The Garden Route is one of the most popular coastal routes in Southern Africa. From Mossel Bay to Knysna and on to Port Elizabeth, the coast is dotted with gorgeous beaches. Whether you like to swim, surf, kayak, kitesurf, whale watch, build sandcastles or simply laze in the sun, the shores of the Garden Route offer it all.
Here are some of the best beaches in the Garden Route:
Located ten minutes from Knysna and close to Beacon House, Noetzie is famous for its seaside castles. This secluded cove is home to a pristine beach that borders on the Sinclair Nature Area. While the castles of Noetzie have never seen any battles, princes, or dragons, they have seen plenty of family beachside holidays. The castle-like structures were created by the fun-loving residents who were inspired by the natural stone used for construction.
Located on the other side of the Western Head, Brenton Beach is the playground for guests at Alkira Lodge and is undoubtedly one of the most spectacular beaches on the Garden Route. As a Blue Flag beach, Brenton Beach meets strict criteria for quality, safety, environmental education, and information and is regarded as among the best beaches in the world. The beach stretches from Brenton on Sea to Buffels Bay, offering a vast stretch of sand for romantic walks, as well as some exciting rock formations and pools for the kids. This is also one of the best spots on the Garden Route to watch the sunset, and Brenton on Sea has a fantastic restaurant where you can enjoy a cocktail and some fresh seafood at the end of the day.
The private Sparrebosch Beach isn't open to the public but you can stay at one of the Beautiful Knysna Villas at Pezula to gain access. A steep climb gets you to this secluded beach just down from Pezula Golf Estate in Knysna. Even in high season, this beautiful beach never gets too crowded. While it can be a bit of a challenge to get there, the hiking trail does take you through the forest, past streams, and even a small waterfall, so it’s well worth the effort. A variety of birds, including the iconic Knysna Loerie and bushbuck, can sometimes be spotted on the trail.
Victoria Bay, or Vic Bay, as locals know it, is a surfer’s haven. This small secluded bay is located just outside the town of George on the Garden Route and is one of the best places to catch some waves. Those who don’t feel like getting wet can grab an ice cream from the local café and take a stroll along the short promenade, looking out for the handprints of famous surfers, or laze on the grass and watch the action.
Rocky headlands and fossilized dunes characterise this small beach in Sedgefield. The dunes here are some of the highest in South Africa, and a closer look reveals an array of fascinating fossilized sea creatures. You can even enjoy an interesting nocturnal midnight meander to explore the incredible sea life found in the intertidal zone at Gericke’s Point.
The endless stretch of beach at Wilderness is perfect for those long, lazy walks. Surfers, and even kitesurfers, can frequently be seen playing in the waves, while those with a keen eye might be able to spot some dolphins or whales off the coast. The beach is clean, offers enough space never to be crowded, and has majestic vistas in every direction.
Stretching for kilometers from the town of Plettenberg Bay to the Robberg Peninsula, Robberg Beach also boasts prestigious Blue Flag status. The warm and calm waters are ideal for swimming with lifeguards on duty throughout the season, while fishermen also love to cast their lines along this stretch of beach. This is also one of the best places in the Garden Route for shore-based dolphin and whale watching.
Within walking distance from Beacon House the Under Milkwood Beach is a playground that appears during low tide on the Knysna lagoon. Located on the Eastern Head, this small beach offers a protected space where children can play and the adventurous can go for a calm canoe or stand-up paddleboard on the flat, clear waters. The beach is surrounded by ancient Milkwood trees while the crashing seas of the Knysna Heads are just a short amble away for some amazing photo opportunities.
Buffalo Bay is one of the safest and most popular beaches on the Garden Route. Surfers love to frolic in the waves here with the bottlenose dolphins who are regular visitors while families enjoy swimming in the bay. The small seaside village of Buffalo Bay surrounds the beach and is the ideal place to get tasty fish and chips or soft-serve ice cream while watching the waves.