Ten nature reserves embrace the varied ecosystems of the area as well as unique marine reserves, home to soft coral reefs, dolphins, seals and a host of other marine life. Various bays along the Garden Route are nurseries to the endangered Southern Right and Humpback Whales which come there to calve in the winter and spring (July to December).
A Goldilocks Climate
The Garden Route has an oceanic climate, with mild to warm summers, and mild to cool winters. According to the Guinness Book of Records, the Garden Route has the mildest climate in South Africa and the second mildest climate in the world after Hawaii. Temperatures rarely fall below 10°C in winter and rarely climb beyond 28°C in summer. Rain occurs year-round, with a slight peak in the spring months, brought by the humid sea-winds from the Indian Ocean rising and releasing their precipitation along the Outeniqua and Tsitsikamma Mountains just inland of the coast. Summers are ideal for the beach, but we love visiting in the winter months as well when it's normally warm and sunny during the day, and a little chilly at night meaning that you can curl up around a log fire with a nice bottle of red wine.
Shuck, Rattle and Roll
Oysters are big business in Knysna. Watch out for the festival that takes place every July! Unsurprisingly therefore, oysters, fresh linefish and shellfish feature prominently on most restaurant menus. The farms of the Little Karoo provide fresh ostrich meat and organic mutton or lamb. Many fantastic vineyards are also popping up along the Garden Route and definitely worthy of a visit. Walker Bay and Elgin along the Whale Route are renowned for their Sauvignon Blancs, while Route 62 is well known for producing some excellent brandies and ports.