When we think of winter in the Garden Route, we think of cooler days, fewer crowds and cheaper accommodation rates. Contact us – we’re here to help plan&book your wonderful winter holiday to one of South Africa’s most beautiful destinations, the highly sought after Garden Route!
The Garden Route offers alluring and unique towns that are packed with things to do and hotspots to see, a destination for all. Even the most exciting outdoor activities are enjoyable in the cooler months, whether it’s the adrenaline warming you up from the inside (try out the highest abseil in the Garden Route) or the winter sun keeping the chill at bay. Choose from a wide selection of options offered by Hello Garden Route – Your Friendly Experts in Garden Route Holiday Accommodation. Enjoy a retreat to the forest, mountain, beach, lake, river or inland to the Klein Karoo… Hello Garden Route has it all covered!
Wondering what lies in store for your upcoming trip to the Garden Route, or simply seeking the inspiration to go ahead and book your winter getaway? Here are some of our top recommended Winter Attractions on offer in the Garden Route…
First and foremost, Coffee & Food
When it’s cold out, there is no greater incentive for dressing warmly and leaving your oh-so comfortable holiday accommodation than to indulge in some excellent cuisine. Knysna is well-known for its fresh oysters which are actually a much more succulent cuisine in the winter season. Every year, Pick&Pay hosts the exciting Knysna Oyster Festival during this time – this year’s event is going to bring lots of tasty treats and fun for all.
Many of the Garden Route’s most renowned eateries, including but not limited to Knysna’s 34 Degrees South, Plettenberg Bay’s The Lookout Deck and Keurboomstrand Enrico’s serve up excellent seafood. For diners seeking a warmer meal in a smarter setting, the Plett’s Nguni Restaurant and Oudthoorn’s Swartberg Country Manor focus on fine dining with a South African twist, with seating both indoors and outdoors. Hello Garden Route also recommends Vegtable Private Dining Room and Totties Farm Kitchen in Rheenendal, Knysna.
Click here for some Garden Route Family-Friendly Restaurants.
Of course, coffee is essential! Warm up over a fragrant cup of java at the funky Blue Shed Coffee Roastery in Mossel Bay – we love this rustic shed, which showcases amazing ocean views and serves delicious food and delicacies, as well as a variety of exceptionally roasted coffees. Read more about Coffee in the Garden Route here.
Whale Watching at it’s Best
The enchanting coastal stretch of the Garden Route offers outstanding viewpoints from which to enjoy whale and dolphin watching.
In fact, this region is regarded as one of the best destinations in the world for whale-watching especially during the winter months between June and November when the elusive southern right whales migrate to the Indian ocean from the cold Antarctic ocean waters. Humpback whales pass through from May to December; you may even see an Orca, a rare and wondrous sight that is worth all the hype.
With as many as 37 species of whales and dolphins off the South African coast, it is easy to understand why this has become such a popular attraction within itself. Some of the best spots in the Garden Route for Whale Watching include the harbour at Stillbaai, Dolphins Point in Wilderness and The Robberg Peninsula or Lookout Beach in Plettenberg Bay either. Read more about Garden Route Whale Watching here.
A Day of Museum Meanderings
A cold winter’s day in the Garden Route is the perfect excuse to drive through some of the charming towns of this region and explore various museums. This adventure can be enjoyed by the whole family and is certain to be an incredibly insightful experience.
Catch a glimpse of South Africa’s heritage and history at the educational ATKV Hartenbos Museum, one of the oldest museums in Mossel Bay. The Hartenbos Museum documents the Voortrekkers famous struggle for freedom and their mass move from the Cape in 1838, fleeing life under Colonial rule. Famous historical artifacts housed at this captivating museum include ox wagons, weapons and household items.
Possibly one of the most famous museums in the Garden Route, the Bartolomeu Dias Museum Complex, is set against a backdrop of exceptional ocean views. The grounds of this fascinating museum complex are rich in history, while the complex is named after a 15th century Portuguese explorer who first discovered this area in the 14th century. Check out the famous 500 year old post office tree, the Shell Museum and Aquarium and the life size replica of the Dias Ship during your visit.
