The Garden Route is one of South Africa’s most visited and talked about holiday areas – not at all surprising given its vast array of magnificent scenery and a great choice of activities, along with a celebrity listing of chic hotels, country lodges and guest houses. Places such as Plettenberg Bay, Nature’s Valley and Knysna are set against densely forested mountain ranges where the scenic beauty is simply exquisite.
In Knysna, the Heads are a striking geological feature flanking a deep channel through which the sea pours into beautiful Knysna lagoon at the mouth of the Knysna River. The Knysna forests are vast and legendary, featuring ancient tree species that include stinkwood, yellowwood, blackwood, ironwood, white alders and Cape chestnut. There are also ferns, creepers and wild flowers in this wonderful jungle-like forest that is home to the once large herds of Knysna Elephants. It’s also the place where you can spot the fabulously painted Knysna Loerie.
For those who enjoy world-class golf and luxury near the ocean, the Pezula Resort Hotel and Spa in Knysna is the perfect choice. Positioned on the Eastern Head of Knysna near a secluded and divinely romantic beach, Pezula’s luxury villas offer guests privacy and modern convenience.
One of Knysna’s most magical experiences is the award-winning Phantom Forest Eco Reserve – one of South Africa’s leading eco getaways, where you leave the ordinary world far behind you to enter a living forest where monkeys play. Retreat to your own private tree-suite under a leafy canopy , but beware – you may never want to leave! Hear the bark of a bushbuck or catch the flash of a Knysna Loerie, canoe on the river far below, and enjoy some wonderfully pampering body treatments in a forest spa.
If you enjoy being looked after in the grand old country house tradition, head for The St James of Knysna, gloriously situated right beside the shining Knysna lagoon. This is a country estate of real splendour, and here you can expect good owner-driven hospitality. On the doorstep are scenic attractions, places of interest and leisure activities to fill up your holiday.
If you prefer an intimate beach hotel, this can be found a little further East of Knysna in Plettenberg Bay. “Plett”, as it is known by the locals, is a bustling seaside town hemmed in by striking mountains and expansive crescent beaches. Plettenberg Park Hotel and Spa offers accommodation in luxurious and well-appointed sea and lake-facing suites, within a rugged nature reserve.
In the Guest House category, Fairview at The Crags has stunning views of the mountains and indigenous forests. It’s close to Plett, the Robberg Peninsula and Nature’s Valley where you’ll find some exceptional beaches.
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