The Garden Route is a popular stretch of the south-eastern coast of South Africa. It stretches from Heidelberg in the Western Cape to Storms River which is crossed along the N2 coastal highway over the Paul Sauer Bridge in the extreme western reach of the neighbouring Eastern Cape. The name comes from the ecologically diverse vegetation encountered here and the numerous lagoons and lakes dotted along the coast. It includes towns such as Mossel Bay, Knysna, Oudtshoorn, Plettenberg Bay and Nature’s Valley; with George, the Garden Route’s largest city and main administrative centre. Here you will find an oceanic climate, with mild to warm summers, and mild to cool winters. It has the mildest climate in South Africa and the second mildest climate in the world, after Hawaii, according to the Guinness Book of Records. Temperatures rarely fall below 10°C in winter and rarely climb beyond 28°C in summer. Rain occurs year-round, with a slight peak in the spring months, brought by the humid sea-winds from the Indian Ocean rising and releasing their precipitation along the Outeniqua and Tsitsikamma Mountains just inland of the coast. The Route is sandwiched between the aforementioned mountains and the Indian Ocean. The Outeniqua and Tsitsikamma indigenous forests are a unique mixture of Cape Fynbos and Temperate Forest and offer hiking trails and eco-tourism activities. Ten nature reserves embrace the varied ecosystems of the area as well as unique marine reserves, home to soft coral reefs, dolphins, seals and a host of other marine life. Various bays along the Garden Route are nurseries to the endangered Southern Right Whale which come there to calve in the winter and spring (July to December). Although the most popular exploration of the Garden Route is by car, it is also the site of Africa’s last remaining passenger steam train, the Outeniqua Choo Tjoe. Whether you choose to self-drive or take an organized tour o rjump on the train, the garden route is certainly the place where everyone will find something to please them.