The Garden Route is the perfect add on to a Cape Town holiday. This scenic coastal road is known for the dramatic landscapes while driving along the Indic Ocean. It is famous for locals and tourists alike who want to get out of the buzz and enjoy some nature oriented days. If you have limited days for the drive, here’s the ultimate 4 day Garden Route road trip.
The name Garden Route comes from the great variety of vegetation, lagoons and lakes in the area.
4 day garden route road trip
Day 1: Cape Town – Oudtshoorn
Start the day driving from Cape Town to Oudtshoorn. On your way you have to stop at Ronnies sex shop, a restaurant on the road that has become quite famous. Ronnie had a shop, Ronnies shop, and someone wrote Ronnies Sex shop, making it locally famous.
On arrival to Oudtshoorn leave your bags and head out quickly, as you want to spend the last hours driving the Swartberg pass. I’ve driven a bunch of mountain passes but this one is quite phenomenal. You will need a 4×4 to access it. You can drive either all the way and then back (depending on the time of the day) or just to the highest point to see the mountain from both sides.
Day 2: Oudtshoorn – Tstitsikamma – Plettenberg Bay
Start the day by visiting the UNESCO Cango Caves. There are two visits available: classic tour or adventure. Definitively go for the adventure. The caves are very big and pretty, but the best part was no doubt the adventure. You will walk along very thing corridors, have to almost walk on your fours cause the ceiling is very low and at the end you will have to go down a rock toboggan.
We did it with my family when they were visiting, and my mum decided to not do the last bit with the toboggan. The tour can be followed without much hassle if you are fit/healthy.
Drive next to Tsitsikamma, with a detour to go through Nature’s Valley. There are tall trees in that area of the forest – trees that start about 15m below you and go way higher than road level. I’ve always been more of a mountain lover rather than beach one, so that scenery really impressed me.
After the little detour it was time to get to the Bloukrans bridge. The bridge is 216m high, and that’s from where you can bungee jump. It was more scary/anxious the fact to be waiting at the restaurant before our scheduled time than the actual jump. Being in the bridge itself is funny – the staff is smiling and cracking jokes all the time and there are tunes banging the speakers. The only moment you get scared is when you’re actually left at the edge of the bridge. Later on you hear “3,2,1, bungy” and you jump – there’s really no time to be scared, you don’t have time!
And after you jump, you have tunnel vision for the free fall (about 7s) and then you’re being pulled up by the rope and it’s exhilarating. I always said: I’m never bungee jumping. I want to do skydive but not bungee. And then I skydived and decided that I wanted to do bungee jump. And I was sp sure I wouldn’t want to repeat… Well, I know I’ll do it again one day now. Adrenaline junkie!
If you don’t want to jump you can continue to Tsitsikamma National Park. The park has a lodge and restaurant, as well as different hiking routes. The most visited attraction is the suspension bridge. There are actually 3 of them that you can walk in less than 30minutes from the restaurant.
When you are done drive back to Plettenberg Bay where you can stay at the coziest guest house, called Lala Panzi, the owners are lovely and helpful. Do not stay in, go out for dinner, there’s a main road full of restaurants.
Day 3 Plettenberg bay – Knysna
On the road again, go to to Knysna Lookouts. The lookouts are on the point of land closest to the ocean, so you can see the point where the ocean created the famous Knysna lagoon. When you are done go to the Knysna waterfront where you can walk around and check different types of shops.
The next stop is Wilderness, a charming small village with some restaurants. Have lunch in one of them and then you can either sleep in Knysna or George. It all depends on how long do you want to drive the next day.
Day 4: Knysna/George – Cape Town
Last journey of this 4 day garden route road trip starts with a long drive. Drive back to Cape Town.
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