South African Coast Line

Where to Stay in the Garden Route | 10 Best Places

What is the Garden Route? Well, South Africa’s Garden Route is 300 kilometers of pure paradise. Lush forests, vast white-sand beaches, and plenty of lagoons and lakes make it truly unique to stay in the Garden Route. But can you live there? Well, the answer is yes. Besides affordable accommodation, The garden Route promotes affordable living also.

When you do decide to see it, you may feel overwhelmed with choosing from all the best that the Garden Route offers, and that’s where we come in. Having experienced the Garden Route first hand, we can let you know which towns are worth the look.

 Best Places to Live in the Garden Route for:

  • Digital Nomads: Jeffreys bay
  • Expats: George
  • English Speakers: Plettenberg Bay
  • Groups: Stilbaai
  • Couples: Knysna
  • Solo Travelers: Mossel Bay

Top 10 Places to Live in the Garden Route:

1. Jeffrey’s Bay

The Best Town for Digital Nomads

Surfer

Cost of living: $

There is no place quite like South Africa’s beloved Jeffrey’s Bay. You may be wondering why this quaint town is so highly praised amongst locals and travelers alike? Besides being one of the world’s top surfing destinations, it is also affordable, safe, and full of character.

Tip: Learn the lingo (the population of Jeffrey’s Bay have their own unique sayings and expressions, having a few under your belt will quickly put you in their good side). 

Who would like to live there: Digital nomads, solo travelers, English speakers.

Pros:

  • Close to larger cities (for harder-to-find items).
  • It’s very safe.
  • Affordable accommodation. 

Cons:  

  • Lack of essential services (to a moderate extent).
  • The town is quite small.
  • There is very little public transport.

2. George

Best City for Expats

George Beach

Cost of living: $$

George is considered to be the central hub of the Garden Route. As the town with the highest population on the Garden Route, it is no surprise that it is also the most developed. Equipped with shopping malls, schools, hospitals, and bus services, George is the closest you get to big city life, but with a “small-town” feel.

Tip: George itself offers little to do, however, you are very central with plenty of things to do in the Garden Route nearby.

Who would like to live here: Expats, couples, digital nomads.

Pros: 

  • Availability of hospitals and other essential services.
  • Great beaches.
  • Excellent municipality.

Cons:

  • Local taxi services are known to be disruptive and aggressive.
  • Low average salary for employment.
  • Low-quality housing.

3. Plettenberg Bay

Best Town for English speakers

Plettenberg Bay

Cost of living: $$$

On the surface, Plettenberg Bay may seem luxurious (it often is), but the heart and soul of the town is truly an adventure and nature lover’s haven.

Situated directly on the coastline, Plett is home to beautiful beaches and is surrounded by farmlands, forests, and a diverse river system making it a slice of heaven in the middle of the Garden Route’s wild side.

Tip: Get involved in the community as soon as you can. Not only will it make you feel more at home, but it gives you the opportunity to have a say in the quality of life you choose to have.

Who would like to live here: Couples, Expats, English speakers, digital nomads.

Pros:

  • Plenty of things to do.
  • Growing infrastructure.
  • Massive tourism industry.

Cons:

  • Property can be expensive.
  • The town gets very busy.
  • Cost of living is high.

4. Knysna 

Best Town for Couples

Knysna Lagoon

Cost of living: $$

If the Garden Route is the collection of charming towns in South Africa, then Knysna is the prized jewel. With its abundance of lagoons, rivers, mountain ranges, and rich forests, going for a hike or taking the afternoon to kitesurf will soon become a part of your daily routine. 

Tip: Be warned, that when using any of Knysna’s famous hiking trails, safety is a massive priority. “Safety Mountain” is a service used in Knysna, and we insist you try it.

Who would like to live here:  Expats, English speakers, digital nomads, couples, solo travelers.

Pros:

  • Efficient police force.
  • Incredible places to stay in Knysna.
  • Breathtaking natural beauty with a “back to basics” mentality. 

Cons: 

  • Winters get very cold.
  • Homes in Knysna are difficult to maintain.
  • Property out of the city center is very expensive.

5. Mossel Bay

Best Town for Solo Travelers

Mossel Bay Penguins

Cost of living: $$ 

With remote work quickly becoming a reality for many people looking to relocate, coastal towns are at the top of the list for people moving away from the city. With its things to do in the Garden Route in over 50 years, it’s easy to see why Mossel Bay has quickly become the golden child of coastal living.

