Getting Oriented

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Getting Oriented

Although it is possible to get from place to place by bus, the best way to explore this region is by car. There are two practical routes from Cape Town to Port Elizabeth. You can follow the N2 along the Garden Route, or you can take Route 62, which goes through the Little Karoo. These two roads are separated by the Outeniqua Mountains, which are traversed by a number of scenic passes. So it is possible—even desirable—to hop back and forth over the mountains, alternating between the lush Garden Route and the harsher Little Karoo. The inland border of the Little Karoo is formed by the Swartberg Mountains, which cover much of the interior of South Africa.

Garden Route. This beautiful 208-km (130-mi) stretch of coast takes its name from a year-round riot of vegetation. Here you'll find some of the country's most inspiring scenery: forest-cloaked mountains, rivers and streams, and golden beaches. This area draws a diverse crowd, from backpackers and adventure travelers to family vacationers and golfers. Major resort towns here are Mossel Bay, George, Wilderness, Knysna, and Plettenberg Bay.

Little Karoo. Presenting a striking contrast to the Garden Route is the semiarid region known as the Little Karoo (also known as the Klein Karoo). In addition to a stark kind of beauty that comes with its deep gorges and rugged plains, the Little Karoo has ostrich farms, the Sanbona Wildlife Reserve, the impressive Cango Caves, and even some vineyards.

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