The shores of the Indian Ocean between Cape Town and Port Elizabeth are among the lushest, most breathtaking stretches of coastline in South Africa, indeed in the whole continent. Long, empty beaches of golden sand, white rollers crashing onto the dark blue sea, dense green forests brimming with wildlife, deep gorges with black rivers and white rocks, bustling seaside towns ... it is a visual and sensual delight, a paradise for nature-lovers and outdoors enthusiasts. It also happens to have some of the country’s finest hotels and lodges.
The Garden Route refers to the stretch of coast between Mossel Bay in the west and Cape St Francis in the east. The best-known towns, beaches and nature reserves lie within this strip: Wilderness, Knysna, Plettenberg Bay, Storms River, Tsitsikamma. It’s also the most developed touristically.
East of Cape St Francis lies Port Elizabeth, a large industrial city, and beyond that the ‘Shipwreck Coast’ of the Eastern Cape, beautiful in its own way, but lacking the infrastructure and stability of the Garden Route. Inland, however, are 2 wonderful nature reserves, ideal for accessible, malaria-free, year-round game viewing.