- Mossel Bay
Mossel Bay is halfway between Cape Town and PE, this coastal town marks the official beginning (or end) of the Garden Route. There’s a wide choice of backpacker hostels, beaches and adventure activities.
George is very close to Oudtshoorn, Mossel Bay and Victoria Bay, it’s a convenient backpacker stop over point. George airport is a convenient way of arriving to explore the Garden Route.The Outeniqua Tjoe - Choo train comes puffing into the station once a week.
Oudtshoorn was home to rich feather barons until the turn of the century. The collapse of the feather industry meant the area had to find other attractions in order to survive. And boy, has it done a good job of that! You need daaaaays to “do” Oudtshoorn.
- De Rust
An interesting little one horse town.
- Victoria Bay
Victoria Bay is renowned as one of the world’s best surfing beaches and the waves here are often spectacular.
Wilderness nestles in the green coastal hills, framed by the Touws River lagoon on one side and miles of superb beach on the other. The beautiful Wilderness National Park protects the unique eco-system that makes up the surroundings.
Straddling the N2 and in its turn surrounded by wetlands and sandwiched between the sea and the mountain, this is paraglider's paradise.
- Buffels Bay
This little coastal village lies just outside of Knysna and is a great place to relax and get closer to nature.
This backpackers haven is the centre of the Garden Route. The town of Knysna sprawls around the Knysna lagoon whose entrance is guarded by two rocky cliffs called The Heads. Knysna is the hub of the Garden Route and this once sleepy village is now a bustling town.
Peaceful winding roads and lovely country side. The alternative inland route along the coast…
- Nature's Valley
Situated at the end of the Groot River pass, Nature’s Valley is surrounded by mountain, lagoon, sea and forest.
- Plettenberg Bay
Plettenberg Bay is a backpackers paradise. It was named “Baia Formosa” (Beautiful Bay) by early Portuguese explorers. Plettenberg Bay is now one of the Garden Route’s major destinations, primarily because the Portuguese weren’t far wrong.
The main attractions here are the Bloukrans Bridge, the world’s highest bungy jump and the beautiful surroundings
The major drawcard here is Mother Nature. And she’s a real Mother, but not the one you know. Wild, tempestuous, untamed, violent, calm, soothing, shouting, majestic and awe-inspiring if you can look past the hand of man.
The Garden Route is a favourite for backpackers and has some of South Africa's best backpacking lodges.
The Garden Route stretches from Mossel Bay to the Tsitsikamma River Mouth like a necklace of bays, beaches, cliffs and rocky capes strung together along a line of pounding white surf.
Mountains crowd the shoreline and high rainfall on their peaks provides a consistent supply of water to the narrow coastal terrace where every bit of soil nourishes some plant growth.
The ocean teems with game fish and divers delight in the silent underwater world of bright colours and brave fish.
The rivers, stained amber by the soil, have lovely navigable stretches, the Knysna lagoon lends itself to cheerful indulgences and the forests provoke cool walks through tunnels of shade...
Places to Stay
- Abalone Beach House
Abalone Beach House is a beautiful Plett Backpackers set between coastal forest and the white sands of Keurboom's beach, this is Plettenberg Bays only beachfront backpackers.
- African Array Backpackers Lodge
At African Array you’ll experience all the beauty, wildlife, culture and all the adventure that you came to find in South Africa.
- Albergo For Backpackers
This Plett backpackers is close to the centre of Plett. Albergo has great views of the ocean and offers plenty of outdoor adventures.
- Amakaya Backpackers
This Plett backpackers is right up at the top of the Plettenberg Bay hill, with a great view.
- Amaranth Lodge
Self catering backpackers lodge built next to a dam overlooking the Swartberg Mountains
- Amber Lagoon
Set between the Gamka Nature Reserve and Swartberg Mountains a self catering lodge with outstanding views
- Beach House Backpackers
Situated in a milkwood forest on large grounds, the Beach House has an incredible view of the coastline and Dolphin’s Point.
- Cocomo Restaurant
An eclectic mix of tropical village lifestyle and flavour-full cuisine
- Highfield Backpackers
This Knysna backpacking lodge is centrally located in town just 2 blocks from the action.
- Knysna Backpackers
Set in a century old Victorian house with loads of character, Knysna Backpackers is an easy going place.
- Lodge 96
A smaller lodge with a friendly owner - all rooms ensuite
- Mossel Bay Backpackers
Mossel Bay Backpackers is located just 300m from the Inner and Outer Point surf spots. This backpacking hostel also has a guest house adjoined to it, if you are after a few more creature comforts.
- Outeniqua Travel Lodge
Outeniqua backpackers was the first backpackers in George. It is a great place to stop over if you want a base whilst backpacking the Garden Route.
- Park House Lodge and Travel Centre
This Mossel Bay backpackers is located in a spacious 130 year old stone homestead with some wonderful woodwork and some stunning artwork.
- Plett Backpackers
Plett Backpackers in the newest backpackers in Plettenberg Bay. It is in the centre of town and boasts an awesome view over the Plettenberg Bay beaches.
- Rocky Road Backpackers
Located at the edge of a beautiful indigenous forest, close to animal sanctuaries, activities and adventures.
- Santos Express Train Lodge
This Mossel Bay backpackers is a genuine train that’s parked just a spit away from the main beach in Mossel Bay. All cabins face the sea. What more could you want?
- Southern Comfort Horse Ranch
Southern Comfort - a 26 hectare horse farm - is situated in the heart of the Knysna forest overlooking indigenous forest.
- Stone Cottage
Stone Cottage in Plettenberg Bay is a Boutique Backpackers & Suites where spectacular views of the bay and a communal deck with jacuzzi, are the order of the day.
- Tube 'n Axe
The Tube ’n Axe is just 300m away from the Stormsriver Adventure Centre - this is Wild Adventure Frontier Territory.
- Vic Bay Surf Lodge
Vic Bay is a Garden Route Surfing top spot also try Snorkeling, Fishing and beach strolling.
What to do
- African Trails
Crisscross Africa with a tour operator that can navigate borders and bushveld with ease. African Trails runs budget overland tours from Cape Town, Jozi and Vic Falls. All you need to do is decide what size adventure you wear...
- Bungy Bus
Wanna bungeeeeee? But don't know how to get there? Get the Bungy Bus.
- Stormsriver Adventures
These adventure specialists offer a variety of exciting activities in the Stormsriver Gorge and its surroundings.
- Untouched Adventures
They offer scuba diving, ocean kayaking and Lilo trips at the Storms River Mouth
- White Shark Africa
White Shark Africa provides some of the best shark cage diving in South Africa and can be found in Mossel Bay on the Garden Route.
(randomly selected service providers from all regions)
A blast into the past and a very popular little town that postively hums with busy-ness every now and then.
(Clarens Eastern Free State,Free State)
Set in a big garden, Gemini backpackers offers a restaurant, shop shuttles and pick-up or drop-off in Johannesburg.
4 departures a week to the Kruger mean you can fit this one in for sure.
(The Kruger National Park,Mpumalanga)
Cape Town's first backpacking hostel is still going strong and offers excellent facilities.
(Cape Town City Bowl,Cape Town)
Set on the Sabie River, Gecko backpackers is the place for you to experience the Kruger Park and Blyde River Canyon.
Ride from Khotso backpackers in the Southern Drakensberg over the mountains and into Lesotho.
This backpackers is only 700m from the beach, with a sweet sea view.
(Warner Beach,South Coast)
Serene and unsoiled, this area is an African Eden.
Nestled at the foot of the magnificent Langeberg Mountains, Swellendam Backpackers is set on a massive property with its own mountain stream.