Nature lover's paradise - The Garden Route

Stretching from the south-eastern coast, alongside Mossel Bay and extending all the way to the Western Cape, including the Storm River in the Eastern Cape, South Africa boasts with an eco-destination we all know as the famous Garden Route. 

Knysna (Photo by Michael Howe-Ely)

Offering the diverse views and enjoyment of mountains and white sandy beaches to an indigenous forest with its iconic Yellowwood or Milkwood trees that grow wonderfully in a moderate climate very similar to Hawaii.
The Garden Route is home to some of South Africa’s biggest tourist attractions and activities, for example The Bloukrans Bridge outside Plettenberg Bay, still recognized by the Guinness World Book of Records for being the highest commercial bungee jump for the adrenalin junkies out there. 

If that is still not enough, one could enjoy Zip-lining through the forests near Plettenberg with the Tsitsikamma guides. Moving along from the canopy tours, indulge in a fresh breeze of ocean air as you set up camp in the Tsitsikamma National park, ‘the place of much water’ as it was known by the indigenous people. 

Relax and set up your caravan on the edge of the beach or book a chalet facing the big blue Indian Ocean with waves crashing on the rocks right at your doorstep.
Storms river mouth entertains with river tours exploring canyons and caves, and the mysterious history and stories they hold or walk the Otter trail through the forest ending at Nature’s Valley closer to Port Elizabeth, which is considered to be the most beautiful part of The Garden Route. 

This area is also unique due to being home to the only residential area in the world to be located within a national park. Moving along closer to Plettenberg Bay is Monkey Land and a Bird sanctuary that educate visitors on the importance of keeping animals in the wild. Plettenberg Bay presents great hotel options, golf courses and luxury polo grounds.
Knysna, as expected, is like the Garden of Eden, where you can walk with the Knysna elephants’ while interacting with these ancient animals. 

Being a holiday destination, has seen business boom has and experiencing the streets with hundreds of small shops and guesthouses adds to the busy but yet relaxed ambience. 

Knysna is also the centre of the oyster industry and hosts a yearly event called the Pick ‘n Pay Oyster Festival, classified to the biggest tourist attraction annually. 

Further on to the N2 you will discover a place by the name of Wilderness, famous for its lagoons and natural beauty, this spot is probably where you will find the best beaches which stretch out for miles. 

Appreciating this timeless view can be done through a bird’s eye by paragliding over all the cliffs and river gorges. Another stop not to be missed is Victoria Bay, renowned for its private secluded beach. 

It’s well worth the stop just to enjoy the view. When travelling the Garden Route, you should definitely not miss out on celebrity holiday home destination, George. 

This coastal town is home to many well-known South African personalities, such as Ernie Els, who added a lot of value to his investment by building a full golf course for the public to enjoy!

George is the largest city and virtual capital of the Garden Route with amazing natural surroundings which hold lots of surprises, such as the beautiful botanical garden,  a popular picnic spot at the George dam and delicious berry farms with delis to enjoy home-made jams and treats. 

George is also the only area where hops are harvested successfully and mainly used for the brewing of beer. 

Lastly, one should not forget about visiting the "history capital" Mossel Bay, which was where the Europeans first encountered the Southern Africa Koi-San in 1488.
If you are looking to invest in a holiday home or relocating to one of the Garden Route's tranquil towns, then these helpful statistics from Engel  & Völkers shops located in George, Knysna and Plettenberg Bay might prove useful:
Deeds Office data, as recorded by Lightstone, for last year compared to the preceding year concluded to tell of a market on the up. Activity in Mossel Bay, for example, is up by 17% in unit terms (from 879 in 2013 to 1030 in 2014) and 40% in value (from R574 million in 2013 to R807 million in 2014).The picture for Knysna is even better, with units sold up by 37% (from 432 to 593) and 28% more value (R549 million to R702 million) recorded for the year.
Plettenberg Bay has also seen one of the best years, with its transactions for the year up by 59% from 311 in 2013 to 494 last year, while the value is up by 29% from R333 million to R429 million. The only exception is George, with only a marginal growth of 3% in the number of transactions (from 973 to 948) and 8% in the value from R639 million to R687 million.
“Garden Route areas are reporting a notable increase in interest from home buyers including Knysna, Mossel Bay, George and Plettenberg Bay. Investing your money in this area could mean that one can expect sustainable increases on value year on year” stated Craig Hutchison, CEO of Engel and Völkers Southern Africa.
The Garden Route is sure to be a destination of choice offering the best of both small town lifestyle and holiday home bliss. No matter what your price range, whether you are looking for a flat or a house, you will be sure to find a property to suit your needs and call home.

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