It’s the holidays and time to take a breather. This time of year, the Garden Route is even more magical, dressed in brilliant autumn colours, blessed with a lovely mild climate – not too cold, not too warm – and a gazillion exciting activities on offer. And best of all, these experiences won’t have to cost you an arm and a leg.
We’ve compiled a list of family outings, generally under R200 and some even for free, to help you make the most of your Garden Route vacay.
Featured Image: Outeniqua Nature Reserve
1. For families looking to get up close and personal with nature, the beautiful Outeniqua Nature Reserve is the answer. It’s known for the many hiking, mountain biking and birding trails criss-crossing through its 38 000 hectares of pristine natural beauty. It comprises forest, mountain and fynbos zones, each with its own typical inhabitants from the animal kingdom. For those into history, the numerous interesting rock paintings of the Khoisan people who once inhabited the area will be a treat.
Featured Image: Over the mountain Tea Garden
2. Don’t miss out on the opportunity to drive up the mighty Montagu Pass, the oldest, unaltered pass still in use in South Africa. Besides the jaw-dropping scenery, you’ll encounter historical treasures such as the Old Tollhouse which was declared a national monument in 1972. The pass will also lead you to the Over the Mountain Tea Garden in its lovely setting adorned with roses and agapanthus. Expect delicious home-made fare such as oven-fresh scones, their unique cinnamon cake, pancakes and other light meals. Mountain bikers, families and bikers often make this their pitstop.
Featured Image: Pepsi Pools
3. Pepsi Pools is a popular swimming spot situated in the indigenous forest surrounding George. The little waterfall with its rock pools is a firm family favourite, and the whole experience of getting there would surely create some great memories. You can hike there or bike there, the choice is yours. Should you opt for hiking, you can park at the Nelson Mandela University and follow the beautiful trail. During the 30-minute hike, look out for shy woodland creatures such as bushbuck, frogs, spiders and many more.
Featured Image: Victoria Bay
4. A lazy day on the beach is on top of the list for many holiday makers, and our area has its share of lovely sea shores. Herolds Bay comes to mind with its golden beach and wondrous tidal pool. Kids (and adults) can don their snorkelling gear and get absorbed in its riches. Or head over to the kilometres-long Wilderness beach for some peace and quiet, and to get your dose of Vitamin D. Victoria Bay, a short 10-minute drive from George, is synonymous with surfing, and while you don’t necessarily have to engage in this thrilling activity, the quaint little beach is perfect for building sand castles and sun lounging.
Featured Image: Garden Route Mall
5. For some retail therapy, or just some relaxing window-shopping, the Garden Route Mall provides numerous opportunities. There are cinemas, most of South Africa’s well-known clothing and lifestyle stores, pharmacies and several restaurants to sit down and relax with some good coffee and culinary treats. To put it in a nutshell and in line with their motto: everything you want, they’ve got it.
Featured Image: Wilderness Art Meander
6. As an artist’s hotspot, there is no shortage of top-quality art galleries sprinkled all across the Garden Route area. Spark a lifelong appreciation in your kids for the finer things of life by exploring the Wilderness Art Meander with its twenty-four art venues. You’ll get a map of the route and participating destinations in the local Wats-up on the Wild-publication.
Featured Image: Langkloof Gallery and Sculpture
You’ll also find unique and soul-touching art venues along the iconic Route 62 in the Klein Karoo. The Langkloof Gallery and Sculpture Garden is a place where the whole family can revive their body and mind. Admire the artist owner’s art works or book a sculpture workshop to release your own inner artist.
It is possible to have a memorable and affordable family holiday break in a magical place such as the Garden Route. No matter what it is you want from your holiday, you’re sure to get it here – at a price that will suit your pocket. Come live la dolce vita, because that is what family holidays are ultimately about.