Garden Route Travel Advice

For general information on travelling to South Africa, visit our South Africa travel advice page.

Flights & Getting Around

George Airport: ideally located for combining Cape Town with the Garden Route but without the big drive between them, this airport is located at the start of the Garden Route and is also served by flights from Johannesburg.

Port Elizabeth Airport: positioning itself as either the end of the Garden Route or as the gateway to the Eastern Cape‘s private Big 5 reserves, Port Elizabeth airport is served by flights from Johannesburg and Cape Town.

Transfers and tours on the Garden Route are conducted in modern mini buses or sedan cars, but with such easy roads, great scenery and dozens of places to stay, it’s a popular self-drive destination. Hire a car and tour the Garden Route at your own pace – if you’re including the Eastern Cape’s game reserves on your itinerary then you’ll join other guests on guided 4X4 game drives.

Top Travel Tips for the Garden Route

Skip the school holidays: this stretch of coastline gets really busy during South Africa’s long December and January summer holidays – especially around Plettenberg Bay. If you want a party atmosphere then this is the time to travel, but otherwise it’s probably best to skip these peak-season months.

Watch for whales: whale watching season runs from July to October, peaking in the month of September. You can do boat-based whale watching tours on the Garden Route but if you’re driving to or from Cape Town, we recommend taking a detour through the coastal town of Hermanus – home to the best land-based whale watching in the world.

Don’t mind the mosquitoes: both the Garden Route and the nearby game reserves of the Eastern Cape are malaria-free so there’s no need to hassle with anti-malarial medication.

Try the oysters: Knysna oysters are world-famous – in fact they’re so good they even have their own festival in July. Don’t leave this stretch of coastline without trying at least one (or a dozen).

More animals for less: if you’re travelling on a Garden Route family holiday, be sure to visit the Monkeyland sanctuary and neighbouring Birds of Eden aviary – they’re wildly popular with kids and you can get a discount ‘Combo Ticket’ that gets you into both.