We can never get enough of the magical Garden Route.
South Africa is blessed with a staggeringly gorgeous coastline, but just before the Western and Eastern Cape meld into each other you'll find a rare string of pearls that make up this Mermaid's purse coastal loveliness, whether you're heading in from the Western Cape through the Little Karoo or happen to be trekking down through the Free State - it's the coastal break you've been waiting for.
SEE: NatGeo names SA's Garden Route the world's best spring trip for 2017
Where to stay: Boiler Room Chic: A unique Garden Route stay
The Turbine Boutique Hotel & Spa on Thesen Island is the perfect base to explore Knysna, its history and its nearby attractions on the Garden Route. Want to know where to base yourself? A rather unique stay would be to check out the Garden Route boiler-room chic at the Turbine Boutique Hotel & Spa.
Established by the Thesen family from Norway as a power station initially, it used wood chips to generate the electricity that powered Knysna and Plettenberg Bay, and which was part of the Eskom power grid for many years - the hotel was
But environmental concerns about the felling of the indigenous forest finally put an end to the mill in the 1980s and saw the industrial site turned into a glamorous, internationally acclaimed marina development.
What to do: Garden Route Adventure fun
It really is far and few between that you find visitors to South Africa not including a Garden Route road trip into their round-tour of the country. Yes, the Garden Route has pretty much become synonymous with SA must-dos such as the Big Five and Table Mountain.
For locals too, this has become the go-to long weekend escape. From its secret beaches to the pull of Keurbooms, to having spectacular nature reserve experiences in the likes of Robberg or the Tsitsikamma and not forgetting the iconic Otter Trail, the highest Bungee Jump in the world or the majestic Outeniqua Mountains - it all really depends on how much time you have to explore.
SEE: #KarooSecrets: SA insider guide to the best of the Karoo
Drive The Outeniqua Pass
The Outeniqua Pass connects the coastal town of George with Oudtshoorn and the Little Karoo. It was first built in 1951 to provide an alternative to the Montagu Pass and has been widened and modernized several times since then according to Mountain Passes South Africa. This pass has played host to the snowy winter wonders of late and under those conditions this pass can be dangerous, especially due to the volume of commercial traffic that it carries.
Spot the elusive elephants of the Knysna Forests along its new historical route
The Knysna Forest is but one of the special places you'll find along the garden route. Here, despite dense human populations and agriculture, elusive creatures of the bush still populate the woods. The five elephants believed to live in the forest today are but an echo of the elephant herds that used to roam the forest. In 1876, there were an estimated 400 elephants walking the Knysna forest, the Garden Route National Park says.
SEE: SA Insider: The Complete guide to the Cape Route 62
The GRNP team, along with the Knysna Historical Society and other stakeholders have launched a historical route in one of SA’s largest individual forests. By using this self-drive route, visitors to the Garden Route can drive to 10 marked historically significant locations in the Knysna forest. The route comes with a map of the 10 areas dubbed "rooted in time".
WATCH: Elusive Knysna elephant captured on camera
Where to Eat: Unique eats, Magical markets and beach-bar fun
And like all good holidays, food takes pride of place.
You'll soon discover that the Garden Route has some truly unique foodie spots to check out after a hard day at the beach.
Have you ever been to De Vette Mossel? It's the perfect marriage between the Garden Route and the West Coast! You'll enjoy cuisine and ambiance prepared in true West Coast style in this Groot Brak must-visit. Food is prepared on open fires in front of you, and you will probably leave with a few new 'Mossel' friends.