March 22, 2017

Lapped by the Indian Ocean and with shimmering lakes, lush indigenous forests and lofty peaks to explore, the Garden Route is South Africa’s most exciting and diverse adventure playground. Fiona McIntosh lists six of the best Garden Route adventures.

Mountainbike the Trail Park

With its extensive network of trails, easy access, diverse terrain and mind-blowing scenery, the Garden Route is mountainbiking nirvana.

The Garden Route Trail Park on the Seven Passes Road between George and Knysna, is the top spot to grind your gears. Whatever your level of experience you’ll find a groomed singletrack trail to suit, and there’s a fun pumptrack for youngsters or skills practice.

Run around Robberg

A rugged peninsula jutting out to the west of Plettenberg bay, the Robberg Nature Reserve is one of my all time favourite spots to cut loose.  There are two short walking/running trails – a short 2.1km circuit through The Gap and the 5.5km Witsand Circuit - but don’t be tempted to shirk on this outing. Rather set aside a couple of hours to run the circular 9.2km route around the peninsula checking out the seal and kelp gull colonies, the golden cliffs and pristine beaches as you go. It’s simply magic.

Stand up paddle board (SUP)

A slow paddle around the Knysna lagoon or up the river on a stable, stand up paddle board is not just a good way to take in the magnificent scenery of Knysna; it’s also a great work out. And if you crack that, Tony Cook Adventures ,will take you into the waves to teach you how to surf the craft!

Go kloofing

AfriCanyon’s kloofing trip down the pristine Soutrivier near Plettenberg Bay is a serious adrenalin rush that involves a couple of abseils, long swims and small jumps into the tannin-stained water. But it’s also a chance to explore pristine, narrow vegetated canyon that few others will ever see.

Paraglide Wilderness

Soar from a hilltop on a tandem paragliding flight over the long, golden sands of Wilderness beach, often spying dolphins as you enjoy the bird’s eye view. Or sign up for a paragliding course on the dunes - one of the easiest and most scenic paragliding locations in the country.

Snorkel in rock pools

There are intriguing rock pools all along the Garden Route coast, but some of the best are at Gericke’s Point, on Swartvlei Beach. Bring a mask or swimming goggles (and snorkel if you have) to check out the little fish, colourful starfish, sponges, anemones and other marine dwellers in the deep channels and overhanging caverns. Or just wallow for a while listening to the sounds of the sea.

If you are in the Garden Route this Easter, be sure to hit the trails with the Garden Route Walking Festival. This is South Africa’s only walking festival with more than 52 different walks to choose from over 4 days. 

The festival supports local conservation and environmental charities. As it is free to register for the festival, we encourage you instead to make a donation to nature when you make your first walk booking.

Article written by: Fiona McIntosh 

Photos: Shaen Adey


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