Cape Town – Along South Africa’s southern coast, between the thick forests and dramatic river valleys of the Outeniqua and Tsitsikamma Mountains is a coastal string of lagoons, lakes and holiday towns dedicated to downtime – all connected by the N2 highway.
But locals and visitors can’t quite agree on where this strip of holidaymaking pleasure, the Garden Route, begins and ends – they’re too busy surfing the Indian Ocean, sunbathing and hiking to worry about such things.
Roughly, it’s bookended by the town of Mossel Bay and the Tsitsikamma region. In the intervening 200km, the N2 passes the towns and villages of Wilderness, Sedgefield, Knysna, Plettenberg Bay and Nature’s Valley, before crossing the provincial border from the Western Cape to the Eastern Cape, where the forest hamlet of Storms River is the last stop on the Garden Route.
The area is known for its moist, subtropical forests – dank, atmospheric places, where trails once used by Boer woodcutters and elephants wind between towering yellowwood trees, 3m-high tree ferns, strange fungi and babbling brooks.
Here you may spot the endemic Knysna dwarf chameleon or hear the “kow-kow” call of the rare Knysna loerie.