When searching for activities to do in South Africa, the Garden Route is sure to top the list. (Did you know? The AIFS program in Stellenbosch offers a group excursion on the Garden Route that’s included in the program fees!) Stretching from Mossel Bay in the Western Cape to the Storms River in the Eastern Cape, there is plenty to see and do along the way.
1. To Stay: Beach House Backpackers
Located in Wilderness, Beach House is sure to take your breath away. The dangling flags, friendly faces, and beach front location are what made this location my favorite overnight spot. Be sure to take a walk down the unused railroad tracks to Clifford’s Cave to get tour of Clifford Brandon’s home nestled in the coastal hillside.
2. To See: Cango Caves
These impressive caves that stretch underground are one of South Africa’s oldest tourist attractions. With a choice of either the “Regular” or “Adventure” tour, you can decide whether or not you want to squeeze through small tunnels underground to make it through the caves. That was not my idea of fun, so I opted for the regular tour and was still blown away!
3. To Explore: Knysna Elephant Park
If you have ever had the urge to walk alongside elephants, pet them, and feed them some snacks, Knysna is the spot for you. Ten elephants and groups of zebras roam throughout the grassy park!
4. To Hike: Tsitsikamma National Park
The beauty of Tsitsikamma is something you cannot miss. We headed down the trail to the suspension bridges, which was one of many hikes to choose from. I would highly recommend bringing along a little picnic, enjoying it out on the rocks, and taking in the view.
5. To Get Your Blood Pumping: Bungee Jumping
If you want to push your limits, head to the Bloukrans Bridge and jump off of the world’s highest bridge bungee jump. Trust me, it is not for the faint of heart — your blood will start pumping before you even get close to stepping onto the bridge. The AIFS students who were not up for the jump settled in at the nearby restaurant to the be entertained by the live video recordings of each of our plunges. I am sure our terrified facial expressions gave them a few laughs.
Although these are just a few things to check out along the Garden Route, one of my favorite parts was just driving down the road and taking in all the beautiful sights. South Africa is the one of the most biodiverse countries in the world, so we never got bored as we watched the scenery shift before our eyes.