You Can Take it With You
Besides its highly regarded wine, the Garden Route has much more to offer visitors looking for trifles to take home. A delicate handblown glass bowl by David Reade can be had for $259 at Art Now (14 Hugenot Rd., Franschhoek; 27-21/876-3101). Pick up a canvas bush jacket, to look the part when heading out into the wild, for $45 from Groundcover (intersection of R45 and R310, Groot Drakenstein, Franschhoek; 27-21/874-1605). Home furnishings and Central African-inspired objects, like leather and mudcloth handbags ($80), are sold at La Grange (13 Daniel Hugo St., Franschhoek; 27-21/876-2155). Bikinis, bath treats, and assorted accessories fill the shelves at the Kurland Shop (Kurland; 27-44/534-8082). A three-piece silver-plated bachelor's tea set from Birmingham, England (circa 1911), goes for a song ($260) at Jill's Antiques (at Hunter's Country House; 27-44/532-7740).
Out and About
Marine Safari From July to November, southern right whales swim up from the Antarctic to mate and calve. Spot them (and bottle-nosed dolphins) from the Robberg Peninsula in the Robberg Nature Reserve (signposted from Robberg Road; 27-44/533-2125; entrance $1.50), or take a whale-watching flight over the bay with African Ramble Air Charter (Plettenberg Bay Airport, 27-44/533-9006; $50 per person). To see the mammals face-to-face, try a close encounter cruise with Ocean Adventures (Shop 13, Yellowwood Centre, Main Rd.; 27-44/ 533-5083; $33 per person).
The View on Foot
The Garden of Eden walk is an easy 30-minute introduction to the area's indigenous forests. Massive yellowwoods (some estimated at 800 years old), stinkwoods, and red alders form a canopy above thick undergrowth and crystal-clear streams (signposted next to the N2, between Knysna and Plettenberg Bay; 40 cents in high season).
Rappel down a 200-foot waterfall with Abseil Africa (27-21/424-1580; $57 for an all-day trip), or tube down the rapids with Stormsriver Adventures (Darnell Street, Storms River Village; 27-42/541-1836; $43 for six-hour trip, including all safety gear, lunch, and transport).
In winter, the world's top surfing pros converge on Jeffreys Bay to ride its famous right-hand waves. Rent a board for $9 a day from Billabong Surf Shop (Magnatubes Centre, DaGama Rd., Jeffreys Bay; 27-42/293-1101). The more sedate should catch the Outeniqua Choo Tjoe, South Africa's last scheduled steam train, between Knysna and George (Knysna Station, Remembrance Ave., Knysna; 27-44/382-1361; $8 round-trip).