George is one of the major attractions along what is known as the Garden Route – a lush stretch of diverse ecosystem along the south-eastern coastline of South Africa. George is a town nestled between Mossel Bay and Sedgefield, a stone’s throw from the temperate waters of the Indian Ocean.
Getting in and out of George
George is easily accessible along one of the main national roads called the N2, which is a well-maintained highway that connects Cape Town and Johannesburg along the coast. The journey from Cape Town to Joburg takes at least 20 hours, and most people prefer to stop at least once along the way to break the journey. However, it is well worth taking your time along this route and spending at least a day or two exploring the quirky towns along the way.
There are a number of tour operators available in the George area that offer packages that vary in length from one-day tours of George and Wilderness to week-long experiences of the broader area.
Flights to George
Flights to George are available from Durban, Johannesburg and Cape Town, with flights from Durban usually going via Johannesburg with a possible layover period at O.R. Tambo International Airport. It was previously known as P.W. Botha Airport when it was founded in 1977. It currently hosts SA Airlink, CemAir, FlySafair, Kulula and Mango. The number of passengers using this airport annually exceeds 700 000. Free Wifi facilities are available.
George airport is situated 12km away from the city centre. Shuttle services and taxis are available at the airport to take you anywhere you need to be around the city. Shuttles are generally cheaper and stick to a specific schedule. Taxis can be pricey but offer the added benefit of providing you with the flexibility to travel in your own time and to the specific sites you want to visit. You can access most taxi services at the airport, such as Avis Car Rental and Hertz.
Buses are also available to take you to George, such as Greyhound, InterCape, Translux and City To City. If you are going to a well-known backpackers lodge along the Garden Route (including George) the Baz Bus offers a hop-on-hop-off, door-to-door alternative to ordinary bus services.
Things to do in and around George
The burning question asked by most swashbuckling travellers is of course what can be done in and around George, to which the answer is of course ‘a lot’. George is not just a pretty face and doesn’t attract visitors just because of its natural beauty.
Once you are in George, you can witness the beauty of this area in your own style by taking your pick between a helicopter, horseback riding, quad biking or even a mini train ride for the kids.
Redberry Farm is a huge hit for families as it offers a variety of activities that can enthral both the young and the young at heart. The numerous activities on offer here include train rides, strawberry picking, rabbit-feeding and the ever-popular Bubble Ball. There is a tea garden and farm stall for you to peruse at your leisure while the kids do their thing.
As far as hiking goes, you have a number of trails to choose from, depending on your level of fitness. There is the Groeneweide Trail that starts at the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University, which is a relatively easy walk. Or you can take the Forest Buzzard Trail which is an easy 2.2km hike from Witfontein Nature Reserve. For those who prefer more of a challenge and who are more fit, there is a 20km trail called the Cradock Peak Trail. You will need a permit for this hike which you can get from the Outeniqua Nature Reserve. There are also a few mountain biking trails in the area, such as the Pepsi Pools circular route.
If you want to see a bit of the natural scenery without having to do the hard work, you and the kids can take a ride on the Powervan. It’s a train that takes you deep into the Outeniqua Mountain Range and includes a picnic.
If you are wanting to explore the cultural side of George beyond the everyday experience that the eclectic community has to offer, you could pay a visit to the Outeniqua Transport Museum.
For the more adventurous at heart, try paragliding. The Garden Route is a hotspot for this popular activity because of the spectacular landscape. If you keep your eyes peeled while driving down the Garden Route, you may come across one of the wine, dairy or cheese farms that often offer much more than their names suggest. One of these is the Herold Wine Estate, which is ideally situated on the highest crest of the Outeniqua Mountain Range. Some of the activities offered here include cycling opportunities, a mini labyrinth and a cellar tour and wine tasting.
Eating out in George
Despite being a relatively smaller city when compared to the mega-cities of Durban and Cape Town, George has a surprising array of restaurants that offer cuisine from all over the world. From Kafe Serefe that has a Turkish flavour to La Locanda which specializes in Italian Food, whatever food you have a craving for you will find in George. There are also a number of restaurants that specialize in South African cuisine.
The Seven Passes Drive
The Seven Passes Drive is a stunning route from George to Knysna so if you have hired a car you should definitely add it to your bucket list. It was brought to completion under the watchful eye of Thomas Bain, one of the engineering giants and renaissance men who played a pivotal role in the infrastructure of the country in the early days of colonization.
There are numerous beaches you can visit along this beautiful coastline, but some of the most popular are Vic Bay (especially popular among surfers) and Wilderness Beach which is about 20 min from George. The Garden Route is a paradise for beach lovers; you will be able to swim, surf and kayak to your heart’s desire.
Book cheap flights to George
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