Ultimate Garden Route Checklist for Families

 I need to take a trip down the Garden Route, and here is why. See, I woke up with a sore jaw, which means it is safe to say that I had been clenching the whole night, which in turn means I am beyond stressed. Life is crazy lifelike at the moment and I need a break. I was chatting to my friend Amelia from Suddenly a Mom and she suggested a road trip. The over achiever also gave me a list of kid friendly places to stop when I finally get my A into G.

From Amelia: It’s summer holiday time! Which means that it’s road-tripping-with-bored-children time too, and the Garden Route is about to be tested by the most discerning of clients (everyone under 18 years old) to see if it has what it takes to keep everyone happy on a family road-trip.  But, in true Garden Route style, it just doesn’t disappoint when it comes to offering a fabulous variety of things to do, see and eat.

Here are some of the top attractions for families on the go that only have an hour or two to relax before they get back on the road.

Garden Route Animal Sanctuaries

Birds of Eden (The Crags)

This is the world’s biggest free-flight aviary and is home to more than 3 500 birds of 220 species. Your little ones will absolutely love walking the footpaths with massive macaws flying overhead, or chatting to a talkative conure that inquisitively lands nearby (some are quite forward, jumping on your shoulder if you give them half the chance).

Monkeyland Primate Sanctuary (The Crags)

The first free-ranging multi-species monkey sanctuary on the planet, this provides the natural forest habitat to hundreds of rescued monkeys and lemurs. In fact, there are currently more than 700 monkeys in the forest, and visitors can walk through the trees and spot them swinging, sitting, playing and eating all around them.

Jukani Wildlife Sanctuary (The Crags)

Big cats have been rescued from circuses, summer camps and zoos around the world to make this their new home. They have huge enclosures and plenty of privacy, but your children will definitely love seeing the lions, white Bengal tiger, cheetah, smart honey badger, pole cat, hyenas and other furry friends.

Radical Raptors (Plettenberg Bay)

This is where injured and neglected raptors come for safety or to be rehabilitated into the wild. The daily shows are nothing short of amazing, and visitors can look forward to holding a spotted eagle owl and a barn owl, and to watching other birds of prey hunting and performing flying displays.

Knysna Elephant Park (Harkerville)

Get the chance to feed, watch and walk with Africa’s gentlest giant, the elephant. This herd of nine has been domesticated so that you can have spectacular photos interacting with the animals. The sanctuary is between Knysna and Plett.

Lawnwood Snake Sanctuary (The Crags)

Slithering snakes may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but these are seriously impressive; and kids love touching the soft skin and getting a cuddle from a boa.


Garden Route Adventures for Kids

Plett Puzzle Park (The Crags)

The 3-D maze and the Forest Puzzle Walk are hits at this interactive adventure just outside Plettenberg Bay. Plus, it’ll burn tons of energy and get them exhausted for a quieter road-trip. Thinking like a mom.

 RedBerry Farm (George)

Kids can pick strawberries, play with the bunnies and guinea pigs, zoot around on the little train, or navigate the maze while parents enjoy a meal and a hot cuppa.

Elevate Trampoline Park (George)

George’s trampoline park takes trampolining to a whole new level. Foam pits, awesome music, gladiator beams and a dedicated area for little children makes it a winner on a road-trip.

Adventure Land (Harkerville)

It’s actually a bit of a surprise to discover this full-on water park in the middle of the Garden Route forests. This might take longer than an hour, but you’ll love taking a break and venturing down the tubes and slides for the ultimate in fun and an adrenalin boost.

Tsitsikamma Storms River Suspension Bridge

After a walk through the Tsitsikamma forest (best for children five years and over), there is a suspension bridge over a narrow channel of the ocean. It’s beautiful, makes for perfect holiday snaps, and will really excite the little ones as they walk over it.


Garden Route Beaches

When you’re hot, bored of listening to the same music, and you’ve run out of “padkos”, there’s nothing better than feeling the warm sand under your feet or having a jump in the waves. There are many beaches along the Garden Route. Keurbooms and Plett are ideal for families with children.

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