The 20 Best Hotels on the Garden Route
Beginning in Mossel Bay, traversing the West and Eastern Cape, along the Indian Ocean’s coastline for over 200 km until Storms River, stretching inland in places to include the historic towns of Oudtshoorn and Calitzdorp, the Garden Route is a journey of endless vistas, rolling hills, and dramatic coastal scenes. Despite this comparatively short distance, the topography, scenery, and overall feel varies widely from town to town. Each destination bringing with it a unique experience and a unique selection of places to stay. Our pick of the best hotels on the Garden Route ranges from charming owner-managed guesthouses to all-out luxury hotels.
Taking its name from the diverse landscapes and vegetation which mark the route, the Garden Route is arguably South Africa’s most scenic drive, and certainly its' most popular. Sandwiched between the Outeniqua and Tsitsikamma Mountains you are ensconced by undulating landscapes, indigenous forests, and sprawling fynbos. The Outeniqua Pass links the Garden Route with the expansive plains of the Little Karoo, in total contrast with its lush surroundings. Many travellers choose to journey here for its superb wildlife and outdoor pursuits. In 2017 the Garden Route was added to UNESCO's World Network of Biosphere Reserves. With almost 300 species of birdlife to be found and many more marine animals to be spotted, the Garden Route is a nature lover’s haven.
Popular year-round, the Garden Route is particularly busy during the Christmas and summer holiday period, so if you want to guarantee yourself a room in one of the best hotels on the Garden Route, we recommend you book well ahead. We've ordered our selection of properties by location, to make it easier for you to plan your route...
For those looking to be by the coast, Plettenberg Bay, with its Blue Flag beaches and seafood restaurants remains ever-popular. Featuring some gorgeous hotels it enjoys pleasant weather year-round, though it can get busy in the summer months.
- One of the most notable address along this stretch of Indian Ocean is The Plettenberg Hotel. The town's 'Grand Dame' boasts exquisitely decorated suites and superlative service - it's a winning choice.
- Inland, one of the most exclusive hotels along the Garden Route is Kurland Hotel, providing unmatched seclusion in its 12 Cape Dutch-style villas. With excellent equestrian facilities nearby and 'country casuals' interiors, it is a truly bucolic retreat.
- Another truly exceptional stay is Tsala Treetop Lodges. Unique treehouse accommodation creates a magical feel - ideal for you and a special someone. A short drive out of town it is a secluded and romantic escape.
- One of the trendiest spots in town, The Bungalow is a super stylish hotel. Rooms are comprised of both dorm and private accommodation - but the entire place breathes a youthful spirit. Modern beach-chic interiors, a great restaurant, and very popular 'Happy Hour' makes it a winning cocktail.
- Eco-warriors will feel right at home at Villa Villekula. One of a kind, this three-bedroom, family-owned eco-hotel is inhabited by numerous animals. A peaceful place, surrounded by beautiful countryside, each of its retro rooms are brimming with refurbished furnishings and pastoral views. It's great value too.
Lesser frequented than some of its neighbours, Mossel Bay is one of the Garden Route's best-kept secrets, meaning guests here can look forward to some competitive prices. Enjoying a popular renaissance, since it slid into decline in the 1980s, Mossel Bay now boasts that untouched, old-school seaside vibe that so many travellers love.
- For something truly wild, and a bit of all-out luxury, Gondwana Game Reserve is just a 25-minute drive from the beach. Twenty-eight eco-luxe lodges are spread across 26,000-acre private game reserve - including a spa, several dining options, and enough activities to keep you busy for weeks.
Nature lovers are spoilt for choice along the Garden Route, with a bounty of national parks, estuaries, and lakes dotted along the route including wild Wilderness. This tiny town's small collection of properties make the most of its epic setting and boast some great value stays.
- Right on the coast, Dune Beach House features stylish interiors and sea views. Pops of colour and tactile furnishings make for a memorable stay, as do the private balconies. An indulgent breakfast is included in the rate and there are plenty of scenic outdoor dining options.
- Dating back tot he 1920s the characterful Moontide Guest Lodge was one of the first hotels to be built in Wilderness. Perennially popular, it includes plenty of period features, including the original thatched roof.
Historic Calitzdorp, famed for its port wine and rolling hills, continually stuns guests with its oil-painting landscapes. A rural idyll, it's hard not to fall for the period the charm of little Calitzdorp, boasting a collection of charming hotels to match.
- Sample some of the fruits of the region at The Port Wine Guest House. Dating back to 1830 this owner-managed farm stay is filled with period features - and it's superb value.
- In 'town' The Queen of Calitzdorp is something of an icon; it's one of the oldest hotels in the area and has greats rates throughout the year. Walking distance from cafés and galleries, and most importantly, several wine cellars.
