The Garden Route is one of the classic bucket list destinations.
It really is hard not to fall in love with its lush green forests, pristine beaches and the secluded little seaside towns that are welcoming pockets of SA life.
And while the summer holidaymaker traffic along the N2 can be a whole different level of stress to deal with – it only emphasises why winter is the perfect season for locals to make the most of the Garden Route.
Sure, you’ll have a little less fun in the sun time, just lazing on the beach – but the Garden Route is so much more – being an iconic adventure destination that lends itself so well to the cooler months.
There are also a number of events that bring this season to life in all the right ways. Now is the time to start planning. In Knysna especially, there are a host of festivals throughout the year to get you planning many-a-trip to this beautiful part of SA.
Here are major Garden Route events to start planning your long weekend escapes:
Greenpop Eden Festival of Action 2019
The Greenpop Festival of Action is creating a Treevolution in the Garden Route. Find people in a like-minded head space and time for yourself in the beautiful Garden Route as you celebrate nature with live music and a renewed consciousness.
“For the past 6 years, this event has taken place in Livingstone, Zambia and for the first time in 2018, the Festival of Action is being hosted in the Eden District, Garden Route,” says Knysna Tourism.
There’s a youth programme which promises to be an eco-education adventure for future leaders and active citizens between the ages of 13 and 19.
When: 23 June to 15 July 2019
Bookings and info: Contact Carla at 021 461 9265 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Knysna Oyster Festival
Oysters and sport are the focus at one of the most popular annual events in the Western Cape - the Knysna Oyster Festival.
The festival has taken place since 1983, where it began as the Knysna Winter Festival - a combination of sport that drew people to Knysna during the cold and quieter season.
SEE: Warm up this winter with 10 adventure-filled days at the Knysna Oyster Festival
The festival is spread across two weekends of family fun, with the two major sporting events being the Momentum Knysna Cycle Tour and the Momentum Knysna Forest Marathon.
Online entries are already open for the Knysna Cycle Route taking place over the weekend of Saturday 22 and Sunday 23 June, as part of the annual Knysna Oyster Festival. Running for over 30 years, it is set to provide fun for the entire family.
Andrew Finn, marketing director for the Knysna Cycle Tour says some exciting changes have been made to the routes, particularly to the longer road race for elites and experienced roadies, which is also a seeding race for the 2020 Cape Town Cycle Tour.
This 104 km route is much more scenic now with the inclusion of Buffalo Bay and a section of the historic Seven Passes road between Barrington and Karatara, a 3 km stretch of gravel road. There will also be the children’s Fun Race on Sunday 23 June for kids aged 10 and under. This popular race will take place on the Knysna High School sports field in three age group categories: 2-4; 5-7; and 8-10. There will be goodie bags for all entrants and medals for all finishers.
When: 21 to 30 June 2019
Bookings and info: Contact Glendyrr Fick at 044 382 5510 or email@example.com.
Click here for the full programme, more information, and registration and ticket details.
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127thRastafari Earth Festival
This celebration is centred around birthday of the Rastafarian's spiritual messiah, which takes place on 23 July, and is honoured as part of the annual Earth Festival from 22-30 July.
The festival includes musical acts, dancing and singing of traditional songs. Members wear traditional attire, tell stories and recite poems.
The event is family-friendly and open to the public - and serves as a platform for Rastafarians to openly share the traditions and roots of their faith. Tourists are welcome to bring their cameras and learn what Emancipation Day is all about.
When: 20-30 July 2019.
Where: Judah Square Knysna.
Bookings and info: Contact Br Dawie Afrikaner/ Zebulon/ Zebs at 076 649 1034 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Knysna Extreme Triathlon
Knysna Extreme is a triathlon covering 240km - 4km swim, 170km cycle, 50km run - with an altitude gain of over 3300m.
The route is scenic, yet challenging, taking athletes along the Garden Route, and each athlete is required to have a supporter follow them on the entire route to provide nutritional, motivational and mechanical support.
The event attracts local and international athletes, and boasts a unique, family-feel event.
When: 23 November 2019.
Bookings and info: Contact Sean Sandiford at 073 613 2984 or email@example.com.
Eden Kite Festival
The first Kite Festival took place at the Eden Lawns fields in Sedgefield last year.
Boasting a spectacular display of kites of all shapes and sizes, this year's event promises a special day for families and kiting enthusiasts.
When: 13 December 2019
Where: Eden Lawns - Sedgefield
Bookings and info: Contact Belinda Hobson at 044 343 2007/ firstname.lastname@example.org.
Knysna Motor Show
Motor heads will delight in the Knysna Motor Show, which attracts hundreds of the best classic cars from across South Africa.
The show provides the “opportunity for owners of high quality and unique cars to be displayed in a country style and relaxed atmosphere”, says Knysna Tourism.
In addition, the show is a platform to showcase veteran, vintage and classic road and racing motorcycles, and also serves as a fund-raising event for local charities including Hospice, animal welfare and children feeding scheme E-PAP, among others.
When: 2020 TBC
Where: Knysna High Sportsfield.
Cost: Entry fee is R40 for adults, R10 for scholars and under 12 enter free of charge.
Bookings and info: Brian Gibson at 082 467 2145 or email email@example.com.