Exploring the Garden Route: best places to stay, explore and visit with your children

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The Garden Route – one of the most travelled routes in South Africa – is a stretch of the south-eastern coast, spanning from Mossel Bay in the Western Cape all the way to Storms River in the Eastern Cape. The crystal clear lagoons, winding rivers and fynbos covered hills of the Garden Route make it a real treat to travel with the kids and get them to fall in love with nature in South Africa; both in summer and our milder winter months.

Road tripping along the Garden Route is one exciting way to discover our country like you’ve never seen it before, with the perfect places and sites to let the kids stretch their legs, breathe fresh air and really get out there!

All aboard

Cape Town is the perfect starting point for your trip along the Garden Route, with Swellendam being your first stop. This small town is the 3rd oldest in South Africa and boasts history rich in culture. Families can enjoy outdoor activities like horse riding and hiking trails along the foothills or a quiet game drive in Bontebok National Park.

Mossel Bay bound

About two hours’ drive from Swellendam you’ll find the gorgeous town of Mossel Bay; known for its hidden beaches, famous surf spots and great places to stay. Mossel Bay offers the perfect mix between adventure, family activities, culture, great local cuisine, pristine beaches, warm atmosphere and friendly people. The Gondwana Game Reserve is a popular stop-over for families who love nature, hiking and game drives. For those who prefer being close to town, The Point Hotel is a great alternative, as it’s within walking distance of popular child-friendly restaurants and great tours.

This is ostrich country!

For your next stop along the route, you should really consider heading to George and travelling inland to Oudtshoorn – known as the ostrich capital. The best way to find boutique self-catering style accommodation is to hop onto Airbnb. This one is a fun stop for your kids because they’ll be able to explore old-school farm living and perhaps even ride an ostrich.

Sea meets mountain

Moving further along the route you and your family will want to stop off in Knysna, which embraces a beautiful lagoon and is surrounded by ancient forests. This is one destination not to miss. Families will be able to walk around the town – hopping between markets – or head out and explore the Knysna Heads or the lagoon by boat. There is plenty of fresh air and outdoor fun to be had. Some great places to stay include cute holiday homes on Thesen Island.

Rounding off the trip

Plettenberg Bay is scattered with accommodation to suit every budget; from quaint little self-catering houses to some of the most gorgeous hotels. Families can enjoy the famous Puzzle Park, head out to the Elephant Sanctuary to get up close and personal with Africa’s biggest beasts or simply pop down for a chilled day at Keurbooms beach.

While we’ve given you a small look into some places to stay, things to do and sites to see along the Garden Route, there is so much more to explore with your loved ones! Our Cape Town to Durban via Port Elizabeth route stops at all the major Garden Route destinations, also including Wilderness, Storms River and Jeffreys Bay. Don’t forget to head online and book your tickets – children under 2 travel for free while those aged 2-11 get a 15% discount when travelling with their parents.


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