The Garden Route's transport hub, George is a well-connected and convenient stay for exploring the region. Home to some of the region's best golf courses, it's popular with Capetonians travelling for the weekend in search for some R&R.
- As well as an excellent golf course, Fancourt Hotel spoils guests with an indulgent spa, pristine grounds, and both a kids club and teenager's lounge. Guests can choose from several dining options, including a casual evening at The Club Lounge or fine dining at Henry White's.
- Located on a working dairy, Malvern Manor is a delightful owner-managed property. With just three rooms, it's very intimate and showcases an authentic farming experience. Feel a part of the family with your delightful hosts, Sandra and Michael.
An adrenaline junkie's paradise, ideal for families with older children. Storms River, providing direct access to Tsitsikamma National Park and the Garden Route's finest outdoor activities, boasts a long list of outdoor pursuits including zip-lining, white-water rafting, hiking, mountain biking, and much more.
- More than just a place to stay, Tsitsikamma Village Inn is a village within a village. This collection of colonial-style cottages, scattered around manicured grounds, includes several restaurants and shops, not to mention a '60s diner and on-site microbrewery. Great for families.
- For something a little more romantic, The Fernery Lodge & Chalets has incredible views of Sanddrift River Gorge, as well as fine-dining and an indulgent spa.
One of the most popular stays along the Garden Route, Knysna, with its sparkling blue lagoon and blossoming food scene, has a bounty of excellent hotels - from budget to boutique. Loved by holiday makers, it's a place that many South African's aspire to retire to thanks to its quality of living and safety.
- A family favourite, The Knysna Belle boasts a fabulous location, on the waterfront of Leisure Island - with kayaks, bikes, and plenty of activities on site. Its seven guestrooms feature nautical styled interiors with sit-out balconies and excellent views.
- Overlooking the Knysna River, The Lofts' trendy, nautical interiors boast a modern feel with private balconies. A fabulous English, Continental, or buffet breakfasts is included in the rate and you'll find excellent dishes on the menu at The Atrium restaurant
- With plenty of outdoor activities in the area, it seems fitting that there are plenty of family-friendly stays. Abalone Lodges is one of the best, with individual cabin-style accommodation, children will love it - and be hard-pressed to make their way through the long list of outdoor pursuits.
The feather in the Garden Route's cap, historic Oudtshoorn was once the epicentre of the Victorian ostrich feather craze. Though fashions may have changed, the ostrich legacy still reigns, with plenty of working farms to stay on, as well as some delightful hotels.
- One of the finest examples, of Oudtshoorn's decadent history, has got to be De Denne Country House, managed by the fourth-generation of the Keller family to live on this century-old working ostrich farm.
- Set amidst acres of manicured gardens, Rosenhof Country House has an air of decorum, ideal for couples. With an excellent wine list and gourmet cuisine, as well as heavenly one-bedroom suites and three-bedroom cottages.
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The Plettenberg Hotel Plettenberg Bay 35 rooms from £377Romantic Break - The jewel in Plettenberg Bay's crown, this luxurious hotel is a treat for couplesSailing - Ocean Blue provides whale, seal, and dolphin watching excursionsSights nearby - Bloukrans bungee jump is the world’s highest at 216mGreat walks - Down the path to Lookout Beach
Providing Plettenberg Bay's ultimate five-star stay, this hotel pulls out all the stops. All of its exquisitely decorated rooms, boast unrivalled sea views. There is an indulgent spa, not one but two pools, fine dining, and plenty of activities to keep all ages happy. One of our top picks in Plett. See More
Kurland Hotel Plettenberg Bay 12 rooms from £445Country Escape - Horse riding and rural tracks: Kurland Hotel lets its guests experience country livingFamilies - There is so much to get packed into your stay here. Children will love it!Great walks - Along Natures Valley Beach - an area of incredible rugged beautySights nearby - Knysna Elephant Sanctuary and Monkeyland are just 2km away
Luxury guesthouse located in The Crags with excellent equestrian facilities in the area. Individually decorated rooms are filled to the rafters with antique pieces, mix-and-match fabrics, ornate lamps and enormous beds. There's a spa and an inviting outdoor pool, plus acres to be explored. See More
