Garden Route with kids

Driving the Garden Route with kids is definitely one of the highlights of a tour of South Africa. There is plenty to see on this route and certainly plenty to do for kids. Beaches, nature and fun children’s activities, you can find it all on this route. There is enough to do to have a good time with the family for at least 5 days. We drove the Garden Route with our rental car and were on the road for a total of 5 days! In this blog, we list the best destinations and children’s activities of the Garden Route in South Africa!

Best travel time for the Garden Route with kids

Basically, you can drive the Garden Route with kids year-round. During the period from November to February, it is summer in South Africa and it can be very hot and showers are also frequent. This is perhaps the least period to visit South Africa, despite it being perfectly possible.

In the months of March/April and May, it then begins to get a lot drier in South Africa and the temperature is also pleasant then. Not too hot, but certainly not too cold either. A very good time to visit South Africa. In the summer months, it is then a lot cooler, but usually stays dry all day. We visited the Garden Route in these summer months, and it did get chilly at times then. It wasn’t really weather to go swimming then.

Then, in the months of September and October, temperatures begin to rise again and everything starts to turn green again as well. This may be the best time to visit the Garden Route with kids.

Transportation for the Garden Route

There are buses in South Africa, but the majority of tourists rent a car in South Africa. It is also the most convenient mode of transportation for the Garden Route. Therefore, even with kids, you can decide how many hours you spend in the car each day and when you want to stop. The Garden Route is officially from Mossel Bay to Storms River and is about 250 kilometers long. So you can drive this route in a day, but then you can hardly stop anywhere.

We ourselves drove from Port Elisabeth to Cape Town by rental car and stayed overnight in several places along this route.

Garden Route Destinations

There is plenty to do on the Garden Route with kids and below we list the best destinations and activities! If you want to visit most of the destinations below with kids, surely you need at least 5 days. If you want to take it easy, you can also spend much longer on this route with the family.

#1 Hermanus

Hermanus is a small waterfront town and from Cape Town you drive to this coastal town in about 2 hours. Hermanus is known for the whales that swim in the sea here. This is the best place to view these animals in the wild. It is even already possible to spot the whales from the shore. We did not go on tour in Hermanus either, but were lucky enough to see several whales from the shore that way.

Furthermore, there are other activities you can do in Hermanus with kids. In fact, you can go horseback riding, kayaking, paragliding and, of course, there is plenty of beach to spend a few hours lying on.

Garden Route with kids

#2 Oudtshoorn

Where the town of Hermanus is known for its whales, the town of Oudtshoorn is known for its ostriches. We also visited this destination during our stay on the Garden Route in South Africa. Actually, Oudtshoorn is not officially part of the Garden Route, but it is definitely worth a detour.

You have several ostrich farms in Oudtshoorn that you can visit. We personally visited the Safari Ostrich Farm, which has more than 3,000 ostriches. It is fun to learn more about these funny animals, and it is even possible to take a ride on an ostrich, provided you are not too heavy. We did then, but don’t know if we would do the latter now. Kids can also feed the animals.

Garden Route with kids

You can also still go to the Cangoo Caves in this area with kids. You can book two different tours in these caves with stalagmites and stalagtites. The adventure tour all goes through narrow passages and the general tour takes a tour of the caves where you don’t have to go through these narrow passages. Keep in mind that it can be quite chilly in the caves, so bringing some warm clothing in the car is definitely recommended.

Oudtshoorn with kids

#3 George

George is a fun destination, where you can also do various activities with kids. For example, kids here can take surfing lessons on George’s beaches and it is also possible to kayak toward a waterfall in a family canoe. You can also visit a railroad museum in George with kids. Here you will find various old trains, as well as fire engines and vintage cars. It is also possible to take a ride on the train, but you have to book far in advance.

In addition, it is fun to take kids to George Redberry Farm. You pay no entrance fee to visit this farm, but you pay per activity you undertake here. Kids can pick their own strawberries here, but there is also a maze, a playground and you can have your picture taken with a giant strawberry.

