Hiking the Garden Route
Did you know?
The Garden Route Trail is the most ecologically diverse walking trail in South Africa.
A wonderful way to experience South Africa’s famed Garden Route is on a guided trail. Choose from a variety of hiking trails that will take you deep into one of South Africa’s most spectacular scenic areas.
If you have the time and are reasonably walking fit, opt for the guided five-day Slackpacker Trail that traverses the coast 63km from Wilderness to Brenton on Sea. You’ll walk through two nature reserves – the Goukamma and the Wilderness section of the Garden Route National Park. On this walking trail you’ll see an amazing variety of scenery, from Afro-montane and dune forests to coastal thickets and gorgeous beaches.
And it’s not all walking. One day you’ll canoe for three hours along the Touws River, splashing under refreshing cascades and swimming in deep rock pools. Then there are special beach days, where you’re so remote you have only dolphins, African black oystercatchers and a cliff colony of Cape and white-breasted cormorants for company. Inspect the rock pools teeming with small marine life as your expert guide points out the different life forms.
You’ll stay in simple, comfortable chalets and cabins, and the best part – especially if you don’t want to get too physical – is that all your catering and carrying of luggage is done by a support crew.
If you’re pushed for time, then go for the 6km Dune Mole Rat Trail, which meanders through a wetland area in a Ramsar Heritage site. You’ll see birds galore. Or choose the popular and unforgettable three-hour Moonlight Meander and Starlight Stroll.
Or what about the Elephant Walk where you’ll be guided along former elephant trails in the Diepvalle forest? You might even spot one of the elusive, almost legendary, forest giants.
But whatever walking trail you choose, expect a memorable experience.
Travel tips & Planning info
Who to contact
Garden Route Trail
Mobile: +27 (0)82 213 5931
How to get here
Take the N2 west from Cape Town, or east from Port Elizabeth, to Wilderness. Garden Route Trails will provide detailed directions when you book a trail.
Best time to visit
Trails are best done a few days after the spring tides. View a list of suggested trail dates on the Garden Route Trail website.
On foot and by canoe.
What will it cost
Costs depend on which trail you opt to do. Prices for the five-day Slackpacker Trail are scaled from approximately R5 000 to R6 000, depending on the number of hikers.
Length of stay
The Slackpacker Trail is a five-day hike. Other trails range from three days to a few hours.
What to pack
Hat, sunscreen, comfortable walking shoes or boots.
Where to stay
The Garden Route Trail provides simple but comfortable accommodation in chalets and cabins along the trail.