the nearby Bontebok National Park provides a stop with some great scenery. Aim to arrive in Mossel Bay early afternoon, take a walk along one of the many picturesque and laid back Garden Route beaches and head along to the Bartolomeu Dias Museum and visit the old post tree – reported to be South Africa’s first post office where sailors would leave letters for crew of following ships. For the evening in the Garden Route’s Mossel Bay, there are plenty of good restaurants with a nice laid back atmosphere to enjoy some food and drinks and there’s a range of accommodation available to rest your weary head.
Day Two – Mossel Bay to Oudtshoorn
At this point, if you are interested in catching site of the Great White Shark, you may wish to extend your stay in Mossel Bay by a day or two and try your hand at cage diving with the Great White Sharks. The Shark diving in Mossel Bay does need to be booked in advance and is weather dependent so you may need to allow a bit of spare time if you’d like to do this Garden Route activity.

For those not wishing to dive with Great White Sharks, enjoy breakfast in Mossel Bay and then drive north towards the Klein Karoo town of Oudtshoorn, famous for its Ostrich farms. The drive from the Garden Route’s Mossel Bay to Oudtshorn is around 83km and should take about an hour and a half – there’s some great Klein Karoo scenery on the way. Once in Oudtshoorn a visit to the Cango Caves is definitely recommended and you may want to head to an ostrich farm or to Meerkat Adventures to see the little creatures up close.
Day Three – Oudtshoorn to Knysna
Spend the morning in Oudtshoorn doing the things you didn’t have time to do the day before such as the Cango Caves or visiting an ostrich farm and explore the picturesque town. After lunch start the 123km drive to Knysna to arrive in this Garden Route town mid to late afternoon.
Once you arrive in Knysna check-in to your accommodation and head down to the Knysna Quays to enjoy the sunset and a bite to eat by the famous Knysna Lagoon.
Day Four – Knysna
Spend the day in the Garden Route town of Knysna and the surrounding areas. A cruise of the lagoon and round to the Knysna heads is fun and there are plenty of nearby wildlife activities, such as the Knysna Elephant Park and Monkeyland. Spend another evening enjoying Knysna’s nightlife.
Day Five – Knysna to Plettenberg Bay
After breakfast drive through to the Garden Route’s upmarket destination of Plettenberg Bay and visit the beautiful Robberg Nature Reserve for a short walk around some striking coastal paths. It’s a short drive from Knysna to Plettenberg Bay and only takes about half an hour or so. Spend the day exploring the Garden Route town fondly dubbed ‘Plett’ and if you get the chance, pre-book a whale and dolphin watching tour. There are plenty of restaurants and bars for spending the evening in Plettenberg Bay so enjoy a night out on the town.
Day Six – Plettenberg Bay to Port Elizabeth
After spending the night in Plettenberg Bay, drive the 165km further along the Garden Route to surfer’s paradise Jeffrey’s Bay. Stop here for an hour or two and enjoy a coffee and a walk along the beach front. If you are a keen surfer or simply fancy hanging out on the beach for a day or two it is well worth extending your stay in the Garden Route’s Jeffrey’s Bay as it’s a great little town to spend a few days relaxing.
After a couple of hours in Jeffrey’s Bay drive about another hour or so to the end of the Garden Route and South Africa’s friendly city, Port Elizabeth. Head to your Port Elizabeth accommodation to get settled and then spend the early evening along the waterfront exploring the shops and stopping for a bite to eat.
Day Seven – Port Elizabeth
On the last day of this Garden Route itinerary you can either explore the city of Port Elizabeth with its historical areas and great beaches or to really round off your Garden Route holiday, head to the Eastern Cape’s Addo Elephant National Park and go on a day safari to spot some African wildlife. Visitors to Addo Elephant National Park can drive themselves around or to really make the most a guided safari with an expert guide is well worth it.

If you fancy doing a bit more wildlife spotting and spending a few days on safari the Addo region is a great place to do this at the end or beginning of a Garden Route holiday as there is a great selection of private game reserves and safari lodge accommodation in this area.


