We asked, and boy did you answer. We wanted to find out what our followers’ Garden Route bucket lists look like. Why is the Garden Route your next holiday destination? Although the reasons are endless, we narrowed it down to 30. Why 30? Because we will be counting down 30 days to 1 October, when our brand new glamping location, AfriCamps at Oakhurst in Wilderness opens.
Are you ready to Glamp the Garden Route with AfriCamps?
REASON #30. Amazing Beaches
One reason that draws thousands of visitors to the Garden Route annually – the beaches! You cannot visit the Garden Route without picking up a tan, catching a ride on a boogie board or taking long, leisurely, barefoot walks. Noteworthy beaches in close vicinity to AfriCamps are Victoria Bay just east of George, Wilderness beach, Noetzie beach with its iconic castles just east of Knysna, the vibey Lookout and Central beaches in Plettenberg Bay, and Nature’s Valley beach with its ever-popular lagoon.
Photo by @stellasquido
REASON #29. Food
Is any vacation complete without (over)indulging in local cuisine? On the Garden Route you are sure to find many seafood restaurants, pizzas to stand queue for and refreshing cocktails with a sea view. Our list of Garden Route greats are Oyster ‘R Us in Wilderness, Lookout Restaurant and The Table in Plettenberg Bay and 34 Degrees South in Knysna. What’s for breakfast? Stay in and enjoy our famous breakfast baskets delivered to your glamping tent.
Photo by @lannas7
REASON #28. Canoeing in Wilderness
Hop into a canoe and explore the numerous river branches of Wilderness. There are amazing discoveries to be made and what a thrilling thought knowing it can only be found by canoe. Rent a canoe (or take your own) at Eden adventures and row your way up the Touw’s River into the Garden Route National Park. Row until you join the Giant Kingfisher hiking trail which leads to a beautiful waterfall. You can also canoe on one of the farm dams at AfriCamps at Oakhurst.
REASON #27. Hiking Trails
The Garden Route is a hiker’s paradise with many day hikes and multiday hikes to choose from. For the avid hikers, The Otter, The Outeniqua and The Tsitsikamma are all popular multiday hikes. Popular day hikes include the Giant Kingfisher trail in Wilderness, Drupkelders in Knysna and the Waterfall Hike at Storms River – which is also the first section of the world-renowned Otter Trail.
Photo by @hallogutentag
REASON #26. Robberg Nature Reserve
Explore the Robberg Nature Reserve just south of Plettenberg Bay, during your stay at AfriCamps at Ingwe. This world heritage site is a strip of land stretching into the ocean and makes for stunning photos. Expect to spot whales, dolphins and the rare blue duiker (the Western Cape’s smallest antelope). View the Cape Seal Lighthouse, which is the highest navigational light in South Africa. Take a dip to cool off after exploring the sand dunes, try your luck at angling and take in the views over a picnic.
Photo by @rosaliacd
REASON #25. Sky diving
For those brave enough to step off a plane into thin air, we can’t think of a better place to sky dive. In between the tremendous adrenaline rush, catch a bird’s eye view of the Garden Route. Brave sky diving in Plettenberg Bay and Mossel Bay.
Photo by @mathilda.dv
REASON #24. Abundant birdlife
Due to the subtropical characteristics of the Garden Route, with its forests, fynbos and ocean, the area is no stranger to the most abundant birdlife. With miles of lush indigenous forest, you are likely to spot the beautiful Knysna Turaco (better known as the Loerie). If you hear their iconic ‘kow-kow-kow’ sound, look up and maybe you will see their stunning red wings flapping in the trees above. Also keep an eye out for the Knysna Woodpecker, the Half-Collared Kingfisher, and, if you are very lucky, the Narina Trogon. You won’t return from a hike without a few interesting sightings, but for the little ones a visit to Birds of Eden Free Flight Sanctuary is also on our bucket list.
Photo by @catharina666
REASON #23. Knysna Heads Ferry Cruise
Take a sunset cruise on the John Benn Ferry to the Knysna Heads. The John Benn is a popular pick for experiencing the lagoon and viewing the Knysna Heads over a drink.
