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Garden Route National Park

Garden Route National Park

     
 

Phone:

+27 (0) 44 877 0046

Email:

grace.valela@sanparks.org

Website:

www.sanparks.org/parks/garden_route/

Poaching Hotline:

+27 (0) 800 205 005

 
     

Size:  121,000 ha / 1,210 km2

Nearest major city:  Port Elizabeth (2h approx by car)

Species Numbers:  98 Mammals        390 Birds        56 Reptiles

Big Five:  No

Highlights:

  • - Great location to stop along the Garden Route
  • - Spectacular coastal scenery
  • - Excellent bird diversity
  • - Largest extent of indigenous forest in South Africa

An amalgamation of the former Tsitsikamma, Knysna and Wilderness national parks, Garden Route National Park is one of South Africa’s most diverse protected areas along the picturesque Southern Cape coast, including South Africa’s oldest marine protected area, declared in 1964.

The country’s fourth largest national park extends south from the purple-blue Outeniqua Mountains to the sea and includes eye-popping scenery: the Knysna and Harkerville indigenous forests, where 1000-year-old yellowwood trees stand up to 50 metres tall; the Tsitsikamma coastline, comprising deep gorges, countless rock pools, waterfalls and the 32,000 hectare marine protected area; the Knysna Estuary, famous for its beautiful views and turquoise waters; and several coastal lakes with plenty of bird life near the town of Wilderness.

Once colonial man entered the area with intent in the early 1800s, the ensuing 200 years wrought much damage on this stretch of paradise. Trees many centuries old were chopped down en masse, almost all the indigenous elephants were hunted to near extinction and farms and towns grew prodigiously, so that today there are only semblances of the paradise that once reigned. Nevertheless, the Garden Route National Park now protects the best of what’s left, and it still remains a superlative area for naturalist, holiday-maker, hiker, mountain-biker and ocean lover.