Travel the Garden Route in South Africa

Travel the Garden Route in South Africa

Day 8: Travel the Garden Route in South Africa: Mossel Bay, Wilderness, Knysna – The Heads and Plettenberg Bay

We continue on the Garden Route in South Africa, one of the most interesting and famous routes in the country, in which today we will make a section that will take us to know some of its most famous towns.
After sleeping like children tonight, when it is 7:30 in the morning we have a quick breakfast at the Malagas Hotel, our accommodation in Malgas tonight by 8 o’clock, leaving in the direction of Mossel Bay, the first point of the Today’s Garden Route, which is 165 kilometers and approximately two hours away.
As a curiosity, to comment that to follow the route that we have programmed, we have to cross a river and for that, we have to take a manual ferry, which is nothing more than a wooden platform on the river, in which two people are pulling of some cables, making the platform slide with its force and going from one side to the other, so we paid R56 and we scored another point on our list of curious transports.

Travel the Garden Route in South Africa

Considered by many to be one of the most incredible routes in the country, the Garden Route or Garden Route is a road, in this case, the N2, which technically begins in Mossel Bay and runs to the Tsitsikamma National Park.
Along these kilometers, you can enjoy incredible white sand dunes, endless beaches, bays where you can even see whales between June and November and forests of impressive trees that remain from the primary forest that formerly existed between the areas of Knysna and Wilderness.
Although as we said before, the Garden Route of South Africa begins in Mossel Bay, for many travelers it extends to the whale watching area in Hermanus, in addition to Cape Agujas and the De Hoop Nature Reserve, both places to see in the Essential Garden Route, that we recommend you not to get lost in South Africa on your own.
  • Cape Agulhas: Known as the southernmost point in Africa, contrary to what is believed of Cape Good Hope, on the Cape Peninsula, this is the place where the warm current of Agulhas and the cold current of Benguela meet.
  • De Hoop: This impressive nature reserve is one of the most essential places to see on the Garden Route. With different trails, among which the 5-day Whale Trail stands out, if you only have a day or a few hours, we advise you to opt for the Coastal Path or Koppie Allen, which will take you to one of the most fascinating landscapes in South Africa where the protagonists are the white sand dunes, the coast and the whales, which flock to this area of the country between June and November.
  • Mossel Bay: In the western part of the Garden Rute in South Africa is Mossel Bay, a town well known in the country for being a summer destination, to which we have to confess, we do not find much charm, although it is a stop perfect to stretch your legs and have a drink in front of the sea.
  • Wilderness: With a famous 18-kilometer beach, this town without much interest, is another of the perfect places to stop for lunch and enjoy the incredible views of the landscapes that surround it.
  • Knysna – The Heads: Known for being one of the most famous cities on the Garden Route in South Africa, Knysna is the perfect stop to learn a little more about the culture of this area of the country as well as enjoy some impressive landscapes.
  • Plettenberg Bay: Much appreciated and frequented by locals, Plettenberg Bay is a small town where Lookout Beach stands out, more than 10 kilometers long, and Keurbooms Beach, a virgin beach.
  • Tsitsikamma: In our experience, the Tsitsikamma Nature Reserve is one of the essentials on the Garden Route, especially its famous suspension bridge trail.
Garden Route in South Africa
Despite the fact that many travelers spend 2-3 days traveling the Garden Route in South Africa, taking into account our experience and counting that we include in the journey the sections from Hermanus to Tsitsikamma, we would dedicate 4 full days, divided as follows:
  • Hermanus (1 day)
  • Cabo Agujas – De Hoop (1 day)
  • Mossel Bay, Wilderness, Knysna, Plettenberg Bay (1 day)
  • Tsitsikamma (1 day)
Cape Needles
We also want to highlight that of all the places to see on the Garden Route that we have mentioned, for us those that involve the natural environment are especially remarkable and interesting.
On the contrary, the towns that are highlighted on the route and that in this case, we detail in this post, for us they have not had a special interest, although they are always a good stop to take a walk through the most central area and thus also know a little more closely culture.

