The Garden Route is a stretch of the south-eastern coast of South Africa which extends from Mossel Bay in the Western Cape to Storms River in the Eastern Cape. The name comes from the verdant and ecologically diverse vegetation found here and the numerous lagoons and lakes dotted along the coast. It includes towns such as Knysna, Plettenberg Bay and Nature’s Valley, along with George, the Garden Route’s largest city and main administrative centre.
The Garden Route has an oceanic climate, with mild to warm summers, and mild to cool winters. It has the mildest climate in South Africa and the second mildest climate in the world, after Hawaii, according to the Guinness Book of Records. Temperatures rarely fall below 10°C in winter and rarely climb beyond 28°C in summer. Rain occurs year-round, with a slight peak in the spring months, brought by the humid sea-winds from the Indian Ocean rising and releasing their precipitation along the Outeniqua and Tsitsikamma Mountains just inland of the coast.
The Garden Route is sandwiched between the aforementioned mountains and the Indian Ocean. The Outeniqua and Tsitsikamma indigenous forests are a unique mixture of Cape fynbos and temperate forest and offer numerous beautiful hiking trails and eco-tourism activities. Nearly 300 bird species can be found in a variety of habitats ranging from fynbos to forest to wetlands.