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The Best Food and Places to See - Garden Route, South Africa
A trip to the Garden Route can be a soul searching retreat, or it can be a long awaited adventure trip. Or, it can be both! There are so many things to see, places to explore and food to taste - it's hard to know where to start.
You could always do an online search before you leave to find a few well known restaurants and attractions that are a must see when visiting the Garden Route - or, you can simply wing it and see where the wind takes you! On our recent trip here, we decided to just go with the flow and find out from the locals where the best places to go were. You'll have plenty of options to choose from on any given day as there are flyers and brochures almost everywhere you go.
Top 3 Places to Eat
Food - Glorious Food!
It was hard to choose three restaurants along the Garden Route, as there are just so many fantastic places to eat.
These are my top 3 recommendations:
- Joplin's in Wilderness. This restaurant only offers steak on their menu. There are no pastas, no salads, no fish - just steak, any way you like it served with chips and an egg. There's a reason why they only serve steak and why they're so proud of it, it's because it's that good! This is a must go to restaurant, it's comfortable and casual, and the staff are friendly.
- Zucchini in Wilderness. A country restaurant offering organic and delicious food, set in the Timberlake Village. The food is outstanding - in fact Lonely Planet have chosen them as their restaurant of choice in the Wilderness. The ambiance is country, with a hint of chic inside - while outside feels more country with a touch of art and provides gorgeous views of the rest of the village. The service is friendly and efficient.
- Café Mario in Knysna. Set in the Knysna Waterfront on the water's edge, this Italian style restaurant is eyecatching with it's bright orange umbrellas. The menu is large and varied, and the food is out of this world! They even offer wheat free pasta, I was quite impressed! Fantastic and friendly service.
Top 3 Things to Do
Where to go, what to do?
The list of activities, places to go and things to do in the Garden Route is endless, and this section was even harder to narrow down. These are my top 3 choices:
- Hike, walk or cycle through the Knysna forest. There are a large variety of trails to take - something for every fitness level. We did a short 3km walk through lush green forest, stopped for lunch near the Millwood Mine and then did another 3km walk through another part of the forest with streams and waterfalls. It was breathtaking. I couldn't believe that such a beautiful place existed and that we had the opportunity to explore it. This place really brings you back in touch with nature.
- Come into contact with monkeys and birds at Monkeyland and Birds of Eden. Both places are situated next to each other, which makes this a convenient day trip. At Monkeyland (the world's first free roaming multi-specie primate sanctuary), you will be taken on a one hour tour and come into contact with many different species of monkeys. Birds of Eden is the worlds largest free flight bird aviery. This place is incredible. You will see parrots, flamingos, swans, doves, ducks and more!
- Be touched by an Elephant at the Knysna Elephant Sanctuary. It's hard to put into words the emotions I felt while feeding, touching and standing amongst Elephants. These incredible creatures are gentle giants, and this was the highlight of our trip - something that we will never forget. The tour is an hour long and you will have a chance to explore where the Elephants sleep, you'll be able to feed and touch them, as well as watch them interact with each other only a few steps away!
Other things to do while on holiday in the Garden Route:
- Climb through the Cango Caves in Oudtshoorn
- Do the treetop canopy tours in the Tsitsikamma forest
- Go canoeing in Wilderness
- Go blackwater tubing
- Bungee jump from the Bloukrans Bridge
- Shop to your heart's content at the Garden Route Mall
- Visit the many day and night craft and farm markets in Knysna and Plettenberg Bay
- Read a book on Buffalo Beach
- Go wine tasting
- Visit the Wolf Sanctuary in Knysna at night
- Eat exotic foods at the night market in Plettenberg Bay
- Go bird watching
- Have dinner on a boat cruise in Knysna
- Visit the Puzzle Park and work your way out of a maze in Plettenberg Bay