Map of the essentials to travel the Garden Route in South Africa

We leave you a map with the points to travel on the Garden Route in South Africa, which we talked about earlier so that you can get an idea of the location.
The first part of the route of the Garden Route today, from Malgas to Mossel Bay we do it partly by unpaved road and part by the N2 arriving at Mossel Bay at 10:30 in the morning going directly to the parking lot that is right in the lighthouse area, where there are a couple of viewpoints, which will be our first stop today, which has also been incredibly sunny.
Mossel Bay on the Garden Route in South Africa

Mossel Bay

In the western area of one of the most beautiful bays in South Africa, we find Mossel Bay, a town that is divided into two areas, the oldest located on a hill and the newer, Point Village, which is the most interesting, in the area. from the lighthouse and the coast, where you can enjoy an interesting landscape for a stop and several natural pools.
Natural pools at Mossel Bay on the Garden Route in South Africa
As we mentioned before, Mossel Bay lacks charm, at least for us, outside the area of the lighthouse and the natural pools and we would only recommend a stop here to stretch your legs and have a drink, as we do in one of the nearby restaurants to the beach, where we had an iced coffee and a beer for R84.
Mossel Bay
It is 12 o’clock in the morning when we continue the journey along the Garden Route in South Africa, now heading to Wilderness 40 kilometers from Mossel Bay, a town known for its incredible 18 km long beach, where before arriving, we stopped at its famous viewpoint of the dolphins at 1 in the afternoon, where we enjoy a few minutes of walking around the area with incredible views of the beach, although without being very lucky since we do not see any of the dolphins that they say, they are usually seen from this viewpoint.
Wilderness Beach Lookout

Wilderness Beach

Known for being one of the most incredible beaches on the Garden Route, Wilderness Beach is probably not the best option for bathing since another of its characteristics, in addition to its beauty and length, are the strong waves and currents, something that makes it one of the most dangerous beaches in the area.
Wilderness Beach
After the experience in Mossel Bay and knowing that the town does not have much to offer, we decided to use this place as a place to eat, stopping at Zucchini Restaurant 11 kilometers from the town and 30 kilometers from Knysna, which will be our next stop in the Garden Route.
Located in an organic town, with a very pleasant atmosphere, this restaurant is one of the most recommended in the area and a very pleasant stop if you pass through here and it fits in for lunch or dinner. We ordered a vegetarian sandwich, a large water burger, and two espressos for R280, which are delicious.
It is 2:30 in the afternoon when we continue our journey to South Africa in 25 days on the way to Knysna, 30 kilometers from here, where we arrive when it is practically 3:30 in the afternoon, taking advantage of the town to stop at a gas station and fill the tank for R600 and thus continue the rest of the Garden Route that we still have to travel.

Knysna, one of the stops on the Garden Route in South Africa

Located next to a natural lake, Knysna is one of the places on the Garden Route most appreciated by South Africans, both for those who choose it as a holiday destination and for the artists who have made it their corner of inspiration.
If you have decided to go through here and make a stop, we recommend you focus on the area of Main Street, its main street and Gray Street and Long Street, where most of the shops are concentrated, and then go to the area of the natural lake, from where you have one of the most interesting views of the town.
After practically an hour getting to know Knysna, on the Garden Route, which we have to confess is not a place that we are particularly passionate about, although it is a perfect stop for a walk, as we discussed with Mossel ay, we went to The Heads at 8 kilometers from the town, which is the point where the lake meets the ocean, creating one of the most dangerous sea crossings in the world that we even read about, insurers do not accept responsibility for any ship that passes through these waters.
The Heads at Knysna
If you want to get closer to this point, for us an essential for its meaning if you are in Knysna, it is best to leave the car in the parking lot, you can leave some R15-R20 so that they take care of it, and do the small path of fewer than 1 kilometers to reach the viewing area, from which you can perfectly see the union of the lake with the Indian Ocean.
The Heads at Knysna
From here and when it is 5 in the afternoon we make our way to the accommodation in Plettenberg Bay, where we will sleep tonight at the Mandalay Guesthouse, with a great value for money, where we arrive at 5:30 in the afternoon after traveling 24 kilometers with whom we conclude today’s journey, visiting some of the best-known towns on the Garden Route, which we have to confess have not met the expectations we had, so we consider that if we have fewer days to do this route, perhaps the best thing would be to try to do the maximum number of kilometers possible to advance as much as possible and make the stop at the Tsitsikamma National Park, which is the place we will go tomorrow.

Map of today’s Garden Route in South Africa

We leave you a map with the stops of today’s route on the Garden Route in South Africa, which has taken us to cities such as Mossel Bay, Wilderness, Knysna – The Heads, and Plettenberg Bay.

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