#4 Knysna

Knysna is one of the more popular coastal towns on the Garden Route and in the center of this town you will find nice restaurants and stores. The village consists of no more than one tourist street and it is fun to visit the Knysna Lagoon here. The Knysna lagoon has blue water and several beaches.

You can also go hiking in Knysna Forrest with kids. You may even encounter an elephant in the wild in Knysna Forrest. It is also possible to kayak or take a boat ride in Knysna. You can go on a tour here to spot dolphins or whales.

Knysna with kids

#5 Plettenberg Bay

In addition, it is possible to spot even more animals in Plettenberg Bay. Similarly, here you also have a large game reserve (Plettenberg Bay Game Reserve) where you can look for the Big Five. However, here the predators are separated from the other animals because the reserve is not super large. Here you can explore this reserve with a guide in 2 hours and spot the various large African animals.

Plettenberg Bay with kids

Also, in Plettenberg Bay you have Monkey Land and Birds of Eden, where you can go see monkeys and birds. In short, you have a lot of different parks here in a small area where you can go with kids.

For the real daredevils, it is also possible to go bungee jumping near Plettenberg Bay. This can be done from the Bloukrans Bridge. The minimum age to jump here is 14 and it is highest bungee jump in Africa. You jump down from a height of 216 meters. Joep jumped off this bridge and thought it was a super cool experience!

Bungee jumping in South Africa with kids

#6 Mussel Bay

Mossel Bay is also called the start or end point of the Garden Route and in Mossel Bay there are also several activities you can do with the family. At Mossel Bay, 2 kilometers off shore is Seal Island, home to thousands of seals. Of course, you can go here by boat.

It is also possible to take a boat to look for dolphins and whales, among others, and cage diving with sharks is also an option here. It is also possible to go on safari near Mossel Bay at the Botlierskop Private Game Reserve.

Diving with sharks South Africa

#7 Tsitsikamma

A visit to Tsitsikamma National Park is also not to be missed during your tour of the Garden Route with kids. In this national park you can take beautiful walks, hiking over impressive suspension bridges. You already have hour-long hikes here (Mouth Trail) that are fine even with young kids.

At Mouth Trail you also cross a very large suspension bridge that goes over storm river. You have several trails in this national park that you can hike and if you want you can spend an entire day hiking a trail here.

In addition, you can explore the park by kayak. In groups, you will then go under the suspension bridge and discover nature that way. For parents with kids who like action, you can also go ziplining in Tsitsikamma. You have 10 different ziplines here, where you will zipline through the rainforest. The longest zipline here is more than 200 meters long.

#8 Jeffrey’s Bay

If your family is all about surfing, Jeffrey’s Bay is the place to be. This village is all about surfing. You also have several beaches to visit here and it is even possible to see dolphins swimming from these beaches. Also in this place they organize boat trips to look for dolphins and whales.

#9 Addo National Park

Addo National Park is not actually part of the Garden Route anymore, but it is still often mentioned as a side trip on this route. Addo National Park is one of the largest national parks in the country, and of course you can go on safari here with kids to, of course, see the elephant in the wild.

There are more than 500 elephants in Addo National Park, so chances are you will see the beasts. Furthermore, you can simply go on safari here to admire the famous Big5, as they are all present in the park. You can choose to drive your own car through the park or join one of the game drives in the park. Usually you do see more animals with a game drive because the guides are often in contact with each other and also spot animals better.

Kruger Park with kids

On the other hand, of course, it is also exciting to go into the park with your own car and spot animals on your own. That’s a lot cheaper and then you’re not out with a whole group of tourists. You can have a great time here for an entire day, and you can ride different trails through the park.

You have several areas in the park where there is water, and especially during the dry period in the months of June/July and August, these are good places to spot animals. This can be a great start or end to your trip of your Garden Route trip with kids.

Organized travel with kids

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