Garden Route National Park is a national park in the Garden Route region of the Western Cape and Eastern Cape provinces in South Africa. It is a coastal reserve well known for its indigenous forests, dramatic coastline, and the Otter Trail. It was established on 6 March 2009 by amalgamating the existing Tsitsikamma and Wilderness National Parks, the Knysna National Lake Area, and various other areas of state-owned land.
The park covers about 1,210 km2 (470 sq mi) of land; of this, about 685 km2 (264 sq mi) was already part of the predecessor national parks. The park includes a continuous complex of approximately 605 km2 (234 sq mi) of indigenous forest.
Garden Route National Park :Operating hours and Gate Times
Gate opening is 07:00 and closing times 18:00Security service, starting 18:00 – leaving 07:00 in the morningLate arrivals (after 18:00) may collect keys at the entrance gate with SecurityDay visitors allowed until 21:30
What To Bring/Pack
Remember to bring along a bathing suit, angling equipment, hat, sunblock, walking shoes, binoculars, bird, and mammal reference books. Hikers must always carry sufficient water.For summer (September – March), cool comfortable clothing is recommended along with sunhats and sun protection cream.
For winter and autumn (April – August), warm clothing is recommended for the night times.As outdoor lighting in camps is limited, a torch/headlamp is required when walking outside at night.Bring along binoculars, camera, walking shoes, and wildlife reference books.
Garden Route National Park :Tips & Hints
Pets are not allowed in a national park.Vehicle fuel is available in all parks (or is available on the park periphery) – South African legislation stipulates that fuel stations will accept legitimate petrol/fuel/garage/credit/debit cards or cash as a form of payment for any fuel purchase.Medical/hospital and pharmaceutical facilities at Kareedouw – 55km from Storms River Mouth Rest Camp (Tsitsikamma Section).Post Office and police services at Storms River village – 13km from Storms River Mouth Rest Camp in the Tsitsikamma Section (a post box is available at the rest camp).Rollerblades and skateboards are prohibited.No bait, shells, driftwood, or any other organism, living or dead, may be removed from the Garden Route National Park.Powerboats are not permitted on the river at Nature’s Valley.No immunizations are needed to travel to this park. The park is situated in a malaria-free area.
Garden Route National Park :Climate
Nature has blessed the Garden Route National Park (Tsitsikamma, Knysna and Wilderness Sections) with a pleasant, temperate climate; it is unique in Africa as the only area in which rainfall occurs throughout the year.And, to cap it all, most of our rain falls at night! It’s the ideal climate for a visit – at any time of the year!
Garden Route National Park :Fuel Stations Petrol/ Diesel
Vehicle fuel is available in all parks (or is available on the park periphery):
South African legislation stipulates that fuel stations will accept legitimate petrol/fuel/garage/credit/debit cards or cash as a form of payment for any fuel purchase.
Garden Route National Park :Park Regulations
To ensure a safe and joyful trip through our parks, kindly adhere to the Rules and Regulations as stipulated by South African National Parks.The use of drones inside (and over) our national parks is strictly prohibited.
Garden Route National Park : Accommodation
You can choose to stay in a number of different accommodation units in the different camps, Storms River (Tsitsikamma Section), Nature’s Valley (Tsitsikamma Section), Knysna (Knysna Lakes Section) and Wilderness (Wilderness Section). To view this accommodation, simply select a camp and then view ‘availability’ on the left-hand navigation bar in order to see what the units the camp offers.You can book and pay for accommodation online or contact reservations.All accommodation, ablution, and kitchen facilities are serviced by cleaning staff on a daily basis.Currently, bedding is supplied in all accommodation (except camping).Cooking utensils and refrigeration are provided in most accommodation units. Exceptions will be indicated when booking.An adult is 12 years or above.Child (2-11 years), under 2 years – GratisAdditional Person Supplements are applicable to those units where the number of beds exceeds the base occupancy if these beds are occupied.
Description of Garden Route Accommodation
Garden Route National Park offers a variety of camp-run accommodations. Each camp has its own unique selection of accommodation types.
Knysna Lakes Section Accommodation
Diepwalle Forest Camp
Set amidst the treetops of the Diepwalle Forest, this elevated camp affords the visitor an opportunity to feel at one with the forest whilst providing that perfect balance of outdoor living and basic amenities that the ardent camper will love.
Old Forester’s House (Diepwalle)
This historical building was once forester D.E. Hutchins’ house. He was responsible for constructing stone houses at the Gouna, Diepwalle, Harkerville and Fisantehoek Forest Stations between 1888 and 1920. Rustic finishes add to the age-old charm of the building. An indoor fireplace warms during winter. Sleeps 6 and comes with fully equipped kitchen, lounge, and TV with DSTV (limited channels). Visitors have access to a washing machine and tumble dryer. Firewood provided.