Tsala Treetop Lodges Plettenberg Bay 16 rooms from £692Romantic Break - Luxury suites, fine dining, enveloped in nature: it's the perfect romantic retreatFamilies - Kids will love the tree-top accommodation as well as the bounty of activitiesHideaway - Magical treetop accommodation makes for the perfect hideawaySailing - Whale, dolphin and seal watching from Plettenberg Bay
Utterly magical treetop accommodation just 10km from Plettenberg Bay. Perfect for romantics and families alike, these luxury suites offer luxury at new heights. Sumptuous interiors, indulgent dining, and plenty of activities nearby. Enjoy massage in-room as you gaze out across the canopy. Bliss. See More
The Bungalow Plettenberg Bay 7 rooms from £150Local exploring - Stylish and fun accommodation in a great locationSurfing - Learn to surf or stand up paddle board: a great way to keep fitDiving - 'Offshore Adventures' provides seal and shark diving toursKayaking - Tke out a sea kayak and paddle in search for dolphins
A super stylish and fun guest house. Rooms are comprised of both dorm and private accommodation - but the entire hotel breathes a youthful spirit. Modern beach-chic interiors, a great restaurant and very popular 'Happy Hour' makes it a winning cocktail. Walking distance from Plettenberg Bay. See More
Villa Villekula Plettenberg Bay 3 rooms from £70Country Escape - Surrounded by greenery and farmyard animals - you're not in the town here!Eco break - Built to eco standard it provides itself with all its own energyGreat walks - Nature's Valley has miles of trails to be exploredSights nearby - Monkeyland Sanctuary is within walking distance
One of a kind. This three-bedroom, family-owned eco-hotel is inhabited by numerous animals. A peaceful place, surrounded by beautiful countryside each of its retro rooms are brimming with refurbished furnishings and bucolic views. The Villa Villekula restaurant is very popular with guests. See More
Gondwana Game Reserve Western Cape 28 rooms from £427Families - Cycling, horse safari, fishing, hiking, as well as a dedicated kids club - they'll never want to leaveBack to Nature - Choose between the African bushveld and its rugged coastlineBirdwatching - Good birding near the hotel.Kids Club - Fully staffed.
A four-hour drive from Cape Town airport, this 26,000-acre private game reserve provides the ultimate Out Of Africa experience, in a convenient location. Rustic luxury lodges are perfect for couples and the family. There's a spa, fine dining, as well as enough activities to keep you busy for weeks! See More
Dune Beach House Wilderness 8 rooms from £137Beach Life - Direct walk down to Victoria BayLocal markets - Wilderness Friday Market is well worth a wanderGreat walks - Long walks along Wilderness BeachKayaking - Along the Touw River
Stylish interiors boasting sea views. Pops of colour and tactile furnishings make for a memorable stay, as do the private balconies and modern bathrooms. An indulgent breakfast is included in the rate and there are plenty of scenic outdoor dining options. Walking distance from the coast. See More
Moontide Guest Lodge Wilderness 8 rooms from £86Families - With a bounty of outdoor activities, families will loveActive Holiday - Plenty of on site and nearby activitiesSights nearby - Spot migrating whales in season from Dolphin’s PointGreat walks - Explore The Garden Route Botanical Gardens
One of the first properties to be built in the charming village of Wilderness, this 1920's thatched-lodge provides comfortable accommodation in a beautifully serene location, along the banks of Touwsrivier. Vaulted rooms are very cosy and include rolltop baths. A homecooked breakfast is served. See More
The Port Wine Guest House Calitzdorp 9 rooms from £54Value chic - Excellent value in a charming settingFishing - On the GamkarivierSwimming Pool - Outdoor poolFour poster beds - For romantics.
Dating back to 1830 this owner managed, traditional South African farm property provides guests with an authentic rural style. Antiques filled rooms include decorative four posters. Dine under established vines on the sun-dappled terrace and enjoy locally sourced food in their popular restaurant. See More
Queen of Calitzdorp Calitzdorp 15 rooms from £53Value chic - Excellent value, quaint rooms, in a superb locationGreat walks - Embark on a walking tour of Calitzdorp's historic housesSwimming Pool - Outdoor poolBoutique
Clean and contemporary suites with private balconies. In an excellent location, walking distance from many of Calitzdorp's best restaurants and attractions. Featuring an outdoor pool, it boasts some impressive eco credentials including solar panels and recycled rainwater. See More
Fancourt Hotel George 68 rooms from £293Total relaxation - Spa? Golf? The Great Outdoors? However you relax, there are plenty of optionsSailing - Take a ferry out onto Knysna LagoonSwimming Pool - Indoor and outdoor poolsRomantic - Good for couples.
