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Overview

The coastline between East London and Cape Town warrants weeks of leisurely exploration. Coming from Cape Town, a worthwhile first stop is the quaint clifftop village of Hermanus, which offers the world's best land-based whale watching in September through January. Farther north, Swellendam is less notable for its 18th century architecture than the nearby Bontebok National Park, a stronghold for the pretty antelope for which it is named. Also inland, Oudtshoorn is renowned for its plentiful ostrich farms and the spectacular Cango Caves. Nearby Mossel Bay marks the start of the aptly named Garden Route, whose highlights include the resort ...

The coastline between East London and Cape Town warrants weeks of leisurely exploration. Coming from Cape Town, a worthwhile first stop is the quaint clifftop village of Hermanus, which offers the world's best land-based whale watching in September through January. Farther north, Swellendam is less notable for its 18th century architecture than the nearby Bontebok National Park, a stronghold for the pretty antelope for which it is named. Also inland, Oudtshoorn is renowned for its plentiful ostrich farms and the spectacular Cango Caves. Nearby Mossel Bay marks the start of the aptly named Garden Route, whose highlights include the resort towns of Knysna and Plettenberg Bay, the wild beach scenery of Nature's Valley and Storms River Mouth, and the lake-studded Wilderness National Park. Continuing eastward, Jeffrey's Bay is South Africa's surfing Mecca, while the Addo Elephant National Park near Port Elizabeth supports elephant, rhino, buffalo, lion and greater kudu. Between Port Elizabeth and East London, the sedate 19th century university town of Grahamstown hosts the country's premier arts festival (June/July) and its pretty coastal counterpart Port Alfred is worth a diversion.

Philip Briggs
About the Expert

Philip Briggs has written or contributed to 50-plus editions of Bradt, Insight, AA and Berlitz guidebooks to African destinations.

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Philip Briggs for Triporati

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Eastern Cape & Garden Route is Recommended for Romance by AARP Love and Romance Ambassador Pepper Schwartz

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Pepper
Pepper Schwartz

Pepper Schwartz serves as the AARP Love and Romance Ambassador and is the Chief Expert at Perfectmatch.com.

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Facts at a Glance

Climate

  • Best Time to Visit:

    Oct-Apr is pleasantly warm and dry; other months are cooler and may be drizzly for days on end.