Harkerville Forest Treetop Chalet
This 4-star chalet has two double rooms, each with its own bathroom and sleeps four in comfort. This magical hideaway is tucked away at the head of a wide valley situated in the Harkerville forest. From this vantage point, you can bird-watch, botanise, explore the walking trails close by or hop on your bike for an exhilarating cycle through the forest. Fully appointed with indoor and outdoor fireplace, dishwasher, washing machine, tumble dryer, DSTV, telephone, and alarm system.
Garden Route National Park :Basic Accommodation Types
These forest huts are available at Nature’s Valley and Storms River rest camps.
Family/Log Cottages & Forest Cabins
These accommodations are available at both Wilderness and Storms River rest camps.
All with communal ablution, laundry, and washing up facilities. A maximum of six persons, one caravan with a side tent and one vehicle, or one tent and one vehicle, or one auto villa or motorized caravan will be permitted per site. These are all available in the Knysna Area as well as the Storms River Mouth, Wilderness and Nature’s Valley rest camps.
Garden Route National Park :Activities & Facilities
There is a variety of fun and adventurous activities as well as excellent facilities available at the Garden Route National Park ranging from hiking trails, nature walks, and much more.
Activities available include:
Hiking and Nature WalksForest ExcursionsBirdingMountain BikingWater ActivitiesOtter Trail
Camping in the Forest Timber Decks and bond with nature, some of the decks are wheelchair friendly.
More than 280 species of birds are listed in and around Knysna and many water birds abound Thesen Islands, Steenbok Park, and further afield at Groenvlei and Swartvlei Lakes along with the Rheendal Ramble. You can read more about Knysna Lakes Section birds and birding.
Mountain Bike Routes
The picturesque town of Knysna provides a wide variety of facilities and curio shops. Fishing, water skiing, and pure relaxation are all part of Knysna, where conservation and recreation subtly harmonize. Private enterprises provide water sports such as sailing, angling, boardsailing, and powerboating in specifically zoned areas.
Knysna has a number of shopping centers, which provide for all a shopper’s needs. There are supermarkets, boutiques, restaurants, coffee bars, pharmacies, and a host of specialized shops. One center is geared more towards the local arts and crafts and is housed in an up-graded historical building that was once a timber sawmill.
The diner has a wonderful choice of restaurants, dining in elegant surroundings by candlelight, or looking out over the Knysna Lagoon. There are intimate bistros or the opportunity to eat “al fresco”, a popular activity due to Knysna’s gentle climate and warm evenings. A host of coffee bars and pubs offer good wholesome “pub-grub” or South African fare as well as the locally brewed beer Mitchells Brewery, a legend in its own lifetime.
Galleries/Arts & Crafts
As a result of a relaxed lifestyle, Knysna has over the years, attracted a wide variety of arts and crafters, creating an artists’ paradise. There are numerous galleries where one can enjoy the local arts and crafts and appreciate the talent and work that is produced here.
Garden Route National Park :How to get there
Directions for the Wilderness Area
The Wilderness Section is situated close to the N2 highway, 15km from George, 2km from Wilderness village, 410km from Port Elizabeth, and 450km from Cape Town. The closest airport is at George, where car hire facilities are available.Gate times
Guests visiting Wilderness Ebb & Flow camp, please note the road sign on the N2 to the Park reads “Wilderness National Park” (but is currently known as the Wilderness Section) and not Ebb & Flow. Guests can also use the western access through the town of Wilderness across the railroad bridge and turn right for the reception.
Directions for the Knysna Area
The Knysna Lakes Section lies on the scenic Garden Route, some 500km from Cape Town, and approximately 300km from Port Elizabeth. Rental facilities and a national airport can also be found at George, some 70km from Knysna.The distance on the N2 from Knysna into Uniondale Road (R339) to Diepwalle (camping sites and guest house) is 23km. Travel on the gravel provincial road.All the major car hire companies have offices at George Airport and there are specialized companies in Knysna that provide airport transfers. The upgraded road between Cape Town and Port Elizabeth is very good, making road travel along the scenic Garden Route a pleasure.
Directions for the Tsitsikamma Area
The Tsitsikamma Section is situated some 615km from Cape Town, 195km from Port Elizabeth, and 68km from Plettenberg Bay.The access route from the N2 highway and all internal roads are tarred. Car hire is available at Plettenberg Bay, which is also the nearest airport (limited scheduled flights). Airports are also found in George and Port Elizabeth.Gate times (Storms River Rest Camp)Gate times (Nature’s Valley Rest Camp)
S 34° 01’ 18.8”
E 23° 53’ 47.9”
S 33° 58’ 19.0”
E 23° 33’ 48.2”
S 34° 02’ 57.80
E 23° 02’ 44.49
Daily Conservation & Entry Fees
|Daily Conservation Fees for 1 November 2019 to 31 October 2020
|South African Citizens and Residents (with ID)
|R62 per adult, per day
R31 per child, per day
|SADC Nationals (with passport)
|R124 per adult, per day
R62 per child, per day
|Standard Conservation Fee
|R248 per adult, per day
R124 per child, per day