George Garden Route - Introduction

28th January 2016

Fancourt Garden Route South AfricaWelcome to George  - capital of South Africa's 'Garden Route'.

George is just inland from Victoria Bay on the N2 on the Cape Garden Route. The Heart of the Garden Route and capital of the Southern Cape, George is the ideal hub from which to explore the diverse scenery and natural wonders of its surrounding areas.

George Country Club Garden Route South AfricaGeorge is located in the Cape Wildflower Floral Kingdom next to the coast at the eastern end of the Western Cape Province and has a low rainfall Mediterranean type climate with activities to keep you busy all year round. We probably have the largest number of bed-nights accommodation available in this holiday paradise with its large conference facilities and many tourist attractions.

Herolds Bay Garden Route South AfricaGeorge nestles at the foot of the Outeniqua Mountains. Our airport connects you to and from all the main centers in South Africa and main roads and rail, link with the Klein Karoo hinterland. This is an ideal place to begin your holiday. No special health precautions are necessary.

Whilst George is mainly a holiday destination, many families have relocated to this most attractive town, which is located in one of the fastest growing areas in South Africa.

George, as the largest of the Garden Route towns, is also considered the industrial and business hub of the Southern Cape Region.  The main N2 highway linking Cape Town to Port Elizabeth with all the unique coastal towns in between form the unmistakable Garden Route with George as a vital central point, with its international airport and convenient centralized location. 

When visiting George, don't miss:

  • Red Berry Farm where you pick your own strawberries. They also offer an outdoor tea garden and fresh farm stall.
  • The Dutch Cheese Farm for wine and cheese tasting.
  • The Bado Kidogo Bird Farm is a breeding farm open to the public and viewing can be done 365 days a year.
  • Garden Route Botanical Gardens is the only botanical garden on the Garden Route.
  • Golf: One of South Africa’s premier golfing destinations with ten courses, driving ranges and a world-class golf academy.
  • Hiking, mountain-biking, bird-watching and indigenous fynbos.
  • Surfing at Victoria Bay and Herolds Bay.
  • The Outeniqua Country Hop Route meanders through the Blanco and Geelhoutboom area and has arts and crafts, hikes, golf, hops farms, eateries and accommodation.
  • Board the Outeniqua Power Van for an excursion on the Outeniqua Mountains.
  • Scenic passes are the Montagu Pass and Seven Passes Road.
  • George Museum and other historical buildings.

Aerial View of George and Outeniqua Mountains Garden Route South Africa For the golfers, Fancourt Hotel & Country Club Estate is South Africa's premier golfing and leisure resort. Set in the most breathtaking scenery it is a must see, as is the Garden Route Botanical Garden and the Outeniqua Nature Reserve.

For the more active traveller, there are many hiking and mountain biking trails, while canoeing down the Kaaimans river is a great opportunity to get close to nature, and abseiling down the river gorge is pure adrenaline.

Stalls, Malls and Shopping in George and along the Garden Route

George being central to the Garden Route has much to offer when it comes to shopping. From George, travel west along the Garden Route's main coastal highway, the N2  toward Cape Town, east toward Knysna or even north toward Oudtshoorn and you will discover farm stalls, shops, kiosks, furniture manufacturers and more. The  Western Cape coast area is not only famous for its wine routes, but also for its many ethnic craft markets as well as yellowwood and blackwood furniture manufacturers.   Craft markets operate all along the coastline, some weekly and some monthly, but most provide food plus local arts and crafts for sale. One of the more popular food markets is The Wild Oats Farmers Market in Sedgefield, which was started in 1999 and still opens every Saturday.

In 2007 the Garden Route Mall opened some ~8Km east of George central and has since become a popular retail shopping experience for locals from Tsitsikamma to Albertinia. The Garden Route Mall offers movie theatres, restaurants, large department stores as well as popular stores like Edgars, Woolworths and Clicks. Specialist stores like clothing, jewelers, toys, home products as well as art and craft stores.   

Knysna, Mossel Bay and Plettenberg Bay now also have local malls, each offering similar shops and stores providing locals with choices they never had before. Wilderness Village also offers an interesting shopping experience and is very popular weekend entertainment for locals as is the Knysna Water Front. 

The coastal road between Plettenberg Bay and Knysna must surely offer the most interesting shopping experience with stalls scattered all along the roadside, some bigger than others, but all offering something uniquely different.

Historic Overview

The town of George is the sixth oldest town in South Africa - the first founded under British rule - and was named after the reigning monarch in 1811, King George III. The Outeniqua forests were the reason the Dutch East India Company, in 1776, established a woodcutters outpost on the site of what became George in 1811. It was declared a drostdy by the Earl of Caledon on 23 April 1811. George gained municipal status in 1837.

Click here to view the full history of George


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