The Garden Route of South Africa is the stretch of the southern coast of South Africa and runs from Mossel Bay to Port Elizabeth. The name ‘Garden Route’ refers to the diverse vegetation found here and the variety of lagoons and lakes strewn along the coastal areas. The Garden Route includes towns like Mossel Bay, Knysna, Plettenberg Bay, Stormsrivier and George which acts as the Garden Route's biggest city and administrative centre.
Travelling along the coast of The Garden Route, the vegetation becomes lush and evergreen compared to the inland areas, which makes it hard to believe most of the Knysna and Tsitsikamma forests were totally destroyed by early settlers of this area. What we see today is only a tiny piece of the indigenous forests that ruled this area.
The Garden Route offers mild to hot summers along with mild winters. It has the second mildest climate found in the entire world after Hawaii. Temperatures won’t often drop below 10° Celsius during winter and hardly ever climbs beyond 28° Celsius in the summer. Rain comes all year round, with a small increase during spring months, brought along by the humid sea breezes from the Indian Ocean ascending and dropping its precipitation on the Outeniqua and Tsitsikamma Mountains.
The recent history of the Garden Route is very closely connected with the development and need for wood to satisfy the growing population of the Cape. It took only a handful of years for the tiny pockets of forests in Cape Town’s Southern suburbs to be depleted, and with the arrival of the first white colonists reaching Mossel Bay in the early 1700’s the demand doubled. During the mid 1800s the forest areas around the Garden Route were targeted, but it was only until a road was built crossing the Keurbooms River that the Tsitsikamma area came under serious threat.
Today The Garden Route is well protected and visitors can enjoy nature’s untouched beauty at its best. More photos and information on the history of The Garden Route can be found in Tsitsikamma Park.
The Cape Town Experience crew