Garden Route Itinerary - 7 Day Family Itinerary

A 7 day suggested Garden Route itinerary for those travelling with kids, Port Elizabeth to Cape Town or vice versa

Day One – Port Elizabeth
Spend the first day of your Garden Route family holiday in Port Elizabeth in South Africa’s Eastern Cape. Take the kids on a mini safari at Kragga Kamma Game Park where you can spend a couple of hours driving round spotting rhinos, giraffe, cheetahs and other African wildlife. Head back into Port Elizabeth city and spend the afternoon on Port Elizabeth’s King’s beach where the kids can splash around, you can enjoy some lunch and a swim either in the sea or the excellent swimming pool complex. Go to one of Port Elizabeth’s many child friendly restaurants for dinner or stay at some of the excellent self-catering accommodation available and enjoy an evening braai safe in the knowledge that the kids can run around.
Day Two – Port Elizabeth to Plettenberg Bay
After breakfast in Port Elizabeth start the drive along the Garden Route proper and make your way along the N2 to Plettenberg Bay. The drive from Port Elizabeth is about 230 km so it’s definitely worth stopping a bit en route to break up the journey. The Storms River Bridge and River Mouth are worth a short stop for the beautiful Garden Route scenery. Once you arrive in the Garden Route town of Plett head to your accommodation and get the kids settled in before embarking on some of the fun activities on offer in and around Plettenberg Bay. Enjoy an afternoon at leisure in Plett - there are plenty of great beaches.
Day Three – Plettenberg Bay and surrounding areas
Spend a full day and another night in the Garden Route’s Plettenberg Bay and surrounding areas. There is plenty to keep the kids amused. Monkeyland and Birds of Eden are close by and are a fun wildlife experience for all the family and the Knysna Elephant Park (about half way between Plettenberg Bay and Knysna) is also great fun for the kids who can get close to the elephants. Whale and dolphin watching are also popular activities in Plett and there are lots of great Garden Route beaches on which to while away a few hours. Other family activities in and around Plettenberg Bay include a nearby water park, a wild cat centre and a Tsitsikamma canopy tour, which is great fun for slightly older children as they get to swing through the trees (minimum age is 7) and nearby Knysna is also a good town to visit.
Day Four – Plettenberg Bay to Oudtshoorn
After breakfast start the drive further along the Garden Route and then inland to the Klein Karoo town of Oudtshoorn. The drive is approximately 150 km and should take just over two hours passing some pretty amazing scenery for the adults on the way. Oudtshoorn also has plenty of fun family activities to enjoy such as a visit to an ostrich farm where the kids can even ride an ostrich! Spend the afternoon and night in this quaint Garden Route town.
Day Five – Oudtshoorn  
Enjoy another full day and night in Oudtshoorn, this time head out of town to the Cango Caves where the adventurous can take a tour of these stunning Garden Route caves that involves climbing and crawling through narrow passageways – a word of advice though – this is definitely not for the claustrophobic! There is also the Cango Wildlife Ranch which is a fun way to send an afternoon.
Day Six – Oudtshoorn to Mossel Bay
On day six drive back towards the coastline and make the 86 km trip to the Garden Route town of Mossel Bay. Once you arrive here spend the day at some of the great and relaxed beaches and pay a visit to the Bartolomeu Dias Museum to explore the beginnings of the Garden Route’s colonial history. Spend the night in some Mossel Bay accommodation and enjoy some relaxed dining in this very chilled Garden Route town.
Day Seven – Mossel Bay to Cape Town
After breakfast prepare to leave the Garden Route and start the drive to South Africa’s Mother City, Cape Town. The drive is a good four and a half hours and so worth breaking up. Stay on the N2 and take the scenic Tradouw's Pass toward Barrydale where you can stop for a stretch of the legs and the small town of Swellendam is also a good stopping spot. Enjoy the scenic drive and arrive in Cape Town mid-afternoon where there is plenty more to keep the family entertained.