13 Garden Route Hidden Gems You Need To Experience

Garden Route
Tsitsikamma National Park.
The Garden Route may be one of the most popular holiday destinations in South Africa. However, it’s still full of endless off-the-beaten-path activities and locations.
There are plenty of Garden Route hidden gems to explore, covering nature experiences, markets, cafes, classic Garden Route adventure activities and everything in between.
At Skyhook, we offer a 6-day Garden Route tour that stops at many of these places - giving you a truly authentic Garden Route experience.
So, to help plan your trip, here are some hidden gems of the area that you should consider adding to your itinerary.
pixabay ostrich south-africa
South African Ostriches.

Hidden Gems in the Garden Route

Klein Karoo Ostrich Farm

When people think of things to do on the Garden Route, their minds usually go straight to the coast. But, you can also head inland into the Klein Karoo for a truly unique experience.
Venture into the enchanting Klein Karoo region for a personalized and immersive ostrich farm tour. Delve into the intricate workings of ostrich farming, from egg incubation to the majestic sight of fully grown birds. Gain hands-on experience and even partake in the rare opportunity to ride these magnificent creatures.

Outeniqua Transport Museum

Step back in time at the Outeniqua Transport Museum in George, a real Garden Route hidden gem showcasing the evolution of transportation in the region.
Explore vintage locomotives, carriages, and other fascinating exhibits that offer a glimpse into the area's rich history and technological progress. This is a fun activity for anyone interested in the history of the region.

Robberg Nature Reserve

Escape to the tranquillity of Robberg Nature Reserve for a coastal hike off the beaten track.
There are plenty of less-crowded paths to explore, allowing you to witness dramatic cliffs and diverse bird and marine life.
While Robberg may be a well-known spot in Plettenberg Bay, many people don't know that you can spend a night in a secluded hut in the reserve. This unique experience lets you enjoy Robberg Nature Reserve all to yourself - a true hidden gem in the Garden Route.
Garden Route
Famous for wine, biltong and braai - South Africa will not disappoint your palate!

Local Wine Tasting Spots

Beyond the popular vineyards surrounding Cape Town, you can explore many hidden boutique wineries scattered throughout the Garden Route.
Bramon Wine Estate, Newstead Wines, and Jakkalsvlei Private Cellar are some of the best. Although, detour off of the N2 national road, and you’ll find plenty of beautiful wineries in this region.
Immerse yourself in the serenity of the vine-covered landscapes while savouring the local wines. Each winery tells a unique story, often accompanied by stunning views that take your wine-tasting experience to the next level.

Game Reserves

Looking for a Garden Route safari? There are plenty of options available across the region.
Various small, private game reserves exist, allowing you to witness the big five up close. These reserves offer exclusive guided game drives, providing an intimate encounter with the diverse wildlife of the region.
These smaller private reserves are ideal places to enjoy the beauty of nature without the distraction of larger tourist groups.

Thyme & Again Farmstall

Exploring the Garden Route is all about stopping off at the many charming little shops and cafes along the way. One of the best is Thyme & Again Farmstall, just outside of Plettenberg Bay.
Here you’ll find some of the best local produce and baked goods in the area - perfect for unique gifts to take back home. Just be careful, as this little shop is a real Garden Route hidden gem it is only too easy to drive straight past it.
Garden Route
Canoeing in South Africa.

Canoeing and Hiking in Wilderness National Park

Wilderness is one of the best places to visit on the Garden Route. While you’re here, we’d highly recommend getting outside and exploring the area’s rivers and trails.
Wilderness National Park offers many amazing sights that you can experience through canoeing along pristine rivers and hiking through lush landscapes. This experience is one of the best Garden Route hidden gems, offering a tranquil escape into the lush landscapes surrounding Wilderness.

Wild Oats Market

Immerse yourself in the lively atmosphere of the Wild Oats Market in Sedgefield. This Garden Route treasure brings together local farmers, artisans, and musicians every Saturday, creating a vibrant market experience.
Indulge in fresh produce, handmade crafts, and the fun ambience that characterizes this local favourite.

Sedgefield Beach

There are many amazing beaches along the Garden Route. One of the lesser-visited ones is Sedgefield Beach - which is also one of the most beautiful.
This hidden oasis offers pristine sands and fewer visitors. This is mostly thanks to the river mouth on the beach which can make access to parts of the beach quite tricky during certain times.
Whether you’re after a tranquil day by the ocean or a quiet sunset stroll, this secluded beach offers a peaceful retreat away from the more crowded coastal spots.
Garden Route
Famous African penguins of South Africa!

African Penguin Colony at Stony Point

Before you officially head into the Garden Route, consider stopping at Stony Point Nature Reserve in Betty’s Bay - a hidden gem for anyone wanting to experience African penguins up close.
Walk along the wooden walkways and enjoy an intimate encounter with these charming creatures. All around you are magnificent views of the rugged coastline. This is a much quieter penguin experience than the one available in Cape Town, making it an ideal stop on the way to the Garden Route.

Timberlake Village

Timberlake Village is a delightful stopover while driving through the Garden Route. This “village” offers an array of shops, cafes, and fun activities.
It’s tucked away just off the N2 and is the perfect stop for a break while driving. You can explore local craftsmanship and enjoy a leisurely meal in a laid-back atmosphere.

The Old Nick Village

The Old Nick Village is another local favourite on the outskirts of Plettenberg Bay.
This Garden Route hidden gem is a haven for local craftsmanship, featuring all kinds of unique boutiques and galleries. Take your time to browse through the diverse offerings and bring home a piece of the Garden Route with you.
Arrive on the right day, and you’ll be able to catch the local market here. There’s also a great restaurant to enjoy a peaceful lunch, coffee, or glass of wine amongst the stunning gardens.
Garden Route
Tsitsikamma National Park.

Hiking in Tsitsikamma National Park

While Tsitsikamma National Park is a well-known destination, you can venture off the main trails to discover many secluded paths and Garden Route hidden gems.
You could explore untouched waterfalls, dense forests, and stunning coastal panoramas - all away from the bustling crowds. Anyone seeking a quiet and intimate connection with nature can find it here.
The beauty of this location makes it one of the best hikes in South Africa.
Garden Route

Conclusion

The Garden Route is a truly diverse place, with so much to do and see. While the area's most popular destinations and activities are all fantastic, it’s also worth exploring a bit further and uncovering some of these Garden Route hidden gems.
If you’re unsure about how to organize such a trip, we’d recommend a guided Garden Route tour. This is the easiest way to explore the best of the area while having all of your transport and logistics sorted for you.

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