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The Republic of South_Africa: Visiting the Garden Route

There are many beautiful areas of South Africa that are worth seeing if you have the opportunity to visit or live there. The coastal area known as the "Garden Route" is one such area. This beautiful area is home to a wide variety of unique animals, birds and plants. Stretching from the Tsitsikamma Forest to Heidelberg, this area is certainly worth a look. The mountain scenery, lakes, wetlands, rivers and beaches are spectacular. In fact, when viewing the beautiful scenery and many natural attractions, it almost seems as though man has had little impact on the area. The Garden Route features a wonderfully Mediterranean-like climate, making it a popular destination year-round. If you have the opportunity to visit this South African area, here are some of the highlights that you should not miss.

Tsitsikamma National Park

This beautiful park situated on the Indian Ocean shore should definitely be on your list of "must-see" attractions. The indigenous forests provide a protected home to an amazing array of birds, making it a popular attraction for birdwatchers. You'll also be amazed by the many plant species, including beautiful ferns and massive trees.

Cango Caves

Located outside of Oudtshoorn, the Cango Caves is a natural geological feature that you should make a point to visit. These chambers and caves have been naturally carved out of limestone, making them quite interesting to view. In fact, these caves are one of South Africa's most frequently visited attractions. While visiting Cango Caves, you should also take the time to visit the city of Oudtshoorn. From the late 1800s through the early 1900s, this city was known for its ostrich feather production. You can still see the area's many feather palaces, providing a look back to the area's grandiose history. The semi-arid climate of this area is perfect for raising ostriches. Today the area is known for its ostrich farms, many of which can be toured. You might even be able to ride an ostrich if you are lucky!

Wilderness National Park

This beautiful national park is full of lakes, rivers, beaches and estuaries, set against the spectacular backdrop of majestic mountains and lush forests. The park features many scenic nature trails, providing you with the opportunity to view the area's plant, animal and bird species.

The Otter Trail

Although you'll find plenty of great hiking opportunities throughout the Garden Route, it's hard to beat the Otter Trail for its natural beauty and challenging hiking environment. This trail is one of South Africa's most popular and well-known trails. It's a very challenging trail, especially considering its modest length. Since it's popular with local residents as well as tourists, South Africa's National Park system often receives more requests for hiking bookings than what it can accommodate. If you are interested in hiking the trail, which can take approximately 5 days from end to end, you should contact the National Parks well in advance of your visit. This trail follows along the shoreline, taking you through rocky, rugged areas. The trail primarily follows the cliff tops, but returns to sea level when crossing rivers.

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