Photo by @Wessel2017
REASON #22. Farm Stalls and markets
When road tripping through South Africa, you are going to pass several interesting, quaint and peculiar farm stalls and buzzing family markets. Try Thyme and Again just east of Plettenberg Bay to stock up on some fresh out-of-the-oven pies and pastries. Stop in at Nature’s Way Farm Stall on your way to Nature’s Valley where their delicious cheeses and fresh milk is a must. The Outeniqua family market in George and Wild Oats market in Sedgefield are our top picks.
Photo by Outeniqua Family Market
REASON #21. Oakhurst Dairy Tour
The brand new AfriCamps at Oakhurst will give guests the opportunity to have a first-hand peek at a day in the life of a real working dairy farm. Join camp owner Jake as the Oakhurst team milk the cows and feed the calves. The Oakhurst staff will explain the process and offer insight into where the milk on your breakfast table comes from (Note to glamper: The eggs and dairy products in your breakfast basket come from the hens and cows right on the Oakhurst farm.)
REASON #20. Forest Quad Bikes
From breakfast to sundowner rides – explore the forest on four wheels. This is an exhilarating way to explore and you will be accompanied and instructed by trusted guides all the way. WildX Adventures offers various adrenaline-fueled activities.
Photo by WildX Adventures
REASON #19. Wine Farms
Apart from nature and adventure, the Garden Route surprises with great wine experiences. Wine connoisseurs can travel between Bramon Wine Estate, Plettenvale Wines, Newstead Wine Estate and Packwood Wine and Country Estate. Don’t forget to take some of your favourite finds home when you head back to AfriCamps at Ingwe.
Photo by @bramonwineestate
REASON #18. Kloofing
Hidden in the valleys of the Crags near Plettenberg Bay, AfriCanyon River Adventures will kit you up and guide you through the river shallows. “Jump, zip-line and swim through fresh-water mountain pools, slide down natural water slides and abseil in and around waterfalls as you dip down into the river gorge.” Another kloofing hot spot is Cappucino Canyon in the Kaaimans River. Eden Adventures offers this half day adventure.
Photo by Eden Adventures
REASON #17. Nature’s Valley day trip
A jam-packed day of adventure awaits in Nature’s Valley, just 30 minutes’ drive from your stay at AfriCamps at Ingwe in Plettenberg Bay. The beaches, lagoon, Grootrivier estuary, shark gulley, Salt River and Pig’s Head hikes are on the itinerary. End your day at The Valley Inn Pub for an ice cold beer under the trees. You’ll notice the worn-out shoes hanging from the branches – the remains of many Otter hikers’ quest to finish their 5-day hike in Nature’s Valley.
Photo by @emma.toyer
REASON #16. Horseriding
Take a leisurely horseback ride at AfriCamps at Oakhurst. The calm and gentle horses are available for guided trails along dedicated riding routes. When staying at AfriCamps at Ingwe, you can opt for Hog Hollow Horse Trails and explore the vicinity of the Crags and Plettenberg Bay.
REASON #15. Passes and drives
Coming down the N2 highway from George to Wilderness, you will take the Kaaimans River pass and be met with your first breathtaking view of Wilderness. Explore 7 Passes Drive, a stone’s throw from AfriCamps at Oakhurst. Also take the beautiful foresty scenic drive off the N2 highway to Nature’s Valley. If you’re travelling from the N1 highway via Oudtshoorn, you’ll take the Swartberg Pass – one of the best-known passes in South Africa with hairpin turns that keep you on the edge of your seat.
Photo by @ijonty
REASON #14. Mountain Biking
Traverse through kilometres of well-maintained single track at AfriCamps at Oakhurst. Mountain bikes will be available to rent for the day, or you can bring your own. Keen mountain bikers might also visit the Garden Route for events like Attakwas, the Stormsriver Traverse and Karoo to Coast. Harkerville between Knysna and Plett is also a MTB hot spot.
REASON #13. Storms River day trip
The Storms River section of the Garden Route National Park is definitely worth a visit. Explore the rocky coastline for fish, crabs and starfish, minding the crashing waves that can shoot up metres into the air. Walk across the Storms River suspension bridge and hike to the lookout point, cool off at the beach and enjoy the views over some delicious seafood. (Not to mention all the adrenaline adventures like tubing, but we’ll get there)
Photo by Tube ‘n Axe
REASON #12. Kaaimans River
Kaaimans River offers adventurous options for explorers. Rent a canoe, swim in the river, enjoy birdwatching or go canyoning. The bridge over Kaaimans River makes for stunning photos and you can even walk across this old railway bridge for stunning views and dolphin spotting.