The Outeniqua Choo-Tjoe Museum AKA the Outeniqua Transport Museum, located in George, will capture your imagination, literally ‘transporting’ visitors to a bygone era. It showcases 13 steam locomotives, an amazing collection of steam locomotive number plates, has a model train room and even an exhibition of private vintage cars. The entrance fees are very affordable and there is a coffee shop inside the museum.
Not forgetting the CP Nel Museum in Oudtshoorn, rich in history as well.
For the Love of Wine
“Drinking good wine with good food in good company is one of life’s most civilized pleasures” –Michael Broadbent
Book your Rock the Route Wine Tour (don’t drink and drive!) with Hello Garden Route today!
The Garden Route is home to a myriad of sensational wine estates and vineyards which have, over time, lured wine-lovers from all over the globe. There is nothing like a glass of red next to an indoor fireplace to help keep you toasty on a cold winter’s night. Most of these Garden Route wine farms also offer food pairings, lovely restaurants and family-friendly activities on their estates.
George is home to Herold Wines, a unique vineyard that can be reached by travelling through the scenic mountains of Montagu Pass toward the striking Outeniqua Mountain range. Here, visitors can indulge in a selection ranging from crisp white wines to rich red wines and enjoy tastings, lunches, picnics and cellar tours.
Plettenberg Bay enjoys its status as “Wine of Origin Plettenberg Bay Region” and has also been scouted as the future “Champagne District” of South Africa – this area produces tasteful wines, mainly of the Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Methode Cap Classic variety. Plettenvale Boutique Vineyard and Winery, Bramon Wine Estate and Packwood Wine and Country Estate are all wonderful choices and make for a memorable winter outing whilst enjoying a vacation in the Garden Route.
Jakkalsvlei Private Estate in the suburb of Mossel Bay is a gorgeous and award winning 34ha vineyard situated on the foot of the Langeberg Mountains, open 7 days a week and perfect for any occasion that calls for a glass of wine (or even beer!). There are 7 different wine tastings to choose from as well as a variety of Jakkalsvlei craft beers. The restaurant is renowned for its delicious build-your-own pizza menu and gourmet burger menu.
Be sure to also visit Baleia Wines in Riversdale.
Family Fun this winter in the Garden Route
A winter holiday with the kids is a great way to enjoy quality time together, experiencing the best of the Garden Route’s family-friendly attractions.
Plett Puzzle Park is a great setting that is suited to children and adults alike, with activities like South Africa’s first live 3D Maze and the inspired Forest Puzzle Walk. In the same area, Plettenberg Bay’s popular Birds of Eden and Monkeyland promise an unforgettable experience. Read more about Monkeyland, Birds of Eden and Jukani Wildlife Sanctuary here.
Pack your backpack with refreshments and binoculars and enjoy a walk with the family through Knysna’s Forests. Read more about Rooted in Time – the Knysna Forest here. If you prefer, take a Garden Route Segway Tour through the Tsitsikamma forest. Whilst you’re there,why not fly high at Tsitsikamma Treetop Canopy Tour?
The amazing Cango Caves, located just off the Swartberg Pass in Oudtshoorn, can be enjoyed on a rainy day. The caves offer two tour options, namely the heritage tour which is easy going and for the more adrenaline-seekers, the adventure tour (available to adults and kids over 6 years old) is the more daring choice.
Fresh Produce at Farmer’s Markets
Stock up on some amazing fresh produce and delicacies at Garden Route’s food and craft markets, namely Outeniqua Farmer’s Market, Sedgefield’s Wild Oats Market and Harkerville’s Farmers Market. Read more about Sedgefield Markets here.
Scenic Self-Drive Routes
The Garden Route is home to of the most spectacular routes ideal for a day’s exploring. These include The Montagu Pass, The Seven Passes Road and The Prince Alfred Pass. Read more about Garden Route Scenic Self-Drive Routes here.
And so much more…