5 Bucket List Adventures Along South Africa’s Garden Route

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Written by Katherine Alex Beaven on

Katherine Alex Beaven is a U.S.-based writer with an uncanny knack for spotting stray cats. Road trips, train journeys, and eating local food are her favorite ways to explore both new and old destinations. Follow her adventures on Instagram @kalexbeaven.

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South Africa’s Garden Route is a gorgeous 190-mile stretch full of accessible and adventurous things for you to discover. Check several items off your adventure bucket list—and maybe even add a few more—with this guide to driving the Garden Route in South Africa.

South Africa is known for its gorgeous scenery and outdoor adventures, but those in-the-know head straight for the Garden Route when it comes time to check off the more daring items on their travel bucket lists. This 190-mile (306-kilometer) stretch officially runs from Mossel Bay to Storms River in the Eastern Cape, though over the years its boundaries have been unofficially extended to include everything between Cape Town in the Western Cape to Port Elizabeth. This scenic road along the N2 Highway gives travelers and locals easy access to some of the country’s best adrenaline-inducing activities.

Unfold your adventure bucket list, strap in, and unpack your courage—it’s going to be a wild ride.

1. Take the Leap on Skydiving in Mossel Bay

You’ve got to be a special kind of adventurous to jump out of a plane, but, if you’re game, Mossel Bay is where you want to be. Skydive Mossel Bay puts your adrenaline to the test with options for tandem skydiving, static line training, and accelerated free fall. There’s no experience necessary as all options are available to first-timers—so just bring your fearlessness and either enjoy a jump with a partner, train to jump on your own from 3,500 feet (1067 meters) while attached to a line, or experience a bonafide solo free fall in just one day.

2. Feel the Rush of Tubing Down Storm’s River

The Tsitsikamma/Storms River area is well-known for its high concentration of adventure activities, and tubing in the Storms River Gorge is where the hype began—over half a century ago. Blackwater tube downriver through the canyon as the gorgeous Tsitsikamma National Park passes by on both sides. You’ll also have the chance to get out of your tubes and cliff jump, explore a bat cave, and fuel back up with lunch. Be sure to bring some old sneakers with good traction (store them in a shoe sac after the trip), a swimsuit, and excitement for adventure.

3. Zipline Across Waterfalls and Tsitsikamma Treetops

If you’re on a mission to zipline your way across the globe, you’re going to want to include the Tsitsikamma Canopy Tour just outside of Storms River. It’s a great jumping-off-point for anyone just getting their feet wet with ziplining as the highest platform is less than 100 feet high (30 meters). Veterans love these lines for their beautiful surroundings, with riders grazing the treetops and rushing over rumbling waterfalls. The longest of the 10 lines stretches nearly 300 feet (91 meters), but it goes by in a flash!

4. Jump Off the World’s Highest Bungee Bridge

Folks travel from all over the world for the chance to face their fears on the Bloukrans Bridge. At 708 feet above the ground (216 meters), it’s Africa’s biggest bridge—and the highest commercial bridge for bungee jumping. First-timers and bungee veterans alike feel their hearts race as they ready themselves for this magnificent leap. Keep your valuables safe while you take the plunge by stashing them in a money belt that you can easily strap on your body when you take the plunge. Be sure to secure it tight—there’ll be no getting it back if it slips off in the gorge.

5. Learn to Surf in the Waters of Jefferys Bay

Surfers flock to these swells of Jefferys Bay all year long, riding the waves of chance—there aren’t always sharks swimming nearby, but they certainly aren’t strangers to these warm waters either. Near-perfect waves make Jefferys Bay (also known as “J-Bay”) a popular spot for newbies to learn how to surf. Surfing gear can take up a lot of room—and get very wet—so it’s best to have a durable bag with a wet/dry compartment to store your soaked suit and other items. (Looking for a safer alternative? Muizenberg Beach in Cape Town fits the bill.)

Ready to pack your bags for memorable adventures along the Garden Route? Use the South Africa packing checklist to ensure you have all the essentials for a great trip.

While Eagle Creek is here to provide tips and insights on travel, we cannot accept any responsibility for any potential consequences arising from the use of this information. Always conduct your own research and use your best judgment.

Related Links (from Eagle Creek blog):

Adventure Travel Bucket List: Five Reasons to Visit South Africa

How to Plan a Budget-Friendly Safari

The Ultimate South Africa Vacation Packing List