The coastal towns of Mossel Bay, Hartenbos, Wilderness, Knysna and Plett are all prominent Garden Route destinations, defined by their nature offering, luxury stays and sea-side restaurants.
But what about those forgotten inland punctuations on the map along this region? Riversdale, Ladismith and Uniondale are obscure towns with enough charm to make them worth visiting.
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Here's your 5-day itinerary for the less-travelled Garden Route:
Day 1 and 2: Riversdale
Located on the N2, Riversdale is well-worth a detour.
Stay in town or in the nearby Grootvadersbosch Nature Reserve cabins. The reserve is an excellent terrain for mountain biking and hiking as it encompasses 250 hectares of indigenous forest in the Langeberg region. It was even declared a World Heritage Site in 2004.
READ: Grootvadersbosch: An off-the-grid forest adventure
Then be sure to visit the Ou Tronk. This old prison in Riversdale hosts a farmer's market on Saturdays, which are the best day to visit. But if you're not here on a Saturday, pop in anyways to check out this interesting building resembling a Spanish hacienda. Do a bit of shopping of antiques and bric-à-brac, then go relax in the inner courtyard filled with shady trees.
Day 3: Ladismith
After two nights in Riversdale, head north to Ladismith, an agricultural centre in the western Klein Karoo region.
Luxe it up for a night at Rooiberg Safaris for a peaceful stay where you won't find any man-made structures as far as the eye can see, as this 5000ha reserve sees wildlife roaming free in total privacy. The pool also looks pretty darn attractive...
Then enjoy some steep and challenging mountain biking trails in Buffelspoort as well as indulging in the area's sublime wineries. Venture out to Calitzdorp for a tasting at De Krans wine, or stay put and go sip on both wine and brandy at Ladismith Cellars.
Day 4 and 5: Uniondale
Uniondale is known for its ghost. Legend had it that a young woman vanished in the area, years ago. Then it became haunted. Throughout the years that followed, many who passed through its borders, felt her presence. One of the most notable encounters with this 'spook' (ghost) was reported by a young man in 1973, who saw her on the side of the road on Good Friday and offered her a lift.
But there's more to this spooky town that ghost stories.
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Situated on the N9 in the Kammanasie River valley, just driving around the passes, is the perfect pastime.
SA Venues says that south of the town lies the Potjiesberg pass, a beauty! Then, the Prince Alfred Pass lies on the R339 on the other side of Avontuur towards Knysna - also worth a scenic drive. While the Uniondale Poort, situated on the famous Route 62, links Uniondale and Avontuur.
Then the White Elephant Hiking Trail is very popular with outdoor lovers. But if you're not that keen on walking for hours on end, be sure to visit the Ysterhoutrug picnic site, situated along the R339. Here you can enjoy this nature spot with your family from the comfort of your picnic blanket.
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