The sleepy Western Cape city of George sits in the heart of the Garden Route. Its scenic location and proximity to the coast attract visitors looking to get away from the bustle of big-city life.
What to do when in George? Other than just enjoying the laid-back atmosphere and beautiful surrounds, here are a few suggestions ...
Visit picturesque beaches
George is only a short drive from a number of beautiful and popular beaches.
Victoria Bay, a 15-minute drive from George, features a small cove hideaway framed by a walkway and shops. The beach is popular with surfers but is also a perfect swimming beach. You don’t even need to get your feet sandy as there is a grass bank on which you can sit and enjoy a soft-serve ice cream from one of the restaurants.
For a more private beach experience, visit the long stretch of Wilderness coastline nearby. Frequented mostly by holidaymakers and a small group of local residents, the beaches curling around the Kaaimansriver and Touwsriver inlets and the coast is perfect for long walks. About a 20-minute drive from George, Wilderness should not be missed on any trip through the Garden Route. After your beach outing, stroll through the small town and pop into one of the quirky shops and restaurants.
Stock up on crockery at Wonki Ware
Wonki Ware is a legendary South African pottery studio that has had its products sold in some of the largest high-end shops in the country, and its products also in high demand in international markets.
With the studio and shop located in George itself, this is your chance to get your hands on some colourful and unique handmade wares.
Go strawberry picking at Redberry Farm
Calling Redberry Farm a “farm” in the traditional sense is an understatement – Redberry is rather an activity estate that happens to have a berry farm on-site.
Activities to charm the whole family include a giant inflatable bubble ball, bumper boats, a hedge maze, pedal go-karts, pony rides, a rabbit pen and a kiddies’ train. Then, of course, in seasonal months you can pick your own strawberries.
All of these activities are sure to work up an appetite. Fortunately, Redberry Farm boasts no fewer than six eateries, including a pizzeria, farm stall and tea garden.
See the Garden Route around George on horseback
Kids as young as six years old can join the adventure, with no prior horse-riding experience necessary. Rides are tailored to your group depending on experience levels, and range from leisurely walks under the tree canopies for beginners to gallops through the forests for advanced riders.
Black Horse Trails will take you on the road less travelled by exploring the forests on the slopes of the Outeniqua Mountains. Not only will you enjoy a spectacular experience, but you will also be supporting a good cause – more than half of Black Horse Trails’ horses have been rescued from neglect, abandonment and abuse, and now spend their days either in the shady forest or the lush farm where they are stabled.
Hop on the Outeniqua Power Van
The Outeniqua Power Van is a fun and unusual way to take in the views of the Outeniqua Mountains. The Power Van is regarded as one of the most scenic railway journeys in South Africa, traversing forests, four mountain passes and six tunnels, and offering views of indigenous fynbos, abundant birdlife and waterfalls en route.
Don’t forget to pack a picnic lunch to enjoy at the top of the mountain pass, where you can enjoy the view before heading back.
The Outeniqua Power Van starts and ends at the Outeniqua Transport Museum in George. Spend some time here to have a look at the steam locomotives and carriages of the past.
Enjoy wine tasting with a view at Herold Wines
Located on the slopes of Cradock Peak, the highest crest of the Outeniqua mountain range, and bordering three nature reserves, Herold Wines offers delectable wines in an idyllic and peaceful setting.
Aside from wine tastings, the estate offers light lunches and picnics. If you’d like some more time to enjoy the picturesque farm, stay for the weekend in a farm cottage. This way you can enjoy the hiking trails leading into the Outeniqua Nature Reserve and splash in a rockpool en route.