Fun Family-Friendly Stops along the Garden Route
The Garden Route is one of the most scenic road-trip routes that winds from Mossel Bay in the Western Cape, all the way to Storms River in the Eastern Cape. Sandwiched between the Outeniqua and Tsitsikamma Mountains, the Knysna Forest and the Indian Ocean, this route offers loads to do for both young and old. To help you plan a fun-filled family holiday, we’ve compiled a list of our top attractions and activities for families travelling along the Garden Route this summer!
If you’re planning a fun day out, there is nothing that rivals the Redberry Farm experience. Besides strawberry picking from August to January, the farm offers so much more to entertain every family member! The kids can amuse themselves in the outside playground, feed the rabbits, do a train ride through the strawberry fields, ride a pony or goof around on the dam in bubble balls or paddle boats. If you’re up for a fun challenge, go try to find the seven strawberry stations in the largest permanent hedge maze in the Southern Hemisphere ─ your adventure will include a 25-metre underground tunnel, a look-out point and 10000 metres of pathways to explore! Afterwards you can all indulge in some delicious farm fresh treats at the farm stall or tea garden on the premises. Click here to find out more.
Whale-watching with Ocean Odyssey
Ocean Odyssey is Knysna’s only fleet of vessels that are allowed to approach marine mammals within 50 metres. Their tours offer guests an up-close and personal experience with the gentle giants who migrate here every year during July to November. Tours take about 1 hour and 30 minutes to 2 hours and are navigated by experienced skipper guides who love to entertain guests with fascinating facts and stories about whales, dolphins and the world beyond the Knysna Heads. They also have their own whale spotter who assists in finding the best sightings for your tour. Alternatively, you can also book a marine eco tour to go explore the coves, caves and bays just past the Knysna Heads where you might also spot whales, dolphins, seals, penguins and various bird species. Click here to book your trip today!
Take your kids here once and they’ll beg to return! Monkeyland is the first free roaming multi-species primate sanctuary of its kind. Covering 12 hectares of forest, it’s home to more than 10 species of primates, totalling around 500 monkeys. Keep an eye out for the Spectacled Langur ─ there is only one of this species in the forest and you’ll be lucky to spot him! Stock up on provisions at The Blue Monkey Café. We’ve been here! Read our full review.
Birds of Eden
Birds of Eden is a paradise in itself along the Garden Route. This free-flight bird sanctuary is the largest in the world and spans 2 hectares of indigenous forest. There are over 3500 previously caged birds (of which 205 are different species) living here where they are rehabilitated and socialized among other birds and in larger, more natural habitats. There is a strict no-touch policy, but guests are welcome to marvel at the magnificent variety of species that inhabit the sanctuary. Although you’re allowed to do a self-guided tour, guided walks are available and recommended. Grab a bite at The Jandaya Café after your walk – their burgers are amazing! We’ve been here! Read our full review.
Jukani Wildlife Sanctuary
Jukani Wildlife Sanctuary is a recently relocated sanctuary situated next to Plett Puzzle Park along the N2 in Plettenberg Bay. There is a snake enclosure on-site as well as various wildlife enclosures with tawny and white lions, cheetahs, leopards, Bengal and Siberian tigers, honey badgers, hyenas, zorillas, zebras, jaguars, caracals, servals, wild dogs, and pumas. Visiting Jukani is about more than just viewing predators ─ it’s an educational and informative experience. They focus on conservation education and specifically the plight of large predators in captivity, so bring the kids for an enriching experience and teach them about the importance of conservation and responsible travel. Click here to learn more.
Plett Puzzle Park
The Plett Puzzle Park is a fun-filled attraction just off the N2, about 10 kilometres from Plettenberg Bay. Let your kids loose in the 3D maze or kiddies’ rope maze, challenge yourselves in the forest puzzle walk, and browse the puzzle shop for something to take home with you. The gift shop also serves tea and coffee, and has a full café menu where you can treat the family to a light meal after an exciting day in the park. We’ve been here! Read our full review.
Tenikwa Wildlife Awareness & Rehabilitation
Tenikwa Wildlife Awareness & Rehabilitation is the kind of attraction you have to plan for ─ a short stopover will never quite do it justice! They offer a variety of conservation-based programmes and tours focused on biodiversity and protecting our ecosystems that the whole family will enjoy. It’s also an educational experience since you learn about responsible predator management and how we can ethically co-exist with wildlife. Experiences include private photographic tours and the EcoKidz Family Challenge that teaches the whole family about South Africa’s wild and furry friends. Afterwards your kid can even pledge to become a Tenikwa Ecokid, so they’ll have something to remember their visit by. Other animals you can expect to see at Tenikwa include caracals, servals, African wildcats, baboons, meerkats, penguins, and various birds. Click here to find out more.
Set on a 24 hectare estate at Coral Tree Cottages, Adventure Land is a fun stop on a hot day. There are several water slides, including a 25-metre and 74-metre supertube, as well as a 2-lane racer, Kamakazi slide, 12-metre Freefall slide, a Raging Rapid tube ride, swimming pools, a playground, trampoline, and jungle gym. There is also a takeaway kiosk, braai facilities, and picnic tables available. The waterpark is free for guests staying at Coral Tree Cottages, so make it your number one accommodation choice!
Acrobranch Garden Route
Acrobranch Garden Route is based in Wilderness and has loads of activities to keep the kids entertained all day. It offers a thrilling forest adventure with a variety of obstacle courses that include guided zipline tours through the trees, dangling from branches and balancing in the air. You can also enjoy other recreational activities and there are a few restaurants available on site as it is located in the Timberlake Organic Village. Click here to book your family adventure!
Tsitsikamma Treetop Canopy Tours
Canopy tours are probably one of the best ways to truly experience the Garden Route’s magnificent scenery since you literally fly through the treetops! The Tsitsikamma Canopy Tour takes you 30 metres above the forest floor between 700-year-old yellowwood trees and offers a thrilling experience for all. Although their brochures states that anyone between 7 and 70 years are welcome on the canopy tour, the current youngest and oldest client records stand with a 4-year-old and an 85-year-old! Even those afraid of heights will be able to conquer their fear with this super secure and family-friendly activity. Don’t forget to pack your camera since you might spot a Knysna loerie while you’re zipping through the trees. Click here to find out more.
Haven’t booked your Garden Route getaway yet? Click here to see if you can still score a spot for the summer, or think ahead and book for next year. Let us know which other family-friendly attractions you find along the way!
Please note: We have carefully reviewed and selected the featured attractions and activities related to wild animals to confirm that they meet the requirements of ethical and responsible tourism.
Feature image: Redberry Farm