It takes about four hours to drive from George to Port Elizabeth, but the 320km stretch of road between the two cities is a trove of incredible natural scenery and unique activities.
When was the last time you embarked on an epic road trip? See beautiful beaches, mighty cliffs, quaint towns and majestic wildlife between George and Port Elizabeth. Here’s what you need to know when putting together your itinerary:
Your starting point – George
George is the second-largest city in the Western Cape, located on the edge of the famous Garden Route. Situated on a plateau between the Outeniqua Mountains and the Indian Ocean, George is home to spectacular views and natural scenery.
The city is the perfect base camp for nature lovers as it’s wedged in between a number of nature reserves, including the Outeniqua Nature Reserve, Kammanassie Nature Reserve and Garden Route National Park.
Getting there: Mango has regular flights to George from OR Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg. Alternatively, extend your adventure by a few days and drive the 430km from Cape Town.
Your destination – Port Elizabeth
Port Elizabeth in the Eastern Cape is one of South Africa’s largest cities and home to one of its most important ports.
The city has a long history. Hunter gatherers settled here at least 100 000 years ago; Portuguese explorers set foot on shore in the 1400s, the area formed part of the Dutch East India Company founded by the Dutch East India Company; and, finally, a large group of British settlers arrived in 1820 to develop a settlement.
These days, the city is a metropolitan hub with a burgeoning creative industry and a true melting pot of cultures.
Aside from visiting its white beaches, explore the creative charm of Port Elizabeth or experience a few of the city’s unmissable tourist attractions.
Getting back home: Mango flies to Port Elizabeth via OR Tambo International Airport or Lanseria International Airport in Johannesburg.
Add to your itinerary: Knysna
About an hour’s drive from George lies Knysna, in the heart of the Garden Route. The road to Knysna along the N2 highway is picturesque as it curls along the wooded and mountainous route and pristine beaches.
The town is famous for its massive turquoise lagoon that is fed by the Knysna River, water sports, boat trips and beaches.
Located close to the Goukamma Nature Reserve, which is also a marine protected area, this is a great base to explore the famed forests of the Garden Route, as well as to see whales and other marine mammals.
If you’re planning to stay over for a day or two, here are some more activities not to miss in Knysna.
Add to your itinerary: Nature’s Valley
A short diversion from the N2 highway and around two hours’ drive from George, is Nature’s Valley, a small holiday resort town. Located at the foothills of the Tsitsikamma Mountains and part of the Garden Route Nature Reserve looking out over the Indian Ocean, this small town packs a big punch in natural beauty.
A haven for hikers, beach bums and fishing aficionados, Nature’s Valley is a paradise for anyone looking to escape the buzz of city life.
Add to your itinerary: Jeffreys Bay
Just over three hours’ drive from George (but less than an hour from Port Elizabeth) you’ll find the surfing capital of South Africa, Jeffreys Bay. Known to locals as J-Bay or simply just Jeffreys, this spot offers sprawling beaches for long leisurely walks, wild waves perfect for surfing, and a bustling town known for its quirky shops and restaurants.
If you’re scared of getting into the water because of the rough waves, don’t worry. Dolphin Beach is a Blue Flag-rated beach, making it safe to bathe under the watchful eye of a lifeguard.
Keen to explore other beautiful beaches in the Eastern Cape? Here’s your guide to all the top seaside hangouts.
Port Elizabeth and beyond
If you’re able to extend your holiday, grab the chance to explore the awe-inspiring natural beauty of the Eastern Cape. Follow in the footsteps of giants at Addo Elephant National Park, sit atop Ben Macdhui, the highest peak in the province, or visit the Camdeboo National Park to see one of South Africa’s most famous natural attractions, the Valley of Desolation.
For more information, have a look at our handy guide to experience the great outdoor beauty of the Eastern Cape.