Tip: Mossel Bay is one of South Africa’s oldest towns, and the Diaz Museum in Mossel Bay is famous for its capture of the town’s heritage.

Pros:

  • The weather is moderate all year round.
  • An excellent municipality. 
  • The residents of Mossel Bay are a proud and proactive community.

Cons:

  • Nightlife in Mossel Bay can be very slow.
  • With growing rates of residencies, infrastructure is beginning to fall behind.
  • Average salaries/incomes are low.

6. Wilderness 

Best Town for Nature

Wilderness beach

Cost of Living: $

Wilderness is a quiet town with a focus on ‘oneness with nature and prides itself on simple living. There is no better place to go to if you wish to get a breath of clean air and destress from city life. Being clean, safe, beautiful, and being able to rent affordable property makes Wilderness a favorite.

Tip: Like Knysna, Wilderness has famous hiking trails.

Who Would Like to Live There: Expats, English Speakers, couples.

Pros:

  • It’s very quiet.
  • Intense natural beauty.
  • Low cost of living.

Cons:

  • Lack of public transport.
  • Surrounding areas can be unsafe.
  • Lack of nightlife.

7. Sedgefield

Best Town for Retirement

Sedgefield Beach

Cost of Living: $

This quaint lagoon town is often overlooked. It’s quiet, slowed down, and simple, but that’s why we like it. A popular holiday destination for those looking to get away from it all, find peace of mind in the soft atmosphere of Sedgefield. Perfect for retirement, or nomadic living.

Tip: Be prepared to have to travel outside of the town for a little more excitement.

Who Would Like to Live There: Digital Nomads, couples.

Pros:

  • Affordable housing.
  • Low cost of living.
  • Close sense of community.

Cons:

  • Crime is notable.
  • No nightlife.
  • Lack of public transport.

8. Storms River

Best Town for Adventure

Storms River Chalet

Cost of Living: $$

It may seem underwhelming at first, but look again. Storms River is the capital town of excitement and adventurism. With endless outdoor activities for adrenaline junkies, Storms River has developed a proud community of outdoor enthusiasts. Not to mention it’s beautiful beyond words, with plenty of accommodation by the beach.

Tip: Storms River is home to the world’s highest bungee jumping platform.

Who Would Like to Live There: Adventurers, Digital Nomads.

Pros:

  • Picturesque scenery.
  • Friendly residents.
  • Low cost of living.

Cons:

  • Lack of nightlife.
  • Slow growing infrastructure.
  • Property prices can be high.

9. Oudtshoorn

Best Town for Sight Seeing

Cango caves

Cost of Living: $

Oudtshoorn is a small city that packs a big punch. It is in the center of the beautiful Eden district and is known to be a great place to raise a family. There are many attractions surrounding the town which makes it a prime pit-stop for all those traveling the Garden Route. Because of this, it has a strong economy and great infrastructure.

Tip: The Cango caves (one of SA’s largest underground cave systems) is located just outside of the city.

Who Would Like to Live There: Expats, Digital Nomads, Couples.

Pros:

  • Very safe.
  • Great tourism industry.
  • Low cost of living.

Cons:

  • Very hot.
  • Far from main cities.
  • No nightlife.

10. Stilbaai

Best Town for Groups

Stilbaai Harbor

Cost of Living: $$

Still Bay offers its own twist on holiday living. While being a popular holiday destination, it provides facilities for schools, medical care, and plenty of shops. With vast white beaches and a thriving boating community, Still Bay is a popular choice for those looking to retire or enjoy some of the best beaches in South Africa.

Tip: An important thing one must consider before moving to any small town is finances, as work is hard to come by.

Who Would Like to Live There: Groups, Couples.

Pros:

  • Some of the best restaurants in the Garden Route.
  • Good infrastructure. 
  • Very safe.

Cons:

  • Property is expensive
  • Lack of public transport.
  • Lack of nightlife.

FAQs

1. Is It Safe in The Garden Route?

The Garden Route leans into the more rural farmlands of South Africa. Some areas are of concern, but generally, the Garden Route is very safe.

2. What Currency Do They Use in The Garden Route?

The South African Rand (ZAR) is used exclusively throughout the Garden Route.

3. What Language Do They Speak in The Garden Route?

English, Afrikaans, and several other ethnic languages are spoken throughout the Garden Route.

4. How to Travel Around The Garden Route?

Besides having the best road-trip potential, the Garden Route also has several cross-country bus services that run along it.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Scroll to Top