Photo by @pitchers_za
REASON #11. Animals
Young and old will find a number of educational animal sanctuaries on the Garden Route. AfriCamps supports compassionate travel which means holiday activities must consider how the welfare and conservation of wildlife might be affected. We encourage activities where interactions with wild animals are avoided. Monkeyland and Jukani Wildlife Sanctuaries are SAASA accredited sanctuaries where big cats and monkeys are protected. Tsitsikamma Wolf Sanctuary provides sanctuary for captive wolves where they can live in an environment similar to their natural habitat. En Route to the Garden Route, AfriCamps Klein Karoo offers an exciting working ostrich farm tour.
REASON #10. Lookout Points
One of the Garden Route’s most iconic lookout points is Map of Africa in Wilderness Heights, where the Kaaimans River draws the African outline in the valley below. Dolphin Point in Wilderness, Natures Valley Lookout Point and the lookout point across the Storms River suspension bridge have had visitors captivated by the stunning sea views below.
REASON #9. Keurbooms day trip
We suggest spending a day in the peaceful coastal village of Keurboomsstrand. Grab a few sumptuous snacks at Thyme and Again Farm Stall, then turn off the N2 to Keurbooms. Laze on the beach, swim with the dolphins that pass by every now and then, and end the day with pizzas or the legendary ‘Bomba’ at Enrico’s overlooking the beach. You might find a queue to get your table, but it’s well worth it.
Photo by @luzaanpreston
REASON #8. Segway Tours
Whizz through the forest on a trendy Segway either in Wilderness or Tsitiskamma. Get up to speed in a quick training session and then enjoy an hour or two hour Segway expedition.
REASON #7 Tubing Storms River
Team up with Tube ’n Axe for a tubing adventure of note. This black water tubing experience will also include some swimming and bouldering through the world-renowned Storms River section of The Garden Route National Park. Afterwards, take a well-deserved break at the restaurant overlooking the Indian Ocean crashing below.
REASON #6. Adventure for the kids
Apart from all the fun of hiking, cycling, lazing at the beach and braaiing marshmallows after dinner, the kids will also love the mazes and brain teasers at Plett Puzzle Park, water slides at Adventureland and obstacles at Acrobranch.
Photo by Plett Puzzle Park
REASON #5. AfriCamps at Oakhurst trails
Oakhurst boasts 16 km of pristine forest single track. There are well-marked routes for short walks and hikes on the farm. The most popular trail winds along the Klein Keurbooms River to the spectacular waterfalls.
REASON #4. Paragliding
It’s just one of those things about Wilderness. After crossing the Kaaimans River on the N2 highway, look up to spot at least one paraglider in the air. Get the same breathtaking views as you would from skydiving, minus the intensity. Be the envy of all the Wilderness beachgoers when you make your landing to a crowd on Wilderness beach with Dolphin Paragliding.
REASON #3. Ziplining Canopy Tours
Play Tarzan for a day when you explore the Tsitsikamma forest from a bird’s eye view with Tsitsikamma Canopy Tours. Soar between the highest branches and look out for monkeys and Knysna Loeries. This activity is fun for the whole family.
REASON #2. Bungee jumping
Probably one of the biggest ticks off your Garden Route bucket list is the Bloukrans bungy. Thrill seekers the world over make their way to the Bloukrans bridge for the highest bungy jump in the world.
Photo by @marchese85
REASON #1. Glamping at AfriCamps
We have saved the best for last and our long wait is over. 1 October marks the opening of AfriCamps at Oakhurst in Wilderness and adds another stop to your AfriCamps road trip.
AfriCamps at Oakhurst in Wilderness opens on 1 October 2018 and we’ve got a feeling it’s going to be a favourite amongst our visitors. Set up high in the mountains, Oakhurst is one of the few remaining large working farms along the Garden Route and covers a massive 640 hectares – 200 of which are pristine fynbos and indigenous forest. To fully immerse visitors in the beauty of the surroundings, the eight AfriCamps tents overlook rolling green fields and the Outeniqua Mountains. Here the breathtaking Wilderness meets the Garden Route’s lesser-known farm lifestyle where grazing cows and horses create a truly authentic farm experience.