South Africa On A Budget: 15 Free Things To Do Along The Garden Route

Stretching across the south-eastern coast of South Africa, the Garden Route is a beautiful area between Mossel Bay and Storms River. There is so much to do in the area that can cost you and arm and a leg, but if you look closely you’ll find a few awesome freebies. Here are 15 free things to do along the Garden Route. 

Keurbooms surf in garden route

(Hurkummer/Wikimedia Commons)

1. Surf At Keurbooms 

If you love surfing then this one is for you. Head out towards Plettenberg Bay till you reach the small seaside town of Keurboomstrand. With easy access to the beach and some of the best waves on the Garden Route, Keurbooms is a surfers paradise.

victoria bay garden route

(Zaian/Wikimedia Commons)

2. Spend An Afternoon At Victoria Bay

If you’re looking for a clean and quiet beach then head to Victoria Bay. Known as a great surf spot when the conditions are right and a great family beach, the beach is very calming and has great views.

Knysna Waterfront garden route

(Zaian/Wikimedia Commons)

3. Window Shop At Knysna Waterfront Quays 

Everyone that visits the Garden Route always makes a stop at the Knysna Waterfront Quays. You can spend hours at this stunning shopping destination just window shopping or watching the luxury yachts sail in and out of the harbour.

market on the garden route

(Jack Gavigan/Wikimedia Commons)

4. Spend A Morning At Outeniqua Farmers Market 

If you’re visiting George, then head to the Outeniqua Farmers’ Market. With a variety of fresh produce on sale, a selection of ready-to-eat food stalls and awesome live music, you can easily spend the whole morning just exploring the different stalls and trying the free tasters. There is also a great play area for the kids.

Bloukrans_Bridge in garden route

(Wikimedia Commons)

5. Watch People Bungee Jump Off Bloukrans Bridge

Watch as hundreds of people face their fears and do the highest bungee jump off a bridge in the world. Just outside the Face Adrenlin shop, you’ll find the perfect lookout spot where you can view people bungee jumping off the bridge.

knysna heads on the garden route

(michael clarke stuff/Wikimedia Commons)

6. View The Knysna Heads 

Forget taking a boat to see the Knysna Heads, just follow the signs and head up onto the rocks for some incredible views. These two dramatic sea cliffs are absolutely stunning and brilliant viewpoints from the residential side. If you don’t like heights, we suggest you don’t look down.

monkey at monkeyland in garden route

(Hung Do/Wikimedia Commons)

7. See Monkeys From The Deck At Monkeyland 

Located in Plettenberg Bay, Monkeyland is the world’s first free roaming multi-species primate sanctuary. Entrance into the sanctuary and viewing deck is absolutely free, but you won’t be able to go into the forest where most of the monkeys hangout. 

Plettenberg_Bay beach on the garden route

(Das grüne Monster/Wikimedia Commons)

8. Take A Dip At Plettenberg Bay Central Beach 

One of the most popular beaches along the Garden Route, Plettenberg Bay Central Beach is a great place to take a swim, especially at sunset. The beach is also equipped with lifeguards, toilets and a few restaurants.

Swartberg pass garden route

(NJR ZA/Wikimedia Commons)

9. Take A Drive Along The Swartberg Pass 

If you’re keen to take a slow drive and see some of South Africa’s beauty, then Swartberg Pass is for you. With awesome scenery and various places to stop and take photographs, the pass is a must-see area of the Garden Route. Even though the road is gravel, an ordinary car can easily cope. Make sure you leave with a full tank of gas as you’ll be driving in a low gear most of the time.

Cape_St._Blaize_Lighthouse garden route

(PHParsons/Wikimedia Commons)

10. Visit The Cape St. Blaize Lighthouse 

If you’re in Mossel Bay, then be sure to visit the Cape St. Blaize Lighthouse. Even though you can’t go inside, the lighthouse is spectacular from the outside and has great views of the open ocean below.

Knysna-Amatole Montane Forests garden route

(Androstachys/Wikimedia Commons)

11. Take A Walk Through The Knysna-Amatole Montane Forests 

Head through the amazing Knysna-Amatole montane forests on one of the incredible footpaths. Make sure to take a map and have a fully-charged cellphone as this  3,100 square kilometer eco-region can be difficult to navigate. Keep an eye out for the rare wild Knysna elephants, too.

12. Head To The Slave Tree 

Outside of the George Tourism Bureau is the beautiful Slave Tree. It is said that the chain around the tree was used to chain up slaves that were sold there. Although no one really knows the the real story, it’s a very historic site along the Garden Route.

Buffelsbaai_beach garden route

(Werner Bayer/Wikimedia Commons)

13. Catch A Tan At Buffalo Bay 

Often overlooked as a place to relax and take a swim, Buffalo Bay is however a beautiful beach, with lovely views and easily accessible from the road. There are also beach side restaurants that serve delicious food.

Wilderness_National_Park in garden route

(M.Uebel/Wikimeda Commons)

14. Visit Wilderness National Park 

With great walks, mountain biking trails and birdwatching, the Wilderness National Park is the ideal place for those who love the outdoors. Even though most of the riverbed is dry in the summer, there’es still a refreshing natural pool and waterfall in the park.


(Andrew Hall/Wikimedia Commons)

15. Go See The Point of Human Origins 

The Point of Human Origins is a cave in Mossel Bay that has the earliest evidence for modern human behaviour. It also has a great boardwalk and view where you can spot dolphins and whales. 

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