The ultimate leisurely getaway. With nearby golfing, an indulgent spa, and both a kids club and teenager's lounge, there is something for everyone. Plush suites are the height of luxury with soft furnishings and large ensuites. Enjoy a casual drink at The Club Lounge or fine dining at Henry White's. See More
Malvern Manor George 3 rooms from £98Country Escape - Located on a working dairy farm this traditional style Cape Dutch house is the ultimate rural escapeSailing - Whale watching, seal spotting, shark diving: all can be booked through the propertySights nearby - Another working farm, you can pick your own berries at Redberry Strawberry FarmGreat walks - There are plenty of excellent walks right from the property
Charming three-bedroom guesthouse, located on a working dairy farm. Owners Sandra and Michael are excellent hosts: "nothing is too much trouble". Enjoy a homemade breakfast, and soak up the South African sunshine from the saltwater pool. Chic suites and homely interiors make for a comfortable stay. See More
Tsitsikamma Village Inn Storms River (Storms River,) 49 rooms from £66Families - Beautiful, spacious, cottage accommodation is ideal for familiesValue chic - Excellent value family accommodationSights nearby - Tsitsikamma Falls Adventure is an adrenaline filled afternoon spent zip-lining through the forestLocal markets - Storms River Arts and Crafts Market is a short stroll from the hotel
A village within a village, this hotel is comprised of a collection of colonial style cottages scattered around manicured grounds and an inviting pool. There are several restaurants and shops surrounding the 'village' from Marilyn's 60's Diner to an on-site microbrewery. Plenty of activities nearby! See More
The Fernery Lodge & Chalets Storms River (Stormsriver,) 16 rooms from £141Active Holiday - Surrounded by beautiful Mother Nature, with a bounty of outdoor pursuits nearbyBirdwatching - With over 165 birds to be spotted on the property, you better pack your binoculars!Fishing - Rods and equipment are available at the hotelKayaking - Boats are available to take out on the dam
Occupying an epic setting, overlooking the Sanddrift River Gorge. Like a scene from Jurassic Park, the restaurant boasts views across a 30m waterfall, accompanied by a gourmet breakfast: a great way to start the day. Luxurious cottages and lavish bathrooms, plus there's a pool, sauna, and hot tub. See More
The Knysna Belle Knysna 7 rooms from £98Local exploring - Boasting an excellent location, this property is walking distance from many of Knysna's attractionsTennis - Rackets are available to use and there are courts nearbyKayaking - Available to rent - head out on the Knysna RiverGreat walks - To the picturesque The Heads, just 1.5km away
Boasting a fabulous location, on the waterfront of Leisure Island, provides charming accommodation in a traditional white wood-clad exterior. Its seven guestrooms provide nautical styled interiors with sit-out balconies and excellent views. There are kayaks, bikes, and plenty of activities on site. See More
The Lofts Boutique Hotel Knysna 18 rooms from £150Active Holiday - Nautical interiors overlooking the Knysna River with plenty of activities on siteSights nearby - Located along the Knysna Waterfront with its many restaurants and pubsKayaking - Along the Knysna River - available at the hotelSwimming Pool - Outdoor pool
Quaint, charming, nautical interiors - rooms boast private balconies with views overlooking the Knysna River. Excellent dishes are on the menu at The Atrium restaurant and a fabulous English, Continental, and buffet breakfasts are included in the rate. Great coffee too! A charming stay. See More
Abalone Lodges Knysna 13 rooms from £45Value chic - Excellent lodge accommodation at great value tooFamilies - Family suites in the great outdoorsGreat walks - Knysna Waterfront is just a short walk awaySights nearby - Linsay Castle by Noetzie Beach
Great value, self-catering accommodation in an excellent location. Kids will love the wooden-clad rooms: you really get a sense that you're in the great outdoors. There is an outdoor pool, plus you're right next to Knysna Golf Course and plenty of outdoor activites. See More
De Denne Country House Oudtshoorn 13 rooms from £92Country Escape - Live life in the slow lane in this rural country houseGreat walks - There are acres of trails to be explored right from your front doorSwimming Pool - Outdoor poolFull of character
Managed by the fourth-generation of the Keller family to live on this century-old working ostrich farm, guests of De Denne Country House are treated to an authentic African experience. Luxurious rooms with stunning views and large bathrooms make for a comfortable stay, as does an inviting pool. See More
Rosenhof Country House Oudtshoorn 14 rooms from £197Romantic Break - Luxurious suites, fine dining, beautiful gardens, and indulgent spa treatments - what more could you want?Great walks - The Swartberg Mountains have over 27kms worth of trails to be exploredSights nearby - Explore Africa's largest network of caves, The Cango CavesRestrictions on children - Chlidren above the age of 12 are welcome
Picturesque, white-panelled, colonial style house, set amidst acres of manicured gardens. Rooms are heavenly and range from one-bedroom suites to three-bedroom villas. An air of decorum is maintained throughout the hotel, where an excellent wine list and gourmet cuisine is served. A top choice. See More