South Africa’s Garden route is one of the most scenic and diverse drives in the world, and in recent years it has become an incredibly popular backpacking journey for young travellers from across the globe. The glorious stretch of Indian Ocean coastline is nature’s paradise as well as being home to some of the most tranquil and beautiful hostels you will ever come across. As you explore the 800km stretch between Cape Town and Port Elizabeth you will be spoilt for choice with endless outdoor activities to enjoy, quaint little towns to stroll around and a huge range of wildlife to marvel at- it really is the most rewarding road trip!
The three main options you will have to explore the Garden route are by car, the Baz Bus or an organised tour.
Renting a car
This is probably the easiest and most convenient way of exploring the Garden Route and allows you the most freedom with your itinerary. The roads are all in good condition and it is pretty impossible to get lost along the way because it is literally, just one long road- the N2 highway! The 800km drive can be done in one 8 hour journey. However, we suggest you take at least 7 days to explore all the incredible places along the way. Please note it is not advisable to do this journey alone, you need at least one accomplice for this road trip!
The Baz Bus is a hop on hop off backpacker bus which operates from Cape Town to Johannesburg and vice versa. It is an incredible service which runs between 180 backpacking hostels in South Africa, and picks you up and drops you off right at the door! The Baz Bus is flexible because it allows you to create your own itinerary, convenient because it drops you at the door of your next backpackers, safe because you are travelling in a luxury bus with an experienced driver and social because you will meet a bus load of travellers who share your passion for adventure! We can personally recommend this wonderful service!
Click here to visit the Baz bus website.
Private tour operator
There are a remarkable range of private tour operators who facilitate trips up and down the Garden Route. Each company differs slightly in what they offer, but usually you will have the choice to join a 3 day, 5 day, 8 day or 10 day return or one way tour to Port Elizabeth. Each tour will have a set itinerary which will include stop offs at a variety of natural attractions, visits to private wildlife reserves and the option to enjoy a range of outdoor activities. The cost of the tour will usually include your transport in a luxury bus, overnight accommodation in various hostels along the way and entrance fees to wildlife and nature reserves.
Recommended tour operators:
With so much to do and see along the way you may find it tricky deciding what places to stop at during your Garden Route adventure, and which of the incredible range of outdoor activities to sample! To help you decide, here are some of our top favourites:
Where? Why? Where to stay?
Hermanus Whale spotting and wine tasting. Hermanus backpackers:
Mossel Bay Shark cage diving, long sandy beaches and boat rides to spot the seals. Mossel Bay backpackers
What should you do next?
Easy - there's only one thing for it - download this free 37-page PDF guide we wrote just for you. It'll give you an overview of everything you need to know and do to have a rewarding and unforgettable learning experience abroad.