From casual beach bars serving ice cold draft beers to trendy restaurants that celebrate the finer things (and drinks) in life, South Africa’s magnificent Garden Route holiday destination is no stranger to a host of breathtaking sunset displays – visitors are spoilt for choice when it comes to dazzling sundowner spots to choose from.
A sundowner is the perfect way to unwind after an adventure-packed day spent discovering the Garden Route’s best attractions and partaking in numerous activities such as top hiking trails, malaria free Big 5 Safaris and world-class golfing, to mention just a few. Enjoy your favourite cocktail or try something new as you soak up the last rays of the African sun as it sets over the horizon, ocean or mountain depending on season. Sundowners is a cultural trend that has taken off throughout the Garden Route, not surprisingly, with the most outstanding views across the natural assets that have become synonymous with this world renowned area.
Whether it is the prelude to a delicious dinner, a romantic occasion or a visit with friends, a sundowner enjoyed in one of these Garden Route hotspots will not go unappreciated. While many restaurants in the Garden Route have amazing views, we have highlighted a few of our favourite not-to-be-missed sundowner settings.
Enrico Ristorante on Keurbooms Beach, Plettenberg Bay
Bearing the logo “Any closer and you will get wet!”, this seaside restaurant is really all about exceptional views, as the spacious deck is almost swallowed by the ocean, literally there is no way to be closer to the oceanfront or more embraced by its beauty. What’s more, the prospect of spotting dolphins and/or whales adds another exciting element to this dining experience in Plettenberg Bay. At sunset, Enrico’s is often bustling with locals and tourists who are ready to be blown away by sensational views. What is better than fresh seafood or a tasty pizza, enjoyed with a wonderful cocktail prepared by expert barmen? The restaurant deck extends to a pathway further below, where the ocean waters can be felt when the waves crash against the rocks. Even more beautiful in real life than in the photographs, Enrico Ristorante is a family-friendly Italian style restaurant that is a favourite for sundowners during any season. Book a stay at Singing Kettle which is above this famous restaurant for convenience and unbeatable vistas.
The Lookout Deck on Lookout Beach, Plettenberg Bay
It is easy to be lured in by the relaxed and casual atmosphere of this seaside eatery, located directly on the banks of Keurbooms Lagoon in Plettenberg Bay. The Lookout Deck welcomes families, friends or couples who want to soak up the sunshine and delight in the beautiful surroundings and unmistakable holiday atmosphere. Whether you’re coming straight from an afternoon of beach, surf and sun adventures or are heading to The Lookout Deck for a special occasion, you will be inspired to indulge in a sundowner here. As with any famed sundowner setting, the cocktail menu is an awesome collection of classic and legendary drinks to suit many tastes, as well as colourful jars for sharing with a friend. The Lookout Deck is also well known for serving delicious and fresh seafood, and what better place to feast than alongside one of the Garden Route’s most popular beaches. Book a stay in Plettenberg Bay at our of our recommended properties.
Emily Restaurant and Simon Bar, Plettenberg Bay
Emily Moon River Lodge is an exclusive boutique hotel that transports guests to an enchanting paradise that is hidden within Plettenberg Bay, right on the banks of the Bitou River and surrounded by nature. Accommodation can be booked at Emily Moon River Lodge through our Hello Garden Route team, while visitors to the Garden Route are welcome to visit simply to delight in a freshly prepared and delicious meal, or else can also pop into Simon’s Bar upstairs, where the views over the river and valleys are nothing short of enchanting. As a sundowner spot with a difference, Simon’s Bar and Emily Restaurant are the perfect settings to make every moment something sensational. Happy Hour is conveniently around sunset (depending on the season) from 6 – 7 pm, where half-price drinks set the pace for a fantastic evening ahead.
Sirocco Restaurant on Thesen Island, Knysna
Indulge in an exquisite cocktail as you senses are overcome by views of Knysna’s chic Thesen Harbour Town and the calm waters around it. This destination is a welcoming one that has been a favourite for sundowners in the Garden Route for years, perfect for celebrating special occasions with loved ones or even relaxing in time for a display of the sun setting over the harbour. With regular specials, exceptional cocktails and fresh foods, Sirocco offers a setting for sophisticated relaxation and stories shared of a glass of wine or drink of your choosing. Immerse yourself in every moment spent in this beautiful, family-friendly restaurant in the Garden Route’s Knysna town. At Hello Garden Route, we offer a range of stunning Knysna accommodation options for visitors to choose from that are located on Thesen Island and surrounds.
Salinas Beach Restaurant, Wilderness
Unveiling incredible panoramic views of the main beach in Wilderness, visitors are in for a special experience at Salinas Beach Restaurant. Diners will be treated to a tempting menu of dishes that pair perfectly with a chilled sundowner among friends, and will have to pull themselves away from the ocean views during their time here. Whether your preferred sundowner is a beautifully created cocktail, one of Salina’s featured wines or a cool craft beer; you won’t fall short of options. With the tall rise of greenery to one side and the expansive Indian Ocean before you, every moment spent here comes with a magical background. Salinas specializes in Spanish cuisine and uses the best fresh local produce available. Children are also welcome and can have a blast playing on the full-scale pirate ship on the premises, while the large outdoor deck is protected from the wind, allowing sundowners to be enjoyed here all year around. Book a stay in Wilderness at our of our beautiful properties.
Kaai 4 Braai Restaurant, Mossel Bay
Easily considered a top outdoor restaurant in the lovely village of Mossel Bay, Kaai 4 is an amazing restaurant that is not like any other you will find in the Garden Route. Taking inspiration from a favourite tradition in South Africa, the good old fashioned braai, find out what real braai food should taste like while the setting right on the beach and minutes from the sea is more than idyllic. The rustic Kaai 4 Braai Restaurant is about more than just good food and drinks, offering visitors an entire experience that will create amazing and lasting memories. Adding to the exciting experience of an open fire braai with friends along the oceanfront, exceptional views make sunset a popular time to enjoy a drink and kick off your shoes, feeling the soft sea sand and connecting with the exceptional surroundings. Reasonably priced, very vibey and a bit unconventional, Kaai 4 Restaurant is a unique local setting to experience when enjoying accommodation in Mossel Bay.
Buffelsdrift Restaurant, Oudtshoorn
This welcoming and authentic restaurant can be found at the breathtakingly beautiful Buffelsdrift Game Lodge in Oudtshoorn with the magical beauty of the Karoo and Bushveld on full display. This elegant restaurant can be enjoyed throughout the year and is kept warm with a roaring fireplace inside, while also featuring an expansive outdoor deck that is ideal for sundowners. Choose from an array of locally produced wines to enjoy over an African sunset when at Buffelsdrift restaurant, and enjoy an a la carte food menu that celebrates the karoo and appeals to both meat lovers and vegetarians. There is also excitement in potentially spotting wildlife as you enjoy your sundowner or dinner. Book your accommodation at Buffelsdrift Game Lodge with Hello Garden Route for the full experience!
Whether you are spending a summer or winter in the Garden Route, sundowner opportunities present themselves all around this amazing destination, offering travellers unique experiences. Check in with our friendly Hello Garden Route team to find your ideal accommodation in the Garden Route!