The Garden Route is a popular and scenic stretch of the south-eastern coast of South Africa. It stretches from Mossel Bay in the Western Cape to the Storms River which is crossed along the N2 coastal highway over the Paul Sauer Bridge in the extreme western reach of the neighbouring Eastern Cape.
It includes towns such as Mossel Bay, Knysna, Oudtshoorn, Plettenberg Bay and Nature's Valley; with George, the Garden Route's largest city and main administrative centre.
The name comes from the verdant and ecologically diverse vegetation encountered here and the numerous lagoons and lakes dotted along the coast.
The Route is sandwiched between the mountains and the Indian Ocean. The Outeniqua and Tsitsikamma indigenous forests are a unique mixture of Cape Fynbos and Temperate Forest and offer hiking trails and eco-tourism activities. Nearly 300 species of bird life are to be found in a variety of habitats ranging from fynbos to forest to wetlands.
Ten nature reserves embrace the varied ecosystems of the area as well as unique marine reserves, Various bays along the Garden Route are nurseries to the endangered Southern Right Whale which come there to calve in the winter and spring (July to December).