South African Rand
Ideally nestled between the Indian Ocean and the Outeniqua Mountains, the Garden Route is a rambling region of resplendent natural beauty and astonishing coastal vistas, rich in flora and fauna. Dramatic purple peaks and rolling hills, blanketed in flowers, stand over sweeping arcs of icing-sugar sands. Coastal paths hug rugged headlands and enchanting coves, whilst tranquil lagoons, lakes and wetlands teem with birdlife. It is incredible to consider how much is packed into a relatively small area and, thanks to its excellent accessibility, the Garden Route has become a firm favourite with the world’s most discerning travellers.
Plan a relaxing and unhurried adventure here, allowing time to soak up the scenery, potter about the little towns, fuel up on fresh seafood, and enjoy the great outdoors with a selection of water sports and hiking trails. Set off from the traditional coastal village of Mossel Bay and proceed east through stunning landscapes, stopping overnight at Knysna - occupying an exceptionally pretty spot on the shores of a sparkling lagoon, virgin forest all around. Follow this with a stay at Plettenberg Bay, known locally as ‘Plett’, a coastal paradise of sun-kissed beaches and fantastic marine-life.
The Garden Route is a prime spot for watching marine mammals from land or boats, with annual visits from Humpback and Southern Right Whales, as well as year-round sightings of playful dolphins and a resident breeding colony of Cape Fur Seals. Plettenberg Bay is a wonderful location from which to watch these marvellous sea creatures perform their graceful ocean acrobatics. Bird-watching is also hugely popular, the area housing an amazing array of species - including the Emerald Cuckoo, Chorister Robin, Knysna Woodpecker, Forest Buzzard and Half-Collared Kingfisher.
Ideal for outdoorsy types, expect countless watersports options, as well as world-class golf and tennis, treetop canopy tours, rafting, kayaking and miles of trails for hikers, bikers and riders. A top spot for exploring is Knysna Heads, an extraordinary geological feature where the sea gushes through sandstone cliffs into a lagoon. Another is the Knysna Forest, a swathe of greenery brimming with old trees and exotic species, an original stomping ground of elephants.
For pristine crescents of snow-white sand and panoramic ocean views, Plettenberg Bay is the grand finale of our Garden Route journey, boasting a choice of beaches - from shallow lagoon areas for tiny-feet paddlers, to scooping hotspots for surfers and body-boarders. What’s more, this picturesque corner of the coast has been voted South Africa’s ‘Best Beach Location’ for five years consecutively. Four of them boast Blue Flag status: Lookout Beach, Nature’s Valley, Robberg 5 and Keurboomstrand.
A natural larder of fresh fruit, vegetables, meat and fish, the Garden Route skirts prime land and sea for a scrumptious epicurean experience. Sample mussels from Mossel Bay, succulent steaks from Little Karoo and oysters from Knysna Lagoon, all washed down with stunning local wines. With luck, your trip may coincide with Knysna’s annual oyster festival, showcasing delectable seafood and other fine produce from the region.
Lovers of extreme sports staying at Conrad Pezula Resort & Spa can step back to the Stone Age on a thrilling climbing tour of Cango Caves - an underground labyrinth of ladders, steps, tunnels and other tiny spaces to scramble and squeeze through (with creepy names like Devil’s Kitchen and Devils’ Post Box). A feast of ostrich specialities follows at a local eatery, with kebabs, steaks, pies, salads and other imaginative dishes starring this tasty delicacy.
Enjoy a rejuvenating yoga and Tai Chi break at The Plettenberg. The mesmerising surroundings of sea, sky, beach and mountains make a heavenly backdrop, creating natural energy to restore mind, body and soul.
Blessed with a Mediterranean maritime climate, summers here are warm to hot, whilst winters are mild to cold. Winter rainfall is high compared with other regions, due to the Indian Ocean’s humid sea-winds. Come off-season for a quiet winter escape, or in summer for a fun-filled South African adventure!
These figures show monthly average maximum temperatures and monthly average rainfall for Garden Route.
British Airways direct from London Heathrow to Cape Town.
From London Heathrow to Cape Town: 11 hours, 30 minutes.
Travelling With Children or Without an Adult
Children travelling without both parents should be aware that some countries require documentary evidence of parental responsibility before allowing lone parents to enter the country or, in some cases, before permitting the children to leave the country. Please contact the relevant Embassy for the county you are travelling to for further information.
Visa and Advance Passenger Information
All passengers must ensure they have a valid, acceptable passport, any required visa and any other documentation for both the final destination and any stop-off points en route. Please make sure that Advance Passenger Information is submitted in advance to travel for all destinations. Failure to hold correct documentation or submitting incorrect details with Advance Passenger Information or Visa applications may result in refusal of carriage or entry into a country. Please check with the relevant Embassy regarding visa requirements well in advance of your travel date. Charges may apply for some visas.
New rules apply with regards to children travelling to South Africa. Parents travelling with children under the age of 18 will be asked to show the child’s full unabridged birth certificate. The full unabridged birth certificate should list the child's details and both parents details. The abridged (short) birth certificate which only lists the child's particulars won't be accepted. The South African Department of Home Affairs are not accepting uncertified copies of birth certificates, passports or copies of parents/guardians identification.
Where one parent is accompanying, in addition to the unabridged birth certificate there will be a need for parental or legal consent for the child to travel for example an affidavit from the other parent,(a letter from the parent witnessed and stamped by a solicitor), court order, or if applicable a death certificate . A copy of the parent's passport is also required signed and stamped by a solicitor.
Where a person is travelling with a child who is not their biological child, they must provide the unabridged birth certificate for the child, affidavit from the child's parents or legal guardian giving consent and copies of the identity documents or passport of the parents or legal guardian.
For further information or any other requirements please check the government website. https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/south-africa/entry-requirements
Passengers not travelling on a British Passport are advised to contact their relevant Foreign & Commonwealth office for individual Visa requirements.
For up-to-date resort information, visit www.fco.gov.uk
Health facilities, hygiene and disease risks vary worldwide and you should take health advice about your specific needs from your general practitioner or a specialist clinic as early as possible before travel. Those planning to become pregnant should discuss their travel plans with their healthcare provider to assess their risk of infection with Zika. For information about Zika, other mosquito-borne diseases (such as Dengue fever and Chikungunya), Lyme Disease (caused by tick bites), and to receive advice on mosquito bite avoidance measures, please visit Insect and tick bite avoidance.
In addition, we highly recommend that you seek specialist advice from your doctor and, where recommended, obtain vaccinations or tablets for protection against, for example: Malaria, Hepatitis A, Polio and Typhoid. In some cases, treatments for Malaria should begin well in advance of travel. Travellers may also be required to show Yellow Fever Certificates on arrival in certain destinations ie, some African countries. Please note that you are strongly advised against scuba-diving for 24 hours before travelling by air. We would also like to draw your attention to the risk of DVT (Deep Vein Thrombosis) and recommend that you consult with your doctor before travelling.
Visit the FCDO website and select your destination country for the very latest travel advice: Foreign Travel Advice. Additional sources of information include: Public Health England, The National Travel Health And Network Centre, Foreign And Commonwealth Office and your General Practitioner or a specialised clinic.