The Garden Route – the pride and joy among South Africa’s self-drive routes. This popular road trip attracts throngs of travellers year-round, who trek thousands of miles to enjoy the route’s impressive natural beauty and assortment of activities. Two- to three-weeks is the perfect amount of time to explore all that the Garden Route has to offer and to fully enjoy the various stops along the way. But what do you do if you’re on a tight time-frame, or your budget doesn’t allow for a lengthy sojourn? We’ve got you covered with our helpful tips on how to make the most of your short Garden Route trip.
Make a list of what you’re most interested in seeing and doing
The Garden Route has something for everyone, so the first step is to decide on what you most want to see and do. Are you interested in beautiful scenery, adventure activities or unmissable attractions? Maybe you want some upscale shopping outings, a bustling nightlife scene or relaxing days spent on the beach. Once you’ve decided on your ideal experiences, it will be much easier to narrow down the destinations you want to visit.
Include the must-visit destinations and activities
No trip along the Garden Route can be complete without a stay in the metropolitan hub of Cape Town, and embarking on a classic safari experience. Make sure to include at least a two-night stay in the Mother City, because this city has so much to offer in terms of scenery, cuisine, activities and attractions. As for a safari, a one- or two-night stay in a classy safari lodge is the perfect way to end off your Garden Route journey.
Short stays in more places or longer stays in fewer places?
Ask yourself if you would rather get a feel for the Garden Route, or a feel for a certain town or city? If you’re more keen on exploring the Garden Route itself, then pick a few destinations and split your time between them with one- or two-night stays. If you would rather spend your time discovering the heart of a certain place(s), then choose only two or three destinations and spend a longer time enjoying them.
Plan plenty of day-trips
Because there are so many fascinating towns and cities dotted along the route, it’s easy to say that you want to visit each and every one! A helpful way to get around this is to have two or three bases from which to explore the rest of the Garden Route. Cape Town is a great base to explore the surrounding Cape Winelands; from Plettenberg Bay, you can easily visit Knysna or Tsitsikamma; and Addo National Park is an excellent day-trip from Port Elizabeth.
Draw up a comprehensive schedule
To make the most of your brief time along this renowned route, we suggest compiling a detailed schedule of all of your travel plans. Jot down everything you want to see, do and visit in each stopover, what day-trips you want to take, and suggested times of travel, arrival and departure. This way, it will be easier to tick off all of the activities and places of interest on your Garden Route to-do list.
Accept that you can’t see and do it all – and that’s okay!
The Garden Route is vast, and the activities, attractions and destinations available along the way could keep you busy for weeks on end. So if you’re short on time, you have to accept that it’s just not possible to discover all of the wonders the route has to offer. Make the most of your limited time, and enjoy every moment.
Whether you want a two-week trip or a seven-day whistle-stop along the famed Garden Route, we can organise your ideal holiday, with tailor-made packages suited to your budget, time-frame and personal preferences.
For more information on the Garden Route, read our Garden Route FAQs blog post.