The Garden Route is one of South Africa’s most popular attractions. It is a stretch that extends from Storms River in the Eastern Cape to Mossel Bay in the Western Cape, and is known for its lush abundance and natural beauty. The route is more than the major motorway, the N2, which carries drivers along the southern coastline of South Africa. Rather, it offers a number of tourist attractions, fun activities and gorgeous vistas.
The Garden Route is flanked by the ocean on one side, and the many mountains of the Eastern Cape and Western Cape on the other. This gives it a rather unique climate, as the cool breeze coming off the ocean lends it a comfortable quality, while the sunshine and mountains juxtapose this with a typical South African heat. By definition, the Garden Route enjoys a Mediterranean Oceanic climate, which is intrinsically temperate and mild all year round. Summers are warm to hot, and winters are cool. Second only to Hawaii, the Garden Route is acclaimed for having one of the mildest climates in the world.
The Garden Route includes popular tourist towns like George, Knysna, Mossel Bay, Nature’s Valley and Plettenberg Bay. The entire area is both historically relevant as well as naturally exquisite, making it the ideal place for honeymooners, families, backpackers and luxury tourists to explore.
In winter, the nights along the Garden Route can be cold, but do not often drop below about eight or 10 degrees Celsius. Daytime highs get up to between 18 and 20 degrees. Summers are hot and a little humid in some of the areas. At noon, summer days reach about 28 degrees, but will be far hotter on the mountains, which cyclists and hikers should bear in mind. Rain is not limited to any particular time of year, but does increase slightly in spring. What to Wear in the Garden Route – The Garden Route Packing List.
What to Pack:
Summer (December to February):
Summers are pleasantly hot and sunny, making the Garden Route a fabulous escape for beach-lovers and outdoor enthusiasts. The cool air coming off the sea keeps the heat manageable, though.
- Sunscreen that protects the skin but does not block the pores, as well as a hat that shields the face and neck from the sun (2)
- Good quality sunglasses
- Bathing suit (3)
- Cotton shorts, skirts, and t-shirts that allow the body to breathe and keep cool (1, 6, 5 & 8)
- Open, comfortable shoes for shopping and wandering around the towns (4 & 7)
- Closed shoes for hiking and exploring the mountains, valleys and forests
Winter (June to August):
The winters are clear and crisp. Mornings and evenings can be really chilly, but the days tend to warm up a little. When it is raining, the temperature can drop even lower, and visitors should be prepared for cold conditions.
- Pants and jeans made from warm fabrics
- Long-sleeved shirts and t-shirts
- Thermal underwear for the nighttimes
- Warm tops made from wool and fleece for the mornings and evenings
- Scarves, hats and a pair of gloves
- Warm, waterproof shoes that are suitable for walking and hiking
Spring (September to November) and Autumn (March to May):
Spring and autumn are pleasant along the Garden Route. Layering your outfits is wise during this time as days may begin cool, but become quite warm over the course of a few hours.
- Light pants and three-quarter trousers
- Long-sleeved and short-sleeved t-shirts or shirts
- A scarf that can be tossed over the shoulders when the temperatures drop
- A light raincoat and umbrella
Planning your trip to the Garden Route
We’ve selected a few pages that might be useful for planning your holiday to the Garden Route.
- Garden Route Attractions
- Weather and Climate
- Garden Route Hotels
- Garden Route Accommodation
- Things to Do in the Garden Route
- South African Accommodation